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#1131204 - 10/04/17 03:17 PM Dying art of the song intro  
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John Voorpostel Offline
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http://www.bbc.com/news/entertainment-arts-41500692

Interesting article about song intros


If writing ever becomes work I think I'm going to have to stop

iAccountant --- Info L inc --- Taxboard
#1131207 - 10/04/17 05:19 PM Re: Dying art of the song intro [Re: John Voorpostel]  
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Gavin Sinclair Offline
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Thanks for posting the link, John. It makes interesting reading. I always really enjoyed a good song intro and it wouldn't make me move onto the next song on Spotify. But my brain is probably wired differently from my kids'.

Recognizing the need to avoid boring people with long instrumental intros, I've started putting them at the end. The first time I was struck by the potential of the long outro was the epic fuzzy guitar solo on The Carpenters' "Goodbye to Love." It felt like the whole song had been flipped on its head in a really cool way.

#1131235 - 10/05/17 02:33 PM Re: Dying art of the song intro [Re: John Voorpostel]  
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Brian Austin Whitney Offline
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Impatience is a killer to most art forms. If someone writes a song, they want the singable chorus in 20 seconds. If it's a movie, they want something BIG or shocking or thrilling or terrifying to happen in the opening scene. TV show? Better have a big laugh, controversy or a tearful crisis a few minutes in (or less). People don't consume poems anymore unless they are listening to one with a Rap beat. Same with books, radio shows, news of all types and formats, and anything else competing for people's 3 second attention span.

I haven't read the article yet, but thanks for sharing it John!


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#1131274 - 10/06/17 08:48 PM Re: Dying art of the song intro [Re: Brian Austin Whitney]  
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Martin Lide Offline
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Originally Posted by Brian Austin Whitney
Impatience is a killer to most art forms. If someone writes a song, they want the singable chorus in 20 seconds. If it's a movie, they want something BIG or shocking or thrilling or terrifying to happen in the opening scene. TV show? Better have a big laugh, controversy or a tearful crisis a few minutes in (or less). People don't consume poems anymore unless they are listening to one with a Rap beat. Same with books, radio shows, news of all types and formats, and anything else competing for people's 3 second attention span.

I haven't read the article yet, but thanks for sharing it John!


All true. There is so much media competing for attention in this age that you have to do something attention-grabbing quickly to be noticed.

As for intros...my personal theory is that today's avid music fan wants to be part of the art. That is the lyrics and whatever message or sentiment is being delivered for them to memorize and sing along with. Long intros, which I like, just get in those folk's way.

Like anything else that I post....worth what you paid for it.

#1131279 - 10/07/17 10:05 AM Re: Dying art of the song intro [Re: John Voorpostel]  
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Dave Rice Online content
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Hi John and fellow JPF'rs:

Interesting thread. Sorry, insufficient time to watch the video but who said, "Get to the Chorus ASAP?" Brian (as always) pointed out the key ingredient for today's music consumer... IMPATIENCE! Then he further nailed things down with the sad fact we all suffer from INFORMATION OVERLOAD. We live in "The McDonald's Culture" and we want things to be immediate.

Intros are important and being able to grab the listener's ear within the first few seconds of a song just might keep them from moving on to something else. Then there is the argument about video as being part of the entire package. I don't listen to music that way. I want to listen to the melody and words and find the visual aspect to be a distraction. As Martin says, "My Opinion is worth what you paid for it!" (A wise man, indeed!) ----Dave

#1131280 - 10/07/17 10:13 AM Re: Dying art of the song intro [Re: John Voorpostel]  
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Vicarn Offline
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Long intros seem to be accepted more on a live performance where the audience have purposefully come to see the performer.
They are there for the whole trip.

Short intros are for busy shoppers who have other things to do.

Vic


It's never too late? Yes it is, so do it now.

If, given time, a monkey can write the complete works of Shakespeare maybe there's hope for me.
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#1131281 - 10/07/17 10:29 AM Re: Dying art of the song intro [Re: John Voorpostel]  
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Barry David Butler Offline
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The Attention span of the average dult is about five seconds. I may even be a good idea to start your song with the catchy chorus....

