In the above video, you can watch me put together a quick trap beat and then create some simple variations on it. Subtle changes in the foundational loop or beat will help your song to feel like it’s moving forward as the song progresses, even though the track might only be built on a couple of repetitive looping fragments, just like so much of hip-hop production is.

So far, we’ve kept to pretty mainstream pop tunes, but when we start to move away from those, things can get murky pretty quickly. For instance, while verses and choruses might be easy to recognize in a big pop anthem, how they function in an electronic dance song might not be as clear. Or how would you describe the form of something like “A Day in the Life” by The Beatles? It’s basically two entirely separate songs smashed together, so there’s no obvious “verse” or “chorus” section. Same thing with Travis Scott’s “Sicko Mode,” but for three songs’ worth!

Take a look back at television shows that were geared towards young children throughout the decades and listen to their themes. I’m a ’90s kid myself, so I watched a lot of shows on PBS Kids, especially Arthur, and I watched a lot of Disney movies like The Little Mermaid, Aladdin, and Hercules. When songs and musical pieces mimic scale degrees from these shows and movies and focus on notes 1, 2, 3, and 5 in a scale, they bring me back to my childhood just a bit.

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The best syllabic recontextualization that I know of is DJ Premier’s use of a Biz Markie vocal in “Nas Is Like” by Nas. When Biz raps the line, “I’m highly recognized as the king of disco-in’,” he pronounces “recognized” as “recogNAAAHZed” with a loud and nasal emphasis on the last syllable. In “Nas Is Like,” Nas ends the first verse, “And of course, N-A-S are the letters that spell…” Then Premier scratches in Biz seeming to say “NAAAS.”

Beyond training for classical and jazz performance, it’s common now to be learning music mostly on our own. But perhaps we need to start considering how impactful the tools themselves can be on our educational path. 

It’s important to note that I’m not a banker, realtor, or CPA. This is just my perspective and understanding. Before making a big purchase like this, be sure to talk to a professional. Every situation is different, even if the broad strokes may be similar. But hopefully this post has helped equip you with some knowledge to be prepared and get the loan you need.

Pizzetti went on to write all kinds of music, including music for the theater (which he continued to adore), and eventually became a teacher at the Conservatory in Florence. He would go on to become director there from 1917 to 1923, before moving on to direct the Milan Conservatory, and ultimately succeeding Ottorino Respighi as the director of the Academy of St. Cecilia in Rome from 1936 to 1958. Pizzetti’s oeuvre includes orchestral symphonies and concertos, operas, church music, chamber music, and one single film score for the 1941 film, I Promessi Sposi. 

This is not what happened with my dog. Instead, I actually think it made him more anxious. Now to be fair, part of this could be that I tried this solely as I was going out, and the association became “uh oh, dog music means mom is leaving!” but I think there’s more to it than that.

Grant for theatre production

So, now that you’re equipped with some of the tools and knowledge of the most common forms of song structure, keep in mind yet again that there are no rules to songwriting! There are only basic ideas and pieces of advice that you can borrow from as you sit down and create something that’s meaningful to you! It’s helpful to have these weapons in your arsenal. When it comes down to it, the best thing you can do as a new songwriter experimenting with song structure is to try and write with all kinds of structures and figure out what works best for you.

If it weren’t for this music video (directed by Mark Kohr), there probably wouldn’t have been the success of the Offspring, Sum 41, or Blink-182. It encouraged a slew of youngsters to go out and get Fender Stratocasters (or knock-offs) and cover the darn thing with stickers. If it weren’t for Green Day, I probably wouldn’t have done the same thing as a young guitar player.

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Carter Lee is a bassist/educator/producer. He is originally from Edmonton, Canada and now resides in Brooklyn, NY. In addition to leading the hip-hop group, Tiger Speak, Lee is the music director for the bands of both Shea Rose and Moruf. He is also a sideman for countless other artists. Carter brings his wealth of experience in many different musical situations to the Soundfly team and is eager to help any musician who is hoping to better their band. Check out his course Building a Better Band on Soundfly today!

Evan Zwisler is a NYC-based musician who is most notably known for his work with The Values as a songwriter and guitarist. He is an active member of the Brooklyn music scene, throwing fundraisers and organizing compilations for Planned Parenthood and the Anti-Violence Project. He started playing music in the underground punk scene of Shanghai with various local bands when he was in high school before going to California for college and finally moving to New York in 2012.

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