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#212548 - 08/17/13 05:42 PM [User Showcase] Does it need a chorus?
Registered: 05/23/10
Posts: 1718
Loc: New Zealand
RichMac Offline

Registered: 05/23/10
Posts: 1718
Loc: New Zealand

Recorded and mixed in RealBand.

Picture of a Hero --

Collaboration between Paul David Booth (Lyrics/Poem) and myself.
I enjoyed Pauls poem so much and asked him if i could try it as a song.

RealDrums - Tango
Guitar - Alt Country RT836
Accordian - Pop Rhythm RT1752
My Bass guitar

Yesterday I found a crumpled photograph,
Tucked into a hollow in the floor,
There's my Grandpa, standing with his bride to be,
Just before he went off to the war.

He looks smart and eager, in his uniform,
She's so pretty, in her Sunday dress,
I can almost hear her laughing, happily,
And protesting that her hair's a mess.

Grandpa never shared his war-time memories,
He'd just stand up quietly and leave,
If the conversation ever turned that way,
He'd let other men their silk yarns weave.

Grandpa, of that crumpled, faded photograph,
Never came back from the war, they say,
Somehow part of him got left behind out there,
Somewhere part of him just drained away.

War-time records show him in the infantry,
And they list the medals Grandpa won,
They say he's a hero, made his nation proud,
Grandpa never showed them to his sons.

Grandpa, he once said to me, " All men feel fear,
Though some try and and never let it show,
It can take less courage to act as the 'brave',
Than to be a 'coward' and say 'no' ".

Yesterday I found a crumpled photograph,
Tucked into a hollow in the floor,
Hidden, just like Grandpa's faded memories
Of the man he was before the war.

#212746 - 08/20/13 06:00 PM [User Showcase] Re: Does it need a chorus? [Re: RichMac]
Registered: 01/14/02
Posts: 7797
Loc: Colorado Springs, CO, USA
rockstar_not Offline

Registered: 01/14/02
Posts: 7797
Loc: Colorado Springs, CO, USA

The answer to your question is of course a subjective opinion. You might want to include a refrain line of sorts to give the song some expectancy of continuity - if you want to avoid a chorus.

You can kind of think of a refrain line as a single-line chorus, but it fits more into the sound of the verses.

You already have a sort of refrain with the 'of the man he was before the war' in the first and last verses.

#212782 - 08/21/13 09:30 AM [User Showcase] Re: Does it need a chorus? [Re: RichMac]
Registered: 04/03/09
Posts: 7588
Guitarhacker Offline

Registered: 04/03/09
Posts: 7588
Good to see you tackled this kind of a project. It's not easy to convert a poem to a song.

Poetry rarely works as a song without a major rewrite. Poetry doesn't have choruses, prechoruses, bridges, and therein lies the problem. In addition, the wording of poetry is quite often not in "normal everyday language" which further complicates the issue. They say things backwards and this happens in your song.

It is possible to use a poem as the basis for a song however. Like I said...with a rewrite.

Also, it's good to note... in song structure.... all the verses should have the same chord progression, and the same rhythmic pattern and lyrical rhyme scheme. For example, if V1 line 1 has 8 syllables, all the verses should have 8. And this applies to each line in every verse. If verse 1 has rhymes on line 1&2 and on 3&4, the rest of the verses should follow that exact pattern.

As far as having a song with no chorus.... I think that's totally acceptable, especially in some specific genre's such as folk. I believe some of Bob Dylan's early stuff fit that form. However, while it's considered poetry in music, the things I mentioned, lyrical rhyme, chords, groove, were all written to be a song.

Times they are a changing is an example.... but it could be argued that the hook is a short chorus since it is repeated.
You can find my music at:

Add nothing that adds nothing to the music.

As the sword chooses the warrior, so too, the song chooses the writer.

#212816 - 08/21/13 06:22 PM [User Showcase] Re: Does it need a chorus? [Re: RichMac]
Registered: 05/23/10
Posts: 1718
Loc: New Zealand
RichMac Offline

Registered: 05/23/10
Posts: 1718
Loc: New Zealand
Thanks so much for the thoughtful comments.

Yes - I'm not quite comfortable with it but wary about changing the words as they're not mine. But will try some minor changes incorporating some ideas you have given me.
However - No rules - only tools.

I have an idea for a 2 line refrain. Thanks for reinforcing this idea as against a full chorus.

Yes you give me a lot to think about. The chord variation in the verses was an attempt make them less predictable but now I think identical verse shapes with some contrast in the refrain is the way to go. Will try a rewrite changing as little as possible.

Maybe next week.


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