Song Tip Tuesday #8 – Mis-stressing

Today’s Song Tip Tuesday is about a common songwriting oversight called mis-stressing. FYI, mis-stressing is an err we all make no matter how experienced we are as songwriters. 

Mis-stressing occurs when a word or syllable is accented in a way that makes it unintelligible. 

Notice how awkward this mis-stressed lyric sounds when spoken out loud. 

I looked OUT my window THIS mornING and THE sun was shining brightLY. 

Imagine how strange it would feel when sung 

A mis-stressed word causes the listener to lose focus on the lyric and tends to make the song’s melody unmemorable. Mis-stresses are heard when unusual note lengths or note pitches are assigned to a word or syllable causing the word or syllable to sound odd and stick out. 

We mis-stress because we all speak and hear English differently. We use slang, incomplete sentences, mixed metaphors combined with regionalisms that force an array of pronunciations that we pick up through everyday listening situations. We all hear English spoken with mis-stresses, and then we take those mis-stressed words and put them into our songs. 

Be aware of stressING the wrong syl-LAB-le! 

Help, I’m mis-stressING!  

The art of writing is rewritING! 

RanDY Klein