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Songwriter’s Challenge: Write a Standard Form Song

Monday, June 17th, 2013

Beginners Guide To Song Form Part 2

After receiving such great feedback from you guys, we’ve decided to continue the songwriting form series. Last time we touched on the AABA format using Paul Simon’s “Still Crazy After All These Years” as an example, and today I want to focus on the most popular song structure-ABABCB.

Understanding Song Structure Basics: ABABCB Song Form

The ABABCB Song Form:

The most common song form is the ABABCB form, which is a verse-chorus-verse-chorus-bridge-chorus song. The “A” section is the verse, where the story is told. The “B” section is the chorus, which is the hook and the highlight of the song. A standard verse chorus can often become tiresome, so adding a “C” section, also known as the bridge, adds variation. The bridge is a musical departure from the expected-often summing up the song-thus supplying new momentum to the final chorus. Some popular examples for ABABCB songs are “What’s Love Got To Do With it” by Tina Turner, “Girl” by The Beatles, and “Hot N Cold” by Katy Perry. (more…)

Featured Artist: Bill Simon

Friday, March 1st, 2013

Studio Pros helps songwriters develop their sound.

I first met Bill Simon in May of 2012. He was contacting me about general information on collaborating with Studio Pros and exactly how it works. Little did I know at the time, that we would continue a very strong production collaboration together throughout the year and he would prove to be the prolific songwriter that he is!

Now with 23 full music productions complete with the Studio Pros team, Bill has proven to be a talent with lyrics, formulating strong song ideas, and an upcoming songwriter to keep an eye on. (more…)

Songwriting Tips: You Can’t Force Inspiration

Friday, February 11th, 2011

Have you ever tried writing a song on a deadline? There may be any number of reasons why you’d put a due date on songwriting. You could be trying to write a song for a TV or film licensing opportunity that has a deadline. Or maybe you have a show coming up and you wanted to make sure you had a brand new song to perform for your fans. It could be that you’ve set up a meeting with the A&R department of a record label and you want to show them some new stuff that shows off your new musical direction.

For me, it was because my band had a recording studio booked for a certain date and we wanted to make sure we had enough songs to put on an album (and then some). For our first two albums, we hit the studio after we had written ten songs and recorded two ten-song albums. This time around, we wanted to be able to pick and choose out of 15 or 20 songs so we could piece together and record the best album we had in us.

When a producer wanted to work with us, we chose a time to record that fit in both of our schedules. It was the fall, and we would be recording in the spring. We only had a couple songs ready then, but there would be plenty of time to write enough to reach our goal, right? Our singer and principal songwriter agreed, adding that he works best on a deadline. He does, after all, compose music for commercials and is regularly required to provide timely songwriting.

It didn’t take long for us to learn another lesson from the “songwriting tips” page of the musician’s handbook:

You can’t force inspiration.

You see, when he would write music for commercials, it wasn’t the same as writing songs for the band. It was easy to get something finished when he didn’t have a personal stake in the songwriting; when you make background music, you can resort to cliches and various techniques that create a good commercial product but not necessarily a heartfelt song that you personally believe in.

And then the inevitable happened: he hit a dry spell. Not a major one, but he ran into the same issues that every songwriter runs into once in a while. He just wasn’t feeling it. And when he wasn’t feeling it, he couldn’t be expected to write a great song. He probably could have forced out a bunch of songs, but they wouldn’t have had the same impact as the tracks that he really believed in.

The solution: give yourself a little time to breathe.

After telling us about the situation he was in, we decided to ease up a little on our constant attempts to write and rehearse new material. We scaled back our rehearsals from three times a week to two times a week, and our singer took a break from trying to write songs for the band. In essence, he took a little time to breathe. We all did. As collaborative songwriters, we relied on our singer to get us started but we were burning ourselves out as well. We took a break.

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Featured Artist: Theodore Frederickson

Friday, December 31st, 2010

Theodore Frederickson used Studio Pros to help him write and record his songs and won a highly-competitive songwriting competition from Broadjam.com.

“I vividly remember watching the very first appearance of the Beatles on the Ed Sullivan Show when I was just a young kid,” remembers Theodore Frederickson. “It really turned me on to music, as it did many people of my generation.” Frederickson continued his love for rock music throughout his life, but didn’t enter the industry as an artist until he had wrapped up a business career. “In early 2008, I semi-retired from the business world and began focusing on writing songs,” he says. “For the last three years I’ve really focused heavily on songwriting, and I’ve worked with a lot of studios and musicians.”

One of the studios Frederickson began working with was Studio Pros, which he found to be “truly unique” among the many online services he tried. “Their process is highly interactive,” he explains. One of the things that made Studio Pros unique to him was the fact that he could adjust his songs as many times as he wanted during the recording process. “It’s unlike most demo companies, which just send you the finished product without any opportunity for changes along the way.”

Two songs that Frederickson recorded with Studio Pros, “Tragedy” and “Blissful Sadness,” won in the highly competitive 2010 Broadjam.com 6-Pack Songwriting Contest. Broadjam has almost 200,000 members worldwide consisting of musicians, songwriters and producers who review each others’ work and vote on the contest.

Listen to Frederickson’s winning Studio Pros productions:

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Featured Artist: Jeremy Bright

Saturday, October 30th, 2010

Without a band of his own, Jeremy Bright turned to online musical collaborations to breathe new life into his songwriting.

“I’ll never be one of those people who lives for my job,” says Jeremy Bright. “I live for my off hours and my passions and my hobbies.” Bright’s passions, of course, include his music. A piano player since he was six, the Alabama-born songwriter’s love of music may have been set in motion generations before he was even around. “A lot of my family was into music, so it’s kind of in my genes,” he says. Now in Phoenix, AZ, Bright recalls his early musical influences being the soul music of his home state and the music of churches he grew up in.

And while he enjoys his day job as a software engineer, he doesn’t get his biggest fulfillment from his nine-to-five hours. Bright has been working on his latest album for three years, and he’s made collaborating with musicians online a regular occurrence. “I was in a band, but that kind of fell apart,” Bright says when explaining why he turned to the Internet to find musicians for his album. His search brought him to Studio Pros, where he explored the website and listened to demos to get a feel for whether the service would be a good fit for him. “What I heard was quality. So I gave it a shot, used Studio Pros on one of my songs. The tracks that I got back sounded good and I just kinda went from there.”

Bright used several Studio Pros services to supplement tracks he had recorded himself, choosing different Studio Pros musicians depending on what his songs needed. “I used the drummer to replace some of my drums, and on one song I used their guitar player to replace some bad tracks,” he says. “On ‘Angels Watch Over’ I used Studio Pros for the majority of the instrumentation on there.”

Listen to a clip of “Angels Watch Over” here:

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