How to Add Impact to your Choruses
In this tutorial, you’ll learn how to add impact to your choruses. But first… tea!
Hello revolutionary music makers, we are Kate and Ray Harmony (AKA Revolution Harmony), and welcome to Hack Music Theory, where we help you make great music that stands out! Also, welcome to the first of our new podcast exclusive episodes. Yep, you won’t find these on YouTube, they’re made just for you here. Hope you enjoy!
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Alright, it’s time to open your DAW to hack music theory. This hack is from the new song “Aura”, by Scottish band Vukovi. FYI, their new album “Fall Better” is super fun, and it’s overflowing with energy too, so we’ve made it our new workout soundtrack!
So, you’ll notice when the chorus of “Aura” starts, at 0:29 into the track, it has a huge impact! What causes that? Two things. First, the chorus melody actually starts a beat before the chorus. And second, to emphasise the chorus melody, all the other instruments stop when it starts. And by the way, this song is in 4/4.
MIDI screenshot: Chorus melody starts on beat 4 of preceding bar
Now, you may think you’d get more impact by starting your chorus melody on beat 1 along with everything else, and in some situations you will. But, by stopping all your instruments on beat 4 of the bar preceding your chorus, and starting your melody there, you move all the attention to your melody. This focus on the melody intensifies the transition from verse to chorus. It also thins out the sound, and then when everything comes back in on beat 1 there’s a way bigger impact than if all the instruments had kept playing through the transition.
And as a bonus, beginning your chorus melody on beat 4 of the bar preceding your chorus results in an overlapping phrase, which acts as reinforcement for the transition. Yeah it’s like when you’re building a brick wall, you want the bricks to overlap, so the layer above reinforces the layer below. Not that I’ve ever built a brick wall, but I have watched a lot of Grand Designs on the telly haha!
So the next time you’re wanting to add impact to a chorus, stop all your instruments on beat 4 of the preceding bar, and start your chorus melody there. And that’s it! Hope you found this hack useful, and if you wanna get all our essential music making hacks in one place, then download our Songwriting & Producing PDF. Thanks so much for being here, and until next time, happy songwriting and producing!
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