Tip #225 – To Resolve In or Out

Say your song is based off of a group chords on repeat.  Do you have you progression resolve within the loop…

…or outside the loop…

…or does it really matter?  Do the two options really make a difference?

While one can argue that they don’t, there is a difference in motion between the two.  When you resolve within the loop, you have a return to “home” and completion.  Think of this like picking up a book, coming to an ending, and then picking up a new story.

As for when you resolve outside the loop, your momentum is continuous because the resolution takes place on the start of a new loop.  This is like reading a book then ends off with a “To Be Continued” cliff-hanger to lead into the next book.

Experiment with the two and see which feels right for your piece.

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Improve Your Lyrics – Tip #46

What is a bridge?  If you were thinking in music terms or in anything else, it is something that connects two areas together.

In addition, from a music standpoint, the bridge offers something different (both musically and lyrically) to catapult with motion from one section to another.

Musically, bridges offer harmonic variation, rhythmic contrast, new melodic movement, modulation, etc.  Lyrically, bridges might contain a change in character focus, a change in timeline, or inclusion of in-depth detail on the subject/story.

Basically, offer something new when you want to include a bridge into the song.

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Tip #224 – Using sus2 and sus4 Chords for Surprises

This is going to be a quick little informative tip:

In the past, we have talked about how the use of power chords can create ambiguity between the key possibilities because there is no third voiced to tell if it is major or minor.

In a similar fashion, using your tonic (or at least opening chord) as a sus4 or sus2 chord that gives you a “triadic” harmony without the third present can also aid in creating that key signature ambiguity while giving the harmony some color with the suspended notes.

Try using it as a tonic chord and experiment as to how you can resolve it in surprising ways.

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Tip #222 – Sound Effects in Songs

This is going to be a quick tip.

Besides thinking that your music should be constrained to just instruments, why not incorpoarate sounds that would be typically used for sound effects?

This can help give your song more of a “story-like” or epic quality.

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Tip #221 – About a Line Cliché

What is a line cliché and is it really a cliché?

Commonly found in jazz music, a line cliché is…

  • A line moving between relatively stagnant chord harmonies
  • Either ascending or descending
  • Going chromatically (more typical) or diatonic
  • Staying at the bottom, top, or in the middle of the harmony
  • Usually the root, fifth, sixth, or seventh of the harmony

An example would be like such:

We have talked about these before in previous posts, especially with inner lines movements between harmonic changes.

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Improve Your Lyrics – Tip #45

Another form that you can use is the AABA form.

Similar to the AAA form, it contains repeated A sections. However, this time there is a B section right before the last A section that acts as a “bridge” section. As you would imagine, the B section is different from the rest.

Typically, the form is 32-bars in length with each section having 8-bars in dedication to it… but that is not a strict rule. The entire length can vary greatly to the shape/flow of your lyrics. The B section, in fact, can be longer or shorter in length compared to the other A sections, or even split into two. Also, the last A section can be stretched couple of extra bars.

Titles and/or hooks should be saved to the beginning or end of the A sections, but it is typically saved for the end of the last A section.

The AABA form can even be expanded using the same principles into an AABABA form.

Take a listen to many songs that utilize this form and see how they creatively craft it to the lyrics.

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Tip #220 – Tresillo Pattern

One way of incorporating some rhythmic interest in your piece is to use a tresillo pattern.

Basically, think of it as trying to take the 8 eighth-notes in a 4/4 measure and trying to divide it evenly into 3’s.  Without the use of triplets, it is near to impossible.  So, what you would have to end up doing is group the first couple of notes into 3’s while the last two are grouped into their own.  This creates a forward motion based on the unstable/uneven rhythm.  It would look something like this:

Notice how this looks very similar to the “3-side” of the classic Cuban clave figure – that’s because it is.

Use it as a repeated figure or as an interjected figure.

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