Tag Archives: How to write a song

The Listening Service: Tom Service

 

BBC Radio 3: The Listening Service, with Tom Service
BBC Radio 3: The Listening Service, with Tom Service

It’s a BBC radio programme. It’s a podcast. It’s a store of animations. If you’re interested in music, of any flavour, Tom Service‘s programme will make you think, and help you think better:

If you’re a writer, try:

It’s a deep, delicious, musical treasure chest for listeners and creators. Enjoy!

©SingBetterEnglish2017

Building a song

Steve Earle has lived through the sort of horrors that have launched a million country songs: addiction, affliction, heartbreak, even prison. He wears them in his voice, but what’s most appealing about him is the wide-eyed, unmistakable fearlessness with which he goes about his life these days”     NPR Tiny Desk Concerts

Steve Earle and Shawn Colvin sing “Tell Moses” and chart the steps in its creation. How they bound Moses, Martin Luther King and Ferguson, Missouri together in words and music, in answer to the question: “What’s to be done?”:

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Summertime Sadness: the shape of words

If you’re thinking of writing a song in English, choose words for their shape as well as their meaning. Meaning can float in the air (“I am the Walrus?”) but the shape of English words in song must align with the feeling of your music.

Think of Lana Del Rey’s Summertime Sadness. From the title to the chorus it’s a masterful mix of sound shapes. Summertime: soft, warm and measureless. Sadness: deep and hazy. Together, each intensifies the other. I’ve chosen Miley Cyrus’ cover version, from BBC Live Lounge. You can see how Miley shapes her mouth and where she breathes, to allow each word its languorous character:

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