Wednesday, 20 August 2014

Ticket 57: Use Rhythmic Displacement



Repeat a melody fragment or riff, but start on a different beat. The 3 over 4 hemiola (see Ticket 29) is a small example of this approach.

Why Don't We Do It In The Road?

also

Black Dog – riff (Led Zeppelin)
Cult Of Personality – riff (Living Colour)
Fascinating Rhythm (Gershwin)
Kashmir – riff (Led Zeppelin)
Little Wonder – bridge vocals (David Bowie)
Monkey Doodle Doo (from The Cocoanuts) (Berlin)
Something's Coming – West Side Story (Bernstein)
Something's Gotta Give (Mercer)
Walk This Way – riff (Aerosmith)

See also

Ticket 9: Recycle Musical Cells
Ticket 15: Change Time Signatures Between Sections
Ticket 29: Use Polyrhythms
Ticket 37: The Lennon Edit

See the full list of songwriting tips here - Tickets To Write

Further Reading: Afro Impro: Rhythmic Displacement

Tuesday, 19 August 2014

Ticket 56: Write Your Melody Over Phantom Chords



Create musical tension by writing a melody over a chord or progression and then sing it over a different one. It will push you into new melodic territory.

A Day In The Life (verse – I just had to laugh)
I Want To Hold You Hand (bridge - and when I touch you)

also

Frank Zappa used a variation of this technique by literally taking the solo from one live song and overdubbing it onto completely different song. He called this approach Xenocrony or “the Ampex guitar”

See also

Ticket 13: Make The Vocals Stay On Non-Chord Tones
Ticket 14: Write An In-Key Melody Over Out-Of-Key Chords
Ticket 27: Place Your Main Lyric On The Highest Point Of The Melody

See the full list of songwriting tips here - Tickets To Write

Monday, 18 August 2014

Ticket 54: Unify Your Lyrical Imagery/Extended Metaphor


Draw all your metaphors and similes from a narrow pool of concepts

Julia - sea and sky
Piggies

also


Birches (Bill Morrissey)
Crosstown Traffic (Jimi Hendrix)
Expressway To Your Heart (Blues Brothers)
Hotel California (The Eagles)
I Can See Clearly Now – weather (Johnny Nash)
Oh, If I Had A Golden Thread (Pete Seeger)
People Get Ready – train (Curtis Mayfield)
Say Goodbye To The Fairground (The Pearlfishers)
Spanish Harlem – flowers (Ben E. King)
Send in the Clowns – (Stephen Sondheim)
The Last Chance Texaco – cars parts/oil companies (Rickie Lee Jones)
There Goes The Moon (Matt Blick)




See also

Ticket 24: Use Parallel Lyrics
Ticket 49: Employ Madrigalism
Ticket 64: Try Writing For Kids
Ticket 66: Write An 'Occasional' Song

See the full list of songwriting tips here - Tickets To Write

Thanks to Nancy Rost and Jonathan Nelson on the BSA forum for examples

Sunday, 17 August 2014

Ticket 53: Write A 'Jazz-Style Intro' Verse


Whether you use a verse/chorus structure or a tradition AABA form, try kicking off the proceedings with an introductory section that differs from the other verse sections. This can be a completely different musical section or include a spoken part.

Do You Want To Know A Secret
Here There And Everywhere
Honey Pie
If I Fell
Julia
P.S. I Love You
Rocky Racoon

also

For Those About To Rock (AC/DC)
Here At The End Of The World (Matt Blick)
I Got Rhythm (Gershwin)
Night And Day (Porter)
Rock And Roll Ain't Noise Pollution (AC/DC)
Secret Door (Arctic Monkeys)
That Old Black Magic (Porter)
The Lady Is A Tramp (Gershwin)
When The Sun Goes Down (Arctic Monkeys)

See also

Ticket 4: Recycle Your 'O's
Ticket 5: Make Sections Contrast With The Other Musical Sections
Ticket 25: Transplant Cliches From Other Genres
Ticket 26: Use An AABA Structure
Ticket 55: Two Become One
Ticket 62: Write Two Bridges

See the full list of songwriting tips here - Tickets To Write

Saturday, 16 August 2014

Ticket 52: The Lennon Extension


Create a momentary time signature change by simply adding a beat (or bar), especially if you need extra space to fit more words into the vocal line. This is the opposite trick to the The Lennon Edit (Ticket 37) and is common in the same genres of music – solo blues, folk, TV themes and advertising jingles.

Don't Let Me Down
Helter Skelter – at 0:30 the G chord is delayed while McCartney sings 'tell me” four times (compare 1:10 where he sings the line three times and the G is a bar earlier)
Revolution 1- at 3:24 (due to a mistake in tape editing)

also

Coney Island Baby – chorus (Tom Waits)
I'm Shakin' (Jack White)
Let Me Roll It (Paul McCartney) (again, due to a mistake in tape editing)
Soundcheck Song – 'keyboard' verse (Matt Blick)
The Key - 3rd verse (Sonny Boy Williamson)

See also

Ticket 2: Put Your Song On A Diet
Ticket 15: Change Time Signatures Between Sections
Ticket 29: Use Polyrhythms
Ticket 37: The Lennon Edit
Ticket 53: Write A 'Jazz-Style Intro' Verse
Ticket 57: Use Rhythmic Displacement

See the full list of songwriting tips here - Tickets To Write

Friday, 15 August 2014

Ticket 51: Use The Mixolydian Mode


The Mixolydian mode is a major scale with a b7th. In the key of A

A B C# D E F# G

Chords

Amaj Bm C#dim* Dmaj Em F#m G maj

A 'happy' scale but not as saccharine as the major scale (Ionian mode). The relative freshness of the scale often frees up songwriters to use just two or three chords to make their point.

*In practice the C#dim is often replaced by A/C#

Paperback Writer
Rain
She Said She Said
The Inner Light
Tomorrow Never Knows
Within You Without You

also

All Right Now (Free)
Best Of Both Worlds (Van Halen)
Celebration - Verse (Kool And The Gang)
Ever So Lonely (Monsoon)
Highway To Hell (AC/DC)
In The Light – intro (Led Zeppelin)
Summer Song (Joe Satriani)
Sweet Home Alabama (Lynyrd Skynyrd)

And much Indian and Country Rock music.

See also

Ticket 28: Use At Least One Out Of Key Chord
Ticket 40: Don't Use All Seven Notes Of The Scale
Ticket 63: Write With The 'Other' Scale
Ticket 68: Use the R b7 6 b6 Progression

See the full list of songwriting tips here - Tickets To Write

Thursday, 14 August 2014

Ticket 50: Keep Your Melody Off The Root Note


This can give a restless, unsettled quality to your song.

Get Back

also

Keep Yourself Alive - verse (Queen)

See also

Ticket 6: Stay Off The Root Chord
Ticket 13: Make The Vocals Stay On Non-Chord Tones
Ticket 22: Bluesify Your Melody
Ticket 27: Place Your Main Lyric On The Highest Point Of The Melody
Ticket 39: Don't Start The Melody On The First Beat

See the full list of songwriting tips here - Tickets To Write