Week 2

In week 2, we learned how to ‘suspend’ and ‘resolve’ lyrical phrases using length – length of lines, length of verses, and so on.  Set up an expectation, then surprise the listener by not meeting the expectation.

For example, in a four-line verse, give each of the first three lines 4 stresses (wonderful explanation here http://www.patpattison.com/perfectmatch/ ), then change the number of stresses in the fourth line.

If the line contains fewer than 4 stresses, the listener will feel that something is missing and their musical intuition will “fall forward” (like playing a suspended chord and not resolving it).

If the line has more than 4 stresses, the extra words will jump out and grab the attention of the listener – forming a “spotlight”.

I can think of a number of occasions where I’d inadvertently written-in a spotlight and not put something worthwhile into it.  Dang.  Now I understand why those lines sounded unsatisfying.  In fact, I can think of one current commercial song that has this problem.

The second week exercise was to “prove” that you understand and control these effects, by writing an unstable verse followed by a stable chorus.  Below is my submission, along with my analysis of how I met those goals…


sesame lips
sushimi eyes
chili pepper heart


feed my passion
feed my soul
I’m hungry baby
fill my bowl

[notes for peer evaluation]

“using primarily number of lines and line lengths, write an unstable verse that moves into a stable chorus”

The above [verse] is unstable in

(1) number of lines – there are 3 lines, when 4 (or an even number is expected)

(2) line lengths – line 1, “sesame lips” is 2 stresses, line 2 “sushimi eyes” is 2 stresses, line 3 “chili pepper heart” is 3 stresses.  Unstable 2,2,3.

The verse is also unstable because none of the lines rhyme.

The above [chorus] is stable because:

– the 2nd and 4th lines rhyme

– all of the line lengths are the same (2 stresses each)

– there are 4 lines (an even, stable number)

“If you create a spotlight, try to place an important idea there”

There is a spotlight in line 3 of the verse, because there are 3 stresses in that line, instead of 2 stresses in the preceding two lines.  The idea being spotlighted is “heart”.  This is a song about love, couched in analogies about food.

The [chorus] title is the last line “fill my bowl”.

” since the verse is unstable, what it says should be appropriate to the structure”

The theme of the lyric is food, related to love.  The verse describes “her” appearance in terms of food.  The chorus talks about hunger (also related to food) for “her” love..


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