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Scaffolding: How to Use Structure to Map Out the Energy Flow of Your Song

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This article originally appeared on Soundfly.

 

Songs are almost always built from sections that will feel very familiar, and yet they still have the power to bring us delightful surprises. How songs are put together has varied over the decades, based on taste, culture, and innovation, but there are some fairly standard musical segments in a song that contain their own specific functions. While the order will vary here and there, the scaffolding itself is easy identifiable.

5 Musical Formats to Tide Fans Over Between Full Albums (Part 1)

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Releasing an album is hard. It’s what most musicians want to do the most (that and play live), but it is also one of the most difficult things you’ll have to do as a working artist. One of the things that can make the process so stressful is how long it takes and how many resources it eats up.

Between writing, rehearsing, perfecting, recording, mixing, mastering, and actually releasing the collection (which also typically includes a promotional campaign and shooting music videos), years can go by between proper full-lengths, but in today’s fast-paced musical world, that is not the best way to keep your career on the fast track.

3 Reasons You Shouldn't Change Up Your Chorus Lyrics

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Repetition, repetition, repetition – it's the key to learning, and also the key to success in songwriting. In order for something to get stuck in somebody's head, it not only has to be catchy, but they also have to hear it again and again.

Sometimes it can be tempting to change up the chorus lyrics each time — but here are three important reasons you shouldn't.

3 Ways to Tell If Your Song is Just 'Too Smart'

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There are exceptions, of course, but there are very few hit songs that are too smart for their own good. What do I mean by that? Well, I mean too smart for the average listener. Unless you're going for a specific crowd – political songs, college coffee house songs, songs written to display an intimate knowledge of the nuances of music theory, etc. — music that's "too smart" is probably not going to be broadly popular.

Why Every Artist Should Play at Least One Instrument

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If you're an artist and don't play an instrument at least passably well, you're putting yourself at a huge disadvantage. There are exceptions, of course — if you're the lead singer in a band or have your own backing band, you may find it entirely unnecessary to learn an instrument. 

This has it's own pitfalls, however. Keeping a band together is often hard work. Egos, conflicting musical tastes, and personalities are often more than a match for the most talented of bands. This is not to mention the added expense of paying band members.

Outside of the perfect scenario where you have endless money to pay a backing band and have a ready-made band of great musicians who are drug and problem free, you'll need to consider picking up a guitar at the very least. Here are just a few reasons why it's smart to learn an instrument if you're an artist.