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Lecture Comments (1)

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Post by James Harris on May 29, 2012

Thank you Eliot


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
  • Lyric Writing 0:15
    • Define Personification
    • Examples: Personification
  • Melody Ideas 3:22
    • Permutation
    • Ornamentation
    • Thinning
    • Pitch Change
    • Example
  • Song Sections 6:19
    • Different Sections of a Song
    • Pre-Course, Bridge, Breakdown, Instrumental Breaks

Transcription: Personification

Hello and welcome back to

My name is Eliot, and this is Introduction to Songwriting, so let's get right to today's lessons.0003

We have been talking a lot about developing your lyrics and your melodies.0010

And today, we are going to talk about something called personification,0014

which means giving something that is not living human traits and qualities like something having emotions or desires or actions.0018

And let's look at a few examples of that. The first one is a song that we looked at its lyric a few lessons ago: Christina Perri, Jar of Hearts.0026

And here is the lyric: you're gonna catch a cold from the ice inside your soul.0035

Ouch! So, the idea that you have ice inside your soul is a wonderful example of personification.0041

We do not know.0049

We could get into a discussion about this, but if a soul has ice or not, so to describe it as having ice is a strong lyric and a really nice example of this.0051

So, let's look at our second example. This is Adele song that I am sure most of you know: Rolling in the Deep.0060

And the lyric is: the scars of your love, they leave me breathless, I can't help feeling we could've had it all.0067

The scars of your love, to give the idea that love is actually going to scar someone physically0074

is a wonderful example of something like love taking on a human trait like being able to scar.0083

And as you know, if you have heard the song, it is just a powerful description of...0091

Yes, it says here wishing that you had it all with someone and realizing that you do not.0097

Let's go on to the next example, from the same song also Adele, Rolling in the Deep:0105

you had my heart inside your heart and you played it to the beat.0109

You cannot technically hold someone's heart inside your hand because if you could, they would not be living.0113

And if you are writing a song about that, that is a whole another song, but this is another excellent example of personification.0118

And so, we are going to talk about Katy Perry's song Firework:0125

do you ever feel already buried deep 6 feet under screams but no one seems to hear a thing.0129

Whoa! So, if you could be buried 6 feet under the ground and be screaming and have no one hear you,0136

that is an amazing way to say that you are at a point in your life where there is no one around you that really is listening to what you have to say.0144

And from the same song, baby you're a firework, c'mon let your colors burst. A bit more of a positive example.0156

To give someone the idea that they are actually a firework and letting their colors just shine and burst0164

is a way of saying "I want you to celebrate all the amazing things that make you who you are".0170

This is the opposite giving a human the quality of something non-human. What was awesome here is you compared the human being to a firework.0179

It is, kind of, a twist on the same idea but certainly giving one person or thing qualities that it does not necessarily normally have.0187

And that is what makes these lyric examples really strong.0195

So, let's go on to the next exercise for today, further examples of developing your melodies, and as you all know, at this point, this is our example.0198

It is four quarter notes, just C-D-E and D, and we are going to talk about four more ways that you can develop your melodies.0209

Permutation is a fancy way of saying "changing the note order".0219

We still have four quarter notes. We still have a C, a D and two Es - excuse me - a C and E and two Ds, but we are changing the orders.0223

So, now, it is C-E-D-D.0232

Ornamentations keep all the notes and add a few more notes to them. This is a very popular thing to do.0239

So, as you see, we still have the skeleton of the C, a D and E and a D, but we added a few notes.0245

Instead of four quarter notes, now, there are a few additional eighth notes added.0255

And we are going to hear this example and all the others in just a moment.0260

That is an E. There we go.0263

Thinning deletes certain notes, but the overall phrase length is the same.0265

So, we still have one measure here. There are four quarter notes, but we took out this one and replaced it with a quarter note rest.0268

So, it is still one measure of music, and this is also going to sound very interesting once we hear it.0275

Pitch change- same rhythm, change all the notes, so we have one measure of music.0280

We still have four quarter notes, but instead of C-D-E-D, now, we have E-F-D and then, E.0284

So, let's hear these examples. [music playing]0294

That is our example, and here is permutation. [music playing]0304

Here is ornamentation. [music playing]0310

This is thinning. [music playing]0315

And then, this is pitch changing. [music playing]0319

There are a few really cool things happening here.0324

If you noticed here when we heard permutation, repeating these two notes is a really strong thing- adding a little repetition.0326

This, really, once you see, you hear these eighth notes coming in, they really start to speed up the melody.0334

Thinning, and I thought was really cool was that we started, stops for a rest and then, had more notes.0342

So, it, kind of, almost became a call response kind-of-thing.0347

And pitch change is know, if you are going to do a pitch change, you are keeping the rhythm.0352

It is still four quarter notes, but it sounds so radically different from the melody.0358

So, the most effective place in a song to use this is probably when other things are not going to change.0362

Maybe you have the same over and over again and just change the melody notes.0368

So, our final exercise for today, we are going to talk about song sections.0373

We have discussed developing your lyrics and then, from our harmonic standpoint about what you can do to add a0382

chord to make the chorus stand out or start adding minor chords to really brighten and get the listener's attention.0392

Let's talk specifically about the different sections of a song.0401

So, we discussed the verse and chorus. Now, we will introduce the pre-chorus, bridge, breakdown and instrumental breaks.0404

So, this is actually a song by yours truly. I do not know if you have heard it before, but this is a song that was on one of my albums called the Endless Ride.0412

If we just scan this looking at the lyrics, we have a verse. We have a chorus.0420

We have a second verse, another chorus, a bridge, another and then, kind of, a breakdown or what could be called an outro as opposed to an intro.0428

And actually, before this verse begins, there is an intro.0443

So, if you look at this from the verse:0446

it's a brand new year, it's a perfect day, it's a summer breeze floating on the way, it's a coming smile that you give to me.0450

And then, the chorus: baby when you're loving me, I feel I'm on an endless ride, and it makes me say yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah.0456

Repetition: baby when you're loving me, I feel I'm on an endless ride, and it makes me say yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah.0463

And then, I repeated the whole phrase again.0469

So, a second verse: it's a yellow rose, it's a child eyes, it's a winter's night, and I'm warmly tucked inside, it's a sweet tangerine that you feed to me.0471

And then, the chorus repeats again: baby when you're loving me, I feel I'm on an endless ride, and it makes me say yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah.0482

It is actually, when it is your song, it is really hard to just say the lyrics and not sing it.0490

And then, so the second part of the chorus: baby when you're loving me, I feel I'm on an endless ride, and it makes me say yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah.0494

Then, we go to the bridge: how good it is to know I found love, oh, how easily I blush when you take me to the top, baby, baby.0501

Then, it goes back to the chorus, and then, this is just, kind of, a breakdown or outro section.0511

If you think of the song as it is starting to fade in the volume, you are going to just repeat certain sections of the song just as like a little hint at the end.0519

And it is probably going to be just some repetition of the chorus as I did here:0528

baby when you're loving me, I'm on an endless ride, and it makes me say yeah, when you're loving me, I'm on a ride, ooh.0531

So, hopefully on the website, we will have a link to this song so you could actually hear it and then, follow along here with the lyrics.0539

Thank you for tuning in to, and I will see you at the next lesson.0545