7 Reasons your tracks are boring your audience

Xabiton

Cupcake God
Source 7 Reasons Your Songs Might Be Boring Listeners - TrackHustle.com

There’s nothing “hooky”. No rhythms or melodic shapes that jump out and grab the listeners attention.
Chord Progression Have Too Many Chords. Since chords are part of what makes music sound like a journey, you can tighten up that journey by making progressions succinct and to the point.
Chord Progressions that Don’t Resolve Properly. Certain chords feel like they naturally want to move to specific resolution points. For example, you know that dominant chords (V-chords) will often want to move to tonic chords (I-chords). Normal resolutions should be happening most of the time. If it sounds like your chords are meandering around without any sense of direction, your listeners will get lost and feel bored.
Instrumentations That are Unimaginative. A simple guitar strumming the entire way through a song, with no attempt to spice it up with some technique, or no attempt to add something interesting, can make songs sound boring. Look for ways to add other instruments that will raise the interest level: fiddle, French horn, string quartet… all these ideas can help give your song better “curb appeal.”
Melodies That Have No Shape. Melodies don’t need to move up and down constantly, but a melody that has no distinctive shape is difficult for a listener to remember afterward.
The Tempo isn’t Right. You’d be surprised what nudging the tempo of a song a bit faster, or a bit slower, can do to the overall impression of a song by an audience. Tempo is strongly linked to energy. So consider tempo to be a crucial part of the songwriting process, and experiment.
The Song is in the Wrong Key. This probably comes in under the “performance” category rather than the “songwriting” category, but it’s so important that I have to mention it here. We know that it’s normal to consider placing the key of a song basically in the middle of the singer’s range. That way, you can reach all the notes with ease. However, songs with powerful lyrics may need to be placed higher to get the emotional impact across. Without that impact, songs can fall flat. As with tempo, experiment!
 

Emmapeel9

New member
It would be easier to comment on this if the points were numbered :)

A lot of these points are not important or relevant to songwriting. It is not important to decide on the key (This can change depending on the artist.) It is also not important to decide on the tempo. (Although a rough tempo is usual) Choosing what instruments to use are a production decision not a songwriting one. All of the above are more production decisions as opposed to songwriting ones.

The other 4 are fair enough if you are looking for things that MIGHT make your song boring. No requirement to tick any of these though - you can have a good song without any of these.

My own opinion is that this article is very amateurish. Not saying that it won't be helpful though.


edit - The intro talks about these as basic songwriting errors which is quite wrong. The advice works best for when you are submitting a demo and it could help if you are not sure about the track and want to check things. Not sure what this site is about though.
 
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bandcoach

Zukatoku - Mod Scientist

Thanks, Xabiton; can never have enough reminders about how to improve your writing.

(1)There’s nothing “hooky”. No rhythms or melodic shapes that jump out and grab the listeners attention.

Insert the ideas of riff, lyrical hook and unique orchestration and you begin to round out the set of factors that can lead to a hook being memorable.

(2)Chord Progression Have Too Many Chords. Since chords are part of what makes music sound like a journey, you can tighten up that journey by making progressions succinct and to the point.

This is like telling Mozart "you have too many notes!" However, unless you are doing Neo-soul, too many chords may be the problem. Look at your chords and see if you are using different versions of the same idea:


vi - I - iii form a trifecta of related chords: they use notes 613 - 135 - 357
ii - IV - vi form another trifecta: 246 - 461 - 613
iii - V- vii form yet another trifecta: 357 - 572 - 724
e.g. in the key of C major

Aminor - C - Eminor: ACE - CEG - EGB
Dminor - F - Aminor: DFA - FAC - ACE
Eminor - G - Bdim: EGB - GBD - BDF
If you are using 7th chords, then there are four chords that partially share the same ground.

Look at your chords and reduce by removing one of the chords from each set of possible chords.

(3)Chord Progressions that Don’t Resolve Properly. Certain chords feel like they naturally want to move to specific resolution points. For example, you know that dominant chords (V-chords) will often want to move to tonic chords (I-chords). Normal resolutions should be happening most of the time. If it sounds like your chords are meandering around without any sense of direction, your listeners will get lost and feel bored.

