Learning Compound Song Forms
A song is a musical creation intended to be played by the human voice alone. This is most often done in fixed and distinct pitches with no variations or the use of other instruments. Songs have different types, including those that include the single repetition or variation of rhythmic elements, as well as those that include the use of words.
Many people listen to music in order to relax, have a good time, have fun, find pleasure, or instruct. One way to accomplish this is through song creation. Songs can be created through improvisation. This involves arranging musical pieces to serve as a dance or drama group, sometimes without a melody in the composition. The arrangement is then used to tell a story or describe a new way of doing something.
Singing is not the only way to tell a story or create a melody. Music written for soloists often tell a story through the structure and lines of the song. Many popular songs were composed just as a singer sang them. Some examples of these include Hand in Hand with someone Who Loves You (written by The Beatles), I’m a Believer by Creedence Clearwater Revival, and Mary Had a Little Lamb by Robert Plant.
Another type of song for soloists is the a chart. These charts are used to indicate the different parts of a song. Abc stands for “ah” and “cd”, which mean “accent”. A simple example of an a chart is “abadcd”.
Songwriting also includes the use of verses and chorus in a song. Verses are used to describe a main idea or introduce a concept. Chorus is used to conclude a verse or start a new one. It is usually counted as part of the verse or chorus. Most artists use both of these parts to make their songs meaningful.
Musical compositions may have many sections, including melody, harmony, rhythm, and harmony. Each of these sections contribute to the overall song. Each has a specific purpose, and music scholars debate what the importance of each section is. However, music theory provides an outline of the different types of sections and what they mean.
Some song forms include repeating sections. A classic example is the song “Zip-A-Doo-La” by the Monkees. The chorus repeats four times and the refrain repeats three. The chorus repeats three times but no more than that. This form is popular music in its early days and has become the standard for many songwriters and musicians.
Other popular song forms include plain and phantasia. Plagio is Latin for “with string” while phantasia is Greek for “phantom.” Both are used to describe a rhythmic figure that repeats and is often repeated within a song. A phantasia or plagio chorus is very dramatic. Both are found in songs by The Who, Elton John, and Boyz II Men.
Strophitic verses occur in verses that repeat previous lines in a song. For example, “I’m in love with the man / I can’t take my eyes off of him.” In the above example, the refrain of the first line repeats four times while the chorus repeats three. This is a strophenia. A strophitic verse occurs when one verse repeats parts of a stanza while the next verse does not.