I’ll Pay You $5,000 to Write a Song — But It Has to Use These 7 Notes

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photo: JimiKimKorea (CC0)

Serj Tankian from System of a Down is issuing a challenge to the entire songwriting community.  And $5,000 to the writer who pulls it off.

“I give you 7 notes.  You give me your best.”

That’s the simple challenge from Serj Tankian.  He’s the lead singer of System of a Down, one of the most successful bands of the early 2000s.

System of a Down’s biggest hits include ‘Toxicity,’ ‘Chop Suey,’ and ‘B.Y.O.B.,’ with record sales north of 40 million.  Their songs are instantly recognizable to millions of people, even if they seem a little dated these days.  So it’s safe to say Tankian knows a bit about writing hits.

But Tankian believes that the songwriting process is deeply collaborative.  “A lot of people ask me, ‘where does music come from, where do songs come from?’,” Tankian relayed.  “I always firmly believe that they come from collective consciousness.”

“They don’t necessarily reside within an artist.”

Introducing the ‘7 Note Challenge’

Accordingly, the ‘7 note challenge’ is designed to add more brains.  But here’s the catch: the song doesn’t just have to include Tankian’s 7 notes.  It must begin with them. “Every song begins with an idea, a concept, or a sound,” Tankian stated.

Which 7 notes?  These 7 notes…

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Tankian stressed that the song can be any genre.  Rock, classical, jazz, bossa nova, reggaeton, polka… whatever.  And the rhythm, tempo, and instrumentation can be anything, as long as it all starts with the above 7 notes.

Other restrictions?  The song can only be 3 minutes in length.  And it must be submitted by December 15th.

“It can’t be more than 3 minutes,” Tankian reiterated.  “The rest is up to you.”

The challenge is being supported by Creative Armenia.  For more details, and to enter, check out serjtankianchallenge.com.

And, here’s a quick video describing the contest.

Good luck!


10 Responses

  1. Scamhunter

    You have to pay $5 to join this “contest”. Anything that makes you pay to join is a scam. Caveat Emptor.

    • Anonymous

      2 notes with the same pitch repeated. So 7. My theory may be a bit rusty though.

  2. Transhumanity

    What key is this in? Treble? Bass? Tenor? There is no clef indication!

    • Anonymous

      It’s clearly Colonel Sanders In A Top Hat clef. Or Treble. I’d go with Treble. If it were Bass, the 4th and 5th notes wouldn’t make much since, given that they’re the same note. As for key, I’d say whatever you want. Hell, go atonal. Or if you want to play it safe, either C or G should do it.

  3. Russian bear pianist

    5000$ prize = 5$*1000 simps)))). 1000 simps+1 simps and more…. is Profit! Ohhh! What a nice 7 notes!!

  4. Russian bear pianist

    But offered scale (6 notes) isn’t bad)))). Sound is rather asian.

  5. Ron

    So the dude moved up from making bad nu-metal music to ripping off aspiring musicians at $5/each for his non-profit.

    Where’s the 990 if you’re a 501(c)(3) non-profit Creative Armenia? It’s a public document and I can’t find it.