The Sound Connector #7in7Challenge Presented by Songsalive! - Day 2: Ben Trickey & Silence
Ben Trickey is a consummate DIY songwriter who blends roughworn poetry with unique arrangements. His latest record, Choke and Croon, is no exception and has been hailed for its inventiveness and craft. Last September we spoke to Ben and he shared a little about his album and the importance of silence:
Silence is definitely something I consciously use in my music. I'm really interested in ideas of restraint and frailty. There's a certain power to it. I feel like the lyrics are touching on the same ground, so by literally poking sonic holes in the compositions you can make something that pushes and pulls with the mood. I think of silence as an instrument and everyone playing the band should respect and let that instrument have its parts too.
And Ben’s not the only songwriter who loves silence. Whitney Houston’s aerobatic at the emotional climax & key change of “I will always love you”, or James Brown’s pauses in the second half of the chorus for “I Feel Good”, and “Good Lovin’” by The Young Rascals are exemplary of useful silence. And the list goes on: “Monkey Wrench” by The Foo Fighters, “Hello Goodbye” by The Beatles, “Rosalita” by Bruce Springsteen . . .
For today’s challenge write a song that uses silence to increase its tension. Maybe you will use it as a substitute for the 5th before your chorus. Or perhaps you’ll use it in your bridge. Maybe you need silence before a killer outro. Whatever you choose make sure you share it with us.
The Sound Connector #7in7Challenge Presented by Songsalive! - Day 1: Writing using the “Millennial Whoop”
What do contemporary songwriters like Katy Perry, Death Cab for Cutie, Chris Brown, and Green Day all have in common? They all have hit songs that rely on choruses or hooks characterized as the “millennial whoop”.
Patrick Meztgar defined “the millennial whoop” as “a sequence of notes that alternates between the fifth and third notes of a major scale, typically starting on the fifth. The rhythm is usually straight 8th-notes, but it may start on the downbeat or on the upbeat in different songs. A singer usually belts these notes with an “Oh” phoneme, often in a “Wa-oh-wa-oh” pattern.”
In short this means that they have a musical phrase that uses the 5th and the 3rd as a melodic hook. So if you’re in the key of C then your millennial whoop will alternate between the E and G notes of the C chord (C-E-G). Or if you’re playing a song in E the whoop would consist of B and G# (E-G#-B). If you unsure about your interval notes, you can use this guitar note chart to help you find the appropriate notes for your whoop.
Of course music, and pop music especially, goes through trends. While millennial musicians are not the first to use these intervals, pop music is certainly experiencing a moment where this technique is becoming popular. In the same way that synthesized drums were popular in the 80s or the use of flangers in the late 90s. However, there are countless examples of songs back to Beethoven that rely on the alternating of the 5th and the 3rd.
Today we’d like to challenge you to write a song that uses the millennial whoop.
You can find information here.
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