I'm trying to compose a verse (with refrain?)-chorus (bridge?) pop song (optional: Instrumental intro, bridge before the final chorus, instrumental solo somewhere) about 3-4 minutes in length. I've written myself into trouble, however, because my verses go for 9 measures and my chorus goes for 9 measures. This was not intentional--I composed the melody first, and it sounded most natural this way.
From my reading, I am aware of the importance of symmetry and asymmetry in pop songwriting. Compositional variables involved in discerning whether the music is symmetric or asymmetric include:
- The number of phrases
- The length of phrases (how many measures in each phrase)
- The rhythm of the phrases
- The order of the phrases
(I'm not sure if this is obvious or not, but I believe we are talking about melodic phrases here)
I also understand that an even number of phrases of the same length will produce a balanced section of music and that an odd number of phrases of the same length will produce an unbalanced section of music.
So, i've taken notes (please see below) on my composition with the above principles (taken, by the way, from Melody in Songwriting by Jack Perricone) in mind, trying to see where my song fits. Basically, I am totally lost. I am not sure if Jack's balance/symmetry theory only pertains to melodic phrases or if it concerns the length of the music generally (counted as measures). Regardless, I am frustrated, because I can't tell if the techniques in this book are difficult to apply or if I am just thinking about it incorrectly (or both!). I thought the reading (please see below) would help me find a solution for my 9 measure structure (i'm in foreign territory here--every section of music i've written before is has been an even number. Not to mention, it's the standard--think 32 bar form, 12 bar blues, etc.), but I am still left without answers.
Can you please share your perspective on this approach? Do you have other ways of "balancing" "unbalanced" sections of music? Please know that i'm trying to compose something catchy and singable (pop), so the goal is not to experiment--I would like the final form to be pleasing to the ear.
Thank you so much!