On Songwriting: Sprinkling Contrast

When I was a kid, I only knew one kind of winter. That was a Minnesota winter. Winter meant cold. It meant icy roads, and walking to school with frost on my eyelashes.

Then one October when I was nine, my family traveled to Florida. We got off the plane and it was hot. I saw a man wearing shorts. I could hardly believe it. Winter in Florida was not winter in Minnesota.

You don’t really know what something is until you know what it isn’t. This is true in songwriting. If you have a verse that has long notes and a flowing melody, you might want to have a more syncopated chorus with shorter notes. If you have a lot of lyrics in the verses, you might want to have more space in the chorus.

Sprinkle contrast everywhere. It helps listeners appreciate a warm Florida winter because they’ve experienced the Minnesota cold. If you don’t use contrast, your song will feel like one long and boring December.