Songwriting - Learn how to write a catchy song
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Songwriting - Learn how to write a catchy song

Learn all the techniques, methods and theory behind the greatest songs ever produced, along with hands-on examples!
4.5 (22 ratings)
Instead of using a simple lifetime average, Udemy calculates a course's star rating by considering a number of different factors such as the number of ratings, the age of ratings, and the likelihood of fraudulent ratings.
626 students enrolled
Last updated 6/2015
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  • 3 hours on-demand video
  • 72 Articles
  • Full lifetime access
  • Access on mobile and TV
  • Certificate of Completion
What Will I Learn?
  • write a catchy song
  • analyze and understand why a song sounds good
View Curriculum
  • You should have software on your computer to download and play the audio resources in the resources tab (e.g. Audacity, iTunes etc.)

This course is all about writing a catchy song. After diving through the most important basics, such as beat, notes and scales we will focus on chords. We'll analyze and understand why to choose a chord over another in order to create a certain atmosphere. After that you'll be able to create and release tension in your song, which is very important for successful songwriting

A great deal of the course is about writing a great melody and how to use motives, sequences and transformations to improve your songwriting skills. We'l teach you how to avoid to write boring melodies and give you lots of techniques to spice them up. After all, you want to entertain your audience, don't you?

We'll cover the topics of lyrics and give you advice how to approach songwriting in case you have to fit the melody to the lyrics or vice versa.

We tried to create a course that can be really helpful to you, so there are exercises after each section.

We've created a course that is useful for any music genre. All the example audio files can be downloaded, so that you can also practice at home.

Students should be able to finish this course within 14 days if they are very commited, or 30 days if they are taking this course part time.

The course is linear, so it is best advice to watch it from beginning to end. It is also modular though, so it is possible to rewatch a certain topic if you want to refresh your memory or feel you missed something.

If you want to know why certain chords work, why certain melodies sound good and what you can do to turn any song into a catch great song, then this course is for you.

Who is the target audience?
  • This course is for everyone who has little to no knowledge about music theory, but would like to learn how to write a professional song. It is also suited for more advances musicians who want to refreshen their musical theory knowledge and learn some useful tips, used by the most sucessful music producers of Western Music.
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Curriculum For This Course
Expand All 132 Lectures Collapse All 132 Lectures 04:55:21
If you like music, you can already write a song
14 Lectures 32:34

This is an introduction to songwriting. After this lecture you will have a good understanding that writing a good song does not depend only on talent, luck or money, but you will discover that there are certain simple rules that are used to make any song great.

Preview 07:25

Here I'll introduce the methods I use in this course. After this lecture you will get to know some of the tools and methods that you can use to successfully write a great song.

Preview 06:25

This lecture shows you the structure of the course.

The road ahead

Here you will find some hands-on examples that will allow you to strenghten the knowledge from the previous lecture.

Start me up

After this you'll know what the definition of a song actually is.

What is a song?

Learn what sound actually is.

What is sound?

Here you will learn some definitions that will not only help you to get the most out of this course, but will also help a great deal when talking with professional musicians.

Some useful definitions

Here you will learn which instruments are the best for songwriting

What instruments should you pick, if any?

Learn why the bass is really important.

It's all about the bass

Learn how the rhythm guitar holds a harmonic function in a song.

Gimme some rhythm

Learn, how the synthesizer has often taken over the function of the rhythm guitar in modern music.

I like those keyboards

Learn how a typical song is structured.

The structure of a song

Analyzing a song is something every good songwriter should be able to do

Exercise 1.1 - Analyzing your songs

Let's bring the previous exercise to a new level

Exercise 1.2 - Analyzing your songs Part II

Let's see what you've learned so far!
4 questions
The beat goes on (and on)
13 Lectures 23:49

Beat is hard-wired into human beings. Here you will learn more about it.

How beat influences our life

Learn how beat changes with the different music genres.

Beat in different music genres

Here we'll dig deeper into different beats.

Let's learn all about that beat

Learn about the important time signature concept.

Time signature

Syncopation is great to add variety to your song. Learn more about it here.

Syncopation. Fancy name, easy concept.

Here we'll look at the typical characteristics of Funk.

Let's get funky!

Here we'll look at the typical characteristics of Raggae.

Let's chill with reggae

Here we'll look at the typical characteristics of Swing.

It don't mean a thing if you ain't got the swing!

Learn about alternative time signatures that you can use in your songs.

Other time signatures (at least as important!)

Here you'll learn which speed you'll want to use for your song.


The tempo doesn't need to be fixed. Here you'll learn why.

BPM (aka Beats per minute)

Let's compose some beats!

Exercise 2.1 - Composing beats

You can even use a beat to compose a melody. Let's try it!

