What Adele’s seduction techniques can teach you about songwriting?

Today’s blog covers a songwriting tip found in the The Wall Street Journal no less.

There’s a great piece that analyses the popular tune ‘Someone Like You’ by Adele and more importantly why it is a tear-jerker. And it’s less the music than the actual performance. It’s a manipulation of melody that is written into the arrangement, or if you have an amazing singer handy, it can be adlibbed whilst tracking in the studio.

(As mentioned previously on this blog there are benefits to keeping your songwriting simple and building the flourishes in the performance and arrangements.)

Adele uses a technique called an appoggiatura, which is a type of ornamental note that clashes with the melody just enough to create a dissonant sound.

Wikipedia provides a great example of two passages with an appoggiatura and then the same passages without.

As you can hear, you pull the melody off-key for a short time to create a clashing, un-tuneful effect, but then pull the melody back on-key before the dissonance has caused too much havoc with the listeners ears.

This creates a tension followed by a release that has an amazing emotional punch. There are many other techniques in music that perform a similar role which we’ll discuss later

What techniques have you used to create a tension and release in your music?

 

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