These are vital elements to your song and special care needs to be provided to them in order to engage your audience. I explained a bit about each in the sections of a song, but now we will discuss some ways to create these important parts.
Let’s jump right into it.
Develop a Common Theme
This is closely tied to the overall theme for the song. You want to make sure all your elements and sections sound like they belong and they all need to be interesting. No cutting corners allowed.
Let’s take for example, the song has the theme of traveling in space. Your verse(s) and/or chorus might have exciting leads with rolling bass to emulate the wonders of exploration. You will want to mimic this theme in your other elements as well. So for your intro, you might do an evolving pad or soundscape that closely relates to the style of your leads. Or you might slowly bring in the rolling bass as the intro builds.
Another example, maybe the song is about water. So you craft some neat watery effects and have a liquid texture for your main instruments. Instead of using wind-like white noise swishing sounds, you may opt for the sounds of waves crashing on the beach or an ambience of raining.
These are simple ideas, but can help to give the entire song a solid theme that is consistent. Feel free to expand on this as much as you would like and create evolving themes as well. Maybe you are telling a tale of a relationship, where the early focus on the song is on the initial excitement, then passion, moving into challenge and concluding with comfort.
That is the general idea and if used well, can really gel the different parts together.
This is another concept I try to keep in mind when creating the various parts of a song. You want to have ups and downs, highs and lows. Contrast is a great way to achieve this.
What you can look at is the contrast between the main verse(s) and chorus. You can use mood, vibe, groove, and other elements to flesh this out. For example, your main components can be a heavy beat and have screaming leads. The softer parts might have scarce percussion and soft pads. Or you can do the opposite and have the main parts very smooth and melodic while your down parts can have some chaotic soundscapes or noise effects.
Another important concept is to consider the energy flow. If your verse/drop is very bass heavy, then you can really give it maximum impact by removing the kick, sub and bass before the end of the intro or buildup, right before the verse comes in. You are creating anticipation like a calm before the storm.
It’s your choice, but one you want to take seriously.
The Foundation is Important
As with your verse and chorus sections, you want to try out some ideas for the intros and other lower energy parts. You can create some interesting rhythmic beats, have some rolling bass, or play a fractured melody from your chorus. Or you can have an interesting collage from your pads and soundscapes. Layer in some effects and you are on your way to creating something exciting.
Once you know the basic foundation for these elements, you can design the other sections and create some variations. Similar to melody creation, make a few different intros and buildups. Swap in and out snare rolls and risers until you get a winning combination.
Keep It Simple
A fairly common practice for the buildup is simplifying everything at first and then adding complexity. This can be done by taking your main beat with all its different instruments and start removing a few. Sometimes I like to mute different channels and listen for interesting combinations. Maybe pull out the percussion and the hats or remove the kick and snare. Trial and error applies here as you find what works well and can be used to begin your buildup. Then as you progress, you can start adding in some of the layers you removed and at the same time, take others away.
Another common practice is to have a solo. Start your song with just one element. After a couple bars, add in another element or even jump right into it. This helps to put focus on a part that you want the listener to remember long after they have heard your song. This technique is widely used in modern mainstream music. You can also do this for your buildup or bridge sections too.
The main takeaway is that you don’t have to fill your lower energy parts with tons of elements to make it interesting. Sometimes contrast and simplification are all you need. Keeping to a consistent theme is also important because it bonds the song into one.
SAVE YOUR WORK!