Derek Sivers
from the book “Hell Yeah or No”:

Singing the counter-melody


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 from harmonizing, where someone sings along with the melody at an interval. The counter-melody is a separate melody that could stand on its own, but is mainly 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 a common message we all hear these days. 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 for something I think is missing in the common message. My public writing is a counterpoint meant to complement the popular point.

Of course I don’t think the stuff I say is the only way to go. I’m just the counter-melody.

Really I hope you 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.