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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At the finish of each four or eight measure phrase in the accompaniment, there will be noticed a sort of pause that inevitably suggests the need of some "filling in" process. To accomplish this, one may employ with either the left or right hand, or both, some pretty figure, a little run, two or three chords, or something characteristic of the song. In a song of War, for instance, the introduction of certain bugle calls and the like are effective in this way. In a patriotic song a few notes of one of the National airs will please if neatly dovetailed into the accompaniment. All this, of course, must be left to the discretion and taste of the com­poser and arranger.
Comic or Topical Songs.
Accompaniments for topical songs depend entirely on the style, character and tempo of the melody. Whichever it is, reference to the forms and styles already described and shown in previous examples will be sufficient in practically all cases to form a satisfactory basis for the accompaniment and its most effective and appropriate treatment.
The chief thing is to remember that an accompaniment should be simple and bright, for in comic songs the words and melody are paramount and must be heard easily by the listener. The accompaniments therefore must not be such as to interrupt the pointed delivery of the words, or drown the melody.
Do not make the mistake that so many do of imagining that melody in a comic song is a secondary consideration. It is the lack of a good tune that ruins many a humorous song, just as indifferent words have ruined many an excel-
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E-Book - An Annotated Compendium of Old Time American Songs by James Alverson III