The Official KSAND Kent Sandvik Web Site

Producer, guitar player, composer and maker of noise.

Song Writing – Break The Rules

Posted on | October 24, 2008 | No Comments

red_guitar_hand-009.jpgSomething that easily happens for those writing songs is to get stuck in a known formula. One typical example is: intro – 2x verse – bridge – chorus – verse – bridge – 2x chorus – verse – bridge -chorus – end.

There are similar kinds of patterns. The techno/dance world has its own, such as 32 bars of intro with no kick, 16 bars of kick, main section, buildup, teardown.

I must say, in this time and age, it has been done millions of times and it is getting boring, even amongst consumers that sometimes want known and proven.

It was for me a revelation to listen to the song structure of Beatles’ later works — in my case Revolver the album that I’m learning inside out for a future project to be revealed. They broke the songwriting rules here and there. It was fun.

In other words, there’s a simple formula to make your songwriting interesting and fresh. Use different patterns. For example, start with a mini-song section, then the other half of the song is totally different. Sometimes make the bridge longer than expected, or much shorter than you expected (such as in Beatles’ I’m Only Sleeping.) Make two different choruses. There are endless variations. It might make sense to have a lead melody in the song as the consumer needs a hook, but it does not mean that you use something everyone else has used over and over.

The other story is that songs don’t need to be so long, even a song just over two minutes is fine in this age of iTunes song-only downloads. Or then make it 14 minutes, no need to stick to the 3 min 15 second (classical 45rpm) length.

PS: Another interesting issue with the I’m Only Sleeping song structure is that John Lennon used nine measures in verse (not eight), the chorus is  six measures, not to speak of the fragmentary bridge


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