The material is always awesome and immediately usable here! Great content guys, keep it up!
It might seem basic, but it needs to be demonstrated so people can understand the nuances. I’ve been playing for years, but just hearing how you stretched it out already made me realize where I could have taken the song after that, but I rarely stretch parts out in my writing. thanks and great tip!
Gerry, that’s absolutely right. It’s the simple techniques that can provide us with so many editing possibilities. They can be so basic that we don’t think to use them. To expand creative possibilities we need to break down the process of writing to it’s components and apply changes from that level. Kevin
Thanks for the really helpful tips Kevin. I change up phrasing naturally as a jazz vocalist. (Applying it to songwriting is another matter) I have hope that I can learn this craft even though it’s not my gift.
Beth, the biggest eye opener to me was that songwriting is a craft that can be taught and learned, although it is very hard to find people who actually teach it, which is why I founded Songwriting Planet. So, I would encourage you that, yes, you can learn it too. You will have to think about it differently from jazz melodic interpretation and improv, but after you get comfortable with writing, your jazz background should help tremendously.
Thanks Kevin. Great to get these little tips and reminders before my writes everyday. Keeps me honest. 😉
That’s good to hear Cynthia. Each new technique you learn adds to your overall mastery of the craft of songwriting.
This opens my eyes to the variety of usages that phrasing can be put to. I see that I can use phrasing for contrast within my verses, as well as in other sections, like the chorus and bridge. I also see that it can be useful in contrasting musical sections also, such as breaks and solos. I really love the simplicity in which this lesson is presented, and the way in which it leaves room for further exploration by the student.
Thanks Geroy, and this is just one of many melodic development techniques that you can add to your songwriting tool belt. My book, Melody Madness details over 50 others (available here: https://songwritingplanet.com/melody-madness.html ). You might want to experiment with this one for a while and then try some others from the book.
Kevin, I really enjoy the way you teach songwriting. Thank you so much for all of the insightful tips. I would like to work with you in the future to avoid recording songs that need to be recrafted before they are released for distribution.
Crystal, working with a songwriting coach before you spend money recording is a very wise thing to do. You can always e-mail me about my coaching programs at firstname.lastname@example.org to discuss possibilities. Thanks, Kevin
I found the info useful as I tend to tie my melodic phrases duration to pentameter and meter of the lyric phrasing rather than the melody to emphasize the the lyrics at percussive points or changes. This got me thinking about that habit and perhaps trying to focus on the melody more…
Daved, you made a really interesting point. I often find it helpful to go back and forth between lyric and melodic techniques. I have seen some brilliant lyricists miss a lot of melodic possibilities because they always tend to think of melody as an afterthought. To expand creativity, it is useful to recognize when we are becoming too complacent with routine ways of writing, and then try a new technique for a while. Kevin
I find it so helpful. Thanks so much Kevin. I write my songs without using any instrument.
Glenda, Keep in mind that many great composers don’t play instruments at all, they hear the music in their heads, and because they understand the concepts of writing great music, phrase durations being just one of many that I teach, they are able to write amazing music without actually being musicians. And you can too! This point became really clear to me when I was admitted to Berklee College of Music and I had to talk to the head of the songwriting department. I asked him, “What instrument do your play?” and he replied with, “I’m a songwriter.” That was a HUGE eye opener for me that songwriters don’t necessarily need to be musicians. Kevin
Excellent description of phrase duration. Thanks Kevin !
That’s good to hear Joe. I’m glad it was helpful. Kevin
Helpful! I have been doing this but it is just a trial and error thing. You have made me think about it…aware of it.
Good, that is the idea, this is just one of many techniques can that be used to help create the mood you want for your song. Yet, as simple as it is, it is one we often don’t think to try, and it can completely change the direction of a song, and potentially to a much better version. Kevin
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