[MUSIC] I'd like to talk for a little while about song form. Now the song form that we're going to be talking about is really just how you put together your musical ideas and for a long time we would label these different pieces of form a or b or c so you got your a section, your b section, your c section. When professional song writers ruled the roost a long time where they wrote a lot of songs that are in aaba form. And some of those are like Somewhere Over the Rainbow and Caravan and All of Me. And that was a very popular form, especially during the 40s. And a lot of jazz standards are in that form. Then you look at the 12 bar blues, which actually developed before that. And that's a form of music that actually is very specific. It's even defined by the form that it is has. You've got these three, four bar phrases. You say something once, you say it one more time, going up to the four chord, and then you say something else at the end. And that actually defines the style of music itself. Really, since the 1960s on, most music in terms of folk and rock and pop and R&B and hip hop has been in what we call verse chorus form. Now there's more elements than just the verse and the chorus and I want to talk a little bit about what the different elements are there and how to use these effectively. The first element is the verse. And the verse is defined by having the melody repeat each time but have the lyric be different. So verse one is going to have the same melody as verse two but typically the lyric will be different in verse two. And it will have the same melody in verse three typically but again the lyric would be different. Now, contrast that with the chorus and the chorus typically is defined by having both the melody and the lyric be the same each time. Now often you try to put most of the exposition of the song into the verse and then have the chorus be one core idea and this can be, this can take some discipline to do. But it can be very effective. Another thing that is a good thing to think about between a verse and a chorus is actually to have some contrast. So say the verse is very, very wordy. Maybe have the chorus be a release. Have it be only three to five words, say. And so we have a little bit of time to absorb. What happened in the verse? Now you can turn that on its head and sometimes people have been very successful and have a wordy chorus and a not very wordy verse, but having some contrast is key. A lot of people, too, talk about having the chorus pay off. And producers especially will think about, how can we really make that pay off to the listener so they feel like we've arrived. And it's a reward for sticking there through the verse. So we've got the verse we've got the chorus. Let's talk about the bridge, the bridge typically has new material that means we have new melody, we have new lyrics and sometimes even new harmony, sometimes we'll save a really cool harmonic thing for the bridge to where we'll go somewhere else. And lyrically, this is often kind of where the big reveal happens. Sometimes this is where whoever the singer is kind of looks at the camera and actually reveals how they're really feeling. Or maybe there's something that happens in the story of the song that's really important right in the bridge. The bridge often has something to do with the climax of the song. Either the climax is actually contained in the bridge, or it's building up to the climax. And it goes down for a while and then the climax happens right after the bridge, as we go into that last chorus or something like that. So we've got verse chorus. We've got bridge. Then we've got other things too. Let's talk about intros. Intros are wonderful. If they earn their keep. I am very suspicious of intros when I'm working with singer songwriters because so often the intros are just the four chords that make up the verse played over and over again once or twice. And we've got a four or an eight bar intro, and really don't need that long. Intros need to pull people in. And they need to keep them interested. Often something I'll suggest is, what if we just lose the intro entirely? What if we just come in, boom, right on the verse or even, boom, right on the chorus and we pull people into the song really quickly that way. I encourage you to just try that sometimes because that can get you out of the habit of just playing the intro, having it be very predictable, have it being four chords. Something else you can do with an intro is make it into an instrumental hook. Have something that's a very cool instrumental part that you use again for the interlude. Maybe use it again as the altro. But it's very catchy and it's something that really sets the mood. Again, the intro needs to pull us in and set the mood for what's going on. Wait and think about what the intro is going to be until you worked on the song for a while. Don't just play the first chords that you came up with on the song and make that the intro. Other parts of song form can include a solo. And a solo can be a really nice thing, be kind of change pace for a little while. My advice here is that you don't need the solo to be too long. Often in people's records who haven't been recording too long, they give the soloist a whole verse or a whole chorus. I think, actually, the best solos go somewhere else. They have new harmony. There's maybe only four bars long, and they go someplace different that we haven't gone before. Keep in mind that Eddie Van Halen, they named the band after him. He would only take eight bar solos. And he was a pretty good soloist. So think about does the solo really earn its keep? Is it really doing what I want it to do in the record. Once we've got all these different parts of form, you can really start to think about, how can I put these pieces together to where they're going to make the most sense for my song? They're going to make the most sense for what I'm trying to say emotionally. They can make the most sense for what I'm trying to do in terms of telling a story. And they can keep the listener involved and keep us going on this journey. Now, one style of music where verse chorus song form is not usually used is in electronic music. The main things to think about here, if you're making this kind of music is really the build up and how you build things and keep people interested by having them build and then the drop. And the drop is kind of like the chorus. That's where you really want it to pay off. The one other thing I'm going to mention about song form is a phase that I went through, and a whole lot of my students go through, and that is writing music that is quote unquote through composed. And this is where you're not using verses and choruses but you're really just writing something that doesn't have any repeating sections whatsoever. And this can be fine. This can be absolutely fine. But there's a couple of cautionary notes that I would give you about this. First off, it can be very difficult to keep people engaged because a lot of times the contrast is not there. So if you're working on a through composing piece, think about how am I going to provide some contrast? Now having something through composed doesn't mean there aren't different sections. This means that the sections maybe don't repeat. So think about giving us some nice contrast to where we're still going to be engaged. So the main thing I want you to remember is that the song form is there for you to use. To try and have the prosody of what you're trying to do emotionally, and story wise, and lyrically all come together. So think about using song form to your advantage.