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Music Theory 104
Song Form
by: greggfine
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  • Dark Lane
    Posts: 27
    Joined: May 14th, 2020
    Song form for rock/pop instrumentals
    As I'm not a vocalist, my songs tend to be instrumental using the virtual instruments in my DAW. I might be wrong but there doesn't seem to be any standard song forms for instrumentals. Of course, I can use standard verse-chorus forms and just replace the vocal line with an instrument but it feels like I'm missing something, as it seems to just emphasise the lack of a vocal. Is there any song form theory that works for rock/pop instrumentals? Or am I trying to over-complicate things again :-) Thanks
  • Joe A
    Posts: 1834
    Joined: Oct 1st, 2013
    Re: Song form for rock/pop instrumentals
    Hi Dark Lane - As you said, you could just adapt the standard verse/chorus/bridge pop song format, but even with songs with vocals there are plenty of songs that deviate from that. You could focus more on a groove with shifting instrumental textures, or build up the arrangement with layering and effects as an alternate to an instrumental substitute for a vocal melody line.. Here are a few links to a bunch of additional courses on songwriting in general, song production, and even various dance music courses [dance music styles are often instrumental]. Maybe somewhere in there you'll get some helpful ideas for alternate song structures, interesting arrangement techniques, etc, that you can adapt to your rock/pop style..
  • Dark Lane
    Posts: 27
    Joined: May 14th, 2020
    Re: Song form for rock/pop instrumentals
    Thanks Joe - Glad to hear that I'm not missing something obvious! I'll follow your advice and stick with the traditional song forms but avoid just creating a melody line. Your ideas of concentrating on texture/voice/effects instead makes sense to me. I was falling into the trap of producing music that sounded like those awful K-Tel albums from the 70's where they covered a well known song and directly replaced the vocal with a guitar/synth. Anything to avoid that! Cheers
  • Student492151
    Posts: 1
    Joined: Feb 26th, 2022
    Re: Song form for rock/pop instrumentals
    I usually just pick a song's basic framework and chord structure and stick to it. Making an ABAB framework and deciding that A has four chords repeating four times and B has four chords repeating four times is the most basic example. That would be the most straightforward place to begin. After a few tunes like this, you can start challenging yourself by doing something more varied, but start small and easy and work your way up to something more complex.
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