#1131291 - 10/07/17 08:30 PM Re: Dying art of the song intro [Re: John Voorpostel]  
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maccharles Online content
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[naughty word removed] attention span, do what feels correct.

#1131379 - 10/11/17 09:42 PM Re: Dying art of the song intro [Re: maccharles]  
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Brian Austin Whitney Offline
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Originally Posted by maccharles
[naughty word removed] attention span, do what feels correct.


I agree Mac. Since the odds of making real money in music is so limited, nearly into lottery odds, you should always write to please yourself so at least when you're done you'll have that release and satisfaction. That is the lions share of reward music gives you anyway. Money isn't a reward for creating art, reaching and moving an audience is, whether it is 1 or a billion. I'd much rather write a song that moved the world and I got paid nothing for, than to make millions and no one remembered or cared. But if your music is no more than ordinary droll work product, a widget so to speak, then you best know how to make a widget that will sell. Art vs Commerce, two things with very different dynamics and measurements of success and value.


Brian Austin Whitney
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#1131403 - 10/13/17 07:26 AM Re: Dying art of the song intro [Re: John Voorpostel]  
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Colin Ward Offline
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I am sure what they are saying is true........but I like songs that have a signature, immediately recognizable instrumental hook. Many great songs from the classic rock days are instantly recognizable from the first chord or couple of notes. Take Clapton's Layla for instance. Or the first chord of A Hard Day's Night. You don't get that on a recording of someone rapping over a beat.


Colin

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#1131414 - 10/13/17 10:56 AM Re: Dying art of the song intro [Re: John Voorpostel]  
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John Voorpostel Offline
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I agree. Sometimes it seems that artists are primarily remembered for their intros...Think Baker Street and Whiter Shade of Pale.


If writing ever becomes work I think I'm going to have to stop

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#1132981 - 11/28/17 05:30 PM Re: Dying art of the song intro [Re: John Voorpostel]  
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RonnieDean Online content
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Intros are just so so important. I can't stress that enough.
Followed by the rest of the song which better be spot on right?

Yeah. :-)

#1133034 - 11/29/17 02:53 PM Re: Dying art of the song intro [Re: John Voorpostel]  
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Michael LeBlanc Offline
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i just love a cool riff at the beginning but i have patience when it comes to music.

#1133118 - 12/01/17 01:20 PM Re: Dying art of the song intro [Re: John Voorpostel]  
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Fdemetrio Offline
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I think todays listeners are not conscious of the fact they are sitting down to listen.

When I was a kid, id tell myself, Ok when i get home from school, "im going to listen to Quadrophenia from beggining to end" and Id expect a begining a middle and an end, and lots of good stuff in the middle. Kids today are perfectly fine hearing a song in the middle of it

I said it before and Ill say it again, music is not as important as it once was to your average joe. Musicians will always love it but Ill ask my nephew, so whats your favorite group?
"ahhh...uhmm, I mean, I dont know really, i just listen to whatever comes on" He likes music but dont have time for it, I tried to teach him guitar, he got one a few christmas ago, I think we had three lessons before it ended up under his bed. He does like banging on electronic drums though, but mainly hes interested in his Iphone and computer games

Last edited by Fdemetrio; 12/01/17 01:20 PM.
#1133135 - 12/01/17 10:13 PM Re: Dying art of the song intro [Re: John Voorpostel]  
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Jody Whitesides Offline
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Oddly enough, I once had a powerful A&R guy at a major label tell me, in front of a room full of other songwriters, to double the length of my pre-chorus. He even prefaced it by saying "I've never said this before., but whoever wrote this: You could double the length of your pre-chorus." As he scratched his head. Mind you, this lead me to a signing offer with a major label.

The next day with a different industry pro on a different song, she spoke up and said "I really want to hear what this intro would sound like if it were twice as long." Mind you, she wasn't overly sure, but really felt it started the song strongly. I ended up responding that if the object is to get people to listen over and over, does it make you want to start the song over and listen again? She said yes. Then retracted her request.

Names withheld to protect the innocent.

