Dynamics for songwriters

We often speak of highs and lows in songwriting. Emotionally, exuberance and dejection are polar opposites, and have a LOT of energy that can be channeled into a song. These are not only for the benefit of a good song, either; they help us to manage those feelings. But, wait. There’s more.

Think of dynamics (highs and lows) not only in emotional terms, but in volume, intensity, depth, pitch or energy level. Have you noticed how effective it is when the volume (and intensity) is reduced for a verse after a loud, energetic chorus?

These dynamics can draw a listener in. Similarly, a person giving a speech will use this technique – by building up the volume and speed at times and then practically whispering at other times — this change-up causes the audience to get very quiet and strain to hear what is being said, lest something be missed.

This idea of ‘highs and lows’ can be used for a double-whammy effect, too! Imagine a song that starts out quiet and depressed. You know, love’s gone bad or something. Then, hope is aroused with a longing look, and the music picks up energy to match this. When the ecstasy of love arrives, your listeners are at the pinnacle of feelings, excitement and high energy in the song. The words and the music both follow the same dynamic flow.

Dynamics are not just for performers. You can use the idea to improve your songwriting. It’s gratifying to know that techniques like this are just as powerful as $ thousands worth of effects processing.


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