Short songs

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@jtsteam

Something someone said on Zoom last night made me think of this. (Sorry I can't remember who, because I was too busy enjoying a whisky and trying not to order a music box kit...).

Anyway. Much as I love a 7 minute epic story song, there's also something rather fun about a song that just makes it point and gets outta here. A song that says something of substance, but still says everything it needs to say in around a minute, or maybe 1:30 tops. A microwave ready-meal of a song, if you will.

I remember a similar challenge during FAWM but I don't see anything here yet (unless I've missed it). I have one cooking that I'll post when I get back to a mic later this evening. But I bet there's plenty been posted already...

As suggested by @mandolinda, how about tagging them #iloveshortsongs

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@fuzzy

Great thread.
That's a lesson I learned from The Beatles; say what you need to say and then get out.
Don't overstay your welcome; can you imagine if "Eleanor Rigby" (for example) had been six minutes long? Woulda been a much less effective tune.

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I hear you! My Fecal Transplant song (https://fiftyninety.fawm.org/songs/586) is only 67 seconds. That felt like enough!

(Of course, Fecal Transplant Part 2 is more than twice as long - nearly 2.5 minutes.)

In all seriousness, my songs all used to be 4-5 minutes. But I’ve been experimenting in the last year or so with trying to be briefer where possible, and am currently of the mindset that shorter is generally better absent a good, specific need for being longer. I sometimes lose patience with listening to endless chorus repeats or extended solos in those cases where their main purpose seems to be to add to the running time, and so am likewise trying to tighten up my own output. I think there’s a reason that 3 min or so is the prototypical pop song length!

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@standup

I used to be able to write 2 1/2 minute songs, occasionally under 2 min.

I’m now in a period of self indulgent bloat where they’re usually 3-4 min.

But I did post one yesterday that was about 2:30. I can still do it occasionally.

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@jtsteam

@odilongreen Well that certainly satisfies the "something of substance" in its own way. But, yes, that's exactly the sort of thing I mean!

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#iloveshortsongs will be a thing?

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@jtsteam

@mandolinda It’s as good a tag as any! Let’s go with that.

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@mandolinda I would welcome a tag like #iloveshortsongs for songs <90 seconds, for those times when I might be out and about and *just* have time for a very quick listen-and-comment on my phone. 😀

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@jtsteam

Okay, here's mine (and the one that made me think this ought to be a challenge...). I'm quite pleased that it came in at 60 seconds :).

https://fiftyninety.fawm.org/songs/1484

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Short songs automatically make me think punk songs and comedy songs. Both of those are very fun to write. I think I might have to try this challenge.

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@chldomn5

Interesting challenge. As one who is a bloated by nature person, this may be interesting to see what I come out with.

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Actually multiple people were talking about various records or performers that did approximately one minute lone songs. I remember a FAWM challenge for songs that were 100 seconds, and of course the 10x10, 15x15, 20x20, etc. are even shorter. I also believe in letting the song define structure and length rather than fitting everything to ABACAB or some lengthier variant of the popular song format.

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@standup - I actually feel that "self indulgent bloat" (great song title, by the way) when I get to over 3 minutes in my songs.
I've had great fun writing 30-second songs - we've done that challenge here a few times. I think there were some "rules" regarding how cohesive the song should be.
Almost all my songs clock in at under 3 minutes, many under 2:30 or even 2. And yet my two favorite bands are Grateful Dead and Allman Brothers. My brother once used "Mountain Jam" by the Allmans (about a half-hour) as a measure of time: "Put on Mountain Jam and I'll be at your house before the song's over."

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@mikeb

When I hear the typical folksy singer-songwriter song (open mics, shows), they are almost always 4-5 minutes long with a lot of verses. But what you hear on the radio/streaming most often are 3 minute (or less) tunes. Of course, if you are streaming your songs, you get the same royalty (fractions of a penny) whether the song is 2 minutes or 10 minutes long, so writing short songs has a true benefit that way.

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@mikeb I recently heard a stat that the average song length was getting shorter and it was attributed to streaming 2:45 pays as much as 3:15.

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@mikeb

On Spotify a song only has to be listened to for 30 seconds in order to get counted as a 'full' stream.

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Making long things is easy. Stuff everything in, done. Making things short is harder. You need to actively remove things. That's more work, not less. From an effort and cost perspective, producers have no inherent motivation to make things shorter.

