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By Rhys Lett

Learning Rock Songs

Do you have a song that you just wish you could play on a musical instrument? Guitar riff that just sounds sooooo cool. Piano ballad that is just too beautiful for words??

You might be shocked how little music content you need to learn to play a full song. Students are often surprised that by learning 3-4 music parts a song is finished. Lets show you how you can turn those couple of parts you know of songs into finished product. It is easier than many realise. Through awareness of the typical elements of a rock song you can quickly learn your first tune or greatly expand your repertoire.

Students with no previous music experience are often playing full songs within 3-4 of starting lessons at the Eastern Suburbs School of Music. Introducing them to this concept of how to learn a song is often how.

SECTIONS OF ROCK SONGS

INTRO

The start of the song. This is usually the music you will play in the verse or the chorus. Designed to get you pumped up and ready for the….

VERSE

The singing starts. This will contain either a repeating chord sequence or riff.

PRE CHORUS

A short build up that will create anticipation for the…..

CHORUS

The catchy bit. The most repeated part of a rock song. The music will relate to the verse, like using the same chords in a different order.

BRIDGE

Music contained in the bridge will be of great contrast to the verse and chorus

SOLO

Often in rock songs the guitar solo will be music that is played during the verse or the chorus. In heavy metal songs there is usually a different chord sequence.

OUTRO

Usually the chorus music that is repeated until the song finises or fades out.

Not every song needs to have every one of these sections. The songs will be made up 90% of the time of the Verse and the Chorus, nail those two pieces of music and you are well on the way. Lets look at a rock song to see how the songwriter will use them in a rock song.

ROCK SONG ANALYSIS – ALL THE SMALL THINGS

A song I regularly teach is All the Small Things by Blink 182 This song is the perfect example of a typical pop/rock song. It uses the common rock song structure and uses the expected rhythm rock songs are built on. Here is the structure of the song:

INTRO

VERSE

CHORUS

INTRO

VERSE

CHORUS

SOLO

CHORUS

This is the structure of millions of rock songs. It is also the same when writing pop songs.  Listen to the song below and see if you can follow the sections using the map of the song.

Lets look at how to play each section. Learn the chords and understand how many times to play in each bar (the rhythm).

ALL THE SMALL THINGS – INTRO

In this song the Intro does have a different chord sequence to the Verse and Chorus.

|C         |F         |G         |G      F    |

ALL THE SMALL THINGS – VERSE

Use power chords and play each chord 8 times. This rhythm of playing 8 times in each bar is known as playing quaver rhythm

|C          |G          |F          |G          |

So far two sections of music to learn. Notice how the same chords are being used in each section, just I a different order.

ALL THE SMALL THINGS – CHORUS

To contrast the fast rhythmic playing of the verse, the chorus starts with a long sustained C power chord last four bars. This returns to using the quaver rhythm to complete the chorus. Again, same chords in different order.

|C          |             |            |            |

|C          |C          |G          |F          |

|C          |C          |G          |F          |

ALL THE SMALL THINGS – SOLO

While not your typical solo section where one instrument takes the spotlight from the vocals we do have what an audience would expect at this point of the song: something different. Blink 182 have created an atmospheric part to build anticipation before the last chorus. Here are the chords, played once and sustained for a bar.

|C          |C          |F          |G         |

Once again same chords but in different order.

In summary to learn this rock song all you have to do is learn three chords used in four sections of music. Each piece of music also only last around 10 seconds.

With teachers being clear on what is required in each area of the song students with little instrument experience are often able to play this song within 3-4 weeks of starting lessons with us.

If you would like to start lesson at the Eastern Suburbs School of Music send us a message via our contact form or call Rhys on 0421 705 150 to start lessons today.