People have written music above love since…well since people started writing music. But somehow that doesn’t seem to have made the subject matter in any way boring or repetitive; our thirst for romance is undoubtedly insatiable.
A brief scan of google showed me that writing about the subject of love songs is not uncommon so what, if anything, can I add to the ocean of blogs and websites with information coming from ‘experts’ and ‘not-so-experts’ alike?
I’ve talked before about music and emotions and how a piece of music or a particular song can trigger memories and past feelings. But what about new music you’ve never heard before - what makes it sound romantic?
1. Tempo - should it be slow? Or perhaps just ‘not too fast’? Or maybe it could be fast - certainly contemporary songs about love can be quick in tempo.
2. Key - should it be happy or sorrowful sounding? I suppose it depends on the outcome of the story - unrequited love might be sad, but blossoming love on the contrary is definitely joyful.
3. Instruments - I guess this varies according to culture. An accordion might work in France, a guitar in the UK or maybe vocals and percussion in Botswana.
4. Lyrics - not all love songs have them; a romantic mood could be created with or without lyrics. And as long as the composer has the ability to create strong imagery in their listeners’ head then no words are required.
So it would seem that there is no recipe for a love song, just as there is no recipe for love. Every composer is an individual, just as every person in love or searching for love is an individual. And the songs we use to remind us of love, or the songs we identify with most, in a romantic sense, will vary hugely from person to person. Of course, Top 40 songs which tell stories of break ups, make ups and new love, often strike a chord for many listeners but is this just through exposure? We hear them over and over and learn the words just ‘by accident’, by repetition. Perhaps searching a little more widely we might all find something less ubiquitous which we can identify with as individuals.
Here are some of my favourite ‘love songs’…
Phantom of the Opera - Think of me
Genesis - Follow you follow me
Natasha Bedingfield - These words
Keep searching for your perfect love song. Let me know if you find it!