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For more information, please see full course syllabus of Songwriting
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Lecture Comments (6)

0 answers

Post by carlos carvalho on February 2, 2014

I really liked it. Well explained and not very long videos.
Thank you, I hope you get more classes like this.

0 answers

Post by Erik Vallejo Freire on July 19, 2013

thanks so much for this course! I can actually write lyrics for my songs now XD...

0 answers

Post by Connie Tinoco on July 3, 2013

So, excited for the next course! Thank you for your time :)

0 answers

Post by Professor Popkin on September 14, 2012

Greetings Folks! Thanks for the awesome feedback!

Hey Stuart, we are working on a follow up course now. Sending in songs for critique is a good idea.

Hey Laura-Ann, tha Ke for the enthusiasm! Yes, working on a new course as we speak!

Keep writing you two and see you real soon. - Eliot

0 answers

Post by Laura-Ann Modine on September 10, 2012

please please please!! do another course, i have learned so much from you and i would love to keep learning from you! i can not even tell you how much this has helped me, this is ine of the best and most amazing courses i have ever taken.

0 answers

Post by stuart wyatt on September 10, 2012

Very good job, I would love to take a next level course of this type. Perhaps the ability to send in songs for critique, edit change, rearrange and use the ideas set in the course material. Very enjoyable, this has helped me greatly.

stuart wyatt


Lecture Slides are screen-captured images of important points in the lecture. Students can download and print out these lecture slide images to do practice problems as well as take notes while watching the lecture.

  • Intro 0:00
  • Country 0:46
    • Audio Example: Keith Urban
    • Example: Rhyming Scheme
    • Stripping Instrumentation
  • Pop 8:11
    • Audio Example: Pink
    • Main Difference Between Country & Pop
    • Chorus Extension
  • R&B 14:14
    • Audio Example: John Legend
    • Reframe

Transcription: Genres

Hello and welcome back to

My name is Eliot, and this is Intro to Songwriting, and this is our final lesson of the course. I know. I feel it, too.0003

But, that being said, I did not want to give you a glimpse into what we will be studying in the next course if enough of you want to have another course.0012

So, we are going to be talking about genres today.0023

Arguably, the three most popular genres in music today are pop, country and RnB. Rap is actually and probably right up there with those three.0027

But, for the purposes of today's lesson, I am just going to concentrate on pop, country and RnB.0036

So, we are going to look at three hit songs in each of those genres and just study them for a bit.0041

The first example is going to be a country song. This is by Keith Urban, a song called You'll Think of Me.0047

I am going to play it in a moment, and so, I am not going to say a whole lot while this song is going, and then, we are going to talk about it after, alright?0054

So, here is Keith Urban. [music playing]0063

So, this is like an instrumental intro. [music playing]0077

This is the pre-chorus. [music playing]0088

That is the title repeated there right at the end. OK, verse two. [music playing]0147

Here is a different pre-chorus. [music playing]0171

And the chorus again. [music playing]0182

This is the bridge. [music playing]0218

Back to the chorus again or the breakdown of it. [music playing]0230

A lot less instrumentation, and then, the instruments come back. [music playing]0237

This is like an outro. [music playing]0283

OK, so that was our country example, a Keith Urban song called You'll Think Of Me.0338

As you can already tell, just a beautiful song, and a wonderful example of the story telling that you will often find in country music.0343

I was taking a few notes as you could tell as we were going through, so let's just look at this for a moment.0351

One thing interesting, remember we were talking about rhyming schemes?0356

I woke up early this morning around 4AM with the moon shining bright as headlights on the interstate.0361

I pulled the covers over my head and tried to catch some sleep, but the thoughts - excuse me - but thoughts of us kept keeping me awake.0367

So, if you know, interstate and awake rhyme, but 4AM and sleep do not, so this is an A-B-C-B rhyme scheme.0376

If you noticed, I tried to get your attention as we were listening to the pre-chorus.0384

But, that's OK, there's nothing left to say but- he really speeds up the...rather than just using a lot of longer notes like half notes and quarter notes,0392

if you listened to the rhythm there of the melody, he is using a lot of eighth notes.0402

And it just speeds you up, speeds you up, and gives you all the sense of anticipation because you are going right into the chorus.0407

It was just a wonderful setup for the chorus.0412

This is such a good example of country music songwriting because it is so direct.0418

They are telling a story, but they are being completely direct. There is not so much discussion of feelings without telling you facts.0424

Country music is a lot about factual story-telling, so take your records, take your freedom, take your memories, I don't need them.0434

It is just so direct, and that is what makes it really strong.0440

We heard after the bridge, if you remember, I mentioned that it is, sort of, a breakdown of the chorus.0446

A lot of the instrumentation was stripped away, and what does that do?0452

You know nothing on the chorus. The lyrics are the same as it were in the first few choruses we heard.0456

But, stripping down the instrumentation, this is more of an arrangement thing that we have not talked about yet, but it really helps grab the listener in.0461

It is the most intimate, quiet part of the song, and it hits the chorus home again, and then, the instrumentation comes back in for the final chorus.0468

So, I hope you enjoyed that example. Certainly, an amazing artist and a songwriter Keith Urban is, if you want to check out some of his other music.0478

