Popular song structures
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Published on: Mar 4, 2016
Transcripts - Popular song structures
How it’s all put together!
<ul><li>The structures or musical forms of songs in Popular Music style are typically sectional , meaning they are built from repeating elements. </li></ul><ul><li>Common forms are: </li></ul><ul><li>12 Bar Blues </li></ul><ul><li>Thirty-Two Bars ( AABA ) </li></ul><ul><li>Verse-Chorus Form ( ABA ) </li></ul><ul><li>Through Composed ( ABCD… ) </li></ul><ul><li>This last pattern is not common in popular music forms, a song where no part is repeated. </li></ul>Popular Music is very relent upon returning to a repeated section. Many believe this is one of the reasons why Pop is seen as unsophisticated and not a higher art-form.
Intro/Outro : A unique section that comes at the beginning/end of the piece. Verse : When two or more sections of the song have basically identical music and different lyrics each section is considered one verse. Pre-Chorus : An optional section that may occur after the verse is the "pre-chorus". Also referred to as a "build" or "transitional bridge", the pre-chorus functions to connect the verse to the chorus Chorus : The chorus or "refrain”, in popular music is normally the repeated sections, often the dynamically height of the music Bridge : A n interlude that connects two parts of a song. The bridge usually differs from the verse and the chorus in its harmonic structure (chord progression) and lyrics. Solo : A solo is a section designed to showcase an instrumentalist (e.g., a guitarist or a harmonica player) Middle-8 : Refers to the section of a song which has a significantly different melody to the rest. It is called a middle 8 because it happens in the middle of the song and the length is generally 8 Bars
<ul><li>These are not really parts of the structure, but elements that could be part of the verse or bridge for example. </li></ul><ul><li>- MUSE ’s ‘ Plug in Baby ’ has a very catchy melody that is used in conjunction to the main chorus. </li></ul>Lick : a stock pattern or phase, consisting of a short series of notes used in solos and melodies. In Popular Music this often used when talking about guitar riffs. Hook : Often this is a Melody sequence that is normally based within or close to the song’s Chorus. The part that is easy to remember and hard to stop singing to yourself. Try to think of the structure of the song as a skeleton. A framework where the rest of the ideas can be placed.
<ul><li>Chord progressions normally centre around; </li></ul><ul><li>I – Tonic </li></ul><ul><li>VI – Subdominant </li></ul><ul><li>V – Dominant (‘ Turn-around ’ leading back to I ) </li></ul><ul><li>A common phenomenon was the use of the ‘ Blue-Note ’, distinguished by the use of the flattened 3 rd , 5 th and 7 th of the associated major scale. </li></ul><ul><li>Improvising was usually based around a Pentatonic scale </li></ul>Turn-around section
<ul><li>The genre of Blues has branch into many different sub-genres: </li></ul><ul><li>Style of piano-based Blues that became popular during the 1930/40’s. </li></ul>Typical Boogie-woogie bass-line based within a 12 Bar Structure :
Thirty-two-bar form uses four sections , most often eight measures long each ( 4×8=32 ), two verses or A sections , a contrasting B section (the bridge or "middle-eight") and a return of the verse in one last A section ( AABA ). - Thirty-two-bar form was often used in rock in the 1950s and '60s , after which the Verse-Chorus form became most popular. <ul><li>Examples : </li></ul><ul><li>‘ Somewhere Over the Rainbow’ – 32 Bar Form </li></ul><ul><li>Compound AABA Form : Many modern song used this same structure, often with a Middle-8 before repeating the pattern: </li></ul><ul><li>AABA C AABA </li></ul><ul><li>Whole Lotta Love – Led Zepplin </li></ul><ul><li>Every Breath You Take - Police </li></ul>
In Verse-chorus form the chorus is highlighted (prepared and contrasted with the verse ). Also know as ABA form. - The chorus often sharply contrasts the Verse melodically , rhythmically and harmonically and normally assumes a higher level of dynamics and activity, often with additional instrumentation . Usually there are several verses made up of 8 lines with the last line preparing the listeners for the chorus . The chorus is the part of the song that often sticks to the mind of a listener because it contrasts with the verse and is repeated several times. <ul><li>Contrasting Verse-chorus: Songs which use different music for the verse and chorus </li></ul><ul><li>Simple Verse-chorus : Songs that use the same music for the verse and chorus, such as the 12 Bar Blues . </li></ul><ul><li>Simple Verse : Songs which feature only a repeated verse, ( verse-chorus form without the chorus ). </li></ul>
<ul><li>Foxy Lady – Jimi Hendrix </li></ul><ul><li>Penny lane – The Beatles </li></ul><ul><li>That’ll Be the Day – Buddy Holly </li></ul><ul><li>- Smoke on the Water – Deep Purple </li></ul><ul><li>Shake Rattle and Roll – Big Joe Turner </li></ul><ul><li>Crossroads – Robert Johnson </li></ul><ul><li>Lucille – Little Richard </li></ul><ul><li>Purple Haze – Jimi Hendrix </li></ul><ul><li>Tomorrow Never Knows – The Beatles </li></ul>