Songwriting – The Effective Use of Tension and Release in Ingrid Michaelson’s "Keep Breathing"

Songwriting – The Effective Use of Tension and Release in Ingrid Michaelson’s "Keep Breathing"


Have you ever ever been excited about a good way to create stress on your songs, so you’ll be able to have a booming second of free up? Ingrid Michaelson successfully creates this sort of moments in her track, “Stay Respiring.” Let’s test it out.

You’ll take a look at the track on YouTube, if you would like to apply alongside. The days I reference underneath (e.g., 2:41) consult with the approximate mins and seconds within the track.

This track begins with two brief verses that finish at the “Stay Respiring” chorus.

Verses 1 and a pair of (minus the refrains) let us know:

Verse 1: The hurricane is coming, however I do not thoughts Persons are death, I shut my blinds

Verse 2: I need to exchange the sector, as an alternative I sleep I need to consider in additional than you and me

In order that’s concise and simple… It is this nonchalant and common language that is announcing “I will’t do anything else about it. I am not going to do anything else about it.”

However what occurs subsequent is fascinating. When the second one verse ends and is going into the second one chorus (“All that I do know is I am respiring…”) we now have precisely two mins left in a track that is not up to 3 and a part mins lengthy. “Who cares?” you’ll be asking. Neatly, the ones final two mins are nearly ENTIRELY the word “All we will do is stay respiring” repeated over and over. There may be some slight variation within the phrases of the word, and after the second one chorus, she lingers at the phrase “now” for a little bit, however excluding that, it is all “All we will do is stay respiring” for the stability of the track!

Generally this a lot repetition of each lyrics AND melody way you will not be wanted that Ambien this night… however no longer right here. Right here, it in truth works. Let’s have a look at why…

There are two primary issues happening after the preliminary two verses of this track that make the vocal repetition paintings so smartly. The primary is that what is taking place BENEATH the vocals is converting so greatly. And no longer most effective is it converting, however it is development stress.

At about 2:07, nearly all of the tools have dropped out of the track as she says “All that I do know is I am respiring.” Then every time the word will get repeated, extra tools get started coming in beneath the vocal. It is beginning to create a stress. The snare drum has an enormous hand on this. As it is pounding away and getting louder and louder, we are build up a truly robust stress that is begging to be launched. This has were given to damage quickly, proper? And it is going to be resulting in one thing large, proper?

So what occurs? The strain breaks at 2:41 because the power beating of the snare drum ends and is going into a normal drum beat. On the identical time, the vocal harmonies chanting “ahhhh” kick in, within the background. The strain has formally been relieved. So let’s have a look at what the lead vocal’s as much as at this level, as it MUST be doing one thing other now… Nope. Nonetheless “respiring.” Precisely the similar because it used to be ahead of the strain used to be launched. But we nonetheless really feel the discharge on account of what is going on BENEATH the phrases.

However there is extra. There is a 2d factor that is making the tip of this track paintings smartly, which is the best way the which means of the lyrics tie into the song. “Huh?” you ask. Neatly, take into consideration it… what occurs while you actually stay respiring together with your lungs? Proper… repetition. It doesn’t matter what’s taking place within the WORLD round you, your BREATHS helps to keep taking place. And… no matter’s taking place within the association of this SONG underneath the phrases (drums, guitars, and so forth), the LYRICS AND MELODY keep repetitive and stay taking place, over and over again. The similar as they did within the breath ahead of.

Whilst you forestall respiring, you are lifeless. When this track stops repeating, it is over.

So now we will see why nearly two mins of the similar lyrics and melody paintings right here. As a result of there is a complete global converting underneath the lead vocal. And on the identical time the repetition of the lead vocal ties in so strongly to the which means of the phrases.

Now THAT’S excellent writing (and arranging). It is construction supporting which means, pulled off large time. (You’ll’t see, however I am status and applauding).

Every other cool factor to notice here’s that what broke this track (and necessarily Ingrid’s profession) used to be it is placement within the ultimate episode of Season 3 of Gray’s Anatomy. The track ended up being an ideal are compatible for the feelings of the general scene in that episode. I will’t publish hyperlinks right here, however you’ll be able to do a YouTube seek for “Gray’s Anatomy Stay Respiring” to look at the scene. It is the (nearly) wedding ceremony scene.

Neatly… it used to be nearly an ideal are compatible. As Robin Frederick issues out in her e book, Shortcuts to Songwriting for Movie & TV, the track used to be in truth e x t e n d e d to suit the scene. As somebody who watches tv is aware of, that is beautiful uncommon. Typically songs are shortened to suit a scene. To not point out that what used to be being prolonged right here used to be one thing that used to be already waaaay extra repetitious than standard, as we realized within the paragraphs above. However nonetheless, the repetition of “All we will do is stay respiring” as-is simply wasn’t sufficient for the song supervisors of Gray’s Anatomy. They prolonged it much more! That simply is going to turn you the way smartly it labored. It displays you the way smartly it are compatible the emotion of the scene, which is the principle explanation why a track gets put on TV within the first position. As a result of, truly a track is put right into a scene on tv to TELL us what feelings we will have to be feeling in that second. And obviously this track nailed it for that ultimate scene.

Oh, and be mindful how they aligned the spoil within the stress of Ingrid’s track that I mentioned above, with the actress’ word: “I am loose… rattling it” (at 2:34 within the Gray’s Anatomy clip)… proper ahead of she freaks out and takes the marriage get dressed off. Yeah, that is no accident.

Nice track AND nice placement on TV. See if you should incorporate this kind of second on your personal song. If finished smartly it generally is a nice revel in in your listeners.