Exercise 2.2 - Using a beat to compose a melody

Let's see how much beat you got!
4 questions
Notes and Scales
13 Lectures 28:20

Just checking if you did pay attention so far ;)

A brief recap of what we've learned so far

Octaves are great for songwriting. Learn more here.


No need to know all pitch collections. Learn, which are important to us.

The pitch collections that matter to us

The most important definitions you'll definitely want to know.

Useful definitions (I'll keep it short, promised!)

This is the basis of why certain pitches blend in well and others don't. Turns out that Pythagoras found out for us, so we'll have a look at his results here.

Pythagoras & string theory (for Dummies)

We'll make the jump from perfect fifths to a full scale. It's good to understand this concept for solid songwriting.

Magic: Transforming perfect fifths to a full scale

You really want to know everything about scales!

Up and down the scales

Ever heard of the terms "major" or "minor"? Learn more about it here.


A brief intro to the fantastic blue note.

The blue note

The tritone is very dissonant. Perfect to create tension. Good to have it around when you write songs.


Let's write a melody!

Exercise 3.1 - Writing melodies

Let's write a melody in minor!

Exercise 3.2 - Writing a melody in minor

Let's write a melody in phrygian mode!

Exercise 3.3 - Writing a melody in phrygian mode

Time to test your skills!
3 questions
Use Many Mighty Major Chords to build up tension!
9 Lectures 36:49

This is going to be all about harmony!


Remember, it's all about creating and releasing tension. Learn how to achieve that here!

Intervals - A perfect recipe to create and release tension

Advances tension building techniques.

Chords - Bring your tension building skills to a new level

Triads are the most important chords. Learn more about them here.

Triads - The King of Chords

More tension building tools for you!

Diminished Triads - The perfect ingredient for tension

And even more tension building tools!

Augmented Triads - Another awesome ingredient to build up tension!

Now that you learned all about chords the question is: when do you know which one to use for your song? Find out here.

Which chords should you use for your song?

Let's try to build some tension with a chord progression.

Exercise 4.1 - Building tension with a chord progression

Can you transpose a chord progression? Let's try!

Exercise 4.2 - Transposing a chord progression

Test your tension building skills!
3 questions
Make it sound sad with Minor Chords!
14 Lectures 26:50

This is all about the minor scale!


Learn all about the I Chord.

The I chord

Learn all about the II Chord.

The II chord

Learn all about the III Chord.

The III chord

Learn all about the IV Chord.

The IV chord

Learn all about the V Chord.

The V chord

Learn all about the VI Chord.

The VI chord

Learn all about the VII Chord.

The VII chord

Make a scale less boring with a harmonic minor.

Harmonic minor

Learn, how Mozart used the melodic minor to avoid that and interval sounded unnatural. You can use it too!

Melodic minor

More great ways to create and resolve tension.

Tonic and Dominant chords

Let's write a chord progression.

Exercise 5.1 - Writing a chord progression in a natural minor scale

Let's write another chord progression.

Exercise 5.2 - Writing a chord progression in melodic minor mode

See if you can transpose this chord progression.

Exercise 5.3 - Transposing a chord progression to a different key

Time to test your songwriting skills!
3 questions
Chord Inversions (great to build a solid bass line!)
12 Lectures 24:37

Some more useful chord types and then we'll move on to the melody!


Inversions are great for a bass line in your song!


These chords create so much tension, we love them!

7th Chords

Let's put that 7th chord into action.

Let's have fun with the 7th Chord

Chords galore!

Let's look at some other useful chords!

Make it sound a bit more spacious with suspended second chords.

Suspended second chords

Simple, effective. Power Chords.

Power to the Power Chords!

Let's take a look how all this applies to the examples included here.

Some real-life examples

Yes, pro's do this and so should you.

Pro-Trick: Revearsing major and minor

Let's try to write a more advanced chord progression.

Exercise 6.1 - Writing a chord progression with b7, b6 and b3

Writing more advanced chord progressions.

Exercise 6.2 - Writing a chord progression, with suspended fourth

Let's use the seventh chord to write a song.

Exercise 6.3 - Songwriting with major seventh chords

Let's see what you've learned today!
3 questions
Harmonic Progressions (using chords the proper way)
16 Lectures 42:13

Let's take those chords you learned about before and use them the right way.


Let's see some examples.

The possibilities are endless!

We created a lot of tension so far. Cadences are great to create a sense of rest and return.


Have a look at these examples.


Let's get you more familiar with the syntax of harmony.

Chord progressions

Examples, examples, examples!

More examples

You can learn a lot from blues, let's have a quick look at it.

The Blues

Learn all about the relative key.

Relative key

More examples!

Even more examples!

Let's look at how this applies to a song I wrote.

A real-world example

From major to minor.

Minor chord progressions

And we have more examples (yay)!


Use chord variations to mix things up.

Chord variations

Let's write a verse with an open cadence.

