Turning Instability into Stability

It's always darkest before the dawn.

Things'll get worse before they get better. 

You have to break eggs to make an omelette. 

I don't know if the last cliche belongs in the list but it seems to say the same thing. No matter how bad things are now ... they may well get worse before they get better. As pessimistic as these can sound they all say something better is waiting in the end. 

You have to go through the rough stuff so you can appreciate when the good comes 'round again. 

Same goes for songs. If a song has all it's lines the same length and rhythm there is nothing to tell you when the verse changes into the chorus. This is a pretty simplified explanation of what songwriting coach Pat Pattison calls Stable and Unstable.

Unstable keeps the song going, keeps the listener leaning forward expecting a little something more. Stability is the resolution that makes the listener sit back in their chair and exhale. (Then hopefully press restart on your song :)

One of the ways to build stability and unstability is with line length. In this example I've created a verse with 5 lines and the last line is half the length. Keeping it unresolved so the listener feels like they need to keep listening until the resolution comes. 

No need for tomorrow

Today is all you need

Yesterday is a lesson

One you feel not one you read

live and learn

Then in the chorus we use an even number of lines with the lines the same length. 

Once you learn what your life is for, go live it 

Once you live what your life is for, go love it

Once you love what your life is for, believe it

Because all we can do is live, love and learn


It's this last line that brings the resolution and lets the listener relax. Ready to take on the rest of the song and enjoy the story you are telling. 

When the parts in your life seem a little rough or unresolved you need to go find what rhymes with you. Find your balance so you can lean back in your chair for a bit, exhale and get ready for the next bit of instability.

Here is a rough recording of the above song so you can here the instability lead it's way into a nice resolution (at least that's my hope).