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Quick Songwriting Tips: Use Unexpected Color Notes in Your Melodies | Tip 1/8 |

 In Features, Songwriting

The most important quality in songwriting is melody. If you want your melody to stand out, you shouldn’t be afraid to try notes other than the most common notes used in any key (the root or the 5th of the scale). Berklee Online instructor Shane Adams demonstrates what he refers to as the “color” notes, which are notes that stand out to the listener because they provide a certain degree of dissonance. These color notes are generally the 2nd, 3rd, and 6th notes of the scale. Starting on the 2nd of the scale makes any melody more interesting and adds dissonance. Try this out and see what it does for your melody, and for your song.

About Shane Adams: Shane Adams is a twice GRAMMY nominated music educator, and award-winning producer, and songwriter. Shane is president of Artist Accelerator and is a founding instructor for Berklee Online, where he has taught lyric writing and songwriting since 2003. He teaches several courses at Berklee Online, including Music Production, Songwriting, Orchestration, Music Theory, Harmony, Ear Training, and Arranging.

Shane is also a featured songwriter and instructor for the Taylor Swift Education Center at the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum where he received their TOP TEN HITMAKER award for 2014.


Berklee Online is the online extension school of Berklee College of Music, delivering access to Berklee’s acclaimed curriculum from anywhere in the world. Berklee Online's award-winning online courses, multi-course certificate programs, and Bachelor of Professional Studies degree are accredited and taught by the college's world-renowned faculty, providing lifelong learning opportunities to people interested in music and working in the music industry.
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