And let's go on now to our next example.0487

Our next example is in the genre of pop. This is one of my personal favorite pop artists.0491

This is a song by Pink. This is a song called Who Knew.0497

This was on, I think, two albums ago for her, No. 1 song. It is just a beautiful song, and let's hear it.0500

And I will just say a few little things as we are hearing it, and then, we will talk about it more after.0508

Here is the intro. [music playing]0517

Here is the verse. [music playing]0532

It goes right into the chorus. [music playing]0546

It ends right on the title, and this is the second verse [music playing]0573

So, this is the second chorus, but the lyrics are new. [music playing]0604

Here is the bridge. [music playing]0636

Here is the chorus, and it is the same lyrics as the first chorus. [music playing]0655

Here are some new lyrics right here. [music playing]0671

This is like extending the chorus right here. [music playing]0684

And just repeating the title at the end, and then, just playing the groove until the song ends. [music playing]0702

OK, so that was our pop example. That was a song by Pink called Who Knew, and let's just talk about this one for a moment or two.0720

There is not pre-chorus. She goes from the verse right into the chorus.0728

And from a songwriting strength perspective, to be able to go into the chorus that much quicker,0731

the chorus is often going to be the part of the song that the listener is going to remember the easiest.0743

So, to go right into it without a lot of delay is a pretty smart thing to do.0750

I chose this as an example of pop music because pop music is so much about talking about your emotions.0756

And so, if you can pair this to the country example we just heard, this is so much more about if someone said three years from now, you'd be long gone,0765

I would stand up and punch them out because they're all wrong, I know better 'coz you said forever and ever, who knew.0775

You did not hear as much about take your hat and leave my sweater.0781

There was not a lot of direct commentary as opposed to really just talking about your emotions and your heart and what you are feeling.0786

So, that is, kind of, a main difference I would say between country and pop.0793

And then, RnB, which we are going to learn in a moment, is much more about romance and love.0797

This song happens to be about a relationship, as well but as a general commentary.0801

So, if we look at this further, one thing I really want to comment on this is chorus extension. It is such a powerful tool.0808

At this point, we have already heard the chorus three times, and then, still, what she did was, if you heard it, they elongated the chorus.0818

They added about probably eight more measure of music, but they stayed on the same chords of the chorus that did not resolve.0825

Remember we talked about stable versus unstable tones, so you just have this.0832

It is the most dramatic moment of the song because she is holding onto those dramatic chords,0836

singing the same melody and then, extends it for another 3 or 4 lines.0840

It was just a killer example that.0844

That is our pop example, and we have one more example to go. This is our RnB one, so let's see what that is.0848

This is a song by a gentleman by the name of John Legend. It is called Where Did My Baby Go.0854

OK, technically, this was not a no. 1 song because it was not released as his single.0861

It is actually my favorite song by this artist, and so, as the teacher, hopefully, you will indulge me a little with that.0865

So, let's hear this song, and I will comment on it just a little bit as we are going through, and then, we will talk about it after.0872

This is the intro. [music playing]0887

Verse two. [music playing]0939

A mini-bridge and then, back to the verse. [music playing]0976

We are going to go back to this version of the verse with another bridge. [music playing]1015

As I noted here the first time, the melody is different, and rhythmically, it has a little bit more notes. [music playing]1032

Here is that mini-bridge. [music playing]1051

Back again to our verse. [music playing]1066

Instrumental break, then, it comes back. We ran out of space here, but back to the verse. [music playing]1129

OK, so, I chose that song in specific for a few reasons.1185

You know, you could argue because if the verse begins with where do my baby go, which is the title,1192

and it ends with it, that this is more of like a verse-kind-of-chorus.1196

But, the reason I wanted to call it a verse and discuss it with you is because when you hear the second verse, I'm searching for the lover in you,1203

if you can listen to the chords, underneath, they are same as the verse, and the melody is slightly the same.1210

It picks up rhythmically because there are a few more eighth notes and such in there.1219

But, the part of this section of the song that really separates itself from the first verse is this part in the bridge.1224

So, I wanted to play this with you because it is almost like when you do not have a chorus in the song.1231

And you have a section of a song that ends either with the title or repeats it, it is what is called a verse refrain.1237

The refrain is typically a mini-chorus. It might be just one line, the title, like here.1245

It is really interesting, though, that this section of music includes the title in the first line, too.1252

But, if you remember just from the examples that we just heard from the Pink song and on the country example, Keith Urban,1257

that the title in the chorus was so powerful.1267

It was so melodically and harmonically and rhythmically different from the other sections of the song, and it does not necessarily occur here.1272

What is memorable about this song is the way that they keep repeating the title very strategically.1281

But, I do hope you enjoyed that slightly different example, this one being the RnB example.1287

With that being said, I just wanted to say we are done with the course.1292

Thank you very much for tuning in, and I really hope you enjoyed the lessons.1296

I really hope your songwriting and your lyric writing and your musicianship grows, and please let us know here at any feedback.1301

If you would like to learn more about this subject, it would certainly be a pleasure to teach you.1310

So, thank you for tuning in to, and see you soon.1315