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For more information, please see full course syllabus of Songwriting
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Lecture Comments (2)

0 answers

Post by Juan Carlos Garcia on September 11, 2012

Classes are awesome but it is sooooo distracting to try to listen to he audio samples. I have to raise the volume to the max to hear just a little of the sample, then explode my ears when he speaks in between trying to explain the audio sample. Seriously, why couldnt you put a microphone on that tablet thing? This is so annoying.

0 answers

Post by James Harris on May 22, 2012

I struggled for years attempting to write a song. And I just couldn't get it,and now I got it. Thanks for being so cool about the whole writing process Eliot.

Introduction to Lyrics

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Introduction to Lyrics

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
  • Object Write: Ocean 1:03
    • Example: Key Phrases to Use
  • Object Write to a Verse 1:49
    • The Rhyme Schme
    • Different Rhyme Scheme
    • Example: Why Words Rhymes
  • Melody Ideas 4:16
    • Create Many Melodies With 1 Simple Phrase
  • Harmony for Verse and Chorus 6:15
    • Define Harmony
    • Example: Add 1 New Chord
    • Audio Example

Transcription: Introduction to Lyrics

Hello and welcome back to Introduction to Songwriting.0000

My name is Eliot, and let's get right to today's exercises.0004

This is going to be the start of quite a few lessons in a row talking about lyrics and all the different ways we0009

can develop them and manipulate them and help them grow to become sections of our song and full lyrics.0014

So, last lesson, you did two object writes on people in public. It could be a cafe or a park or a library, and I certainly hope you had a great time doing that.0021

I have one more object write exercise to give for you, and again, this is the same.0035

You just want to time yourself for 5 minutes, but you want to describe something as much as you can, and there is no subject.0039

Do not even tell me what it is. You want to describe, describe, describe without revealing what it is.0046

And if you described it well enough, anyone should be able to figure out what it is that you are talking about.0052

So, that is yours, and I hope you enjoy doing that exercise, and let's get right into today's lesson.0059

This is an object write that we did on ocean, and if you remember, I circled a few key phrases that really just jumped out to me.0065

This is your opportunity to scan your work and what you came up with and just see whatever moves you.0071

I remember I loved this idea of children splashing in the waves, ships passing.0078

I loved the idea of sandcastles. I want to write a song about sandcastles.0088

I must say one more, new voyages, ships passing, I want to circle that and new voyages.0092

OK, this is what I came up with from this object write. I used the first line that is exactly from the object write.0102

Children splashing in the waves, ships are passing in the night, I come here every summer to watch the time go by.0115

I had this idea of know, sometimes when you grow up, and every summer, your family goes to a beach house or a vacation home.0122

And it is just something you come to every single summer, and have those very special memories about that environment and everything around it.0130

What is the rhyme scheme? Good question.0138

So, we have waves, night, summer and by, waves, night, summer, by.0140

If you said A-B-C-B, you are correct. This is supposed to say by.0155

Night and by rhyme, so this is A-B-C-B because the first and the third lines, waves and summer, do not rhyme.0164

However, what if we wanted a different rhyme scheme?0172

So, we have the same line in the beginning:0176

Children splashing in the waves, ships are passing in the night, I come here every Saturday to watch the time go by.0178

What is the rhyme scheme now? So, now, we have waves, night, Saturday and by.0187

If you can read that, it says, waves, night, Saturday, and by. This is actually A-B-A-B.0202

By putting in this word Saturday instead of summer, I rhymed it with the first line.0211

So, now, we have children splashing in the waves, ships are passing in the night, I come here every Saturday to watch the time go by.0216

You can manipulate and edit this as much as you want.0225

You can keep it just like this if you really like the word summer, or for whatever reason, if you are really moved to rhyme as much as you can,0227

then, go in and plug in another word like Saturday, and then, you are rhyming waves and Saturday.0237

And to give you an idea why that rhymes, the A in waves - waves - and A and in Saturday, that is where the singer is going to sing it.0243

And so, that is why it works.0252

Alright, so let's move on to our next exercise. Now, we are also going to talk in addition a lot about lyrics, how to develop our melodies.0253

If you remember, this is our original example, and I am going to play all these in a moment. It was C-D-E-D.0262

So, each exercise that I am going to give you a few different ideas on how you can0268

just take this one simple 1-measure phrase and create so many more melodies from it.0273

So, let's listen to what we have here. [music playing]0280

OK, so what did we just hear? This is our original example, and then, we just took each note and moved it up one step.0302

So, instead of C-D-E-D, now, we have D-E-F-E. Notice that is exactly the same shape, this tiny little arch, but we just moved it up one step.0311

In the third example, we used the same exact rhythm, so we still have four quarter notes, but we just made each note go up, so now, it is C-D-E-F.0323

Let's hear this one more time. [music playing]0333

And now, it is all up one step. [music playing]0343

Same rhythm, and the notes are ascending. [music playing]0348

So, there we have it, so you could take this example and use it with a few more lines, and then, maybe, the fourth line, you would just change this.0354

Instead of playing this, you would have this instead. It is just another different way you can add to your melodies.0362

So, lastly today, we are going to talk a little bit more about chords.0369

OK, so, this is the final exercise in today's lesson.0375

If you remember, when we were talking about harmony, we talked about establishing a groove, and it is really just two chords going back and forth.0379

And we have used this to the example of C going to F, C going to F.0387

To introduce a new section of music, and today, we are going to be introducing the chorus, all I want you to do is add one new chord. That is it.0391

We are keeping this as simple as possible to begin with, so we are going to listen to this example.0400

The verse is just C to F, C to F, C to F etc., and then, once the chorus starts, we are going to hit a new chord, G.0405

And it is just going to be that nice little lift to the listener to make them understand "oh, something new is happening".0414

So, let's hear this and see what we got. [music playing]0421

Here we go. [music playing]0452

So, we are just going back and forth between C and F in the verse. [music playing]0460

And here comes the chorus. [music playing]0471

It is just a simple way to introduce new sounds and new ideas to the listener, and it really helps elevate your song.0496

So, what I want you to do is whatever chords you came up with for your verse, if it is C and F, introduce a new one in your chorus.0504

In this case, I used G, and I hope you enjoyed that.0514

And thank you for tuning in to, and I will see you at the next lesson.0517