Reality is, it comes down to the power of the song and the quality of the recording. In some cases, every part of a song could have a strong hook. That's how Gaga did it.


Jody Whitesides
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#1133295 - 12/04/17 01:01 PM Re: Dying art of the song intro [Re: Jody Whitesides]  
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Brian Austin Whitney Offline
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Originally Posted by Jody Whitesides
Reality is, it comes down to the power of the song and the quality of the recording. In some cases, every part of a song could have a strong hook. That's how Gaga did it.


This is an important concept few people talk about... a great song can make every part as catchy and desirable as the chorus... don't always save those elements just for the chorus.


Brian Austin Whitney
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"Don't sit around and wait for success to come to you... it doesn't know the way." -Brian Austin Whitney

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#1133390 - 12/06/17 03:32 AM Re: Dying art of the song intro [Re: John Voorpostel]  
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TC Perkins Offline
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To me there are two approaches to songwriting and recording: to make art or to make money. These two are not mutually exclusive, but more and more it is about making money not art.

In my case, I just do my art. I am not gigging anymore, but even if I was I would not take out a great intro and go to the chorus in 10 seconds or less just because I thought it might get me signed. If the song calls for it, sure, then do it. My motto is just write what you hear, and don't worry about it. If you start sucuumbing to outside pressures in the search for money, or the ever illusive fame thing, you are just setting yourself up for disappointment. And in this modern age, good luck getting a song published by a known artist unless you actually sit down, co-write it with them, and give away a big chunk of the writer royalties. Mechanical royalties have gaping loopholes so people want that writing/publishing royalty.

As someone stated before, some of the best songs I love so much have great intros (Hotel California for instance). For every formulaic pop or country song that eek into the charts for a day, I can find old and new songs alike that are actually interesting, and some of these had record sales in the millions. Almost every one has a signature intro.

My 0.02
TC


If it has strings I will find a way to play it!

You can hear my tunes at https://soundcloud.com/tc-gypsy
#1134085 - 12/28/17 05:55 PM Re: Dying art of the song intro [Re: Jody Whitesides]  
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Pat Hardy Offline
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The digital era and the instant gratification phenomenon is the culprit. I'd be happen to go back in time to the 60s, if I could. I can live without all these conveniences. It also affected photography ( I was a wedding photographer for 15 years ).
Originally Posted by Jody Whitesides
Oddly enough, I once had a powerful A&R guy at a major label tell me, in front of a room full of other songwriters, to double the length of my pre-chorus. He even prefaced it by saying "I've never said this before., but whoever wrote this: You could double the length of your pre-chorus." As he scratched his head. Mind you, this lead me to a signing offer with a major label.

The next day with a different industry pro on a different song, she spoke up and said "I really want to hear what this intro would sound like if it were twice as long." Mind you, she wasn't overly sure, but really felt it started the song strongly. I ended up responding that if the object is to get people to listen over and over, does it make you want to start the song over and listen again? She said yes. Then retracted her request.

Names withheld to protect the innocent.

Reality is, it comes down to the power of the song and the quality of the recording. In some cases, every part of a song could have a strong hook. That's how Gaga did it.


I really don't believe one should write a song with a preconcieved design, the song should dictate what it needs, not some systematical approad before a note is even conceived.

I don't buy this idea of a "hook" being a particular section of the song. the entire song is the hook, for it if isn't, it's not as good as it could be.

#1135669 - 01/27/18 10:26 AM Re: Dying art of the song intro [Re: Pat Hardy]  
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David Snyder Offline
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I agree with this last comment about "the whole song being the hook."

I can live with the "make sure you get to V1 by 10 secs" rule--that's fair. At most common pop tempos that will give you somewhere between 8 and 10 secs with a four bar intro.

Going by the original post, we would forever be forced to write with only two 2 bar intros, or 1 bar intros--and somehow, that just does not seem right to forever kill off the 4 bar intro and say "you only get 1 or two now--or zero."

Nah.


