Challenge by: Murray Daigle
1. Write a song using no more than 2 chords
2. Write a song that has a single repeating riff (1-bar in length)
This challenge is designed to make writers focus on fundamental “hooks” to create a great song. Also to underline the “catchiness” of the melody, vocal rhythm and lyric will be very important. This limitation takes away the writer’s ability to simply use a chord pattern change and define the musical space. You will actually have to write verses, choruses and bridges that define themselves and “speak” as they should in the context of the song. There is a list of huge hit songs below that cross genres and eras that meet this criteria… so it can be done!
Tips and suggestions:
I would approach this by focusing on the chorus hook first. Find something simple and catchy, even if it’s just based in the rhythm of the vocal, to drive the song. Then I would figure out how the verses take the journey to get me back around to the hook.
“Born in the USA” by Bruce Springsteen uses the same notes in the verse and the chorus melodies (same harmonic structure), just changing the rhythm structure of the lines to define the difference. Also, note that the “weight” of the chorus lyric is essential to the song’s success and power.
“Closer” by Ne-yo is very dependent on the rhythm structures of the vocals to define the parts. Also, the chorus melodies are higher than the verses. In fact the first note of the chorus is the highest note he hits up to that point in the song. Note that the repeating lyrics and “call-backs” in the chorus are very catchy. He repeats “come closer” 14 times in the song and “I just can’t stop” 29 times!
“Moves Like Jagger” – Maroon 5
“Blurred Lines” – Pharrell/Thicke
“Born In the USA” – Bruce Springsteen
“Jane Says” – Jane’s Addiction
“Elenor Rigby” – Beatles
“Don’t Let Me Down” – Beatles
“Horse With No Name” – America
“Dreams” – Fleetwood Mac
“Fallin'” – Alecia Keys
“505” – Artic Monkeys
“Give Peace A Chance” – John Lennon
“Closer” – Ne-yo
“When Love Comes to Town” – U2
Good Luck! 🙂
In order to successfully complete the first challenge you are required to:
1) Write and record a song following the description of the week #1 Challenge
2) Write a blog post about your experience writing this week
3) Upload your song to SoundCloud or any other MP3 hosting site
4) Post the link to your blog post and the link to your song by 11:59pm EST on Saturday July 9, 2016. (Click on “Leave A Reply” at the bottom of this Challenge post, please put your full name and your email address in the appropriate fields).
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