Songwriting Tip on Melody!

 

Hi there,
I’m here at the City Winery in New York City with your songwriting tip for the day! Today I’m going to talk about melody while I’m here at the piano on stage for our sound check. One of the things I’ve noticed a lot of young songwriters do is stick to a particular melodic idea and not really expand it as the song goes on. For example, a songwriter might start his or her verse on “a” and then build the verse melody around that. Then, when the writer starts writing his or her prechorus, the person will be sort of mesmerized by what she has so far, so she’ll (had to pick a pronoun) continue with what she has started and start her prechorus on “a.” Then she’ll start their chorus on “a” as well. So, it can start to sound repetitive. So, the simple tip for the day is just to think about starting different sections of your song on a new note. Let me give you a quick example from my song “Honeycomb.”
So, the verse starts on c# (plays verse):
Fleece, the color of your eyes / I couldn’t wait to see you / Wrapped in teal
Then when I go to the prechorus, I start a few notes up from c# on e (plays prechorus):
I was so in love with you / While you were working on the honeycomb
Then when I go to the chorus, I go even higher with the melody (plays chorus):
Oh oh the honeycomb / I couldn’t wait to see what the future would hold
I’d run down the driveway every day / Don’t leave the moment stay

So essentially with each new section of the song, I lifted the starting point of the melody a little bit so it feels like the song is going somewhere and that you are on a journey.

Now for another example from my friend, singer-songwriter Melissa Ferrick. We are here in the green room at City Winery and she is going to give an example of what I was just talking about where your verse and chorus start on different notes.

Anne: Will you play for us?
Melissa: Yes. So we are going to use the old song of mine called “Everything I Need” – I’m going to use this song because it has the same chords in the verse and chorus (starts playing verse):
I’ve got money in the bank / I’ve got a car to drive
I’ve got a working set of hands my guitar seems to like
I’ve got a love that won’t quit
(The placement of the word “love” is on the downbeat to emphasize it. Sometimes it’s important to think of what words you are placing on what beats)
I’ve got time to rest
I’ve got a clear able mind that sees my life
Going fine
And now I go to that same chord (back to the G), but now my melody is going to go up instead of down starting on that same note. This is also called oblique motion.
Everything I need is right here in my hands
Right here in my hands
Right here in my hands
Anne: Cool so what you are saying is that your melody goes in a different direction on the chorus and then I think it also starts on a different note from the verse
Melissa: Yeah, maybe it does
Anne: I think it starts lower
(They sing it)
Melissa: Yeah, so it starts on a different note, goes up and then the top note of the chorus ends up being the first note of the verse
Anne: So these are different little tools you can use if you get stuck. Bye!
Melissa: Bye!

what’s your musical fantasy? light reading & video #4

for those of you who are scanners, here’s what in this post: baby helen, songwriting tips, what’s your musical fantasy? & tour dates (city winery show in nyc this sunday!).

Hi everybody,
I had a good laugh this morning. As I went to lift baby Helen out of her crib, I noticed she was thumbing through J.D. Salinger’s “The Catcher in the Rye.” Now she’s 1-year old and doesn’t read, but the way she was quietly and slowly looking at the pages made it seem like she was reading. Then I found “Profiles in Courage” in the corner of her bed and I thought: Wow, she’s really got this whole other life she’s living early in the morning before I even wake up ;-)

Profiles in Courage

Speaking of waking early, I’ve been having a harder time doing it lately. I’m not sure if it’s the weather, but I have felt so in need of sleep (one of my favorite pastimes!). On the days when I do get up early before anyone else (to write, think, pray, or some combination of all three) I am quite happy. Coffee helps A LOT. And getting through that initial resistance to moving is a great relief especially when I can sit quietly and write something.

