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For more information, please see full course syllabus of Songwriting
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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 0:12
    • Example: Use Repetition to Strengthen
    • Example 2: Use Repetition to Strengthen
  • Melody Ideas 1:50
    • Truncation
  • Rhythm Lesson 3:27
    • Whole Note
    • Half Note
    • Quarter Note
    • Example

Transcription: Repetition

Hello and welcome back to, Introduction to Songwriting.0000

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

So, we are going to talk about the idea of repetition in lyrics.0008

Repeating a word or phrase really grabs a listener's attention, and it makes that word or phrase very important, best to use for the title.0013

So, let's look at a few examples here. This is a song by Johnny Nash, I Can See Clearly Now.0021

If that does not ring a bell, it is I can see clearly now, the rain is gone.0027

You know it is that song. You all know the melody.0033

I can see all the obstacles in my way, gone are the dark clouds that had me blind, it's gonna be a bright, bright, bright, bright sun shiny day.0035

If you remember in the song, the background vocals really help emphasize the lyric.0045

It's gonna be a bright, bright, bright, bright sun shiny day.0051

So, here is a much more recent example because that song was from quite a few years ago: Nicki Minaj, Superbass, for all you Nicki fans out there.0056

Boy, you got my heartbeat running away, beating like a drum and it's coming your way.0064

Can't you hear that boom-ba-doom-boom-boom-ba-doom-boom bass, he got that superbass.0069

Boom-ba-doom-boom-boom-ba-doom-boom bass. Yeah, that's that superbass.0075

I have never heard a title set up so well with this.0079

The repetition in this whole section is so strong that you cannot help but sing along and remember what it is that she sang.0084

Yes, as I mentioned, it is just completely set up.0095

And that is a wonderful example of how you can use repetition to really strengthen and drive home an idea or a title in your song.0097

OK, let's go right to the next exercise today.0106

We are going to talk more about developing our melodies. Again, here is our tried and true example going C-D-E-D.0110

And we are going to talk about a few different ideas today.0118

Descending is you keep the same rhythm of the notes, so it is just four quarter notes, but you are going to go down the scale, so this is D-C-B-A.0121

In inversion, you know how we talked about doing an arch in the melody. You can do an opposite arch.0131

So now, we are just going to go like this in the melody, C-B-A-B.0136

Truncation is a fancy way of saying "just take away a note, add the rest".0141

Instead of C-D-E-D like our example here, we are just going to take away this final note, so it is just going to be C-D-E.0145

Let's listen to this example. [music playing]0153

OK, that is the original example. [music playing]0155

That is the one going down, descending. [music playing]0160

That is the inversion. [music playing]0185

And that is the truncation where you take away the last note.0192

Just a few more examples of how you can take just one simple idea and create a bunch more melodies from it.0194

OK, let's go on to the final example today. This is first lesson in discussing rhythms.0204

And again, if you remember, rhythm was that bonus component.0210

The song is primarily melody, harmony and lyrics and rhythm, especially what you just saw in that example with Nicki Minaj,0213

it can really help drive a song especially in certain sections when you want to use it to highlight perhaps the title or a new section of the song.0220

So, let's talk about what we have here. This is called a whole note, and it lasts for four beats.0231

When you have something looking like this, it is a half note, and that is two beats.0241

This is a quarter note. That is one beat.0246

And then, if you just see something that looks like this, that is a half note. It lasts for half a beat.0251

Oh, and if you see something like this with two lines, this is a sixteenth note, and it lasts for a quarter of a beat.0256

So, we are going to go very slow through these examples, and I am going to clap them out with you.0266

And I just want you to get used to the idea of using rhythm as well in your songs.0271

So, these are all a 4/4 time signature, which means that the quarter note is one beat, and it is four beats to a measure.0276

Let's look at our first example here.0283

If you count yourself in for one measure, 1, 2, 3, 4. This is 1, 2, 3, 4, 1, 2, 3, 4 and 1, 2 and 3, 1, OK?0286

Let's do that one, one more time. I am going to start at the beginning here again, right here.0305

OK, so, 1, 2, 3, 4, 1, 2, 3, 1, 3, 4 and 1, 2 and 3, 1.0310

Alright, let's go on to the next one. As you can see, they are going to get more and more interesting.0326

So, we are going to count ourselves in for four beats, and then, we are going to start right here.0330

1, 2, 3, 4, 1 and 2, 3 and 4, 1, 2 and 3, 4, 1, 2, 3, 4, 1, 2 and 3.0335

OK, let's do that one, one more time. I am going do it slower, too.0349

1, 2, 3, 4, 1 and 2, 3 and 4, 1, 2 and 3, 4, 1, 2, 3, 4, 1, 2 and 3.0352

Alright? Let's try the last example, and we have some sixteenth notes here.0368

So, I am also going to count us in for one measure, and then, we are going to start right here.0373

1, 2, 3, 4, 1, 3, 1, 2, 3 and a 4, 1 and 2, 3 and 4, 1.0376

So, when you have a sixteenth note, you count it as 3 e and a and a eighth note is just 1 and.0392

Did you hear how when we got to the sixteenth note, it immediately...0402

Not only did the rhythm speed up, but the anticipation of what is going to happen next in the song can also speed up, too, so a wonderful tool.0407

This is really what Nicki Minaj used boom-ba-doom-boom-boom-ba-doom-boom bass, you got that superbass.0413

So, let's do this example one more time, and I am going to count us in 1, 2, 3, 4, 1, 3, 1, 2, 3 and a 4, 1 and 2, 3 and 4, 1.0418

Alright, so I hope you enjoyed today's lesson.0436

I will see you at the next lesson, and thank you for tuning in to Educator.com0439