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Clocking in at a cool 1:18, here's my shortest one so far:
https://fiftyninety.fawm.org/songs/1635

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@mctown

Course...back in the day..songs were very short on purpose...trying to get that radio play... then FM happened. Not sure what it is today, but I'd say the title helps to get play on spotify and other places. I know when I visit someone's songs somewhere I always click on most played or a title that stands out.

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@mikeb

I couldn't cut the repeat chorus or outro, so this clocks in at 1:42 ... oh well! https://fiftyninety.fawm.org/songs/1786

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Out of curiosity (and procrastination of other duties) I just checked - 6 of my 17 songs clock in at 2 minutes or less, and a few others are just barely over.
One I'm going to post later is over 3 minutes - that's way long for me. So I'm also going to try to do one that's under a minute.
I'm going to give a listen to all the ones posted here - shouldn't take long!

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I definitely write shorter songs these days than I used to. I've done quite a few this year that are under 2 minutes 30 seconds. But this one is 1' 12" not including the fade on the cymbal and the guitar echo.
https://fiftyninety.fawm.org/songs/1829

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My skirmish song was short. https://fiftyninety.fawm.org/songs/1773

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@mctown the only measure I have is chart songs where the current average time is 3.17 . It has been moving back and forward between 3 minutes and 3.30 for a few years now! I have spells of short and long songs, I mostly do around 3 minutes but last 50/90 I had some 5 to 6 minutes. If I cut all frills I might get a 1.30 before the end of this 50/90.

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Thank you for the challenge. I've participated in challenges like that before and it was nice to revisit this challenge. My shortest song this 50/90: https://fiftyninety.fawm.org/songs/1930

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https://fiftyninety.fawm.org/songs/1938
The demo clocks in at 1:48 because it's two takes of the same short song.

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@lennie

https://fiftyninety.fawm.org/songs/2010
Thank you. I think this challenge saved me and meant I finally submitted something this year. I would probably have noodled with this for months otherwise.

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Here's my contribution -- The Minute Rag

https://fiftyninety.fawm.org/songs/2019

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@fuzzy

Well hey, here's a song under two minutes!
"Gonna Put Some Pants On (But Not Today)
https://fiftyninety.fawm.org/songs/2093

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@candle

I'm usually the one putting warnings on my songs when they're over the 8 or 9 minute mark (which happens often enough). I'd say most of my stuff usally falls around the 5-7 minute range, though I do write shorter things, usually in #jeskolabuzz where my guitar doesn't get the chance to "do what it wants", so to speak… But, I think I'm going to give this a try. See if I can write something (probably in Buzz) that's under 90 seconds - & if I really push myself, i might just get under the 60 second mark. We'll have to see if the Muse wants to play along. It might be a challenge for her. She likes to take her time expressing herself (hence my normally 5+ minute songs 😆 )

See You In The Shadows…

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@gubna

I had an idea for a punk album so the whole thing would fit on a 45. I was going to do 6-8 songs.

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Here’s another short song. Just back from a holiday.
https://fiftyninety.fawm.org/songs/2838

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@gubna when i first saw the Ramones they could have done that for sure, they played even faster live! Good idea i reckon

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@fuzzy

Here's a song of mine, "Straight Razor", that's only 1:22 long;
https://fiftyninety.fawm.org/songs/3131#c15202

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@nadine

My first song below 2 minutes is a heavy metal rant.
https://fiftyninety.fawm.org/songs/5151

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I did a song for #songfight. It's pretty darn short:
https://fiftyninety.fawm.org/songs/4310

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@wolfkier

Does this count? https://fiftyninety.fawm.org/songs/6747
25 seconds.

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@chldomn5

https://fiftyninety.fawm.org/songs/10005
another, instrumental. quick and simple

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This one comes in at bang on 40 seconds
I was tempted to write on, but I think it says what it needs to in the time allotted.

https://fiftyninety.fawm.org/songs/10851

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At less than a minute long this piece of art criticism in song qualifies for this challenge.

https://fiftyninety.fawm.org/songs/11566

See the liner notes for a link to the painting described in the song.

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I did a short 6/8 Uke song for my "goodbye" song. https://fiftyninety.fawm.org/songs/11515#c28998

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I'm not sure I wrote any songs this year, though I did write a bunch of short "songs." I get a little nervous if anything goes much over a minute :)

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@gm7

here is a 47sec bluegrass instrumental song
https://fiftyninety.fawm.org/songs/10888