A survey of the music and lyrics of Paul Simon. Paul Simon's songs represent a rich and sophisticated tapestry of emotional color, social comment, and dry humor. Each week the class will examine the recurring musical/lyrical gestures and themes found in Paul Simon's songs. The class will explore the cultural, musical, and literary influences that inform Simon's songwriting.
The field of songwriting for film and television has grown exponentially over the past few years, providing a promotional launching pad (as well as a potentially lucrative income stream) for artist and songwriter careers. This course will explore the techniques of writing music that will appeal specifically to music supervisors, editors, directors, and producers across any number of different genres. Throughout the course skills in songwriting, production, negotiation, collaboration, and establishing publishing deals will be developed, along with the opportunity to network with a variety of external music industry disciplines.
This course explores guitar techniques, particularly addressing the needs and creative processes of songwriters writing on guitar. As a second-level course building on Guitar Techniques for Songwriters (SW-236), this course extends the scope of that foundation class to include more advanced harmonic structures and instrumental techniques, and the skills required by the performing guitarist/singer/songwriter. The class first reviews key material introduced in SW-236 in accelerated form‚Äö√Ñ√Æin close and spread voicings on all stringsets. This includes basic triads in varied sequences and progressions along and across the neck; dyadic voicings with drones and power chords (1-5-1 and 5-1-5 voicings). The class then addresses non-triadic voicings, including suspensions and shell voicings; advanced right-hand finger-picking, flat-picking, and strumming techniques; riff-based writing; and selected open tunings, with exploratory techniques for mapping new tunings. The latter portion of the class moves beyond composition and writing concerns to address: arrangement of repertoire on guitar; vocal/guitar interactions in solo self-accompanied performance; finding a signature guitar sound as a writer/performer; accompanying vocalists as second guitar or in a band setting; fills and leads in a song context; and applying guitar skills in the cowriting session. As with SW-236, each session will introduce technical skills, evaluated in class. This class will follow more of a workshop and master class format, as students present entire songs for critique and review by the instructor and peers. Thus the class will also lend itself to incorporation of sessions with visiting artists and clinicians, working in a lecture-demonstration and master-class format.
This course will allow upper semester students who have never taken a songwriting course at Berklee during their first six semesters to gain knowledge about their craft as well as experience critiques of their songs. It will allow these students the opportunity to learn many of the songwriting techniques taught throughout the Berklee songwriting curriculum and to receive individual attention from an instructor from the Songwriting Department.
The focus of this course is collaborative writing of radio hits for artists currently charting on the Billboard Hot 100, as well as songs meant to break new artists currently being developed. This is an intensive course requiring a significant amount of listening, analysis, songwriting, vocal production and working with and to tracks/beats. All Hot 100 genres will be investigated, but most of the work will be devoted to pop, dance, and R&B. Current radio singles will be analyzed in order to understand the attributes of melody, song idea/lyric, harmony, form, and production common to hit songs. The relationship of technology and production to hit making will also be explored. Throughout the course, select topics relevant to the business of songwriting will be covered. In order to maximize the number of writing opportunities in the course, as well as model the real-world songwriting experience, all assignments will be collaborative, and students will be working in groups of two to four. Working from industry tip sheets and listings, students will select and analyze current hit singles from various artists in their genre, and collaborate to write and produce songs with hit potential. They will write songs both top down (conception to production), as well as bottom up (production first, with melody and lyrics then top-lined). Through cooperation with the MP&E/EPD departments, students will have access to student-produced tracks that they will write to. Students will also be required to create their own productions for some of their song projects. Depending upon availability, it is also a goal of this course to provide students with the opportunity to get feedback on their songs via publishers and/or industry A&R executives, either in person or online.
Advanced Lyric Writing 2 offers students a close look at their own writing process in an intimate seminar setting, focusing on individual strengths and weaknesses, tailoring assignments to each individual student's needs. We'll look especially at the rewriting process, concentrating on how and why choices are made, paying special attention to prosody. The course will demand a high level of skill and commitment. A project will be due each week.
Small group seminar designed to guide students majoring in songwriting in the preparation of their final projects.