Writing Topline for Contemporary Pop Songs

MTEC-111 and proficiency in a DAW is strongly recommended
Electable by: 
Required of: 
Semesters Offered: 
Fall, Spring
Boston Campus
Courses may not be offered at the listed location(s) each semester. Consult my.berklee.edu for specific term availability.

This course will offer a foundation in writing topline for pop songs. Toplining is the practice of creating and recording the melody and lyric line for tracks that have already been recorded by track producers, or producers who specialize in creating rhythmic and harmonic structures. The practice has become the industry standard for pop, r&b, and dance songs; virtually all modern pop hits are written in teams by producers and topline writers. The course will focus on techniques for creating topline for tracks including: writing vocal hooks, developing melodic motives through judicious melodic rhythmic and note choice, defining sections through melodic contrast, modern pop forms, and vocal recording techniques like doubling, editing, tuning, processing, and applying effects. Through a series of projects, students learn how to use logic and record their voice as well as deliver a finished topline work, including dealing with the music industry, its players, its gatekeepers, and its many pitfalls.

Course chair: 
Bonnie Hayes