How Musical Form Can Help You Write Hit Songs

When was the last time you went through this? You come up with an amazing sounding chord progression, riff, or even a melody: but no matter how much you try, you can't seem to get any further than that.

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How Musical Form Can Help You Write Hit Songs
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When was the last time you went through this? You come up with an amazing sounding chord progression, riff, or even a melody: but no matter how much you try, you can't seem to get any further than that. Every composer has gone through this while trying to learn how to compose music. But don't think these ideas are doomed just yet.

Nearly every musician since the beginning of history has run into this problem more often than they (or their producers) would like to say — so at the very least, you're in good company. And, sure, I could wax poetic about the times when this has happened to me, but that would almost be doing a disservice to everyone else before me.

It's such a common issue that there are actually people who devote their lives to finding solutions to it scientifically. And it's called the study of Musical Form.

Musical Form teaches musicians how to "cast" a set of chords, drawing them out and making them sound good over a longer duration. And there are plenty of examples of this out there. One example comes from pop music, where the majority of songs take on the same formula, going from the intro to a verse, to chorus, back to verse, chorus, bridge, chorus, finale.

However, there is a caveat. Almost all authors on the subject have one word of warning: 'Musical Form is not meant to be used when writing songs, but only for analyzing them,' that is, unless you want to write music that sounds just like everything else.

So how could this be used for composing music? What could learning to analyze music do for your original tunes?

Trust me, there is a way use musical form in a way that'll help you create lively compositions. And it's not particularly difficult - when you learn it you'll easily be able to transform an idea into a composition. Here's a quick video lesson I made to help you learn how to do this yourself. Take a look at it now:

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Now pick up your instrument of choice and go back to one of those ideas you wanted to turn into a song and get started!

About the Author:
Tommaso Zillio is a prog rock guitarist and composer with a passion for teaching songwriting.

2 comments sorted by best / new / date

    HugoPan
    I consider one of my biggest strenghts, the hability to analize a song while listening to it for the first or second time. most of my friends can't seem to know or manage to do that at all. great article man, keep it up about those topics of songwriting