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The basics

How to start a song

1. Inspiration


First Step of all creation, inspiration probably remains one of the most special moments in the artist's life.

Magical, mysterious and divine, this second of eternity that creates a work of art is attributed, according to the creators, a mood, a situation, a place or a specific time of its existence.

Like any other artist, the goal of a composer or author of a song, is to catch these moments sometimes too rare, which fade from the memory as fast as they come, with a pen and a sheet of paper or a recorder, or any other medium capable to immortalize them.

The basic idea, coming from this fleeting spark, is only the raw material of a work that will be a long and sometimes laborious process, requiring the creator  many qualities as diverse as aesthetics, technique, inventiveness and concern for perfection.

Through these skills, the artist musician can then express his talent and realize his original idea by giving birth to an original, balanced, attractive and perhaps memorable piece !




2. The theme


Proceeding with the development of a song does not respond to any imperative or predetermined chronological order, the working process of each artist is unique and intimately linked to his taste, affinities or musical culture.

The musical themes, text, chord chart, le-rythme or even a special atmosphere can just as easily play the role of "locomotive" in the creation of a song.

In this specific example of the song "You were there" (Stéphane Ellia / Yves Feger) that we have chosen to illustrate our analysis, the musical themes (melodies) existed before the other elements.

Here are some helpful about it prior advices:


a. Simplicity


It characterizes most the hits that mark our "hit parade" for years. In fact the song is primarily a popular art, and a successful theme must remain remembered by everyone.



b. The vocal shape


Voice is probably the most difficult instrument since it takes its landmarks using the ear and not a "key".

In order to facilitate the vocal performance, try to respect the following rules :


- The melodic "intervals"  must be the most as possible jointed or somewhat short (2th, 3rds, 4ths, 5ths, or 6ths and 8ves).

Avoid the toughest intervals (7th, 9th, 10th 11th etc ..), diminished or augmented intervals and long chromaticism (1/2 successive tones).

- The melody range must match the voice one to which it was intended. We must also avoid supporting a voice in the extreme registers (high or low), or

it would be in trouble.

- The "breathing" must be frequent, allowing the interpreter to catch his breath regularly. These brethings are placed on the "hinge" points of the song,  respecting the text structure.

- The "melodic line" should be flexible and directional in order to stand out from the sometimes too virtuoso instrumental writing.



c. The number of themes


It is an important factor in the success of a song. If it is too large, we will get a dispersion and the listener will not find his landmarks.

Conversely, a single theme can become very repetitive and quickly bowring.



b. The anacrusis, climax and ending


These three scientific terms simply denote the phases of "tension", of "peak" and "rest" of any melody.

These phases bring life and breath to the theme, in order to avoid dullness and monotony.

Continue this lesson !