Speaking of writing, I’m starting a Songwriting Tips Series on my YouTube Channel for young songwriters (or anyone who writes!). My welcome video is here (and there are a few tips up there as well) so please subscribe to my channel if this is of interest to you :)

Lastly, and most importantly, I really want to know who you are!! I found myself thinking last week that there are probably some people on my email list who signed up years ago when I was still playing open mikes at The Dark Star Lounge in NYC ;) ; some of you I just met last week at City Winery, so here’s what I’d love to know…

Can you tell me a little bit about yourself? I’d like to keep my posts relevant to you so, feel free to introduce yourself. Like maybe what are your three favorite things? What’s going great in your life? What’s a frustration? Or what’s a big dream of yours? What would you be willing to do to make it happen?

And here’s something I posted on Facebook lately…

What is one musical or artistic thing you would most like me to give you? (Think as big as you like, i.e. spend a week with me in Paris writing songs for your loved ones/Serenading you at your graduation…)

What is one non-musical/artistic thing you’d like? (i.e. me to give you a guide to all my favorite coffee shops in the US, make you a strawberry banana smoothie) no but seriously…….Please write to me or share in the comments below…

Peace,
Have a great day!
All the tour dates are here: http://www.anneheaton.com/tour
Xoxo, Anne

(Upcoming dates in Chicago, Ann Arbor, Grand Haven, MI, Cambridge, MA and New York City: City Winery show this Sunday April 6th with Melissa Ferrick!)

Video #3, tour dates, and a belated Valentine’s Day wish

Hello there folks!

The new album Dora is now out on iTunes and also available at Amazon. I’d love to share this new music with you so if you’d like to pick up a copy, go here!

I started writing this on Valentine’s Day but then all the hullabaloo with the weather happened while I was on the road. I came home for a quick stop, was off to Seattle, and now somehow it’s already March 11th and I’m finally getting to send you some love and appreciation. :) Thank you to all who came out to the Winter shows especially during the blizzards  – you rock! Touring with a baby in tow is both fun and an interesting challenge so thanks to all who helped make it feel joyful to be sharing these songs! :)

The City Winery Show in New York City has been rescheduled for April 6th (coming up!), and I’ll be playing at the City Winery in Chicago TONIGHT (March 11th) opening for Mike Doughty. (Wow!  Remember that song “27 Jennifers”?) All details are below!

xoxo,
Anne

“Dora” lyrics – “Chink of Light”

Anne’s manager Krista here. We come to the end of the Dora lyrics/poems today… I hope you’ve enjoyed reading all of Claire Clubes’s gorgeous words! Here’s the final song, written for her daughter Bess,  “Chink of Light.”

Chink of Light

You cracked me open
A chink of light
And I stayed that way
I used to watch you sleep
You’d talk out loud in your dreams

And I hoped
Time would go slow
So I’d remember everything

I was afraid I wouldn’t get it right
And often I didn’t get it right
We used to play in the garden
And you’d wear your fairy wings

And I hoped
Time would go slow
So I’d remember
Foolishness first
Wisdom next
The daily path never ends
Just like my love for you

They way you were it was set
You watched close and were loyal to the end
My shy little girl who’d line up her shoes
Is her own woman now

And I hope
Time will go slow
So you’ll remember everything

Every miraculous moment
Every hard mistake
Called by the Kraals in the Valley
May we be fearless ‘til our last days

I hope time will go slow
So you’ll remember
I hope time will go slow
So we’ll remember
Foolishness first
Wisdom next
The daily path never ends
Just like my love for you

“Dora” review from InForty.com

What a nice review for the “Dora” album from InForty.com!

http://www.inforty.com/?p=23745


Anne Heaton & Claire Clube – Dora

Spill, 2014

Folk-pop songstress Heaton puts music to the poetry of Clube on this collaborative effort that was sadly finished after Clube unexpectedly passed away. The pair bonded over motherhood and divorce strife, and here Heaton pens an elegant, sophisticated album that mixes jazz, blues, classical and pop sensibilities built largely around the piano. A lush, timeless tribute.