Songwriting Tips: Using Dynamics And Space

The Walkmen‘s 2004 single “The Rat” is an incredible full throttle rocker with tons of steam. So how do you keep up the listener’s interest in a song like that without being overwhelming?  Dynamics.  Check into to  this video around 2:35 and you’ll hear a bridge ending and a chorus beginning.  Normally, the whole band would turn the corner quickly and go into the chorus to drill it home.  But if you take a listen, you’ll hear that the bass player holds off playing for the first section of the chorus and waits to come in (at perhaps the most crucial part of the song).  When he finally does come in, the chorus returns with a lot more power because of the short space without bass that builds incredible tension (sounds even more powerful in the studio version).  Using space and dynamics are a great idea for any instrument in your band, but because of its unique frequencies, adding or taking away bass can give your songs a lot more pop than just playing notes to be playing.  Experiment with playing fewer notes and less often to establish more dynamics and your music can take on a whole other layer.