Thursday, September 15, 2011

Song Structure

If you have an understanding of the key elements of a song structure, you can use them to create a song.
Creating a song structure can be as easy or as complicated as you like. For the purposes of this course, the idea is to get you to learn basic composition skills, so we’ll keep it pretty straightforward.
The good news is, that MOST songs in popular genres normally only utilise between 3 and 6 different sections or parts. This makes your job a lot easier as you won’t have to try and create 10 different sections for each song you write, and it can be a relatively quick process. I think the quickest I ever wrote a song was in about 4 minutes (not the lyrics).
So let’s look at the different elements of a song structure, and then we’ll take a look at three well know songs, break them down, and examine them as well.
Intro : This is quite often the same chords/dynamics as the verse or chorus, mainly the verse. (“When You Were Young” by the Killers is an example of the chorus being used as an intro).
Verse : Normally a pretty straightforward structure, containing four to 8 chords.
Chorus : Again, normally pretty straight forward, and consisting of four to eight chords. There is normally a change in the dynamics of a chorus to make it stand out. These include volume, intensity, catchyness (is that a real word?), and timbre.
Bridge : This is often literally a bridge-between the verse and the chorus, or the chorus and the verse. This is especially useful when you have a key change from one to the other, or the transition from verse to chorus or vice versa isn’t particularly smooth.
Middle 8: This section is used to break up the song so it isn’t just a sequence of Verse-Chorus-Verse-Chorus. Can change the whole feel of the song, and if used properly can make or break it. Again, the dynamics are normally different to add variety.
Outro : Finally, like the intro, this can often simply be a repeat of the verse or chorus chords/structure, but can also be totally different. Remember, there are no rules.

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