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#452717 - 01/21/18 03:16 PM [Songwriting] Foreshadowing as a strategy for lyric development
Noel96 Offline
Veteran

Registered: 10/31/08
Posts: 13457
Loc: Australia
Foreshadowing is a literary device that helps set up what is to come.

From the perspective of a verse-chorus song, the chorus is an ideal place to use some indirect foreshadowing. Such foreshadowing can empower the lyrics and help greatly with lyric development.

As an example, below are the lyrics to my song "This Road".

Quote:
THIS ROAD
©2017 Noel Adams, words and music, all rights reserved.

VERSE 1
Sometimes my legs get weary
And it hurts with every step I take
Sometimes I fall or stumble
But I keep walking, ‘cause that’s the only way
Travelling under blue sky and grey cloud
Leading me around every bend
This road is my livelong companion
Just one direction, beginning to end

CHORUS
This road is the journey that I’ve been given
So I keep on walking from day to day
Where I’m going, I don’t know
And though I’m in destiny’s hands
On this road, I plan to travel as far as I can

VERSE 2
Always chasing that horizon
Seasons come and go beneath my shoe
What detours are waiting to surprise me?
How many mountains must I struggle to endure?
Tomorrow hides behind a haze of mystery
It’s mine to work with, whatever way it falls
While I’m bound by the rules of this highway
I try to travel standing straight and tall

CHORUS
This road is the journey that I’ve been given
So I keep on walking from day to day
Where I’m going, I don’t know
And though I’m in destiny’s hands
On this road, I plan to travel as far as I can

Whatever comes my way
Where I’m going, I don’t know
And though I’m in destiny’s hands
On this road, I plan to travel as far as I can


Background thinking...

Prior to creating this song, I knew it was going to be a slow ballad. This meant that two verses interspersed with choruses would probably be sufficient to create a song of reasonable length. So that was my plan.... verse, chorus, verse, chorus.

From the perspective of lyric development, experience and Pat Pattison have taught me that lyric development is very effective if Verse 1 'sets the scene' using words that are sense-bound and thus evoke images, memories and feelings in the listener's mind. Verse 2, can then develop by adding some of the song character's personal insight or philosophy to the lyrics' meaning. Since the chorus is ideally exactly the same set of lyrics after each verse, to use foreshadowing in the chorus as a lyric development technique, I needed to have at least two aspects to my chorus. The first aspect would be the focal point for Verse 1 and the second aspect would ultimately become the focal point for Verse 2 lyrics; at the end of Verse 1, though, this second aspect acts to foreshadow Verse 2 content. In addition, and to maintain lyric coherence, from the listener's perspective, these two aspects shouldn't be obvious.

= = = = =

The above thinking led me to....

Verse 1
The first four lines of this verse are all about walking. I've used words that, hopefully, the listener can relate to and understand that after walking a long way for a long time, it becomes tedious and wearing on the body.

The last four lines of Verse 1 are about the road I'm walking on. There's a element of metaphor in the 'blue sky', 'grey cloud' and 'bends in the road'. There's also a hint of foreshadowing in that this road is a one way street (i.e. like Life).


Chorus 1
The first part of the chorus is literally about walking. The second, latter section of the chorus is about destiny and not knowing what is going to be happening in the future. In spite of this lack of knowledge, though, the song's character plans to do everything s/he can to live as long as possible - this is a third aspect of the chorus.

This means, that this chorus has three aspects...

(a) the physical act of walking
  • this summarises the content of verse 1 and is the focal point for verse 1

(b) being led along the journey of life by fate and not knowing what the future has in store
  • this is the focal point of verse 2 and foreshadows what will be some component of the content of verse 2

(c) doing everything to live a long life
  • this third aspect could have been used as the focus for a bridge if I wanted to include one
  • in this regard, this could have foreshadowed the content of a bridge

After hearing verse 1, it is the first part of the chorus that resonates most with the words of the verse.


Verse 2
Early in verse 2, while the song's character has no idea about what is to come, s/he can talk about where they have been or what they are doing. This gives some insight into the character's thinking. As such, it is a useful development tool.

Later in the verse when the character starts reflecting on possibilities of what is to come, we continue to gain insight into his or her thinking and so again, this is useful development.

The last four lines of verse 2 take on a philosophical, 'what is the meaning of life' perspective. Being philosophical nearly always strengthens development when used strategically. To enhance this more, I have added some phrases that have metaphorical elements with "Tomorrow is a haze of mystery", "rules of the highway", "standing straight and tall".

The above means that the progression of ideas get emotionally more intense as verse 2 unfolds. That is,

(a) where I've been

(b) what is going to happen

(c) philosophically and metaphorically considering the journey


Chorus 2
The words for the second chorus are identical with the words of the first chorus.

However, because of the insight that the listener has gained into the character's thinking during verse 2, listening to the chorus now causes the last three lines of it to resonate with meaning.

