Monday, June 24, 2019

5 Tips for Better Rhythm In Your Songs

 Today we are going to be discussing how to improve the rhythmic aspects of your song. Rhythm is one of the parts of the song that songwriters often do not give a lot of thought when working on their songs. But if you decide to start with rhythm as a springboard for launching into a new song, it can help you break out of a rut and give you melodic ideas based on the origin of the rhythm that you might not have thought about. So here are five tips for using rhythm to help you with your songwriting.

1. Rhythmic Change - Don't be afraid to try a rhythmic change for different parts of a song. Maybe the bridge switches to 3/4 then back to 4/4 for the chorus.

2. Rhythmic Switch Within a Phrase - Don't forget you can switch rhythm within a phrase. Think about the Beatles "All You Need Is Love," for an example of this technique.

3. Irish Dance Rhythms - World rhythms can add a lot to your songwriting skills. One of my favorite is to use Irish dance rhythms. Lauren Daigle's recent song "Look Up Child," sounds like it was influenced by African rhythms, but when it gets to the bridge, the bridge is reminiscent of either Scottish or Irish dance tunes. I think this is such a good example of using world rhythms to inspire and grow a simple song.

4. African Rhythms - And that brings us to using African Rhythms. There are so many beautiful and interesting poly-rhythms that come out of Africa, and any songwriter that will spend the time to learn and be inspired by African rhythms will find a well of inspiration that will never run dry.

5. Cuban Rhythms - Another interesting world rhythm that is worth studying is Cuban or Spanish rhythms. Traditional Spanish rhythms were heavily influenced by North African rhythms, and Cuban rhythms are a beautiful mixing of the Spanish rhythms that grew from the North African line, and the rhythms that came to Cuba from further south in Africa during the slave trade. This mixing of two beautiful world rhythms led to all sorts of awesome Cuban Jazz rhythms. These jazz rhythms can greatly shape and transform your songs, so they are worth giving a listen and seeing if they work for you.

So there are a few more ideas to help improve the rhythms 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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