We generally like our chord progressions to resolve in the following ways:

I-V: 135-572
V-I: 572-135
IV-I: 461-135
V-vi: 572-613
ii-V: 246-572
V-anything: 572-???
IV-anything: 461-???

e.g. in the key of C major again

C-G: CEG-GBD
G-C: GBD-CEG
F-C: FAC-CEG
G-AMinor: GBD-ACE
Dminor-G: DFA-GBD
G-anything: GBD-???
F-anything: FAC-???

Also see the previous point

(4)Instrumentations That are Unimaginative. A simple guitar strumming the entire way through a song, with no attempt to spice it up with some technique, or no attempt to add something interesting, can make songs sound boring. Look for ways to add other instruments that will raise the interest level: fiddle, French horn, string quartet… all these ideas can help give your song better “curb appeal.”

Learning orchestration at least in a minimal way is useful in selling your material. If you present everything with the same lacklustre approach you will be lucky to get a callback after the third time.

(5)Melodies That Have No Shape. Melodies don’t need to move up and down constantly, but a melody that has no distinctive shape is difficult for a listener to remember afterward.

Not only is it a question of no shape, but the average listener has a vocal range of about a 5th that they are comfortable using. They all admire the Michael Buble's, Mariah's and Whitney's, and so on, but they long to be the average small range singer.

So creating a melody that is memorable and singable by the audience is important. Using shapes likes bridges works, but a staircase like those found in Hogwarts might just confuse the audience.

(6)The Tempo isn’t Right. You’d be surprised what nudging the tempo of a song a bit faster, or a bit slower, can do to the overall impression of a song by an audience. Tempo is strongly linked to energy. So consider tempo to be a crucial part of the songwriting process, and experiment.

Speed: Ask any one who spits and they will tell that the tempo can kill the groove if is too fast or too slow. Tempos need to allow the spitter time to develop their rolling delivery. Tempos also need to allow the singer to develop the necessary breath support for sustained notes whilst also letting them get out fast passages with clean diction. Messed up lyrics because then song is too fast or poor notes because the singer/spitter keeps running out breath because the song is too slow, can only harm the reception your song gets

(7)The Song is in the Wrong Key. This probably comes in under the “performance” category rather than the “songwriting” category, but it’s so important that I have to mention it here. We know that it’s normal to consider placing the key of a song basically in the middle of the singer’s range. That way, you can reach all the notes with ease. However, songs with powerful lyrics may need to be placed higher to get the emotional impact across. Without that impact, songs can fall flat. As with tempo, experiment!
[/LIST]

This is perhaps one of the more important ideas. There are some professional singers who will not even listen to a demo if it is not already in one their preferred keys.

A personal example, though, of the impact this can have in performance and consequently in trying to sell your song.

I'm going back over 20 years. A good friend of mine would listen to me perform some of my repertoire. He was also a good critic. I was doing a lot of material in the key of D major, mainly because it was comfortable. He insisted that I play/sing a few of the pieces again in the key of F major (taking it up a minor 3rd or 3 frets). No problem. His point sank home as soon I hit the climactic points in the song - the notes resonated not only through my body but through the room - in this key the songs came alive and actually sold the story in a way they hadn't done in the key of D - there was no more or less emotion in either key, just that the high notes rang out more clearly and the low notes were not as muddy as they had been.

Point of the story - make sure the song is really in the best key for best presentation impact.

Again, Xabiton, thanks for starting this thread.
 
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Emmapeel9

New member
Emmapeel9, you must realize that not everyone comes from the same musical background as you... therefore, there are some who need a point of reference... please keep in mind that you were writing songs when you where 6 years old and have a catolog of 1000s of songs (finished/unfinished according to you)... there are some that needs to be pointed in the right direction... i feel since you have been writing songs since the age of 6 a lot of material you have read about music/making music sounds "very amateurish"... please keep that in mind...

Thx to the OP for posting this btw. It's good to comment on things like this. I have to give my honest opinion though.

