This website use cookies and similar technologies to improve the site and to provide customised content and advertising. By using this site, you agree to this use. To learn more, including how to change your cookie settings, please view our Cookie Policy
Pocketmags Digital Magazines
Pocketmags Digital Magazines
   You are currently viewing the Australia version of the site.
Would you like to switch to your local site?
Digital Subscriptions > MusicTech > Sep-16 > Sonic storytelling

Sonic storytelling

We often talk about songwriting in a technical, structural context, but the purpose of a good song is how it can elicit an emotional response from the listener. So how do songs actually do that? Andy Price reveals the secrets of sonic storytelling…

MT Workshop Music Composition Tutorial – Part 4


Our DAW Songwriting features are illustrated using Cubase, but you can apply the principles to whichever DAW you use. Support files can be found at

Of the many aspects of songwriting that often get discussed in an educational context, a song’s dynamic quality is the most likely to be overlooked; while other, arguably less vital areas are brought to the fore. A proper grasp of the importance of dynamics to making songs sound kinetic, vibrant and interesting is one of the most important skills you can master as an aspiring songwriter, and something that we at MusicTech have long laboured to prioritise, both from a creative and technical standpoint.

Most dynamic considerations happen during the stage when you’re mixing and layering your track. Yet having a general overview of your track, and at which points you want to bolster and heighten the emotions of the listener should be a factor from very early in the process because songwriting is fundamentally all about conjuring a mood with sound, and that begins at the conception stage by deciding what kind of emotions you’re attempting to wrangle out of your listener with your music.

To realise your song’s goal, you need to take your listener on a sonic journey, navigating emotional highs, contemplative lows, moving chord sequences and resonant vocals, delivered at the right time and with appropriate emphasis. It may seem like an obvious thing to say, but it’s worth underlining: timing is the key concept to get your head around before you can become a professional songwriter. Whether you’re building primary hooks, melodies, build-ups or any other element of your song, they all have to fit within what can be thought of as the ‘dynamic narrative’ of your song.

Purchase options below
Find the complete article and many more in this issue of MusicTech - Sep-16
If you own the issue, Login to read the full article now.
Single Issue - Sep-16
Or 449 points
Annual Digital Subscription
Only $ 3.75 per issue
Or 4499 points
Monthly Digital Subscription
Only $ 4.49 per issue
Or 449 points

View Issues

About MusicTech

The new issue of MusicTech is all about mastering your music, and mastering it for everywhere! These days you have to master for various outlets so your music needs to sound professional not just in the studio but online too. We have guides to the whole process, the whys, and hows. We also interview leading mastering engineers about the joys of vinyl mastering and other challenges modern mastering experts face. There's well over 1GB of free samples on the DVD plus 2 hours of tutorials and a bumper set of reviews and workshops too. Make music and master it now!