Saturday, September 8, 2018

5 Songwriting Tips to make your chorus more effective

Hello and welcome to this week's article!

Today I have gathered together some interesting tips on how to create a chorus that would work for our song, regardless for the genre (obviously these ideas needs to be worked and adapted according to the style).

It's important to say that this is not some sort of marketing technique, I don't believe in creating music or any form of art as one would create an industrial product; these are just ideas that have proven to be successful from where to start if we are crafting a song, but the most important requirements, the idea, the inspiration, are up to you.

1) A strong message: a chorus is called like that because, ideally, it would be the part of the song that recurs more often and that encourage people to sing it as a choir, therefore the message works better when it's simple, straightforward and capable of grabbing the attention of the listener.
There are several ways to obtain the attention of a listener: to use a very easy phrase, to use a question, to use terms that calls for a vocalization (for example the "woooh" in Bon Jovi's "Livin' on a Prayer"), or using an interesting word or a short phrase that makes the audience think.

2) Buildup and dynamics: As I have already mentioned in my other songwriting articles (use the meta tag to visualize them all), dynamics are crucial. To make a chorus really stand out it's important to put it at the right place in the song, so that the song is dynamic.
To make a song dynamic there must be alternation between quieter parts and louder parts, parts in which the drum beat is less strong and parts in which it's more in the spotlight, and more importantly for the chorus placement, there must be a buildup. In order to make a chorus effective there must be a pre-chorus that prepares the listener to the best part of the song like a wave: first there is the backwash, then the wave comes with full force.

3) Frequencies and tempo of the chorus: ideally, unless we are experimenting in the opposite direction (loud chorus and pre-chorus and super quiet chorus), the chorus is the part in which all the frequencies of the song explodes, so for example it is where, if a singer was singing the verse on a lower octave, he passes to the higher one.
Similarly as per the voice, we can set up the arrangement of the song to make sure the "hook" (the part of the song that grabs the attention of the listener) is in the chorus by using the frequencies that the human ear is programmed to prioritize, the ones of the human voice (around 2/2.5khz), by adding instruments (piano, strings, synths and so on) with octaves that gravitate also around that area.
On the other hand, in the other parts of the song, we can make the opposite: leave room for lower octaves, or, alternatively, we can use only thin sounds during verse and pre-chorus and let the mid-low end part of the song drop only during the chorus.
Finally, some famous producer likes to add 1 or 2 bpm to the chorus tempo: they say it's practically unnoticeable, but it gives the chorus an additional sense of upbeat that makes it even more energetic.

4) Choose the emotions to transmit: this suggestion is interesting because it applies to many forms of art, from writing a book or making a film, to composing a song;
it's important to have clear in mind the emotions we want to provoke in the listener.
You wouldn't like to see a comedy film that halfway, out of the blue, becomes a scary horror, and the same concept applies to a song: you need to have clear in mind whether you want to talk about something happy, melancholic, angry, and let the song soak into this mood, so that you will carry your feelings through the song (and the song will be more authentic), and at the same time the listener will connects more to it and it will resonate with his soul.

5) Chord progressions and alternation: many memorable songs have a theme that repeats during the various parts in different forms, but to make the song not repetitive it's important to spice things up: if the verse is fast and full of chord changes, a chorus with few slow open chords can bring balance to the song, or on the other hand a song with a slow verse can double its speed during the chorus to add energy and an uptempo feel to it. Don't be afraid to mix and match, to take the chords of one part and change their position to give the song continuity and variety, and, final suggestion: never stop creating.

I hope this was helpful!

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