Middle 8 starting chord

  • 15 Replies
  • 537 Views

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.

cowparsleyman

  • *
  • Platinum Album
  • ****
  • Posts: 909
  • What would you rather be or a wasp?
    • Cowparsleyman on Soundcloud
« on: October 18, 2018, 03:02:29 PM »
Just wondered if anyone has any tips from choosing the starting chord of a middle 8?

thanks in advance

cpm

jacksimmons

  • *
  • Solo Gig
  • ***
  • Posts: 304
    • Jack Simmons Music Facebook Page
« Reply #1 on: October 18, 2018, 04:41:53 PM »
I would decide the vocal melody, and pick the chord that fits it.

MichaelA

  • *
  • Solo Gig
  • ***
  • Posts: 290
    • Sixth Beatle - a music themed novel by Michael A (not much about  The Beatles!)
« Reply #2 on: October 18, 2018, 08:49:57 PM »
I think the main point is contrast. For example if your song is in a major key, then a minor key often works for me in the mid 8. Or else a major chord far removed from main key chord.

But it's not just about the chord. Rhythm is an aspect to consider equally.

The main thing I try to avoid is similarity to the main theme, verse/chorus - and as I say, contrast is the key.

But I do appreciate this would be something not new to you, and something you already practice skilfully, but are just canvassing views on approach of others.

PopTodd

  • *
  • Platinum Album
  • ****
  • Posts: 736
    • Hop On Pop on Facebook
« Reply #3 on: October 18, 2018, 09:32:17 PM »
Q flat half-demented miner

PopTodd

  • *
  • Platinum Album
  • ****
  • Posts: 736
    • Hop On Pop on Facebook
« Reply #4 on: October 18, 2018, 09:34:56 PM »
I've gone many different ways. Sometimes, really, all you need are the same chords as the verses, only played in half-time.
Example:
https://hoponpop.bandcamp.com/track/carlen-another-day

Other times, I like to start it on the relative minor of the key of the song.
i.e. -- a song in the key of C, the middle 8 starts with Am.

Boydie

  • *
  • Administrator
  • Stadium Tour
  • *****
  • Posts: 3602
« Reply #5 on: October 19, 2018, 07:10:20 AM »
As others have said - a good middle 8 (or "bridge") is all about contrast - melodically, rhythmically, lyrically etc. - the real skill is to make it "different" so that it provides contrast and a break from the main song - BUT - not so different it sounds like a different song bolted on

A good way is to switch to the relative minor if your song is in a major key - i.e. the minor chord of the 6th degree of the Major scale

So, as @PopTodd has said, if you are in the key of C Major you could switch to A Minor (i.e. A Minor becomes the "tonal centre", which could be simply starting and ending the section on an A Minor chord so it feels like the other chords want to "pull back" to this chords

If you are in G Major for the song you could switch to E Minor etc.

This is a very subtle key change - you could take it further and go for a more dramatic change of key,  it this can often be a bit much for a bridge if the song is relatively simple, but can be great for more complex songs

You can even just start using other chords from the "chord scale" of your original key (or add chords not in the chord scale) to add a bit of variety / contrast - there is loads of info I put together around chord scales here:

http://www.songwriterforum.co.uk/index.php?topic=9447.0

My biggest tip though would be to find songs where you love the bridge/middle 8 and work out what they did (my chord theory post should help you with this) and rip them off try to use this as inspiration

Always remember though - if it sounds good then it is good - don't let the theory hold you back from experimenting, use it to help guide you
To check out my music please visit:

http://soundcloud.com/boydiemusic

Twitter: https://twitter.com/BoydieMusic

cowparsleyman

  • *
  • Platinum Album
  • ****
  • Posts: 909
  • What would you rather be or a wasp?
    • Cowparsleyman on Soundcloud
« Reply #6 on: October 19, 2018, 07:48:19 AM »
Whato All - To add a bit of context to the question, as you may or may not know, my challenge at the moment is to try and write a song from a different genre each time, so far I've managed (mangled?) a Nirvana (whatever that genre is?) an '80's electonic, the last one was a '70's disco...at the moment I'm working on a couple more, one of which is a Stock.Aitken.Waterman genre pop song, it's great fun and lovin' it, I've done the homework, listened to a lot of Mel and Kim, Kylie and Five Star etc..and got a load of ideas, but I know it needs a middle section, all their songs have one, and now  I'm much closer to knowing where it's going in that part, and your comments sure have helped.

@PopTodd - Thanks for the advice - I like the idea of the half demented miner, might use it one day, just brilliant.
@Boydie  - Cheers man, I'm going to try the relative minor option...see how it sounds. I rather like the idea of a completely different song bolted on, as long as it fits, I have to admit I've done that on more than one occasion...
@MichaelA - Great advice, I will avoid the main theme, and bring something different to the bridge section, a completely different melody, Yeah, you're right I did a bit of music theory for my Grade IIX classical guitar (they don't teach you about middle 8's).