David Snyder, Composer, Author
Singer-Songwriter, Producer
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www.davidsnydermusic.com
www.reverbnation.com/davidpsnyder
#1136571 - 02/08/18 02:11 PM Re: Dying art of the song intro [Re: John Voorpostel]  
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TC Perkins Offline
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This whole idea that songs need to make it to the first verse in 10 seconds or less is rediculous. I timed country songs on the radio one day because someone tried to feed me this BS, and even they averaged longer than that. Other genres like rock average a longer amount of time to get to the singing. I guess fusion jazz sucks because there are no words. Give me a break.


If it has strings I will find a way to play it!

You can hear my tunes at https://soundcloud.com/tc-gypsy
#1136577 - 02/08/18 04:53 PM Re: Dying art of the song intro [Re: TC Perkins]  
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Barry David Butler Offline
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The average Music Dolt today has ADHD and has the attention span of a flea.

#1136580 - 02/08/18 05:36 PM Re: Dying art of the song intro [Re: John Voorpostel]  
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Marc Barnette Offline
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Nashville, Tn.
The intro can vary depending on the level of the artist. If they are established, longer intros can be used. But rarely much more than 15 seconds are the rule. Radio has 22 minutes of commercials an hour, so finding ways to cut every second out of a song is pretty normal. And the "ten second intro" is very true for almost all NEW artists. The basic listener has an 8 second attention span. Watch anyone around an "Echo Dot" saying "Alexia...play" they are on to other songs so fast it makes your head swim.
Again, most music now is background, so the longer intro is just one more reason to tune the song out and move on to a next one.

MAB

#1136662 - 02/10/18 04:28 AM Re: Dying art of the song intro [Re: TC Perkins]  
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Brian Austin Whitney Offline
Brian Austin Whitney  Offline


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Indianapolis, IN USA
Originally Posted by TC Perkins
This whole idea that songs need to make it to the first verse in 10 seconds or less is rediculous. I timed country songs on the radio one day because someone tried to feed me this BS, and even they averaged longer than that. Other genres like rock average a longer amount of time to get to the singing. I guess fusion jazz sucks because there are no words. Give me a break.


I've always understood that rule to apply to demos and I think people have widely expanded it to mean all music which it obviously doesn't apply to. People listening to demos do not need to hear your 30 second intro.


Brian Austin Whitney
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"Don't sit around and wait for success to come to you... it doesn't know the way." -Brian Austin Whitney

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#1136720 - 02/10/18 03:52 PM Re: Dying art of the song intro [Re: Brian Austin Whitney]  
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Jody Whitesides Offline
Jody Whitesides  Offline

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Park City, UT, USA
Originally Posted by Brian Austin Whitney
Originally Posted by Jody Whitesides
Reality is, it comes down to the power of the song and the quality of the recording. In some cases, every part of a song could have a strong hook. That's how Gaga did it.


This is an important concept few people talk about... a great song can make every part as catchy and desirable as the chorus... don't always save those elements just for the chorus.

That's modern songwriting in a nutshell.


Jody Whitesides
A Funky Audio Lap Dance For Your Ears!
www.jodywhitesides.com
#1136721 - 02/10/18 03:54 PM Re: Dying art of the song intro [Re: Pat Hardy]  
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Jody Whitesides Offline
Jody Whitesides  Offline

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Park City, UT, USA
Originally Posted by Pat Hardy
I don't buy this idea of a "hook" being a particular section of the song. the entire song is the hook, for it if isn't, it's not as good as it could be.

That's a matter of opinion. Going the extra step of making each section as memorable as the chorus is certainly harder than going for a singular song hook.


Jody Whitesides
A Funky Audio Lap Dance For Your Ears!
www.jodywhitesides.com
#1136857 - 02/12/18 01:12 AM Re: Dying art of the song intro [Re: John Voorpostel]  
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niteshift Offline
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niteshift  Offline
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Sydney, Australia
Hey All,

The intro, like the outro is simply a synopsis of the 2 or three major memes you have presented in the song.. These days, yes, much reduced in time to under 15 seconds. The intro should be a signature, which provides instant recognition. To not do so, will, as Brain has pointed out, not capture the younger audience, because they really do have ADHD and can't concentrate for more than 2 seconds.

cheers, niteshift

#1136925 - 02/12/18 11:22 AM Re: Dying art of the song intro [Re: John Voorpostel]  
Joined: Sep 2004
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Rick Heenan Online content
Rick Heenan  Online Content

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Lockport NY, usa
I was a fan of good intros. Then I helped out judging the music awards here. It was frustrating to hear a beautiful long intro be followed by an off-key vocal. I think my portion of judging included about 4500 songs. With that many songs that I listened to, short intros were appreciated. Intros, to me, are supposed to lead you into the heart of the song. Sometimes they wouldn't do that. Next!

