One of the unsung elements that helps bring a song to life - and make it memorable - is the groove. By way of definition, groove is a mystical combination of tempo and feel that adds depth and texture to your song. That being said, it’s not uncommon for songwriters to relegate groove to an afterthought. Here are a few tips for focusing on and finding your song’s groove.
1. Try accenting different words in your melody
Sometimes it’s as simple as changing which words in your lyric you choose to emphasize that can make all the difference in finding a groove that works. Experimenting with how your melody falls on each beat can also lead to a more expressive delivery of your lyric while giving the music a better overall feel.
2. Try changing the groove to its opposite
This may sound counterintuitive but the history of hit songs is full of sad/contemplative lyrics set to a killer beat, so if you’re not quite sure why your song isn’t working, try changing the groove completely. Sometimes ballads take on an interesting twist when they’re changed to uptempo/groove-based songs. The same is true when up-tempo songs lack the gravity that you’re looking for - changing the groove to a ballad can shine a whole new light on the lyric.
3. Reference the tempo/feel of popular songs in the genre you’re going for Given that certain lyrics work better in certain genres, referencing a popular song in the genre where your lyrics fit can be a great starting point when you’re looking for a groove. To keep it sounding original though, and not like a copy of the song you’re referencing, don’t hesitate to experiment with rhythmic variations from other genres to make it unique and engaging for your listeners.
Remember that loop software isn’t just for certain genres. It can - and should - be used as a reference point for any genre of music to help you find new rhythmic feels that you might not otherwise come up with on your own.
While your song’s melody and lyric will always be front and center, the decisions you make around the groove of your song can play a big part in how your music is ultimately received.
Cliff Goldmacher is a songwriter, music producer and educator with recording studios in Nashville, TN and Sonoma, CA. Through his studios, Cliff provides songwriters outside of Nashville with virtual, live access to Nashville’s best session musicians and demo singers for their songwriting demos. To find out more go to http://www.CliffGoldmacher.com/studio. You can download Cliff’s FREE tip sheet “A Dozen Quick Fixes To Instantly Improve Your Songs” by going to https://se295.infusionsoft.com/app/form/homepage-songwriting-tip-sheet.