I’ve taken a break from SAC Challenge 2015 this week because of other commitments but today I took a shot at revising how the lyrics are set to “Good Man Down.”
Over the past few weeks I’ve also been taking Pat Pattison’s course on songwriting. Among other things, he talks about “body language” and setting lyrics front-heavy or back-heavy. Front-heavy is on the first beat of the bar, back-heavy is set back in the bar. Pattison says that front-heavy lends itself to “stability” and back-heavy to “unstable”.
Following the general principle of prosody in songwriting, his approach is to think about and apply front/back heavy to lyric setting as a way to reinforce key ideas and themes in a unified way. There’s more to it than I can describe here but it is a helpful set of guidelines.
This morning I re-recorded Good Man Down with a vocal performance that sets the lyrics quite a bit different from the original recording. The verses are now more front-heavy, with selective back-heavy lines in various spots to give emphasis where it is needed. It’s subtle but it makes a difference (at least I think so).
Here’s GMD, take 2:
The original recording of the song is available here.