This is then amplified by repeating these last three lines after the character's resolution of "Whatever comes my way". (Repetition nearly always amplifies meaning.)

Hope these thoughts are useful.

Regards,
Noel


P.S. Lastly, I mentioned that the last line of the chorus and the concept of living as long as possible could be foreshadowing for a bridge. To boost emotional content of the bridge, I'd also consider ramping up the philosophy and metaphoric content

Had I chosen to add this extra section, a suitable bridge could have been something like...

Quote:
POSSIBLE BRIDGE
Every single step
Every single milestone
Every single day brings another smile

I've used the rhetorical device of anaphora (that is, the repetition of a phrase at the beginning of every line) to add emphasis. In addition, I've put the list of three items in climactic order and have tried to look at the 'big picture' of the journey. In my mind, the sequence of the above statements is like pulling the movie camera back from a close-up shot to a long distant shot.

Thus the lyrics for this song in a verse, chorus, verse, chorus, bridge, chorus format could have been something like below. (I encourage the reader to read these lyrics aloud as it makes gauging teh effectiveness of lyric movement and lyric development much easier.)

Quote:
THIS ROAD
©2017 Noel Adams, words and music, all rights reserved.

VERSE 1
Sometimes my legs get weary
And it hurts with every step I take
Sometimes I fall or stumble
But I keep walking, ‘cause that’s the only way
Travelling under blue sky and grey cloud
Leading me around every bend
This road is my livelong companion
Just one direction, beginning to end

CHORUS
This road is the journey that I’ve been given
So I keep on walking from day to day
Where I’m going, I don’t know
And though I’m in destiny’s hands
On this road, I plan to travel as far as I can

VERSE 2
Always chasing that horizon
Seasons come and go beneath my shoe
What detours are waiting to surprise me?
How many mountains must I struggle to endure?
Tomorrow hides behind a haze of mystery
It’s mine to work with, whatever way it falls
While I’m bound by the rules of this highway
I try to travel standing straight and tall

CHORUS
This road is the journey that I’ve been given
So I keep on walking from day to day
Where I’m going, I don’t know
And though I’m in destiny’s hands
On this road, I plan to travel as far as I can

BRIDGE
Every single step
Every single milestone
Every single day brings another smile

CHORUS
This road is the journey that I’ve been given
So I keep on walking from day to day
Where I’m going, I don’t know
And though I’m in destiny’s hands
On this road, I plan to travel as far as I can

Whatever comes my way
Where I’m going, I don’t know
And though I’m in destiny’s hands
On this road, I plan to travel as far as I can
_________________________
LINKS TO MY BIAB/RB SONGS


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#452810 - 01/22/18 04:33 AM [Songwriting] Re: Foreshadowing as a strategy for lyric development [Re: Noel96]
Charlie Fogle Offline
Veteran

Registered: 04/07/13
Posts: 4481
Loc: South Carolina
This is an interesting, in depth analysis and a great demonstration Noel. A bit ironic to choose a song about a road to take us on our journey.

Thanks for posting such a detailed guide. Very helpful.

Charlie
_________________________
BiaB Ultra Pak 2018:RB 2018 Build 5

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#452818 - 01/22/18 05:38 AM [Songwriting] Re: Foreshadowing as a strategy for lyric development [Re: Noel96]
HearToLearn Offline
Expert

Registered: 08/04/10
Posts: 1582
Loc: Midwest
What a great subject! And a BIG "thank you" for explaining the technique, showing it's workings and posting lyrics for example. Just awesome!

Quote:
Just one direction, beginning to end

I'm not sure why, but this line REALLY hits me. It's really a wake up call. Fantastic writing IMO. I mean, I understand it fits into the rhyme scheme and everything, but the power of this lyric is incredible! It makes you think.

Quote:
CHORUS
This road is the journey that I’ve been given
So I keep on walking from day to day
Where I’m going, I don’t know
And though I’m in destiny’s hands
On this road, I plan to travel as far as I can

Ok, I will admit I'm a lyric freak. It's a strange addiction really.

One of my favorite things to do in arranging and writing is to set an expectation; then frustrate it momentarily...but then of course meet it for resolution.

Close to that would be meeting the expectation then adding a surprise. PLEASE don't take this as a critique. It's not that. I'm just curious YOUR thoughts on this, because I truly value them!

Right now your end rhyme scheme is hands/can.

I do also see the know/though. (Which I really like as well)

What are your thoughts on...

This road is the journey that I’ve been given
So I keep on walking from day to day
Where I’m going, I don’t know
And though I’m in destiny’s hands
On this road, I plan to travel as far as I can (delayed) go

It's still keeping with the hands/can but, when not expecting it tying in a know/go for additional effect. Too much? Did it bring it to "nursery rhyme?"

I understand your melodic phrasing of know/though would have so much to do with how it all played out.

