Welcome to my 10-song music-production marathon. This article is about the third day of songwriting for my second song of the project.
Otherwise, let’s look back on the progress from the day three.
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Listening Back to Last Night’s Work
This day of music production began in the morning. I reopened Ableton Live and listened back to the extended groove that I created last night and…
Fuck. Yeah. Holy god, that makes me dance immediately.
The 70 bars seem to pass in an instant. I love it - can already feel I shouldn’t change things too much, simply refine them.
I’ll eventually want to add some character to the synth bass sound, and interest and variation to the drum track. But, the core sound is already there.
Sections and Song Structure?
Although I love the overall sound, there’s one big question that’s nagging at me:
Is this section of music a Bridge? A Chorus? A Verse? It seems flexible, but I’ll have to figure it out.
I still intend to follow the “Verse-Chorus-Bridge” or ABABCB form that I specified in the original goals of the project.
Everything is required to fit into the standard Pop Song format and conform to “Verse-Chorus-Bridge” as closely as possible.
So, I expect to spend more time in figuring out where this musical idea will fit into a complete song structure.
Improvised Vocals Fit Nicely
The lyrics are one of my favorite elements of last night’s jam.
As completely-improvised vocals, they naturally follow a stream-of-conciousness development in both melody and words.
And, in that context, I find them perfect. Like something opened up for me and spoke inside me.
The words are so simple but moving to me. They don’t worry about contradicting themselves, allowing meanings to stack on top of each other.
They are made of clear and simple phrases - but create a deep, complex and contradictory meaning.
And the sound - the overall effect - to me, it’s good. The vocal melody fits the sound of the song and so do the words, somehow. It feels like it goes together.
Searching For More Parts
So, it’s time now to look for other song and instrument parts.
I’m starting with the instrumentation I set for the project. Really I’m just noodling around on Piano and Bass ideas. I use very simple drum tracks to provide backup, which is a common tactic I use when I’m looking for new song ideas.
The piano is not really revealing much, but I came up with awesome off-kilter synth bassline I’m calling ASYNCH. It might be useful. (Note from the future: It wasn’t.)
Then I take a break until evening. I haven’t made much progress yet, but at least I’ve reviewed last night and mentally situated myself to make more progress.
Later That Night: Comments on the Bassline
Coming back to this late at night (but the same day).
I’m no longer quite as convinced by the newer ASYNCH bassline, but it still has some potential.
On the other hand, the original idea is still awesome sounding, and I still don’t want to alter the core sound.
This has usually been a good sign for me, so I definitely want to keep going with it.
Returning to Sections and Structure
It was getting extremely late at night and to the outside world I probably didn’t look very productive. Hell, I probably wasn’t very productive. But I did a lot of thinking.
I thought more deeply about the question of “What section do I have right now? Is it a Chorus, a Verse, a Bridge? Something else?”
It’s very ambiguous. I’m writing out my ideas on paper in my music journal, just trying to knock in some clarity.
I also spent some time researching Codas (here’s a good definition and here’s a brief Wikipedia article) - which are interesting in their own right. I took notes and learned about them, thinking that I might learn something about my own music.
But then I pulled back from getting completely hung-up, because Codas are not meant to be a part of this 10-song marathon. The Pop Song structural form is ABABCB, otherwise known as “Verse-Chorus-Bridge.” I’m really trying to stick to that.
So, what I need now is a contrasting section. I’m back to playing around with Piano, Drum, and Synth Bass ideas looking for that contrast.
Wrapping Up the Night
The more I think and play with this first section I have, the less I think it’s a Bridge.
It’s too A) central, B) too big of a section and C) too inspirational and fun to be “just a Bridge.” So maybe it’s either a Verse or a Chorus.
And with that thought, I passed out with the lights on.
(Note from the future: My first instincts turned out to be right and this section actually did become a Bridge. But, a very extended Bridge with greater-than-normal significance within the song.)
Read more! There is much more to do before this song is ready to be released. Click here to read about the next day of production!