Developing A Song

Sometimes the way to make a song better is to take away elements, not add more. We'd like to share with you an example from our latest songwriting course. In this particular example we developed a ska song and after adding some extra layers decided to strip the bass back a little. Let's explore that. Start by taking a listen to the a full mix of the sample song.

The bed of this song is some super high chords. The bass uses open notes only emphasizing the start and end of each bar.

ska song bed

As you heard there's a lot more going on in the audio version that is shown in the tab. We added a second guitar playing a relentless rhythm. We also added some tight keyboard arpeggios at the end of each bar. You can't hear it in the audio sample included in this post but a different mix had some acoustic guitar playing through some nice triad chords. You can see all those extra music elements in the next tab.

more ideas for a ska song

As the chord progression for both scores (it's all the same song) is am - C - G - dm we're hoping you get a few ideas on elements you can use in your own songwriting regardless of the genre. But, like we said at the outset, notice how we stripped the bass back to just a three note pulse at the start of each bar. That actually added more 'pump' to the bass line because it occurs only at the start of each bar and there's so much silence before the bass comes in again. Plus, it left some great portions for other instruments to fill out and stand out. Which is a part of being a great player and a great songwriter. How does this part impact the whole song!

If you want to learn more about how we developed this progression and more great ideas for songwriting take the whole course! Learn awesome techniques for writing excellent songs.

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