Elevation Centre: The Manual: Volume Two

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    Posted: 18 December 2016 at 3:33am

 

 

 

The Manual: Volume Two 

 

 

Structuring A Track

(Going off audio format, 1 bar = 1 line)

 

Now that we all know how to write and structure a verse, the next thing to learn on this endeavor is how to structure our songs. There a many different types of structures for songs and this is changing every day, and different methods are better suited for certain types of tracks in particular. There are pros and cons to every type of structure, so it’s up to you to decide which one brings the most to the table and contributes to the emotion you wish to portray on your track.

                           

 

 

 

Components Of A Track

 

Verse

 

A standard verse is 16 bars, but this is not always the case. In storytelling for instance, the verses tend to be longer, perhaps about 24 bars. If you look at some of the radio play songs that have more of a pop feel to the rap, you may notice verses only consisting of 8-12 bars. Music is a form of art, and thus there are many ways to construct your track just as there are many ways to paint a portrait.

 

The length of other aspects of the track will vary depending on your choice of verse length. So a typical rap verse can range between: 8 bars, 12 bars, 16 bars, or 24 bars. Once you have however many and however long verses you decided upon, you will move on to the other components of your track.

These following components are to boost your song and support the verses while bringing different flows and sounds. Not all of the following items are required for a successful song, but they are the components to choose from when building your track.

 

 

Intro  

 

 

This has the ability to build up into a song, or simply reinforce the emotion you wish to portray. The range of this can vary greatly, but typically never longer than 8 bars/lines. This is inserted as the first thing on the track before any other vocals. The “intro” can be anything you wish, you can make it rhyme with bars, you can have a dialogue, sounds, adlibs, short phrases, etc.

 

Chorus/Hook

 

think of the chorus as either a summary of the track, or as maybe a thesis statement of the track. The chorus needs to grab the attention of the listener; it is the part that repeats in the track, so it is the first part remembered. You want this to be different from your verses in flow and sound so that it doesn’t all just melt together and makes it hard for the listener to tell when the verse stopped and when the chorus/hook began.

 

The typical length of a chorus/hook would vary in the range of 4 – 8 bars/lines. Like any aspect of a track, you have full control of what this is. In the case that you needed an 8 bar gap filled by chorus, you would have many variations to decide from. You could write 2 quatrains (8bars/lines), or you could write one quatrain that repeats a second time, you can even repeat a couplet (2bars/lines) 4 times. You are the artist you decide what it needs.

 

 

Chorus/Hook Extensions

 

 

Something not used as often, but this can be a quick quatrain (4 lines/bars) added either in front or at the end of the chorus. The purpose of this is to add more support to the chorus in a different form as well as increasing the memorable factor. You want to keep this on the simple side rather than complicated so that its easy to remember/catchy. This could even be a couplet in one of the verses that gets repeated twice and added throughout the song to add additional support.

 

 

Bridge

we all know people are retarded, that being said this aids to attract the attention of listeners with short attention spans. A chorus can get kind of boring sometimes if its repetitive or just not as strong as others, you can fix this by adding something fresh to it. This part would be a different rhythm/sound to the chorus, it would stand apart.

 

 A bridge can be used between two choruses, if your time is more constricted, you can do one chorus followed by a bridge, then into the verse. Again, it’s your track, you fucking decide this shit.

 

 

Outro

 

you can use this to re-solidify the purpose of your track. It can be something to add to the emotional aspect of the track as well. This is basically like an intro, but as an outro.

 

 

 

 

 

Structure Examples:

 

Standard

 

verse, chorus, verse, chorus, verse, chorus

 

Verses: 16 bars/lines

Choruses: 8 bars

Roughly 4 min

 

This seems to be the go to structure, think of it as the tried and true. On this one you would typically see 16 bar/line verses, and 8 bar choruses. This has less components on it which brings more of the focus on the content of the track. This may seem like a great way to go, but that is not always the case. For instance, you want to focus on the content for a storytelling piece, BUT your verses are probably going to be around 24 bars, and at that point, this song just got way longer. Plus those verses will be so long you won’t remember an 8 bar chorus because it is too long, and drawing too much attention away from the story.

