For any song that is in the pop music form, there are three elements that persist through any and every song. These are very important to understand if you are going to write or mix any song. Whether you are writing a Rock or Hip Hop song it is necessary to understand each element’s place. It is important to understand each of their niches and knowing these terms can help you to to speak to other musicians with greater ease. Anyone who has ever owned a Casio Keyboard has seen these elements broken down in the presets for the back up band. If this all sounds crazy to you… Let’s get started:
Rhythm: In most cases this is the drums and bass. The drums set the
basic tempo and the rhythms the song will be following, by creating
accent points for other instruments to follow. The bass, in most
arrangements, is the bridge between the rhythm section and the accompaniment, although technically the bass is part of both, it is
often referred to as a rhythm instrument despite the fact that it is
usually carrying the chord changes of the accompaniment section.
Accompaniment: This is the basic chord changes of the song – in a rock
song this is usually the rhythm guitars or the piano/keyboards, carrying out the chord
progression. If the guitar drops out to play a lead or rests altogether,
the bass may take the place of conveying the basic chord progression
for the accompaniment section. Having conflicting chord arrangements or two accompaniment parts can lead to train wrecks if the two are not
properly weaved together.
Melody: This is essential hooks of the song often carried out by the
vocal or a lead instrument. This will usually be carried out
monophonically but can be harmonized. The melody is the focal point of
the song. Having two or more melodies going at the same time can lead to
a disaster most of the time if not sculpted with precision.