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  • Hello everybody welcome to the first episode  of my new series called: What I Learned From

  • This series is about analyzing music and taking  out the things that we can use for our own music

  • Today we're going to have a look  at the song Motion Sickness by  

  • Phoebe Bridgers. And there's just so much  to mention such as: the lyric structure,  

  • the harmonic framework and the uneven  amount of bars going on in the song

  • So in other words a lot to learn. Let's get creative!

  • As a fun morning ear training  exercise I decided to transcribe  

  • the song Motion Sickness by Phoebe Bridgers. This song was already in my playlist for some  

  • time, but I never actually analyzed it. But  now after diving in, I can tell you that you  

  • are in for a treat! Such skill lies  

  • behind this song. It's really amazing. So let's take a look at technique number one

  • We're going to take a look at the lyrics first  because there are two interesting things going on

  • When we line up all the choruses we see that the  lyrics for chorus 1 and 2 are completely the same

  • And chorus number 3 is played  directly after chorus number 2,  

  • but the lyrics are completely different. And this is a neat trick because it allows  

  • you to repeat the melody and the chords  of your chorus but by applying a different  

  • lyric it feels like something fresh. And a very interesting thing is that  

  • the last chorus has the signature first  line in it which carries the song title,  

  • but after that the lyrics change completely. By keeping the harmony and melody the same  

  • you have something very strong  that unifies the choruses

  • Plus chorus 1, 2 and 4 open with the most  important sentence of the song, which to the  

  • listener immediately labels it as being a chorus. So an extra tip

  • The first and last sentence in any  verse or chorus are heavy moments

  • Which means that they are  the most important spots

  • When we line up all the verses we see that each  verse has six lines and in all of them the fourth  

  • sentence is very short compared to the others. So how will this affect the structure of our song

  • This takes us to technique number twowhich is the uneven amount of bars

  • A lot of songs nowadays follow a fixed formula of  bars in groups of four. Everything ends up being  

  • more or less symmetrical, and maybe even boring. As I often say, the structure becomes squared

  • This is definitely not the  case with Motion Sickness

  • Verse 1 has 13 bars, while verse 2 andhave 11 bars. All of them are uneven numbers

  • And if I look at chorus 1 it has 11 bars and when  I look at chorus 2, 3 and 4 they have 9 bars

  • In the verses the lyrics are responsible  for the uneven amount of bars,  

  • because remember that I said that there  was always a short sentence in the verses

  • Well this is also where a bar is cut out. This  

  • explains why first two and three  have 11 bars instead of 12. 

  • Here we have two phrases ofbars and one phrase of 3 bars

  • But in the first verse we have 13 bars  so where do these extra 2 bars come from

  • There is one extra bar in the beginning  playing an extra G flat. And they most  

  • likely did this to maximize the impact of the  word 'hate', by stretching it out over one bar.

  • Also if we would have to fit the first  sentence into two bars, the beginning  

  • of the vocal might sound a bit rushed. And the other extra bar is at the end of  

  • the verse which serves as extra connecting  tissue between verse 1 and verse 2.

  • It gives the verses one and  two a bit more time to breathe

  • They also did the same after  the choruses. They added one  

  • extra bar to give it a little bit  more space between the sections.

  • And the reason why chorus 1 has two extra bars  of D-flat is because it simply creates a better  

  • connection going back to verse 3. And this takes us to the  

  • last technique that we can learn. Technique number three: The harmonic structure 

  • The first thing that I noticed while playing  along to the song was the harmonic tension that  

  • was going on between the verse and the chorus. While the verse and intro seem to be comfortably  

  • sitting around the tonic chord, the chorus  finds itself staying on the more unstable  

  • subdominant or fourth scale degree. The song Motion Sickness is in the key of D-flat

  • Which means that the tonic is D-flat and the  sub-dominant is G-flat. Now of course the question  

  • arises: why would you want to have your verse  and your chorus centre around a different chord

  • And of course how can you  apply this to your own music

  • It all has to do with tension and  release, and for the sake of variation

  • In functional harmony the one, four, five, one  progression is by far the most important and  

  • probably also the most used one. We can see an example of this  

  • progression at the end of each verse. First we're hanging around some time  

  • on the subdominant but afterwards  it ends with a four, five, one progression.

  • Just like the verse, the  chorus also starts on G-flat

  • So why do we perceive the chorus as being centered  around the G-flat or the subdominant scale degree

  • This is done with three tricks. Trick number one

  • G-flat is the sub-dominant of D-flat asjust told you. But if we reverse this, D-flat  

  • can also function as the dominant for G-flat. Since the verse ends on D-flat and the chorus  

  • starts on G-flat we have a 5-1 progression. And  during the chorus the G-flat is accentuated by  

  • two extra tricks. Trick number two

  • If we look at the first three bars we go from  G-flat to D-flat to A-flat back to G-flat

  • This feels like a 1-5-2-1 progression  and what makes the G-flat feel more  

  • important is that it lasts twice as  long compared to the other two chords.

  • Trick number three: When we look at bar  

  • three to five of the chorus we see a movement from  G-flat to B-flat minor to F minor back to G-flat

  • Especially this F minor which is a half step  below G-flat creates a strong pull back to G-flat.

  • In the bigger picture the fact that the chorus  centers around the unstable subdominant degree,  

  • means that the chorus carries a lot of harmonic  tension, because we want to go back to the tonic

  • And this only happens after the first  chorus and afterwards it's left unresolved

  • And in the bridge even more tension is created  when they start shifting between the A-flat  

  • and the G-flat, which are respectively  the dominant and the subdominant degree

  • So as you can see planning your harmonic movement  

  • on a section basis can really benefit  the tension and release of your song

  • The song Motion Sickness is truly a prime  example of smart and impactful songwriting

  • There are just so many hidden tricks and  techniques to learn, it's really beautiful

  • And I'm curious if you enjoyed this new  song analysis series that I'm doing

  • And if you do be sure to let me know by  commenting or by plussing the like button

  • I wish you a lot of new inspiration and in the  meantime: don't forget to share and subscribe to  

  • the channel. And for now... See you next time!

Hello everybody welcome to the first episode  of my new series called: What I Learned From

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How Phoebe Bridgers uses lyrics to write a song [Motion Sickness songwriting analysis](How Phoebe Bridgers uses lyrics to write a song [Motion Sickness songwriting analysis])

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    backup 發佈於 2023 年 07 月 19 日
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