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As far as this principle of resonance goes, I've learned a very important lesson over time. That is, if you want a structure alive with significant resonance, you must ensure that there are no unintended resonances. Acousticians and architects, bridge-builders and violin-makers all know this secret. It's the same with songwriting.

Say you have a rhyme-scheme ABAB used over three verses. We'll often pay attention to make sure that the A lines really rhyme, and the B lines really rhyme too. But we also have to make sure that the A line does not rhyme with the B line. We need contrast in order to highlight the resonance. If this is sustained over three verses, the A lines in verse 2 must be different than the A lines in verse 1; and furthermore, must be "differently different" than the B lines in verse 1 (to help keep the moving-to-a-new-verse feeling distinct from the moving-within-a-verse feeling).

Over time I've been trying to see which sounds align or contrast with each other. I'll work with consonantal resonance at the beginnings and endings of words in corresponding spots of neighboring lines; sometimes I'll just do an "aural squint" and moan the lyrics in all vowels to see what the wind is saying.

This is complicated stuff. No one said songwriting my way was easy! And you might be thinking: if he's thinking about all this where is the soul's engagement in the grand theme of the song? Well, I've just thought all this part of it what I call the craft—enough that it's habit. When inspiration strikes this kicks in as a kind of second nature. Poets know this; but laws of what works in sung language are very different than what works on the page.

 

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