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Creating a Memorable Theme

By Austin Jimmy Murphy - 28-May-2023


Lately, I've been falling deeper and deeper into this soft, melodic, theme-oriented songwriting state of mind. To me, the theme is everything. This is something I have been concentrating on for the last five years. There is NOTHING more important than developing a memorable opening theme for every song you write. Many, many songs from songwriters that go into the studio do not have a theme - simple musical notes that are immediately recognizable to the listener. This is true even with seasoned professionals. There is usually a guitar strumming along like so many other guitar-strumming songs and finally the vocals come in. Yes, the words are important, but the theme is even more important. If you listen to any song on the radio, they open up with an unforgettable theme. (If you listen to any of my newest CDs released over the last five years, every song opens up with theme music.) To be clear, I have never had a hit song or had anyone else perform any of my music so I must be missing something, right? I am not the most aggressive songwriter out there. That's my foible. So, I may not be the best preacher to be preaching to any of you. But that is my encouragement piece for the month. BEFORE YOU GO INTO THE STUDIO AGAIN, CREATE A THEME FOR EVERY SONG! Have the song open with that theme and have it reoccur throughout the song even if it is hidden way in the background subliminally, and then wrap up the song with your theme.

For an example of how I apply theme, listen to my (Pre-release) instrumental song: "Lakehurst Drive".


Other great examples of theme can be heard in Jimmy's latest Album release: 'Diddle'

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Good points. Theme framework is what sets the pace and narrative of a given song. One sure-fire way to lay down the theme in a song is through the use of hooks. Grabs the listener who then gets introduced to that framework.

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