I'm considering this a lesson... a lesson in motivation, inspiration, and creativity.
So many times us songwriters will come with something we feel is extremely catchy or meaningful, but it's only five or six notes. We'd love to incorporate it into one of our songs but it doesn't fit. We can't hear an entire new song in our head that this would work with. We aren't sure what emotion it transmits to the listener.
Who cares? Let the short melody guide the arrangement! Let the melody choose the chords and let the chords resolve as you normally would. Let the chords designate the harmonizations. Everything comes out of the tiniest piece of inspiration. If that one, small piece of melody is as strong as you think, that's all you need to have a worldwide hit on your hands. Well, that and maybe some connections.
Let Tony Ann show you what I mean.
He's taken all of the extremely recognizable default ringtones we've all had to suffer throughout the past decade from every mobile phone company and arranged them into one super catchy song. They are great at first until you've heard them a million times. Then 10 to 20 years pass and you hear them again and immediately know them, because they were that powerful. That's the power of a great melody (and a lot of repetition).
Tony sat down at his piano and fleshed it out to show us how it's as easy to move forward as it is to give up! It probably helps being a master pianist and to really know your way around music theory, but accept no excuses. Tony didn't. Be like Tony. Check him out as he tickles the ivories better than probably anyone you've heard:
From Apple and Verizon to T-Mobile and Nokia... he even hits up Samsung and AT&T. What sucks now is you can upload any ringtone you want to your phone. It's not even MIDI any more. You can choose any song you want that's stored on your phone and even choose a different song for each caller so you know who's calling without looking. My point is, we'll never get a sequel to this video. Sometimes options end up doing the opposite of what they were meant to do.
But back to songwriting, there really are zero excuses. Giving up should never be an option. Inspiration is everywhere. They say the best inspiration are the stolen ideas that you hide the best. I noticed a section in there that sounded a lot like something Johannes Brahms would have played, but most people won't recognize it and they'll give Tony all the credit. That's part of it. You grab inspiration from where you can and move forward. And my man Tony Ann has shown us that you can arrange a song around nearly any melody, no matter how short or simple.
No more writer's block! No more whining! One tiny speck of a melody is all you need.