B (Title Line)
If I sit and wait for the inspiration bug to bite me, I am usually waiting a long time. That means I am not writing very often, and for me that is not good, because I am not practicing the craft at that point. I am not growing. So how do I start to attract the bug instead of waiting for it? One way I find works for me is to give myself detailed songwriting assignments. These assignments are basically a list of parameters that I need to fit my song into. I make structural decisions before I even start writing the song. I think I picked this habit up from doing songwriting assignments for Berklee College of Music. Each week we would have certain concepts we were learning about, and we would have to use them on purpose. Now my personal song assignments end up being very similar.
So this week I am giving myself and assignment that I will share here. I will be working on it this week and I will post a demo of the song when I get it done. If you want, you can try the assignment for yourself and post YOUR results here too. Would be great to see what you come up with!
My Assignment This week: Write a Song with These Parameters
*notice how I try to contrast parameters in each section
Topic: Will be inspired by what the chords make me feel like
Verse: 6 lines – rhyme scheme AABCCB
Chorus: 5 lines – T – - – T (T is title line, – is line not the title) – Rhyme Scheme ABABA
Bridge: 4 lines Rhyme scheme XXAA
Verse: C minor or C Aeolian mode – 1 chord per 2 measures 1:2
Chorus: Ab Lydian mode – 1 chord per 1 measure 1:1
Bridge: Bb Mixolydian Mode – decide harmonic rhythm later
Verse: Melody starts after the downbeat
Chorus: Melody starts before the downbeat
Bridge: – Melody starts on the downbeat
Verse: Mostly 8th note patterns in melody
Chorus: Half Note based melody
Bridge: Quarter note based melody
So it looks like alot, and it may be for someone not used to making these decisions before writing songs, but it is not quite as complex as you may think. So give it a shot. I am going to be working on my song this week and will post the results on my blog.
If you have any questions on this, please ask, I will do my best to answer each one.
When we write songs, we do not have to reinvent the wheel. We can start with structures and techniques that work and make them our own.
There are a few common Verse Rhyme Schemes that are great jumping off points for your writing. Most verses are around 4 to 6 lines. Analyze hit songs you like and I am pretty sure you will notice some patterns. Here are some that show up quite a bit….feel free to use them to work on your own songs! Matching letters mean that the lines rhyme with each other. ‘X’ means a line that doesn’t rhyme.
4 Line Verses:(each letter represents a lyric line)
ABAB – AABB – AAXA – AAAA – XAXA – AXAX – XXAA
6 Line Verses:
AABCCB – AABBCC – ABABAB – XAXAXA – AAABBB – XXAXXA – XAAXBB
There are other combos that can work….but hopefully these give you some rhyme scheme ideas to start using in your writing. Also remember to analyze your favorite songs and borrow the rhyme schemes. ~~ Chad
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