The reason I describe this as amateurish is that it seems to mix up songwriting and recording (or production.). Songs don't usually have instructions for instrumentation/ tempo or key. The reason for this is that different artists may want to sing the song and they may each need: Different keys / tempo's and instrumentations. This is why these elements are not usually part of songwriting and left to production.

My own opinion is that there is no such thing as a basic songwriting error - only good and bad. I would look upon the points as more of a checklist to see if your recording could be better. Just go through each of these to see if it applies to your recording and then try to change things if something stands out.

I'm actually not sure who the advice is aimed at. You would actually need more advice if you wanted to send off a demo (recording, mixing, mastering), but too much for just writing a song.

I think all of this advice can be helpful as a sort of checklist - it's just not very clear as to what it is about.
 
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Xabiton

Cupcake God
Thx to the OP for posting this btw. It's good to comment on things like this. I have to give my honest opinion though.

The reason I describe this as amateurish is that it seems to mix up songwriting and recording (or production.). Songs don't usually have instructions for instrumentation/ tempo or key. The reason for this is that different artists may want to sing the song and they may each need: Different keys / tempo's and instrumentations. This is why these elements are not usually part of songwriting and left to production.

My own opinion is that there is no such thing as a basic songwriting error - only good and bad. I would look upon the points as more of a checklist to see if your recording could be better. Just go through each of these to see if it applies to your recording and then try to change things if something stands out.

I'm actually not sure who the advice is aimed at. You would actually need more advice if you wanted to send off a demo (recording, mixing, mastering), but too much for just writing a song.

I think all of this advice can be helpful as a sort of checklist - it's just not very clear as to what it is about.

it was aimed at the newer songwriters/composers.
 

LostProfit

New member
I affirm with Bandcoach on the whole, but...

The article forgets noise art and collage and experimental styles of composition. But then, maybe these styles are reserved for boring audiences. lol

I think it makes a boring album/artist if every song tries to make the same thing happen.
 
I always say, if you didn't have fun or the right inspiration creating the music, It's going to be boring. The music will reflect your mood. Some times, you write a song or produce a track that you really don't care that much for but the next person loves.

I think all the points on here are good points. There can be a recipe for creating good music but you have to let it flow and enjoy what you are doing. 9 times out of 10, the right inspiration comes from another song, a working melody, a working chord progression, or a working drum or rhythm section (so finding recipes for making these elements work is wise). The rest is being you, being creative and having fun building the music.
 

CoreyJayzMusic

New member
i am a new Producer/Composer (new to production... been studying music for quite a while now) and i think there was great advice all over this post i think you gave good advice in music in general... i mean isn't that what we're all here for? who cares who it was meant too, appreciate the post! always looking to learn talk share view points and exchange ideas!
 

Lakwaun

New member
Lots to read here. lol. Just really starting to learn music theory. And now I see why this book is so thick! lol.I haven't even scratched the surface!
 

Firewolfs

New member
In my opinion a good melody makes 55% of the track. The other 45% are mixdown and arrangement
 
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jaysummers75

Jay Summers
We generally like our chord progressions to resolve in the following ways:

I-V: 135-572
V-I: 572-135
IV-I: 461-135
V-vi: 572-613
ii-V: 246-572
V-anything: 572-???
IV-anything: 461-???

e.g. in the key of C major again

C-G: CEG-GBD
G-C: GBD-CEG
F-C: FAC-CEG
G-AMinor: GBD-ACE
Dminor-G: DFA-GBD
G-anything: GBD-???
F-anything: FAC-???

Okay, so I am not understanding how you are using the term "resolving", but what I know of music a resolve is something you might see when you are using a dominant to change the key signature. If you were to use G7 in a song, it allows you to use the dominant chord as a "resolving chord" to the next key signature you are to be playing in, and from what I have experienced in the case of G7 is that i resolves to the key of C.

Resolving can also be used to explain the nature of a suspended chord to its root. For instance Csus4, to C, yet in your post I didn't see any mention of using that term to explain it this way.

I am curious to know what you mean by "resolving".
 
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