Saturday, 15 February 2014

Ticket 2: Put Your Song On A Diet

Try cutting away all the excess – ask of each section/repeat “is this part really necessary?” Get rid of intros if you can. Remember, to paraphrase Antoine de Saint-Exupéry

The song is not finished when there is nothing left to add, 
but when there is nothing left to take away"

From Me To You
Glass Onion
Golden Slumbers
Happiness Is A Warm Gun
I Will
I'm So Tired
Maxwell's Silver Hammer
Oh! Darling
Please Please Me
The Long And Winding Road


Accidents Will Happen (Elvis Costello And The Attractions)
Big Boys (Elvis Costello And The Attractions)
Demons (Imagine Dragons)
Great Balls Of Fire (Jerry Lee Lewis)
Johnsburg, Illinois (Tom Waits)
Long Tall Sally (Little Richard)
Short Songs (Plastic Inevitables)
Song 2 (Blur)
Tutti Frutti (Little Richard)
Subliminal Fascism (Fishbone)
War (Edwin Starr)

See the full list of songwriting tips here - Tickets To Write

See Also

Ticket 4: Create intros, outros and solos by mutating the main sections of the song
Ticket 6: Avoid using the root chord, especially as the first chord in the song
Ticket 7: Avoid using all three major chords early in the song
Ticket 18: Finish on a single ringing chord
Ticket 23: Write as few lyrics as you can
Ticket 24: Repeat words and sentence structures
Ticket 37: Create odd time signatures by removing bars or individual beats
Ticket 40: Don't use all seven notes of the scale
Ticket 50: Keep your melody off the root note
Ticket 53: Write a 'jazz-style' intro verse
Ticket 61: Introduce your song's most unusual compositional or arrangement ideas as early as possible
Ticket 67: Repeat verse 1

The BeAtletudes About Beatles Songwriting Academy
Let's Build An Airport EP


  1. Great "ticket". I use this one during FAWM (; "How can I say as much as possible with as little as possible?"

  2. Excellent - glad to hear it was helpful. It wasn't on Uncle Miltie was it?!

  3. I tried to do this a few times during FAWM as well, and there are times where I should have done it!

  4. Me too. Maybe we should start a Song Weightwatchers!

  5. I always start by slashing the articles, first, then carry on with the rest.

  6. Slashing the articles = Deleting "a", "the", etc.

  7. Ah got ya! Good advice, Nancy - I've started doing that a little recently

  8. May I ask why you included "You never give me your money" to this list? I mean the song is about 4 minutes long and the intro is 24 sec before the verse starts.

    1. You're absolutely right Curtis! I'm at a loss as to why it's there. I can only think that in my mind it started with a single chord. I had forgotten that he plays the whole verse instrumentally and then starts singing.

      Well spotted. I'll correct the post - thanks for your help!

  9. How long should a song really be to be included in this ticket? I thought songs under 2 minutes would only count but since you were going to add "You never give me your money" to the list, I'm not so sure now.

    1. Okay so let me get this straight, as long as the song is under 4 minutes it can be included with this ticket, correct?

    2. Not necessarily, it's more about removing any excess. A slow song with just a Verse Chorus Verse Chorus structure could top 4 minutes, where a quick one that has a pre choruses a bridge a guitar solo could be shorter. Getting rid of intros or outros, excessive repeats, gratuitous solos are all things that would qualify.

      Remember these tickets are not about classifying songs as much as they are give you ideas and models to guide your own songwriting. Looking for things you can remove is definitely one helpful approach.

      Hope that makes sense

    3. Ah thanks for the reply I seem to fully understand now! Yeah I use this tactic a lot to avoid repeats and unnecessary sections in my songs.

      Do you think a song in an AABA form needs a bridge?

    4. Disregard that and it actually does.

    5. Yes, sorry I thought I'd already replied - the B in an AABA is by definition is a bridge or middle eight, though the B doesn't stand for 'bridge' it just denotes the second unique section of a song.

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