Exercise 7.1 - Writing a verse with an open cadence

Let's write a rock song.

Exercise 7.2 - Writing a chord progression for a rock song

Let's use a progression to write a pop song.

Exercise 7.3 - Writing a song using the classic pop progression 1 5 6 4

A question a day keeps the bad song away!
3 questions
14 Lectures 22:32

This is the most important aspect of your song - the melody. Learn all about it here.


It's always good to have some examples around.


Here I'll teach you the most important concepts and musical vocabulary you should know before we dive into the melody.

The tools every songwriter should have in his toolbox

You can choose from 4 ways to start writing your song. Here you'll learn which they are.

Four ways to start to write your song

Learn what a melody actually is.

What is a melody?

Learn all about motives.


Learn all about repetition.


Learn all about sequences.


Learn all about transformation.


Here we'll have a look at different motives.

Motive examples

Here you'll learn how to apply motives to write a pop song.

How to use a motive to write a pop song

Compose a motive yourself!

Exercise 8.1 - Composing a simple motive

Repeat and sequence your motive!

Exercise 8.2 - Repeating and sequencing your motive

How it's time to set your melody to actual chords!

Exercise 8.3 - Setting your melody to chords

Let's test your memory!
3 questions
Melody II
12 Lectures 17:31

Let's look at a different way to compose a melody.


Learn how to write a verse.

Writing a verse

Learn how to improve your song.

Make the song sound better

Learn how to blend the melody with the chords.

Blending in the melody with the chords

Some tricks to make your song more interesting.

Spicing up that song

Here you'll learn how to avoid writing a boring song.

How to avoid making it sound boring

Even more tricks to improve your song!

More tricks to spice up that song

Learn how to use motives properly.

Applying the motives

Here you'll see how to use the techniques before for a song of mine.

It's alive!

Learn how to write a chorus.

Writing the chorus

Here you'll write a melody on top of your chord progression.

Exercise 9.1 - Write a melody on top of your chord progression

Let's practice more advanced songwriting.

Exercise 9.2 - More advanced songwriting

Show me what you got!
2 questions
12 Lectures 29:07

An overview about writing lyrics.


Learn more about the eternal fight between who prefers lyrics over music. Which side are you on?

What's more important to a great song? Music or lyrics?

Some advice on getting your inspiration.

Finding inspiration

How to write a song lyrics first.

Writing lyrics without music

How to write a song music first.

Writing lyrics with music

Getting rhymes and flow into your lyrics.

Rhymes and flow

Here you'll learn some interesting facts.

Interesting facts about lyrics

Don't let them steal your song. Learn more about it here.

Legal aspects

Practice how to adapt lyrics to music.

Exercise 10.1 - Adapting lyrics to music

Practice how to adapt lyrics to music Part II.

Exercise 10.2 - Adapting lyrics to music Part II

Let's compose a new melody.

Exercise 10.3 - Composing a new melody

Let's try to transform your lyrics into a rap version.

Exercise 10.4 - Transforming lyrics into a rap version

Are you the next Bob Dylan?
3 questions
1 More Section
About the Instructor
Salvatore Benintende
4.5 Average rating
22 Reviews
626 Students
1 Course

I am a musician, multimedia producer and Bachelor of Arts in Media Informatics. Currently I live in Rome, where I organize the only official international Open Mic of the city. I am also the co-founder of Vandi Design, an Italian-Dutch production company.

Starting at a young age, I stepped into the world of music when I learned to play the keyboard at three years in a music school in Germany. This was followed shortly after with another 8 years of studying how to play the organ. During this time, still a young kid, I got my first vocal lessons after which I became one of the main singers of a local choir, with final appearance on TV (ZDF Fernsehgarten).

After several cover bands in Germany (and learning how to play guitar in the meantime) I eventually moved to Rome, Italy, where I found some very talented international musicians. After recording our first album, a low-cost self-made production, we instantly got incredible positive feedback from several important music magazines in Italy (and some even abroad). We took the experience and recorded our first high-quality recording, called Into the Light, which instantly got us into the most important radio stations in Rome, including interviews at Radio Rock and Radio Popolare Roma, which also instantly invited us to play at their festival (Dinamo Fest 07/2011).

In the meantime the Open Mic Nights I'm organizing grew bigger, with hundreds of musicians that play their original music every year. Some of them struggled with their songs, so I started giving them 1:1 sessions, teaching them how to improve their songs and giving them useful tools for songwriting. In 2005 I found out about Udemy and now I'm making these methods available for everybody right on this great platform.

I'm also organizing live music events at the first Irish Pub in Italy (The Fiddler's Elbow) , and I directed music videos for "The Swing Pistols" and "Frühbel" - Leave (No. 1 Hit in the L.A. Dance Charts March 15 - 31 2007)"