Storytelling

 

verse, chorus, verse, chorus, verse, chorus

 

Verses: 24 bars

Choruses: 4 bars

Roughly 5 min

 

Since I was going on about storytelling, here we are. When you are telling a story, your verses tend to be on the lengthier side, even for the audio side. These tend to be 24 bars/lines typically. Since we are dealing with longer verses, we want a shorter chorus that will be easy to remember (as it takes longer for these to play).

 

You are using more track time to build your story, but this also means you should try to have a strong chorus. If you make these choruses longer, the track would really be too long. I mean unless its like so stupid everyone is hypnotized and can sit there for 30 minutes listening, then don’t make it longer than 5 min, you don’t want people moving past a track because it as too long, leaves a bad taste. So lets keep the choruses shorter, and focus more on the content/emotions of the story. Build a connection to the listener/reader. On the down side since your focus is on the verses, the track will have less of a variety on it.

Pop/Modern/Radio

(not absolute)

Pre hook extension, hook, verse, pre hook extension, hook, post hook extension, verse, pre hook extension, hook, post hook extension, bridge, pre hook extension, hook, post hook extension

Pre/Post Hook Extensions: 4 bars/lines

Hook/Chorus: 8 bars

Verse: 8 bars

Bridge: 8 bars

This is probably what you hear more on the radio now, new artist tend to use this more often than the vets. That isn’t necessarily a bad thing, as music is always evolving, and when it comes to audio tracks, you want to keep up with what the listeners demand if you’re trying to make a single.

This is the style that you would see someone like drake use maybe. Basically it’s when you have a really hot chorus and you want that to be the focus of the song. People who listen to radio maybe have shorter attention spans, who knows, but they get bored, this method allows you to have a killer chorus so you build the track around that. That means shorter verses, and more components that will elevate/support your chorus/hook.

This type makes it easy to remember a lot of a song as it has many repeating parts with short distances between them. On the off hand, now your verses don’t have much weight, and are more on the non-memorable side, and this track can be seen as repetitive to some.

 

Summary

 

Those are the basic styles. You can literally do anything you want when making a track. You can consider these guidelines and not law. Edit them as you wish in whichever way better serves the focus/purpose of your track/song. You have full control, if you are unsure, play around with it, try different things.

 

Also a beat tends to tell you the emotion of a song, and you could use that to help you decide which guidelines to stick closer to. You may notice id dint use intros/outros in any of these, that is your decision as to when you wish to use them, they are probably the least important part, but don’t let that fool you, they can help in a big way if utilized correctly.

 

 

The Focus On The Chorus

(Nothing here is absolute)

A chorus connects your verses, there is normally just one chorus that gets repeated after every verse, but this can change. The purpose of this is to hook the attention of the listeners. You can do anything for your chorus; I won’t limit your originality. Remember technically speaking these bars is in regards to time. Typically, 4 beats per measure, 1 measure per bar. This is typically words, but not always. If you listen to modern people like designer, it seems as if they lean more towards sounds.

The chorus is important because it is the only part of a rap song that is being repeated many times. This makes it the first part someone would remember, which is partly why you don’t want to over complicate these, keep them simple. The hooks/chorus are what helps the listener remember what verse went with what song, it is the part that sticks to them the most, and being that they are a reoccurring point/summary of a song, they relate to the title of it as well. Think cliff notes.

 

So yea, you want this to be memorable, but a big thing that helps make it memorable is MELODY, so make sure it’s melodic along with being cliff notes. If there isn’t a good melody to it, then it will be bland and flat. Make sure this flow is different from any flow used on your verse; it should not match anything in order for it to stand apart. More commonly you will see rappers singing more on their verses now-a-days. This adds to its melodic factor, and it is a big focus in today’s music.

Now, I suck at choruses personally, I would feature this out… but for the purpose of this guide, envision this being sung in a melodic way.

