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Songwriting Techniques For Better Intros – Creating Impact

Songwriting Techniques For Better Intros – Creating Impact

By implementing great songwriting techniques during your song intros to add freshness and originality, you can set yourself apart from the average songwriter playing arpeggiated chords for 4-8 bars in the intro. In this article, we’ll explore how to make song intros more powerful and effective using various songwriting techniques, so that, by the end of the article, you’ll be able to better explore this concept on your own and immediately apply it to your songwriting.

When you begin each song, you only have a few moments to make an impression on a listener whether they’re a seasoned industry professional or a regular audience member. This is especially true if you are a yet-to-be-discovered songwriter or artist, or if you’re simply trying out a new song in front of an audience, because in the public’s eyes, you still have to prove yourself.

And prove you will! Your goal during a song’s intro is to create a huge impact on the listener so they can beg to hear more. We all know how first impressions stay in our memory—it’s human nature. So think impact, impact, impact!

Keep in mind one of the most effective songwriting techiques for intros is to save the intro development until you’ve finished your song’s first draft because it gives you a better perspective and overall feel for the type of intro your song needs. On the other hand, a well-crafted intro can actually develop an entire song.

Also, impact comes in a variety of forms. Impact does not mean you have to blast people’s ears to get their attention. You can actually begin a song quietly then use contrast in other parts of the song. Each song is unique and each one has an infinite number of possibilities in how you approach them. The bottom line is, if it finally sounds good, it probably is!

The following are just a couple of great songwriting techniques to create impact in the intro assuming you have nothing but a guitar or piano and a voice:

These work well for ballads (slower songs):

1. Use the chord structure from the chorus by holding the chord shapes and implying the chorus melody or a variation of the chorus melody for no longer than 8 bars before going into the 1st verse. Don’t play your intro too long where people lose interest unless you’ve got an unbelievably effective melody and chord structure that sets up the song well!

2. Use parts of the verse, bridge, or prechorus’s chord structure and maybe throw in a surprise chord at the end of the intro before going into the 1st verse.

For midtempo and/or fast songs try this:

1. Use the sequence of notes (motifs or riffs) and chords underlying the chorus’s vocal part in the intro. By using this technique the song will appear more powerful and cohesive when you reach the 1st chorus because of the familiar underlying structure. This intro songwriting technique is one of the strongest because your intro contains parts of the hook/chorus right off the bat! It’ll give the listener almost the same impact as if you were starting the song with your chorus. The listeners will be immediately hooked and most won’t even know what hit them! Impact, impact!

2. Begin the song by strumming or playing one interesting, powerful chord, pause—-then immediately go into your first verse or other section. Surprise=impact!

Don’t hesitate to experiment with different types of intros for your songs. Chances are there’s an original intro dancing in your imagination that fits the song like a glove. Never forget a song intro absolutely needs to have impact!