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Thread: Song Structuring..

  1. #1
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    Song Structuring..

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    I thought it would be good to have a thread where everyone could discuss how they structure their songs..I know there is several discussions on this already, but they are interweaved throughout other threads titled for other queries and easily lost.

    Hopefully, this will help keep much of it concentrated in one thread for a quick reference on structuring ideas and helps..dos and donts.



    I will, eventually gather up relevant posts already existing on this subject and merge them in this thread.

    Feel free to discuss here...

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    All my songs follow different structures. I really have no set structure at all that I use. Some songs don't have bridges, or even choruses. Some songs don't have guitar solos, some songs have guitar solo after the first verse, at the very end.....the possibilities are endless.
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    This is one thing that really gets me. The concept seems so simple, decide on a certain structure and follow it, but it never ends up happening. Every time I sit down to write lyrics I usually try to follow a verse chorus verse blah blah kind of thing but it never seems to work out. And then when I finally have something I'm satisfied with people say it lacks structure and diversity. But I guess that has to do more with the musical side of things, since I'm not that great at playing guitar. Just writing this annoys me - writing or attempting to write songs for me is such a love hate relationship. heh

  6. #4
    dintymoore Guest
    Although there's patterns for sure, every song is different. Every drum track is unique.

    You need to let the song write itself. The main thing is to not get boring 'cause that's the #1 problem in music, that and not getting paid enough, and not getting to eat the buffet food, and did I mention that even after validation we need to pay $5 to get out of the #%#^@!!! parking lot?

    The drum track should outline the form of the tune. The only way I know to learn it is to listen to tons of songs by great songwriters and develop a taste, and most people here have probably done that without trying.

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    Quote Originally Posted by dintymoore View Post
    Although there's patterns for sure, every song is different. Every drum track is unique.

    You need to let the song write itself. The main thing is to not get boring 'cause that's the #1 problem in music, that and not getting paid enough, and not getting to eat the buffet food, and did I mention that even after validation we need to pay $5 to get out of the #%#^@!!! parking lot?

    The drum track should outline the form of the tune. The only way I know to learn it is to listen to tons of songs by great songwriters and develop a taste, and most people here have probably done that without trying.
    I very much understand what you're saying and, I am inclined to agree however, I can think of a few bands and some of their songs which are quite stagnant. Two bands in particular actually, and they became some of the most highly revered, influential and respected musicians within said genre.

    I actually have an interview on a re-release of one of the band's albums, with the one of the two musicians of the band (who is best known for his drums) and he states, that the first three or four songs on that album that the drums are all identical and to him drumming isn't important, it's just supposed to be there. Not some thing I personally agree with but, I get the point.

    I typically use the same sort of format for all my song structures and, I often question it as even I think 95% of my own songs are boring lol.

    Example:
    Intro
    Verse
    Chorus
    Verse
    Chorus
    Bridge/Interlude/solo (depends on the song)
    Verse
    Chorus
    Verse
    Outro

    Some thing to that extent give or take, seems boring though.

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    I tend to start with the most obvious options for form, ie v/c/v/c/br/inst/v/c or whatever and then if that works fine if it doesn't I will experiment with the form. I think like all music a song thrives on tension and release so its about how the form can serve that.
    I wrote and recorded one song on my first album that I thought had a great lyric , but a monotonous structure, there was no bridge. I took the fourth verse ,changed the harmonic structure, and suddenly as a bridge it made the whole song way better.
    I also think there are great songs that are just verse/chorus repeated all the way through. "get behind the mule' by tom waits is a great example. The song doesnt seem monotonous at all, thanks to the lyric.

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    I like a bridge (or Middle 8) if Ive committed to a Verse/Chorus. Though recently I have removed the bridge from a rearrangement.

    Ive never written Ballade form (A,A,A, etc.), but have done a few AABA.
    Its always about the interplay between Form and Content trying to converge to communicate the song on an emotional/literal level. Riffs, breaks and other musical phrases are all part of the structure as well its not just about lyrics and sung melody.

    I write in many ways and sometimes the structure presents itself organically other times it has to be laboured over as per 2/3 year old songs I am currently working up and rearranging.

    Understand how structure effects the delivery of a song, but do not become a slave to it.

    That's my tuppence

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    From my experience I strongly support the concept of letting the song write its self in the beginning at least. If you try and fit it into a form as you write you will only frustrate the creative process and your self. I believe that those who have expressed being frustrated would do well by recognizing this point. Allow your self to use a free association type of thinking and when you become blocked try exploding the moment. By that I mean if you are writing about a situation try to include all of the variables that the moment creates. IE environment, temperature, clothing, place, taste, smell, etc. etc.....after you have captured the written word, basic chord structure, and rhythm, then apply the creative process again in orchestrating it, and that is when to consider applying the basic principles of structure IE... AAA, ABAA, AABA, etc. etc. but never think if it doesn't follow some traditional concept it will not work, if you do you will only frustrate the creative process and your self.....redundant I know, but it doesn't change the truth about the writing process....Structure and orchestration are the final steps to consider and should be considered just like mixing and then mastering the recording are. JMO.............Ozlee

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    While the whole verse/chorus thing works for a reason....because it creates a natural up/down dynamic...
    ...the structure is not as important as the content...but if you have no structure, few songs will work well.

    Every once in awhile I mess around with songs that have just 1 chord...or just a sinlge verse the goes on and on...
    ...and it's doable, but often difficult to pull off well.

    Structure allows you more freedom/creativity (as contradictory as that sounds).

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