Monday, June 24, 2019

5 More Tips for Better Rhythm in Your Songs

5 More Tips for Better Rhythm In Your Songs

Today we are going to be looking at five more tips that will help your songwriting. As mentioned in the previous article starting with rhythm when writing a song is fairly unusual but can help you if you are stuck in a rut and need something to help give you inspiration. Here are five more tips that should help you use rhythm to break out of your songwriting slump.

1. Swing It! - If you have written a piece of music that has a relatively straight beat. You might give some consideration to adding a swung rhythm to it. Maybe it should be a little more bluesy or jazzy? If you try adjusting the rhythm by swinging it and it doesn't quite seem right, perhaps instead try anticipating the rhythm more like Reggae or some Caribbean styles.

2. Ramp Up the Tempo - One thing that you don't hear much on recordings is an advancing tempo. One example is "Changing of the Guards" by Bob Dylan. This song gradually increases tempo which coincides with the increase of apocalyptic nature of the lyrics. In the modern age of computer quantization, it is possible to work in a tempo increase, or decrease, in a song when you are recording it.

3. Compound Rhythms - If you want to experiment with poly-rhythms, but do not want the percussion of your song to sound to "busy" you might experiment with compound and poly rhythms within the various instruments of the song. By giving the guitar and the piano conflicting rhythms, or two guitars, or what have you, you can come up with some interesting fun combos.

4. Unusual Rhythm Instruments - You might want to try adding some unusual rhythm instruments to your song. Maybe try tapping on a glass of water, or recording the water dripping from a spout. Maybe when you make the recording of your song, you can use natural rhythmic sounds like crickets, or songbirds, as a back beat to your song.

5. Split the Rhythm - You can make a simple rhythm sound a little more complex by splitting the rhythm across a sampling of various instruments. Even the most complex rhythm can be split up using several instruments (and even non-traditional rhythmic instruments) to give it an interesting feel. Perhaps a repeated piano note, or a guitar note trading off with a bass note creates a cross rhythm that is interesting in the final recording. Experiment and see what you can come up with. 

So there are a few more ideas to help improve the rhythmic aspect of your songs. If you found these tips helpful, you can find out more about songwriting tips and tricks in my new book: "Lyrics and Music: Music Theory for Aspiring Songwriters" available now at, or with several additional Appendices at Barnes and Noble..

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