I increasingly miss two of the most important feelings in music. Let’s talk about amazement and anticipation focusing on song structure.
While amazement usually goes from minor or dissonant tonality of aggression, high energy and instability are somehow used to create a sense of surprise or wonder. This can be difficult to do well… I know it’s quite difficult. One of the best ways to express ‘amazement’ is later in the song, using significant musical material (such as melodies or sounds) that were presented earlier in the song! The most popular genres using this formula are Pop and Rock, but now you can listen more often on House and Progressive music.
Now, Surprise – Surprise is a more extreme expression of amazement. This is achieved by adding sudden changes to the unstable musical texture – the more sudden, the more surprising. The key is to combine the sudden changes with instability to create musical progressions and structural punctuation that has a high degree of unpredictability.
Finally, come anticipation! Anticipation is one of the most difficult emotions to express in music. It is a sense that something is coming – an expectation that something will happen, but an uncertainty of exactly what it will be. The difficulty is in finding the right balance. If the music is too predictable, the anticipation will turn to boredom. The music is too unpredictable, the anticipation will turn to confusion.
So, since anticipation is often expressed as a low energy section of music directly following a previous high energy section if you use extended periods of anticipation, a gradual increase in energy works well to guide the listener’s expectations. Unstable textures also work well. Instability creates a desire in the listener for the song to resolve to stability – especially after prior stability earlier in the song.
You should seriously think about this two feelings while producing your next song since they will increase the listening experience and will distinguish your song from all others more easily! Taking your own feelings and structuring it into the song is the key to a great song!