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The Adventure of Prosody – Week 2 – Challenge 2013

March 11, 2013

by Debra Alexander

Week One is nearly water under the bridge, and S.A.C. Bloggers are now swimming in the currents of prosody with Pat Pattison, as he guides us through his free Songwriting Course. It’s not too late to register through Coursera as long as class is still in session, and we’ve got 5 whole weeks to go. Catch up with the details here:S.A.C. Community Songwriting & Blogging Challenge.

Prosody, in simple terms, is how everything works together in the words and music you write to express the central emotion, idea, and purpose of your song. You can make choices in how you communicate that reinforce your ideas and deliver your messages more effectively. Elements like melody, harmony, tone of voice, and harmonic rhythm combine to create unity, and these are just a few of the areas that a conscientious songwriter makes decisions about.

Pat argues that the most effective vehicles for expressing prosody in a lyric revolve around terms of stability and instability. He explains how the number of lines and the length of lines contribute to create emotion. An even number of lines feels stable, resolved, and balanced; an odd number of lines feels unstable, incomplete, and unbalanced. Number and length of lines can also be manipulated to spotlight important ideas, stop or create motion, and create contrast between song sections.

So bloggers, pull up the chair of your choice, sit square or on the edge of your seat, and please post the following for Week Two:

1.  The idea you chose for a verse with an unstable structure, and the idea you chose for a chorus with a stable structure.
2.  The URL to your Week 2 blog. (NOTE:  please post the exact URL to the entry and not just the general URL to your blog.)

21 Comments leave one →
  1. March 11, 2013 1:38 pm

    As always Debra ,we are so grateful for your stewardship

    • March 11, 2013 11:10 pm

      Ross, you are such a wonderful, responsive fellow, and I send gratitude and appreciation right back. I am thankful that the SAC provides us with these opportunities to connect.

  2. March 13, 2013 11:12 pm

    I don’t know how I got from songwriting and length of lines to a weasel wearing flippers, but I promise you it all ties in… 🙂

  3. March 14, 2013 3:23 am

    Well, my muse didn’t listen. Will I get my assignment in on time?

  4. March 14, 2013 1:16 pm

    Got my assignment and my blog both done. The verse is 5 lines, with the last line being shorter than the previous ones. The chorus is the same length of line in a two-phrase question, repeated once. More details on my blog:

  5. March 14, 2013 8:45 pm

    Just need to record this weeks assignment, but here’s how i got there! Loving this course and the company of my SAC community!

  6. March 14, 2013 10:57 pm

    1) (Fumbling with the tools! ;p)

    Unstable verse of woman realizing she’s made a mistake and let herself be fooled. Stable chorus of woman resolving that one mistake does not a habit make.

    2) (Blog: I’m struggling to manhandle the tools! ;p)

  7. March 15, 2013 8:47 pm

    That’s my blog for the End of week 2 and the song idea is being recorded over tonight and tomorrow. I’ll post the music when it’s ready, but for now go to the URL above to read the lyrics for the song idea “THIS MOMENT”. Enjoy!

  8. March 17, 2013 3:16 pm

    I finished my 2nd week assignment on stable unstable – I went through some different situations looking for things stable and unstable and came up with “home” as place of feeling stable, with a link to my lyric

  9. March 17, 2013 5:25 pm

    Woops, I forgot the first part of the blog post assignment. Idea for unstable verse: girl is getting high. Idea for stable chorus: She is letting go of her masked self and becomes who she wants to be.

  10. March 17, 2013 6:46 pm

    Wow! This week bogged me down a bit, but I got through it!
    My unstable verse talks about the things in a relationship that are red flags that mean it’s time to move on, and the stable chorus talks about the things in a relationship that will tell you when it’s time to stay. (Title of my song is “Time to Stay”)
    The week 2 Blog:

  11. March 17, 2013 7:35 pm

    Another week of great lessons from Pat. Here is my take on stable vs. unstable………

  12. March 17, 2013 7:59 pm

    For my unstable verse, I made lines 1 and 3 a different length from lines 2 and 4, and I also wrote a 5th line which is of yet another line length.

    Then for the stable chorus, I made the section comprise of 2 sets of 4 lines; in each repetition, lines 1 and 2 are of the same line length, while lines 3 and 4 share another line length.

  13. March 18, 2013 12:01 am

    My unstable verse was about a life chasing dreams that are just out of reach. My stable chorus is about finding a love that changes everything – bringing meaning that is much bigger than the pursuit of self.

  14. emberswift permalink
    March 18, 2013 12:01 pm

    Here’s my assignment and blog. My unstable verse is about the morning after a night of too much St.Patrick’s Day bubbly. My stable chorus is about *knowing that* and not needing to be told by anyone how dumb I was!

  15. March 18, 2013 10:34 pm
    This is a link to my Lesson two
    Blog: The song title I chose for both my unstable verse and stable chorus was a modern country flavored song called after All this time The song is a story about a a person a long time love realtionship finally giving up trying to hold it together and letting the other person know he or she (I use He) was never fooled just hopful things would change. They had not nso he finally lets it all out says I have always known you were telling me lies ,but now I realize you really never loved me and the only choice I have to save my sanity is to leave. good bye I have to go. ( Just a Story I have a great wife of 30 years lol)

  16. March 19, 2013 1:08 am

    Lesson two – A song called Live, Love and Learn.

    Unstable verse is about how you only need to live right now
    Stable Chorus is where you learn to love yourself and the universe and flowers and puppies ….

    It’s not quite that schmaltzy but I think I was overcompensating for the fact that I killed someone in last weeks lesson.

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