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Friday, April 30, 2004

Push It Real Good


By changing the type of rhythm or melody you've got in your song
from one section to the next you can create a sense of pulling
and pushing back and forth, which makes the listener more
involved in your song.

You know that feeling when a song builds up and you feel like
you almost have to help it get to the chorus?

An extreme example of changing tack from one rhythm to the other is Aerosmith's 'Jaded'. It has a complicated verse rhythmically which, apart from the nursery ryhme style melody sung over the top of it, is very angular and 'not groovy' - it's certainly not foot tapping. When the chorus is about to come in the whole track just stops - and then crashes into the chorus which is straight forward rock.

It's almost a relief when the chorus comes in. After all the complication of the verse, the chorus gives you the release you so wanted. And then, no sooner has the chorus ended, we're back into the complicated rhythm again.

This switching between the unusual and the commonplace can be found in many songs. When I've got a verse I'm happy with but the chorus just really doesn't want to come, a bit of lateral thinking in this way can give me the kick I'm looking for. If I have a simple verse, I try to work on a more complicated chorus which could almost sound as if it were from a different song. This can also make for interesting bridges (or 'rises' or whatever you want to call the bit between the verse and the chorus).

When you have a verse and a chorus that are musically very different, trying to write the section that links them both together can be very rewarding, and can turn into the best part of the song quite often. If the listener is thinking 'where is this going' then you have them under your control.

Of course, in the Aerosmith track there's no bridge/rise - they go straight into the chorus. And because you may be thinking there's a bridge coming, it tricks you and you get your release sooner than expected.

This isn't exactly ground-breaking rule-breaking stuff, but worth remembering. Don't be scared of sticking a chorus from one song idea onto the end of a verse from another.

Tina Turner's 'What's Love Got To Do With It?' was created in just this way. It goes from a very washy ballad form in the verse to a kind of reggae/calypso feel in the chorus. More subtle than the Aerosmith track, but effective. This was two songs and they were quite literally stuck together.

11:10 AM in Song Structure | Permalink


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great site

Posted by: esther | Feb 25, 2005 4:14:41 PM