John Newman - Losing Sleep

Constructing the Bridge Section of Your Song

I’d be in favour of a name other than bridge to describe the optional song section that occurs after the second chorus. Maybe “section 3.” A bridge implies that its main job is to transition from one thing to another newer thing, and to make that a smooth connection. But a song’s bridge most often takes the […]

Gordon Lightfoot - The Last Time I Saw Her

Song Lyrics: To Rhyme or Not To Rhyme

There’s an automatic assumption by many that song lyrics must rhyme. In actuality they don’t. Whether to rhyme or not is often dictated by the genre. Country and pop lyrics are more likely to feature rhyming, while other genres (progressive rock, for example) may not make any attempt to rhyme. To Rhyme So let’s look […]

Guitar

Making Use of Musical Momentum

If you’re familiar with Maurice Ravel’s “Bolero”, you will know that it is comprised of a 32-bar long melody in two 16-bar parts which repeats, over and over again, with the only change being the orchestration of the melody. There is no other musical development. No change of key, no change of tempo, no competing […]

Song Form: Making a More Energetic Chorus

It’s not terribly surprising that most people can tell whether they’re hearing a chorus or a verse. That’s a good thing, because songs don’t come with signposts that say, “This is the verse…”; “This is the chorus.” What I find interesting is that even non-musicians can tell. Songs normally start with the verse, but with […]

Bruno Mars - Uptown Funk!

Songs Without a Focal Point Will Quickly Fail

If you’re a successful landscape artist or photographer, you know the vital importance of a focal point. That’s the feature that immediately draws the viewer’s eye and establishes the artwork’s main subject. Without a focal point, you’ve got a painting or photo that looks fine but keeps the viewer endlessly searching for purpose. Like staring at […]

U2

What a Good Melodic Shape Does For a Song

In music, a melody that exhibits a kind of “arch shape” is a natural one that really works. Sometimes that arch shape — where the melody starts low in pitch, rises in the middle, and then descends again, is really clear and obvious, like the melody for Johnny Cash’s “I Walk the Line”: And sometimes […]