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® Benjamín Juárez

Derek Sivers

from the book “Hell Yeah or No”:

Singing the counter-melody

2016-04-21 My advice and opinions may sound strange on their own.

Do you know what musical counterpoint is?

Underneath the main melody, you have a counter-melody that goes against it, and together they make harmony.

This is different than just harmonizing, where someone sings along with the melody at an interval. This is a separate melody that could stand on its own, but is really there to complement the main melody.

Well, if my advice and opinions sound strange, it’s because I’m just the counter-melody.

I know I’m not the only voice you hear. There’s another message I know you are hearing, because it’s a common message we all hear these days. So let’s call that the melody.

I may love that melody too, but I don’t want to just duplicate it. So I try to think of a good counter-melody.

I do it to compensate (or over-compensate) for something I think is missing in the common message.

My public writing is a counterpoint meant to complement the popular point.

For example:

Now if you ask me if I think the stuff I say is the only way to go, of course not! I’m just the counter-melody.

My best advice is to listen to the combination. Eventually you’ll find yourself singing along with the melody you like best. Or making up your own.

“A Man Feeding Swans in the Snow” photo © Marcin Ryczek.

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