Spaced Out…

I’m now going to talk about the importance space. That’s right -void, space, nothing. And why is space importance? Well, this is something I’ve thought about after listening to The Best of the Doors recently.

I guess the thing is that the Doors came from a time when popular music wasn’t about clamouring for attention with 3-4 minute limits and dynamically compressed loudness constantly blaring in the background in our hectic lifestyles. Back then you could smell the flowers and space out, man! Take it easy.

But seriously -space in songwriting can allow the basics of music breathe -a hypnotic rhythm, an absorbing melody, motive or solo. It can allow the steady building up to a climax -especially in a live performance. And this is something the Doors must have been absolutely brilliant at -although I can really only comment from watching the Val Kilmer movie. (http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0101761/)

But sometimes allowing a bit of space in one’s songwriting is more difficult than we realise -I know it’s something I need to work on. In our efforts to write the “perfect” song or impress with out musicianship, we can end up making a song sound cluttered and over complicated. Rock guitarists especially can be guilty of this -the desire to add a thousand notes per second in the solo… You have to beware of this, because without allowing a bit of a breather for the listener, it can just be monotonous. People don’t listen to music just to hear a zillion notes -there’s feel, phrasing, dynamics and melody all involved as well.

So, perhaps if your songs do seem a little cluttered -try find ways to “unclutter”. Take away a superfluous instrument in the arrangement, or cut out a section, or add a few bars to stretch it out. Let the solo start soft and build, rather than just blare constantly for the 8 bar spotlight. Allow pauses in the melody (or verse, or rap etc…)

Check out the Doors with Creed, Riders on the Storm:


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