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Pat Pattison Songwriting Week #6 “Listening with new ears”

April 25, 2013

I have been putting off writing this 6th and final blog in our SAC challenge as if somehow I can prolong the course by not finishing it….                      It has been a truly remarkable learning experience and I can now say I am “listening with new ears.”

In this final week of lessons, Pat Pattison talked about phrasing as “the body language of the song.” As songwriters, we can create different emotions depending on which beat of the bar we begin a phrase on. Which means even though the melody remains the same for each verse, we  have the ability to change/colour the emotional content of it depending on how we phrase each line – whether we start on the downbeat (front heavy) or on a weaker beat (back heavy).

My assignment this week was to take the song I had written last week and apply body language “to adjust the phrasing to support the emotions of the lines”.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                     In the initial recording of “The End” I had sung every line front heavy (starting on the downbeat of the bar). Going through the song line by line, some were obviously back heavy and what a difference it made in the interpretation! There were, however, some lines I struggled with so I took the song apart and created a technical exercise where I wrote out the strong and weak beats and then shifted around the phrases to see which fit best.

I kept the worksheet in front of me when I re-recorded the vocal line but it came out sounding stilted-like the technical exercise I had turned it into. I had to remember what Pat had said this week “information enhances creativity-it doesn’t stifle it.”

What Pat had given us this week was another tool to help express the song. So….armed with my tools….not rules….here is my new version of what is appropriately called in this final class…”The End”


From → Music, Songwriting

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