Song Structuring..

true-eurt

Maneater
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...
 

Seafroggys

New member
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.
 

esull0585

New member
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
 
D

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.
 

Bitter Dawn

BM is the Devil's Fuel
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.
 

Buskerjohn

New member
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.
 

Whatmysay

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

I’ve 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

Burt
 

Greg_L

Banned
I take one part awesome, one part kick-ass, and two parts sexy, mix them together, and I'm left with another wonderful Greg_L musical masterpiece.
 

the Ozlee

New member
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;)
 

miroslav

Cosmic Cowboy
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).
 

rayc

retroreprobate
Some of my songs have almost no structure other are very structured. Sometimes it's intentional and other times, like when the song has developed from a jam, it's just the way it came together. As to whether they're good songs either way - it's not for me to say.
I can say that I like it both ways. [video=youtube;NzDUcPfZoJ4]video[/video]
 

stuy101

New member
try not to plan

I really believe that you shouldn't start out with a structure, this somewhat limits what you can do then. You should really just try and feel the song out. Music ahs become soooo predictable these days anyways.

Keep the faith!
 

cashcohen

Jewnior Member
I really believe that you shouldn't start out with a structure, this somewhat limits what you can do then.

I agree. Let the lyrics flow. Let the structure come. Not to say that there shouldn't BE structure. But it doesn't have to be V/C/V/B/C or A/A/B/A. But it could be.

Hmm, looking through my book o' lyrics, most of my songs ARE in fact V/C/V/B/C or A/A/B/A. Interesting. :p
 

cello_pudding

New member
i'm with the no structure people. let the lyrics take you where ever. after thinking about sections and themes and all that, then listening back to something like...the beatles, i would notice how random their sections were at times, and they still worked.

i have songs that are verse verse verse verse instrumental. some are intro, new section, new section, new section, outro, and of course there are typical verse chorus verse chorus verse chorus verse chorus songs. whatever the lyrics do, go with it. if it doesn't work, you can always restructure, but never stress about what it's not. just work with what it is.
 

DeshevldMusic

New member
I think it's so much easier if you don't set out to figure out the songs structure. Just jam on the idea and whatever progression comes natural is probably going to be the best natural choice for the song.


Whenever my band would sit down and consciously try to make a complex song with different changes and unexpected choruses in unexpected places, the song fell apart or felt awkward orjust simply never got completed.

9 times out of 10, if it sounds good the first time you are playing it...it will probably be best portrayed that way in its final rendition.:spank:
 

Nugagerube

New member
I usuely structure my songs ambigiously. I like to blend chorus and verses together, have extened jams, I also like to change up the rift a lot. When im playing on piano i almost have no structure just certain 4 bar phrases i come back to after soloing.
 

Rosenthal74

New member
I'm pretty straight forward I guess in the song writing process. Although I usually write the lyrics first and later write the music to fit the lyrics, and sometimes I write the music first and add the lyrics later (I find it easier to put music to lyrics however), both approaches are usually the same. I usually go for the verse, chorus, verse, chorus, verse, chorus, bridge, solo, chorus route with the occasional intro or outro or both. Sometimes I'll go verse verse, chorus, verse verse, chorus, bridge, solo, chorus verse verse, chorus. I don't always use a bridge, but I think it adds a bit "more" to a song. However my favorite song that I've written is the epitimy of simple... with a verse, chorus, verse chorus, solo and then verse and chorus again. My advice is do what sounds good to your ears. If it sounds good, that's what really matters. Usually I'm pretty happy with how my structuring has turned out for me, although I've made the mistake of making a chorus either too short or too long a few times.
 

timtimtim

New member
I agree with the no structure point of view. Music is not a science, it is an art and works best when done "intuitively" using the right brain rather than the left brain. A structure will emerge without any consciouss thought or planning. Trying to impose a structure usualy risks killing the original inspiration which started the song. When the song is largely finished then you can often use a little "left brain" logical thought to tidy it up a bit if necessary. It all depends what kind of music you are trying to make of course. If you want to make very commercial "poppy" type music then possibly a more formulaic approach is needed. The music which I make is more harmony-based instrumental stuff which I think would be ruined by a rigid structure.
 

Catchmo

New member
I hate boring music! With that said I've notice when my band gets together to arrange a song it's usually because we have one part we want to do something with. That part maybe a verse or a chorus or even just a bridge part. Whatever it may be we will start playing and jamming it and realize that at some point there needs to be a change. A change doesn't necessarily have to be from a verse to a chorus, or a chorus to a solo, etc. just a dynamic change. Maybe a rise in the tension or even a release. We let that need for a change dictate the structure of a song. I've also noticed with this process that we end up with relatively traditional structures but that's okay because at least it isn't boring and it's palatable to a lot of people.

I guess I would say I agree with the no structure people but technically I don't because I preach structure to my bandmates and the bands I record all the time. There must be a reason or purpose to change to another part. Arbitrary things in music is what makes it boring. I frequent open mics all the time and when there aren't people with prepared songs to play they turn into stranger jam sessions. I've seen some awesome jam sessions but I can only take so much 12 bar blues riffs. I want to hear a song! 15 minutes of G pentatonic will drive just about any normal musician insane! I just think that the emotion will dictate your structure and even a song with "no structure" has a structure. Are you just banging notes arbitrarily with no rhythm or tonality? That's just noise!
 

desmond22

New member
song structuring/composing

My songs start with a feel that usually comes from a life experience. I make up some chords and string them together and a melody follows behind some very average lyrics.
I used to keep the average lyrics , not knowing any better, but ive recently realised that its important to re-write. THe initial lyrics were only the creative spirits using any lyrics, even non words for their shape to fit the song.
I now use this method and its flawless- for me.
 
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