Step #4 of Writing Great Lyrics – Create Rhythmic Interest

Step #4 of Writing Great Lyrics – Create Rhythmic Interest

Although the notes that you choose for your melody are important, that’s not the only thing that matters. We also need to think about the rhythmic variation of our melodic phrases. In this blog post, we’ll discuss creating rhythmic interest in our melodies.

This article is a summarised transcript of step four of our video “How to Write Great Melodies in 7 Simple Steps’’. Click here to watch the video for more details, explanations and examples.

Why Create Rhythmic Interest?

Beginner songwriters habitually start all their melodic phrases on beat one. However, this isn’t necessarily the best thing to do, as it can make your melody feel cluttered. It’s easier to understand this by comparing rhythm in melodic phrases to body language.

Starting on beat one can be thought of as very forward-leaning body movement. It’s quite assertive in nature. When you alternate between starting on and off beat one, you create this dance in body movement similar to a body swaying back and forth. This is when a melody really starts to breathe and dance.

By creating rhythmic interest, we also are able to make more use out of the 4 notes we’ve chosen for our melody. Check out the article here for a refresher on creating a 4 note melody. Through varying your melody rhythmically, you can use your 4 note melody in different sections of your song, without sounding repetitive or boring.

What’s important to observe here is that longer melodic phrases are often built out of smaller melodic motifs that are varied in different ways.

To help you build your melody quickly, click here to download a free PDF eBook containing all the diatonic chords written out in 6 different keys titled “Diatonic Chords in 6 Different Keys”:

An Example of Variation in Practice

The song “When the Party’s Over” by artist Billie Eilish is a great example of the usage of variation. It doesn’t demonstrate rhythmic variation but it does show melodic variation.

In the verse of the song, the same melodic fragment is used four times. However, each time the fragment is repeated, it’s moved up the scale. This creates a beautiful sense of rising tension, which then resolves itself in the chorus.

Conclusion: Step #4 of Writing Great Lyrics – Create Rhythmic Interest

Crafting melodies that dance and breathe requires a deep understanding of rhythm and phrasing. By experimenting with the placement of our melodic phrases, we can create songs that genuinely come alive.

This is only the fourth of seven steps to writing great melodies. Check out the full article for all 7 steps or watch the video here now.

Level up your songwriting with five radically practical exercises used by professional songwriters around the world:

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