How To Write A Popular Song - online manual

A non-technical how-to-do it system for the aspiring song writer.

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The Prelude, or Introduction, should usually comprise four measures of common time, or eight measures of 3-4 time, founded on, if not identical with, the oj>cning bars of the verse melody and accompaniment, closing with a domi­nant chord, or occasionally a chord of the seventh. Another effective prelude can be constructed by similarly using the closing strain of the refrain. Except in songs of a strictly fanciful order, or dainty, high class compositions, where a prelude may often be independent, and only slightly sug­gestive of what follows, this rule should be adhered to. ft serves the double purpose of introducing the theme of the song to its listeners and of acquainting the singer with the first few measures of the song, as occasionally he may forget the opening phrase.
A verse in common time is generally sixteen measures in length, and thirty-two measures if in 3-4 time. The refrain should be (a) common time, eight or sixteen measures; (b) % time, sixteen or thirty-two measures.
Give the melody to the right hand, as this aids the voice materially, and use judgment in creating pretty effects by the addition of a second note, such as the third, or sixth, or octave. The left hand usually has a moving figure in arpeg­gio form combining the fundamental bass notes with the broken chords. Thus:
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E-Book - An Annotated Compendium of Old Time American Songs by James Alverson III