First impressions count.
You only have a narrow window of opportunity to grab the attention, be it at a job interview, on a first date, or when creating art. When writing a song, this means that you must vary the introductions in your catalog and make them as interesting as possible.
The introduction is a time-honored tradition in pop and rock that you need to get right. Below, we go through 5 easy tips to supercharge your introduction and help you get started.
Our first introduction idea is to ring out with a long, held chord. The most famous example of this is Hard Day’s Night by the Beatles. It begins with a ringing G7sus chord, holding the listener in suspense before McCartney’s vocal brings the rest of the band crashing in.
Who said an introduction must be short and sweet? In fact, a long introduction has several benefits. It can settle listeners into the song, letting them know that the piece is going to take its time, instead of condensing itself into a 3-minute pop format.
Secondly, it lets you show off your instrumental skills. A long finger picking sequence, dramatic scale runs on piano, or thundering drum fills can all be used to maximum effect.
Bring the Middle to the Front
If you have followed the standard format for a pop or rock song, or followed a variation on it, then you should have verses, choruses, and some sort of middle section. Your middle section may be a breakdown, a whole new part to the song, or some other wonderful new addition.
Bringing it to the front as an intro works well. It is a trick used by sixties rock band The Kinks. Listen to their hit Waterloo Sunset and see how the descending introduction returns in the middle of the track.
Forget the Intro
Welcome to the anti-intro, though it is not just reserved for the punks among you. Try skipping the intro altogether, counting to four then crashing straight into your verse or chorus with all the guns blazing.
Alternatively, try going right into the first verse using a solo vocal. This allows the urgency and impetus that an anti intro brings, but also invites a lot more intimacy between the performer and audience.
Build It Up
A tried and tested method that always has a great impact is to build the song up gradually. If you are lucky enough to have a full band with you, try vamping around the main chords or riff. Slowly add the other players on top, until the full band are playing the groove of your song.
If you are flying solo, then try to do these using dynamics. Start quiet and build to a crescendo before the first verse. Alternatively, start loud and work down to a soft, gentle verse section.
Experiment with Your Intros
Like any element of songwriting, never be afraid to experiment. Try all of these or just one or two, and hopefully you will be able to capture your listeners' attention within the first few bars!