The Structural Skeleton System

author: chi_z date: 02/17/2010 category: songwriting
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I'd like to talk to you guys about structural skeleton, a concept I created that allows me to write songs in a matter of minutes. I based it off traditional styling, where A represents a verse and B a chorus (for instance ABAAB is structural skeleton).Noobs; this lesson will have you writing GOOD music in no time, so if you don't know where to begin, this is a good start. This concept came about because I am a video game composer, and with this job comes the unfortunate fortune of having to make 3-6 cds per year, 5 hours of albums each and every year. So I needed a way to git-r-done in an easy and timely fashion. This is the result. So firstly, let's define some variables. A: verse B: chorus C: bridge, break, prelude,interlude,outro w/e you call it D: solo E: collision (only applies if you have more than one instrument playing lead during solo) We'll call each letter a sector, or section. So say CABABCDEABC In this example, the song starts with the break that is also played in the middle and end (establishing a beginning middle and end to your song/story). Next we have the verse, chorus, verse, chorus, the break establishing the middle, the solo, then a collision (let's say during the solo I had a guitar and keyboard playing separately, now in the collision I have them playing simultaneously). Next we have that verse, chorus, break, thus we end on a familiar and fitting sector. That's pretty stale though. Let's throw some subscripts in the mix. C A B A2 B2 C D E A B A2 B2 C The 2 represents a slight change. For instance, A1 I played G major. A2 why not play F major instead, a slight change? This keeps me from repeating my self, gives a rich full and diverse life to the song, prevents dull staleness etc. Multiple keys in one song is an advanced technique that some look down upon as amateurish, and some, when done correctly, view it as a challenge that presents new flavor into a song. Now that's very simple, and will barely help you in the actual writing process. It should take you less than a minute to write out the skeleton. Structural skeleton gives you the meat, now you handle the other parts, the potatoes(time signature, tempo, key, etc).To accomplish this, we now move on to the outline. C:Em, C#m A:G7, G, E7, E B:G with pentatonic, E with pent, Em with pent, C#m w/ pent A2:G7, G, A#7, A B2:Gpent,A#pent,Gm pent,Em pent C:Em,C#m D:Gm pent, Em pent,Gm arp, Em arp (I could have my guitar play the first 2, then have keys play the arps) E:same as solo just simultaneously A B A2 B2 C This structural skeleton allows you to have a quick hand guide of sorts for ALL instruments that will be in your song. For instance look at C. Em, C#m. What does that entail? Well I could have bass playing an Em chord, have my guitar playing an Em arp over that, have my keys playing an Em pent, all sorts of goodies. So the next step is writing out the song for each instrument, a task made easy since you have a reference if you get lost, your structural skeleton!
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