By Ric Flauding, Contributing Writer
January 01, 2018

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Are you interested is learning how?

Are you interested in songwriting? Wondering where to begin?

Have no fear! Like any subject songwriting has techniques that can be learned and mastered.

Songwriting mainly involves these musical elements:

1) Rhythm
2) Melody (pitch applied to rhythm)
3) Harmony (vertical combinations of pitches)
4) Form (the sections of a song: Verse / Chorus / Bridge / other)
5) Lyrics – the words (unless it is instrumental)

You do not have to be a master of both music and lyrics to be a songwriter. Though many songwriters do both, many others do one or the other and collaborate with someone else. Some songs list several writers.

In my case, I have written instrumental songs that lyrics were added later by someone else and I have also created music to pre-existing lyrics. Elton John is a case of a composer who does not write lyrics, but writes music to someone else's pre-existing lyrics.

Today, I would like to talk about Rhythm.

Rhythm is the basic element of music and in many ways the most important element of music.
A simple example of how important rhythm is this:

If you do not read music, let me explain this with words: The example on the left is a major scale going downward. It's the "do-re-mi" scale as some say. The example on the right is the exact same pitches (tones if you will) but with a different rhythm – that is the only difference! The result is the opening melody of the Christmas carol "Joy to the World". There is a video featuring the voice of Morgan Freeman called "The Christmas Scale" that uses this same example. Here is the link to that:

In general it is rhythm that brings the most character to the music.

Rhythm can get complicated, but in most popular music, rhythm is in what we call 4/4, 3/4 or 6/8 meter (a simple explanation of meter is: beats in each measure). Rhythms may vary within the meter.

The above example is merely to point out something which is: Do not underestimate the power of rhythm to bring character to your music, especially in your melodies.

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