Wednesday, October 28

So What – Pink – Melody

So What – Pink – Melody

Well…the melody can be summed up in one word…Pentatonic. “A” Pentatonic to be exact.

The guitar riff at the beginning…the “na, na” part…is exactly the same as the verse melody. No variation. No wonder the verse hits so hard. This song has only three melody shapes. One for the verse, one for the chorus, and one for the bridge. That’s it!

Verse melody - That catchy riff!

For you theory geeks, she starts on the 6th degree of the scale. Why is that important? Because she’s not starting from a position of stability. In fact, the phrase ENDS on the 6th degree. So the entire melodic phrase starts and ends on instability.

Here’s the steps of the pentatonic scale…1 2 3 5 6

The stable notes of the scale are 1, 3 &  5

The unstable notes are 2 and 6.

With me so far?

So think about the lyrics for a moment. What’s going on? Things are falling apart for our dear Pink. “Guess I just lost my husband, I don’t know where he went…”. Does that sound like a stable environment? :) No, it’s not. How cool then to begin and end your melodic phrase on instability. The instability of the melody emphasizes the instability of her situation.

Chorus Melody – Bipolor Looking Upwards for Stability

Remember those stable and unstable notes of pentatonic scale. The MOST stable note is the 1. The chorus melody fights back and forth between 6 and 1. What word is she singing on the 1? Why, “Rock Star”…of course. Her melody is basically telling us that she is the most stable element of the entire mess. More prosody!

Another vital comparison to make between verse melody and chorus melody is the overall shape. The verse melody moves up and back down, up and back down. It’s relentless. (Again, think in terms of the lyrics…she’s talking about the chaos of her life…what better way to show chaos than constantly moving up and down. It’s bipolar. :)

On the other hand, the chorus melody continues to focus upward. She moves from the unstable 6 to the stable 1, and then finishes the phrase further up the scale (on the also-stable 3rd).  What words are on the highest notes? Tonight, and alright. So what do those elements say about our dear little Pink. She’s telling us that she’s stable in the chaos…tonight!

Bridge Melody – Reflective and Looking Down

I really LOVE the bridge melody. It’s still pentatonic, but it is really lovely. It’s constantly falling downward. The lyrics are about how much her ex let her down. See the connection? Downward melody…ex letting her DOWN. Brilliant!

Powerful Simplicity

This song is a great example of how powerful simplicity should be. All the fat has been trimmed. The shapes are simple and unencumbered. More importantly, each note COUNTS. The melody she’s singing is directly related to what she’s saying in the lyrics. If that’s not a definition of prosody, then I don’t know what is.

Now it’s your turn to go write something cool.

I’m serious. Shut of your computer and go write. :)


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