The Structure of Musical Recordings Understanding how songs are written and how to listen The Songwriting Process Songs can be written by the MUSICIAN, or a dedicated SONGWRITER. They sometimes get assistance from the PRODUCER Songwriting can be credited to a SINGLE PERSON (usually the lead singer), or the ENTIRE BAND Why do you think this would make a difference? ASCAP/BMI ASCAP = The American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers BMI = Broadcast Music Incorporated They are technically NON-PROFIT Hundreds of Millions of dollars in ROYALTIES paid to SONGWRITERS Venues PAY money, members PAY membership FEES Payout is based on RADIO AIRPLAY: Does that make sense? Writing the song Subject Matter: Are you writing for YOURSELF or for a specific AUDIENCE? This is where a producer can help INSPIRATION: It’s hard to force, but sometimes has to be KNOW THE GENRE: What has already been done? What can I do that is new and fresh? Know where the song fits in the BIG PICTURE For example: “Where will the song fit on the album?” Song Structure Musical forms can be structured with LETTERS A = Usually always the first part, such as a verse B = Often the CHORUS C = Could be a BRIDGE or SOLO section We use words like INTRO, VERSE, CHORUS, BRIDGE, SOLO, OUTRO Structure Cont’d. More sections can be get complicated, but sometimes are needed Explains how many times certain sections REPEAT ABA form = TERNARY Form (from Classical music) It is a RE-STATEMENT of the main theme This puts the song in the listener’s head, makes it CATCHY Build the Song Where will you start? RHYTHM? What will your TEMPO be? How LONG will the song be? A typical pop song is somewhere between 3-4 minutes BASS can set up the chord structure What kind of INSTRUMENTATION will you have? How DENSE do you want your mix to be? The HOOK It’s the part that you REMEMBER, that stays with you Think of a hook that might have driven you crazy Most hip-hop music has a clear hook in each chorus Might have a unique twist: Ex. Lady Gaga Could be chorus, or pre-post chorus (Rhianna: “You can stand under my umbrella – ella - ella DRAFTS It’s like writing a book: Proofread! Get FEEDBACK from members of the band, producer, engineer, friends, etc. Don’t be afraid to TWEAK and make changes Consider recording multiple versions Example Michael Jackson’s “Billie Jean” Intro: Is there a hook? Verse into Pre-Chorus (“People always told me…”) Chorus (“Billie Jean is not my lover…”) Verse B (what changes?) Chorus B (What changes?) What do they add in the Bridge? Mix Goals Controlling what stands out: The Mix can be for marketing What does the band feature: Vocal? Guitar? Something else? COMPRESSION: Can draw more attention, better for radio… also takes away dynamics, possibly emotion PANNING: Usually not as extreme as early stereo recordings. How does phasing come into play?