One thing I have noticed from my homework is that the hook in the middle section can be contrasting instrument sound, a rhythmic change but always a strong melody line, contrasting away from the hooky main theme. % star in particular were great at this (in fact I would bet my life that it was Jay Graydon, their producer who conjured up their hooks, he is one of my favourite producers, such space, clarity and a brilliant guitarist - he played the solo on Steely Dan's Peg, and on Manhattan Transfer's Twilight Tone' he's no looker mind...)

I always learn form you guys, and middle 8 is a topic that I really could do with some helpful advice.

I'll be in touch when I've decided what to do.

Thanks very much again

Rich

philbee

  • *
  • Busker
  • *
  • Posts: 42
« Reply #7 on: October 19, 2018, 10:41:18 PM »
Paul Simon was asked a similar question in an interview.

His reply was that in some songs he built the melody from any of the leftover notes that he hadn't used in the verse and chorus.

I've tried it a couple of times, and it's another tool in the box that can do the job sometimes.

cowparsleyman

  • *
  • Platinum Album
  • ****
  • Posts: 909
  • What would you rather be or a wasp?
    • Cowparsleyman on Soundcloud
« Reply #8 on: October 20, 2018, 12:45:32 PM »
Thanks that’s a great idea, I’ll definitely use that

pompeyjazz

  • *
  • Stadium Tour
  • *****
  • Posts: 3206
  • pompeyjazz
« Reply #9 on: October 20, 2018, 08:40:28 PM »
Try something that maybe grinds against the melody. It's not wrong just unconventional.  Otherwise stick with above suggestions. I suppose it depends on the song and how safe / dangerous you want it to be

Wicked Deeds

  • *
  • Stadium Tour
  • *****
  • Posts: 1003
    • http://cdbaby.com/cd/paulvasey
« Reply #10 on: October 20, 2018, 08:58:41 PM »
Search for the songwriter Nick Heyward. He wrote a brilliant album called 'North Of A Miracle' in the 80's. I don't think I've heard a better contrasting middle 8 than the one that he wrote for his song 'Blue Hat For a Blue Day'. 'Take that Situation' boasts  an equally good example . Writing a middle 8 is instinctive once you've written extensively.  It's about creating a mood, Search for the chord that contrasts and adds a different mood. It's like introducing something very different but complimentary when it's done exceptionally well.  Songwriting for me is about developing a feeling for what is right and magical until you can do it instinctively.

Paul
« Last Edit: October 20, 2018, 09:17:52 PM by Wicked Deeds »
" We're learning to Quickstep.  You're dancing with me"

http://cdbaby.com/cd/paulvasey

https://soundcloud.com/pvasey1

cowparsleyman

  • *
  • Platinum Album
  • ****
  • Posts: 909
  • What would you rather be or a wasp?
    • Cowparsleyman on Soundcloud
« Reply #11 on: October 21, 2018, 06:51:12 AM »
@Wicked Deeds - this is great advice, and I’ll certainly listen to those recommendations, i alwys liked Nick Heyward Warning sign was a favourite of mine.

@pompeyjazz - that’s it PJ something that goes against the melody!

I tried a couple of middle 8 s yesterday and i got rid of the first, its not just the chvordal structure that needs to be different, but the synths, instruments and rhythm, like the bridge in abc, shoot that poison arrow...

Thanks very much for the tips, great discussion

Rich

PopTodd

  • *
  • Platinum Album
  • ****
  • Posts: 736
    • Hop On Pop on Facebook
« Reply #12 on: October 21, 2018, 11:47:09 AM »
Recently I've been finding myself using the middle 8 as the solo section -- putting the guitar solo over the new chord changes.
Maybe it's a lazy way of doing it: not having to write new lyrics or melody, but it's a way of getting a turnaround in there if you are stuck on coming up with those things.

I think it worked pretty well when I did it here:
https://hoponpop.bandcamp.com/track/im-pathetic

Or else, just putting in some "doo-doo"s of "La la"s like this:
https://hoponpop.bandcamp.com/track/break-my-heart

It doesn't have to be "by the rules" is all I'm saying.

cowparsleyman

  • *
  • Platinum Album
  • ****
  • Posts: 909
  • What would you rather be or a wasp?
    • Cowparsleyman on Soundcloud
« Reply #13 on: October 21, 2018, 06:03:00 PM »
Whato @PopTodd - You and me both, old chum...just this very afternoon I stuck in Mid8 ver3 after some very dubious attmpts and I was like an undecisive stoat whether I should leave the guitar solo in or out, and then I rememebred the handy hints here, and I left the blimmin thing in, to contrast, to give it some thing different, the only thing is does it go? We'll see, When I'm happy to release it then I'm sure some will hat eit, other will love it so it might just work.

Anyway Mr Pop (great name for a remix)

Till later Mr Pop

philbee

  • *
  • Busker
  • *
  • Posts: 42
« Reply #14 on: October 21, 2018, 11:05:15 PM »
The other thing about the middle 8 is that it as an opportunity to change the lyric line length and more importantly the attitude or POV.

Because the verse and chorus have been repetitious, here is a chance for a stand-alone statement or overview of the whole narrative.

To support this changed lyric mood, the melody needs to support it.

Anyway, that's one approach in the ideas drawer..........