Studying composition, going through the process of writing a song everyday, collaborating with other songwriters and taking part in songwriting retreats has taught me many little tips and tricks that help me craft my songs more beautifully. While, I agree that the art of songwriting comes naturally to a most songwriters, the art of crafting a song and arranging can be learnt. Here are my six favorite tricks that give a song that magical touch:
1. Write hooks: What make Sia and Bruno Mars amazing songwriters is the fact that they write hook after hook. If you treat each section of the song as a chorus and not only write thoughtful and meaning words but also catchy melodies you are essentially writing a song full of hooks that are going to stick to the listeners mind. Imagine someone texting you to tell you that they were singing your song in the shower! That's the power of a hook ;)
2. Cut it shorter: I have recently been listening to a lot of songs to provide feedback for and the one that I have noticed is that a lot of people have long introductions, keep the intro short and get to the meat of the songs early on!
3. Get to the hook within the first 30 seconds: A great way to grasp the listens attention is to introduce the "hook" or the "chorus" within the first 30 seconds of the song
4. Repeat: The bane of all good songs is repeating, you might have written a line that you think is out of this world. How to turn it into a hook? Repeat it! "hooks" are phrases formed of same or similar melody pr phrase repeating again and again almost like a chant.
5. Start on another beat: A lot of songwriters get stuck in the rut of always starting the melody on beat 1. Whether it is the verse, the chorus or the bridge.. all the sections they write they start singing on beat 1. Yes beat one is awesome, but not for every section. Try to experiment and be conscious of what beat your melody starts on!
6. Go somewhere else on the bridge: What I mean is that on the bridge go to an unexpected chord or sing a melody that is higher or lower or do something different rhythmically or go into a half time or double time feel. If you have ever studied music theory, I would describe this concept to you as going to the imperfect cadence. Doing something unexpected creates tension and when you finally go back to the chorus or that amazing hook you've composed it provides a release.
Until next time!
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