#1137015 - 02/13/18 06:46 AM Re: Dying art of the song intro [Re: John Voorpostel]  
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Brian Austin Whitney Offline
Brian Austin Whitney  Offline


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Indianapolis, IN USA
Rick, Usually our judges learn a lot having to check out what others are doing... much easier to hear mistakes others make even for long term pros.


Brian Austin Whitney
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Just Plain Folks
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Skype: Brian Austin Whitney
Facebook: www.facebook.com/justplainfolks

"Don't sit around and wait for success to come to you... it doesn't know the way." -Brian Austin Whitney

"It's easier to be the bigger man when you actually are..."

[Linked Image]
#1137035 - 02/13/18 12:22 PM Re: Dying art of the song intro [Re: John Voorpostel]  
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Johnny Daubert Offline
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Johnny Daubert  Offline
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New Jersey, USA
I think the "craft of songwriting" is not nearly as important as it was for the ions before the three P's, as Mike Caro would describe the current music business: (Producer, Pro Tools and Pitch Control).

Intros, even very short ones, can set the table in such a great, interesting way, the gist of "the song". Same with endings.

I would compose intros after The Song was in stone, with then creating a hint of what was to come, in one way or another. (A short take on part of the chorus hook in instrumental ways, or, a short melody taken from any part of the song that would set up the first verse, or the song's intro chorus, if not going to a verse right away.

The SONG would lend an Intro in one way or another. Funny, that I would open with a part of the song that came last in thought!

John


Actually a Member Since 1996 or 97 (Number One Hundred Something).
Songnado I and II:
http://www.soundclick.com/bands/page_music.cfm?bandID=322686





#1137037 - 02/13/18 12:59 PM Re: Dying art of the song intro [Re: John Voorpostel]  
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Fdemetrio Offline
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Fdemetrio  Offline
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Intros and bridges are always hard, that's why people love not having to use them.

An into is kind of like a camera focusing on some mountain top, panning around until it sets inside a log cabin, where you then see people.

The verse is those people talking, or a narrator setting it up

I guess intros take patience, and if the song is brand new, it has little chance of being heard in full, when instant gratification is available to everybody with a computer

If the song is already known, the intro will be heard. I think it's the new songs trying to break in that might have a hard time.

If I hear Desperado intro, I already know what's coming, and stick around

If I hear a brand new song, I have no idea, so maybe I click elsewhere

Last edited by Fdemetrio; 02/13/18 01:01 PM.
#1137262 - 02/15/18 09:25 PM Re: Dying art of the song intro [Re: John Voorpostel]  
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TC Perkins Offline
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TC Perkins  Offline
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Virginia
If I hear a good intro, I, on the other hand, listen to the whole song because a well thought out intro generally means just as much care went into the rest of the tune.


If it has strings I will find a way to play it!

You can hear my tunes at https://soundcloud.com/tc-gypsy
#1138235 - 03/07/18 11:51 AM Re: Dying art of the song intro [Re: John Voorpostel]  
Joined: Feb 2006
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Germain Brunet Offline
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Germain Brunet  Offline
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Ontario, Canada
Just my humble take on this subject. We live in a world of "Instant gratification"...we want everything right now. It's not much different in music. The musical intro is important to set the mood but if we're talking commercial music, it should be short as you have to get to the chorus very quickly.

Not so many years ago, I use to hear a lot of songs on country radio get to the chorus in say around 50 seconds to one minute. Nowadays, waiting one minute to get to the chorus is too long. Now a lot of songs get to the chorus is 35 to 45 seconds.

So yes, I think you need a catchy sig lick intro, but has to be short.

Germain


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