craft

WRITING THE BIG CHORUS
Friday, April 8th, 2011



(Image by David Russell Talbot)
(The following is an excerpt from Writing The Big Chorus: Delayed Gratification and The Power of One, 2nd. Edition)

One of our expectations when listening to a popular song is the Big Chorus. We've been conditioned to wait for it and we expect to get it. We sing along in the car at the top of our lungs, while others in traffic make fun of us. In modern society, where every second seems to count for more and more, a personal investment of time and emotion (even for 3½ minutes) can be rewarded by a big "payoff" delivered by the Big Chorus. Obviously, there are many examples of popular hit songs whose choruses would not be considered "Big" and some don't even have choruses. As far as commercial music is concerned though, Big Chorus songs really "knock 'em out of the park!" They are the kinds of songs that make publisher's mouth's water, and PRO's beat a path to your door. They also have the potential to invoke what is known, in songwriter circles, as the "mail box dance": a peculiar and uncontrollable bodily gyration which accompanies the receipt of a large monetary sum in the mail from performance royalties earned by the Big Chorus Song.


The
 over-arching
 principle
 of
 the
 Big

 Chorus
 song
 is
 the
 principle
 of
 Delayed
 Gratification. Delayed
 Gratification
 is
 an
 important
 component
 of
 human
 psychology,
 and
 is
 the
 ability
 to
 wait
 in
 order
 to
 obtain
 something
 we
 want.
 We
 say
 "no"
 to
 that
 slice
 of
 cheesecake
 in anticipation
 of
 a
 more
 desirable
 future
 event- how
 good
 we'll
 look
 in
 that
 bathing-
suit 
in
 six-
weeks. We decline
 offers 
from
 friends 
to 
go 
out
 over
 the
 weekend
 so
 that
 we
 may
 study
 for
 an
 upcoming
 exam
 in
 the
 hope 
of 
earning 
a
 high mark. We
 don't
 simply
 think
 about
 future possibilities,
 we
 feel
 future
 possibilities.
 And if our expectations are high enough,
 we
 are
 likely
 to
 wait
 for
 their
 fulfillment,
 as
 long
 as
 the
 promise
 of
 that
 fulfillment
 remains
 interesting,
 and
 doesn't
 take
 too
 long
 to
 get.
 This
 imaginative
 response provides 
the 
foundation 
for
 Delayed 
Gratification.
Looking good in a bathing suit and scoring high on an exam is one thing, but what sort of gratification are we expecting from a Big Chorus? Answer: harmonic resolution and disclosure of meaning. By it's very design, the Big Chorus song accomplishes this by setting up expectations, denying them, and finally fulfilling them, while keeping the listener interested during the whole process.


The Power of One is in delaying resolution to the 1 (one) chord until the chorus, while setting up anticipation for it in the sections preceding it. If the Intro., Verses, and Turn-Arounds have accomplished this, the listener is now ready for the big payoff- the arrival of the Chorus. It is at this point that the songwriter must fulfill and exceed expectations! The root position 1 chord should hit the downbeat of the chorus like a meteorite!


Part 2 of: Writing the Big Chorus: Delayed Gratification and The Power of One, next week.

To order the new 2nd. edition Go Here!




© Copyright 2018 - With the exception of certain logos, images, tradenames and software owned by their respective rights-holders, this website's entire contents, text, imagery, audio-visual elements, logos, contributions and tradenames are the exclusive content of Steve P. Leslie - All rights reserved.







 
 

"How can I know what I think, until I've seen what I've said?" -W.H. Auden
Recent Posts
Noteworthy
Recent Site Updates