While the basic idea of sectional form can be stretched pretty far, it’s not uncommon to hear songs with additional types of sections. Pre-verses, post-choruses, breakdowns, ad-libs — there are plenty of examples of alternate forms. The bottom line is, a lot of banks don’t know what to do with you if you’re a working-class songwriter. If you’re one of the few who has major hits on the radio right now with gold records and Grammys adorning your office, they’re a bit more comfortable loaning you money. But for the vast majority of us, it may be a struggle. So what can a songwriter in your position do? Based on my own experience, I’m here to help you with a few tips.
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Once you’ve got something you like, try shifting it out of your normal speech pitch pattern by using steps (one note up or down), skips (a third up or down) or a leap (a fourth or more) between words. Eventually, the bass line drops down an octave and changes its stubborn pedaling to play chord tones along with the rest of the rhythm section. It starts with the same old D and A. Next, it moves to C♯ and A for the A chord. Then it moves to the B chord but still keeps the pressure on with that non-chord-tone A. Finally, it rounds off with a pleasant, resolute walk-up, bouncing back up between notes of the major scale and A, which is the root of the chord. Classic!
Learn about underwater acoustics and how sounds travel in different directions and across far distances via a marine audio highway called the SOFAR Channel. Robinson McClellan is a composer, writer, and teacher. His music has been performed, commissioned, and published widely. He has done artist residencies at MacDowell and Yaddo and earned his doctorate in composition from Yale. He works in product development, user care/feeding, and instructional design for music and education companies. He founded and directs ComposerCraft, a workshop for young composers.