Like I said, not better or anything, just curious. I think I'm that way by nature. If anything, this would be a critique on MY thinking process. lol

Thanks for any input. As I think about it, if you would rather this be a private conversation, I will gladly remove the post. I don't want to derail your intent of the post.

Speaking of that. Thank you so much for the work you do in dissecting and explaining lyrics, music, arranging...all of it. There are very few people who are willing to take the time to open people up to a world of creativity and method like you are. Your gifts to the forum are greatly appreciated. I learn some things and am reminded of others.

Thanks Noel!



Edited by HearToLearn (01/22/18 05:56 AM)
_________________________
"That's what"
-She

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#452826 - 01/22/18 06:07 AM [Songwriting] Re: Foreshadowing as a strategy for lyric development [Re: Noel96]
Deryk - PG Music Online   content
PG Music Staff

Registered: 02/15/17
Posts: 1364
Thanks for sharing this! It's some very useful information that is sometimes overlooked. Thank you for taking the time to break all that down.

I find these kind of techniques are what sometimes separate a good song from a great song. Impactful and memorable lyrics are very important!
_________________________
Cheers,
Deryk

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#453338 - 01/24/18 06:30 AM [Songwriting] Re: Foreshadowing as a strategy for lyric development [Re: Noel96]
Belladonna Offline
Apprentice

Registered: 09/09/17
Posts: 250
Loc: Virginia
Noel, Thanks for sharing such an in-depth look at your process. Of course, I can tell you've studied with Pat Pattison. I did take the online class a couple of times and always learn something new.
It was interesting hearing how you plan ahead and really think out the lyrics. Appreciate any critiques on mine if you ever want to (I know it's tricky to be constructive without being too critical).
But I did learn a few things from your post.

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#453412 - 01/24/18 12:16 PM [Songwriting] Re: Foreshadowing as a strategy for lyric development [Re: Charlie Fogle]
Noel96 Offline
Veteran

Registered: 10/31/08
Posts: 13457
Loc: Australia
Originally Posted By: Charlie Fogle
This is an interesting, in depth analysis and a great demonstration Noel. A bit ironic to choose a song about a road to take us on our journey.

Thanks for posting such a detailed guide. Very helpful.

Charlie


Hey Charlie,

Thanks for having a read. I appreciate your tenacity!

All the best,
Noel


_________________________
LINKS TO MY BIAB/RB SONGS


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#453414 - 01/24/18 12:18 PM [Songwriting] Re: Foreshadowing as a strategy for lyric development [Re: HearToLearn]
Noel96 Offline
Veteran

Registered: 10/31/08
Posts: 13457
Loc: Australia
Originally Posted By: HearToLearn
What a great subject! And a BIG "thank you" for explaining the technique, showing it's workings and posting lyrics for example. Just awesome!

Quote:
Just one direction, beginning to end

I'm not sure why, but this line REALLY hits me. It's really a wake up call. Fantastic writing IMO. I mean, I understand it fits into the rhyme scheme and everything, but the power of this lyric is incredible! It makes you think.

Quote:
CHORUS
This road is the journey that I’ve been given
So I keep on walking from day to day
Where I’m going, I don’t know
And though I’m in destiny’s hands
On this road, I plan to travel as far as I can

Ok, I will admit I'm a lyric freak. It's a strange addiction really.

One of my favorite things to do in arranging and writing is to set an expectation; then frustrate it momentarily...but then of course meet it for resolution.

Close to that would be meeting the expectation then adding a surprise. PLEASE don't take this as a critique. It's not that. I'm just curious YOUR thoughts on this, because I truly value them!

Right now your end rhyme scheme is hands/can.

I do also see the know/though. (Which I really like as well)

What are your thoughts on...

This road is the journey that I’ve been given
So I keep on walking from day to day
Where I’m going, I don’t know
And though I’m in destiny’s hands
On this road, I plan to travel as far as I can (delayed) go

It's still keeping with the hands/can but, when not expecting it tying in a know/go for additional effect. Too much? Did it bring it to "nursery rhyme?"

I understand your melodic phrasing of know/though would have so much to do with how it all played out.

Like I said, not better or anything, just curious. I think I'm that way by nature. If anything, this would be a critique on MY thinking process. lol

Thanks for any input. As I think about it, if you would rather this be a private conversation, I will gladly remove the post. I don't want to derail your intent of the post.

Speaking of that. Thank you so much for the work you do in dissecting and explaining lyrics, music, arranging...all of it. There are very few people who are willing to take the time to open people up to a world of creativity and method like you are. Your gifts to the forum are greatly appreciated. I learn some things and am reminded of others.

Thanks Noel!



Caaron,

Ever since reading the above, I've been pondering your comments and mapping out a response. You've given me a lot of food for thought and I really appreciate that.

Back in touch soon....

Noel

P.S. I've become a lyric freak too! and I love it smile



_________________________
LINKS TO MY BIAB/RB SONGS


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