Example:

 

Everyday’s a struggle, Everyday’s a struggle

Every day I bustle to avoid the hustle

Wake up every morning hoping shit has changed

Bitch, this is my life, no dreams ‘cuz I stay wake

 

Ok, so this is harder to grasp without audio, but like I said, I suck with choruses, so you just going to have to imagine it being sung. It has a repeating part in itself to help make it memorable and easier to catch the flow at the start (in theory), then it talks about the point of what that song would be about… which is pretty much a shitty ass life, and the guy has no dreams to fulfill as he is pessimistic and just accepts it as is. He has accepted it. So we got a melodic aspect by doing it by singing in this case. It’s a summary of the verses id be spitting for the shitty life no dreams track, its simple and has a basic short repetition in itself to make it easier to remember, and more catchy (again, in theory).

This would be the case of repeating a 4 bar chorus twice in order to take up the 8 bar gap, or you can mix in other components if you’d prefer, such as a bridge perhaps.

 

 

The Process

Ok, we got the gist of is, we know what style we want and what emotion we want to focus on for the track. We decided on our build pattern (you may do this after picking the instrumental, especially if you are not producing your own (the dream).

 

Choose An Instrumental

I personally do this first, I am very picky when it comes to beats, and I don’t necessarily like to just choose what topic I want to write about, I prefer to be inspired. I normally use the beat as my inspiration. I’ll listen to a beat and see what is about, you literally just need to shut up and listen, it will speak to you and you should be able to build a connection and hear what its saying. Sure it sounds weird, maybe you’re a cyborg and it’s impossible, well this is my best description.

Once you’ve head the instrumental at least one full time, what I like to do first is freestyle outloud on it, just to see if you find any quick flows that you can later substitute the weak words your probably just spit with something more impressive. The focus is the flow. Then get an idea of what you think you should write about in your head, and freestyle your verse with very little focus on rhyming, as a matter of fact, try not to rhym much and focus on the content. Once ive done that, then I try to respite a similar verse with more focus on the rhyming of it. After ive done that, ive officially decided I like this beat and want to make a track. What you did was just map out a basic plan of the song that you will develop and build later. Be sure to match the emotion that the beat portrays with the emotion you focus on with all your vocals.

Structuring your shit

Boom, how you want your verses laid out and about how long they will be (although they are still not written). You can begin deciding on the structure depending on how much time you have to fill and which components of a song you deem as the most supportive for the style you are aiming for.

At this point write your verses down. There are some good guides here such as Nigma’s for topical I recommend. But putting it in a nutshell,

First decide the points you are going to write about, or write the story in a non rhyming form. You can even do this as bullet points, it doesn’t matter. Maybe do some research and write down what you find about the topic in particular.

In a Nutshell:

Once you have done this, go ahead and write a basic form of it with rhymes

Then write your draft where you start adding more depth and content in form of

Metaphors/similes/wordplay/punch lines/imagery/etc.

After this I write one more draft that you will incorporate more advanced rhyme schemes, perhaps add internals.

Then the final Passover is just in the form of polishing, taking or adding 1-2 syllables to lines in order to make it fit smoothly and flow like butter.

 

Next Step

Ok boom, your verses are all completes, awesome sauce. Now its on to your chorus. That being said, fuck you, scroll up. I’m not re-writing that shit.

And now go ham and choose what components you wish to add and where to add them. Once you do that and have written each of those components, then wam bam thank you mam, your track is done, fully composed lyrically and ready to be mixed and mastered.

 

 



Edited by Lord Puente - 18 December 2016 at 3:43am
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Post Options Post Options   Likes (0) Likes(0)   Quote Sammy Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 19 December 2016 at 7:03pm
ha that's whatsup!! good shit, L. Man i really love ur contribution to the site bro. glad ur on the team. 


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^^I 2nd that..peace.
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Post Options Post Options   Likes (0) Likes(0)   Quote Lord Puente Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 25 December 2016 at 5:26am
been vibin to 6lack album. wanted to drop a song that utilizes intro, pre-hooks, chorus, bridges and verses between 5-9 lines long
 
 
 
 
 
his whole album "Free 6lack" actually utilizes a few of my sampled methods mentioned above as well as more.. I can vibe to this album, I enjoy it myself, so if youd like some prime examples of different methods to build a song, vibe to that album and pull up the lyrics and see how its all set up.


Edited by Lord Puente - 25 December 2016 at 5:32am
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Post Options Post Options   Likes (0) Likes(0)   Quote Paracosm Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 31 August 2017 at 7:40am
I dig it
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