The “Sequence” of Songwriting
by Jacob Tripoli
(Wichita, KS, United States)
Every song, jingle, score, etc. had a specific path that helped it find the form of a finished product. Here is a vague outline I believe all music follows in some way or another.
Idea: This can be your personal purpose, secondary need, or just something you are commissioned to develop.
Structure: Whether it be organized sections for certain lyrics, a series of images or videos, or a live performance, (dance, theater, etc.) all music can be separated into smaller parts. A song into sections, sections into phrases, phrases into bars or measures, and all the creativity in between.
Sections: They can consist of any number of measures, even merely one. They can contain only one chord, a few chords, or countless chords; that all depends on who's in charge.
Phrases: Can be a series of notes that either repeats, evolves, or transforms. Repeating is self-explanitory, evolving means adding/removing notes in order to keep things interesting, and transforming by following a chord progression in a new way. Ex. bringing a melody up/down an octave, a melody line switching parts with a harmony line (or to something at least similar). Between phrases there tend to be transitional lines so new chords don't seem out of place (like a welcome mat).
Phrase Filling: Depending on the chords; melodies, harmonies, bass lines, etc. have endless possibilties and can be as interesting as you allow. Of course rhthym, meter, and the music's basic structure will aid in constructing lines of notes that sound pleasing and appropriate to the writer.
Voicing: A chord has more meaning than some realize. Sure a chord may contain 3 or 4 different note names(ex. C7 chord: CEGB), but any chord can be altered to balance all the simultaneous notes and tones we desire. A bass line is the bottom of a chord progression and is used to make music sound full. It can be as simple as the lowest note of each chord; simple chords result in simple bass lines. However, it doesn't have to be so simple, it can be a harmony of a melody that exists in a higher octave. Creating harmonies is something I believe should involve self-studying, but the internet will explain pre-established harmony techniques (ex. raising/lowering a 3rd or 5th, complementing a descending melody with an ascending harmony).
With all this in mind, creative sound production can take place while having organizational underthoughts. I hope this will help someone out there.