The home of the haikulator



My Stand-up & gigs
The Coding Craftsman

The Musical!
Incredible Productions


Previous Posts

Holiday Camp
Ah, The Night Before
But It Seemed So Genuine
Some Great News
Carmina Burana
Why Am I Nervous

Blog Archives

October 2001
November 2001
December 2001
January 2002
February 2002
March 2002
April 2002
May 2002
June 2002
July 2002
August 2002
September 2002
October 2002
November 2002
December 2002
January 2003
February 2003
March 2003
April 2003
May 2003
June 2003
July 2003
August 2003
September 2003
October 2003
November 2003
December 2003
January 2004
February 2004
March 2004
April 2004
May 2004
June 2004
July 2004
August 2004
September 2004
October 2004
November 2004
December 2004
January 2005
February 2005
March 2005
April 2005
May 2005
June 2005
July 2005
August 2005
September 2005
November 2005
December 2005
January 2006
February 2006
March 2006
April 2006
May 2006
June 2006
July 2006
August 2006
September 2006
October 2006
November 2006
December 2006
January 2007
February 2007
March 2007
April 2007
May 2007
June 2007
July 2007
August 2007
September 2007
October 2007
November 2007
December 2007
January 2008
February 2008
March 2008
April 2008
May 2008
June 2008
July 2008
August 2008
September 2008
October 2008
November 2008
December 2008
January 2009
March 2009
April 2009
May 2009
August 2009
September 2009
January 2010
March 2010
April 2010
May 2010
June 2010
July 2010
August 2010
September 2010
October 2010
November 2010
December 2010
January 2011
February 2011
March 2011
April 2011
May 2011
June 2011
July 2011
August 2011
October 2011
December 2011
February 2012
March 2012
April 2012
May 2012
June 2012
July 2012
March 2013
April 2013
May 2013
June 2013
July 2013
August 2013
September 2013
October 2013
December 2013
January 2014
February 2014
March 2014
May 2014
July 2014
January 2015
February 2015
March 2015
April 2015
May 2015
June 2015
July 2015
August 2015
January 2016
February 2016
March 2016
April 2016
May 2016
July 2016
August 2017
January 2018
August 2018
September 2018

Global Domination

Locations of visitors to this page

Thursday, February 1

Comedy Songery

One of the things about MySpace is that people start asking you to be their friends. I have a rule. I will only approach someone to be a friend if I have a link with them in real life. Equally, I'll only take on a MySpace friend if either I know them, know one of their real friends, or if they look particularly interesting.

I frequently reject new friends.

Today, I accepted Mokya, who are an Irish spoof pop band. Well, they make spoof pop music. I listened to one of their songs and it was good. There is a problem with doing what they're doing, and it's the fundamental problem of musical comedy.

Firstly, when you write a song it needs to have substance as well as style. This is particularly true of comedy songs, where laughs only come from substance. In comedy the style can also make laughs, but the style is part of the comic substance, so let's just call it substance too. In pop songs, there's a lot of repetition. Unlike other sorts of song, this tends not to dilute the substance, since pop is about simplicity and repetition. Fair play to it. Of course, a bad pop song's chorus might not bear hearing more than once, even within the same song. A good pop song's chorus might be so good that you don't want to stop hearing it. This is the basis of the catchy tune, which gets your brain addicted to its sound so much that you end up singing it to yourself.

So, someone writing comedy pop has a problem. The pop song is about repetition, but in comedy, once you've heard a joke, it's seldom funny a second and third time. You can add substance to it, by exaggerating later performances. If the chorus is made of particularly strong words or imagery, or if the chorus changes its meaning as the rest of the song's resets the context, then it will bear repeating. However, overall, the comic song can die when its chorus stops being funny. So, comedy pop. Difficult.

The final thing about song-writing is down to length of song. The 2 and 3 minute pop song is a nice bite-sized time. Other styles of music require longer songs. Big production numbers in musicals want to be longer than a couple of minutes. Artists like Pink Floyd would have been desperately constrained with shorter times to play with, and only Weird Al Yankovic can perform the classic Bohemian Rhapsody in less than its allotted 6 minutes. Weird Al does it as a polka at double speed. There's a case where style is the substance - it's bloody hilarious hearing the whistlestop-tour of the music in an up-beat polka stylee. It stays funny.

The pop song 2 minute format would, therefore, make an excellent opportunity for the comedy song, since it's hard to keep something funny for too long - it soon wears thin. However, in those 2 to 3 minutes, you need to keep changing the joke. Have a progression. Swap repetition for something which surprises the audience, or make the repeated thing well and truly unbelievable to the ear.

It's bloody difficult.

Mokya are not playing their music to a live audience, so in some ways it's not a big problem. The music itself sounds nice and you can switch off and still enjoy it. However, for me, a comedy song cannot be switched off to. It has to grab you, make you laugh and then take its curtain call before you've gotten bored of it.

Labels: ,


Post a Comment

<< Home

All content ©2001 - 2012 Ashley Frieze