you play what you like and you dont care about what people think about your riff. if you like, it should fit perfectly.... however if you mean you want to be like the Jonas Brothers.... you should see a physician and ask him about a certain operation
If you think there's one technique to do it, you don't understand the concept of music. There is no one way.


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Quote by stradivari310
If you think there's one technique to do it, you don't understand the concept of music. There is no one way.

yeah man, you just gotta do it. if it works, it works. if it sucks, try again..
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here are your options:

start learning about music theory, which WILL tell you about cadences, which notes to play for which sounds, which chords to use in a standard progression, how to construct chords and scales, and most importantly, it will teach you to be able to listen to a catchy song and actually know what they are playing to make it so catchy. Other than that, you also have to spend a ton of time whacking away at the guitar so you get used to what you need to do to get the sounds you want.

your other option is to ignore music theory and spend your time looking for some elusive tab or some non-existent quick-fix tip that will have you writing hit songs overnight. you can also hope that you can stumble upon a good tune simply by trial and error. there's nothing "wrong" about this approach, but it will take forever and you won't truly understand what/why you are playing, which seems to be what you wanted in your initial post.

it's up to you.

click the links in my sig if you wanna start learning theory
Last edited by frigginjerk at Dec 13, 2008,
Quote by hellforgother
i know theres no one way

but surely there are things that you can do

but what do you want to hear?

i can tell you that a dominant 7th chord will sound like it "needs" to resolve to your root chord, and that can be a big part of catchiness.

i can tell you that a i-iv-v7-i progression will sound somewhat musically "complete" and you can solo over that kind of thing.

but there's not any specific note, chord, sequence of notes, sequence of chords, etc etc etc that guarantees something will sound catchy. If something sounds catchy, it's a combination of a proper composition and someone playing their guitar in a fun and interesting way.
Quote by hellforgother
^ stuff like

Hotel California
Another Brick In The Wall
Sultans Of Swing
Bat Out Of Hell
Livin On A Prayer

well, dont expect to start writting music like this..

those are all songs written by experienced musicians, you definantly aren't going to be writing anything that amazing write away lol, slow down and lower your expectations. Writing music takes practice, like anything else. The first songs I wrote were simple powerchords. How can you expect to write a masterpiece progressive song like another brick in the wall when you haven't even learned to write easy 3 chord songs?

I suggest start learning your music theory, i believe you'll find the concepts you're looking for once you start understanding the basics of music theory.

Theres articles all over this website, and a pretty good sticky on the previous page.
Last edited by Peaceful Rocker at Dec 13, 2008,
I think everybody here has missed two fundamental key points.

All these songs, the BAND, working together, makes them sound fantastic.
It's the collaboration of the musicians together that makes it what it is.
Yes, music theory is a definatley plus if you understand it, but it will teach you the standard way of doing things, it's up to you to turn that on it's head and try and make something memorable.

Most important of all however, above music theory, is melody. If it's got an excellent, hummable, memorable melody, that's original, then you are onto a winner.
i think the best way to write music (for me at least) is whatever sounds best. That's not saying dont learn theory cuz theory will help, but im saying dont just write something just because music theory tells you (more implies..) that you have to playing certain things.

ultimately, if your happy with what you wrote, whether it follows theory or not, then it doesnt matter what other people think
rhythm and melody, combined in the right way, make something catchy. it's definitely not something teachable though. but the thing that has helped me the most is listening to songs that I think are catchy and figuring out the notes in solfege.

what I've noticed, and what doesn't surprise me, is that a lot of the catchiest ones revolve around the the I chord triad (do, mi, so, and also ti). these are the most important notes in a key, and when you focus on them, it's a stronger basis for something catchy. also, the 3 2 1 (mi, so, do) melodic cadence is very prominent in a LOT of catchy songs. it's amazing that so many songs can use those 3 notes and make something entirely original and very catchy. basically, catchy songwriters are just masters of using tension-release to resolve to the tonic of the key.

just something to think about that has done a lot for me the more I've noticed it. of course, there are no definite rules to what makes things catchy, but that might help a little bit. best advice by far is to just write and write and keep writing!
Keep it simple. Don't overanalyze it. If it feels good do it. Don't worry about secondary dominants resolving in second inversion, or the difference between a melodic minor and a harmonic minor. Pick a simple framework, and stay in it. I'm not saying theory is useless. It is a tool that can help you work efficiently and effectively within a simple framework. Just don't show off. You'll lose your audience.

Focus on the lyric and the melody. Everything else can come later. Focus on the lyric and the melody. The rest is just details. Focus on the lyric and the melody. Got it? lol

The melody should be easily singable... enough so that you can almost predict where it is going to go and how it will resolve. (but won't be something that you've taken from somewhere else!) The lyrics should connect the average listener to an emotion or a circumstance that they can relate to. This explains the ubiquitousness of love songs.

One or two people write the song. You don't need the band for that. Jim Steinmann is a great example, seeing as you mentioned Meat Loaf in your list.

Keep the flow, the rhyme, the imagery, the story, etc. equally as simple as the tune. But it is important that it is something that you believe in and can feel. If you can't, how can the average person be expected to?

Beyond that.... practice, practice, practice. Great pop tunes don't grow on trees. It is a craft that needs to be perfected, and the only way to do that is by doing it a lot.

Listen a lot. Try to figure out what makes a song like Livin on a Prayer so successful. Also listen and observe people a lot. Go to a food court or a cafe and have a coffee, pretending to read the paper, and listen to people around you and watch them. Watch and listen to their stories. Lots of ideas can come to light.

Could I get some more talent in the monitors, please?

I know it sounds crazy, but try to learn to inhale your voice. www.thebelcantotechnique.com

Chris is the king of relating music things to other objects in real life.
contray to what a lot have said there is an easy way to write catchy simple songs. basic rule: use chords 1, 4, 5 and 7 if you know where to put it. 1,4,5 being the chords built on their respective degree in relation to the scale you choose. those chords will get you a simple structure that works. then you fill it in. (also if you take elements of the 12 bar blues form, that provides a good structure.)
i recommend the pentatonic scales for an effective sound. they are easy to work with and you can adapt them and change them easily. roll around the 5 forms a bit always makes things fun.
with playing chords, i'd say just break them up. thats all a lot of stuff is. and really all you need for rock are power chords. and the use of appropriate chromatic or diatonic runs.
in solo's just bend and hammer, pull, slide. all easy.
you say u'v done theory so you know about cadences. the majority of songs just resolve to the tonic so do that if u want an easy way out.
of course this is just a skeleton outline of what you can do. certainly i put more in than this. it is just about what sounds good and what u like.
have fun!
If it's a very HeAvY Metal song, or just metal, i LOVE using THe Em, but you should use the level of distortion that you want(i reccomend distortion)
Quote by hellforgother
^ I've got my RCM Grade 6 in Music Theory, I just thought there was probarbly something in pretty much every catchy classic rock song.

You could always, you know, pick a bunch of them and analyse them to pinpoint what thing(s) about them make them catchy.

I mean, I know it's more work than asking a bunch of strangers to just tell you, but crazier ideas have worked.
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“It’s not genius. It’s just that if you want something good to come out of something, you have to put in a lot of effort. That involves a lot of hard work, and a lot of blood, sweat and tears sometimes.”