Pet Shop Boys

Making Your Songs More Energetic

In my most recent blog post, I wrote about forward motion, also called momentum, and how tension and release is a vital way for increasing that momentum within a song.

But what if the tension and release aspect of your song is working just fine, but you want the whole thing to sound a bit more energetic? What are the ways that audiences pick up a stronger sense of energy in music?

Hooks & RiffsHooks and Riffs: How They Grab Attention, Make Songs Memorable, and Build Your Fan Base” shows you how a good hook can make the difference between songwriting success and failure. With great examples from pop music history.

The typical go-to for increasing musical energy is, quite naturally, to play it louder. And in some genres, loudness is a key component of energy (metal, heavy rock, etc.) But in many genres, there’s a limit to just how loud everything can get before it sounds… well, loud all the time. And constant loudness has a way of dulling the senses of the people listening.

So you need to consider other ways of energizing your songs and putting more of an edge on them. Some ideas to consider:

  1. Raise the key. If you’ve chosen, let’s say, G major for your song, it’s probably because your voice, and what it’s required to sing, fits nicely in that key. But you may find that your song gets an all-important boost if you raise it a tone, to A major. It doesn’t sound like that small change would make much of a difference, but it often does. And unless your voice is really being taxed in G major, you should be able to handle the new key.
  2. Raise the instrumental pitch choices. By having your guitars and keyboards choosing higher voicings for their chords, you increase the perceived musical energy.
  3. Increase the tempo. One great example of this is to listen to Willie Nelson’s version of “Always On My Mind“, and then compare the energy you perceive from the Pet Shop Boys’ uptempo version.
  4. Increase the rhythmic involvement of the instruments. Generally speaking, the more active the instruments are, the more intensity we feel from the music.

One other thing to consider is the tension-release aspect I wrote about in the previous blog article, in this particular way: If you want a chorus to sound more energetic, you might look for ways to have the verse sound less intense. So that means that sometimes making one section sound powerful is to make another section sound calmer.

Gary EwerWritten by Gary Ewer. Follow Gary on Twitter.

Chord Progression Formulas“Chord Progression Formulas” show you how to create dozens of chord progressions in mere moments. With lots of sample progressions you can use right away. It’s part of “The Essential Secrets of Songwriting” eBook Bundle package.

Posted in songwriting and tagged , , , , , , , , , .

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.