Some say you need to read music to be able to write a song but there are many famous songwriters, including Sir Paul McCartney and Stevie Wonder, who would disagree.
Songwriting may come naturally to some people but for others, it is hard work. It is a skill they have to learn and they become better over the years as they practice it. The following steps can help novice songwriters to hone their songwriting skills and develop their artistic voice.
1. Start with a title
Starting with a title can help the songwriting process to go more smoothly. It defines the song’s message and will help you to stay on track. The title is the line that everyone remembers and you can build your whole song around it. A short title is often best with an ideal length of up to about five words.
There are various ways to find an inspiring song title. You may find some ideas in the headlines of newspapers or in magazines. Your personal experiences and ideas often help you to come up with a title that you believe will evoke emotion in the listeners. The song can then unfold from the title and help listeners to understand what you want to convey.
2. Develop your lyrics
Once you’ve chosen a title, you will need to flesh out your song. Brainstorm and write down words and phrases that relate to it. Not all of this will make it into your song but it will get your creativity flowing.
You shouldn’t stress out too much about this part but freely associate words and phrases. They will become the basis for your verses, chorus and bridge. It is standard to make your lyrics rhyme but there may be times when something works even though the lyrics do not rhyme. Don’t try twisting words out of order just to make them rhyme, as this will sound artificial.
3. Ask yourself questions about your title
Think about what your song title means to you and ask yourself how the action takes place. Why did the action take place and who was involved? Do you know what might happen next?
For example, if you take a classic song like Heartbreak Hotel. It’s a place to go when your baby leaves you and where brokenhearted lovers cry. A great song will draw listeners in with a question and answer it in an interesting way.
Writing assignments at university follows a similar process and requires students to ask questions about a specific topic. It isn’t an easy process to master and students who are overwhelmed can reach out to professional assignment writers at AssignmentBro to write their college papers for them.
Such writers have experience with helping students. They understand exactly what’s required and will produce plagiarism-free work within the required deadline so students can stress less and study more.
4. Find the melody and chords
Speak the phrases you wrote down out loud and listen to the cadence and inflections of your voice. You can use the natural melodic element of speech to start defining your melody. The chords you use need to reflect the atmosphere of your song and finding the right ones is not that difficult.
Students applying to study music at university usually understand that music and math correlate in the sense that both have patterns. Rhythms and beats translate into fractions and ratios. Using the right melody and chords to fit the lyrics is somewhat of a mathematical process but the combination produces an emotional effect in listeners.
5. Work on your song structure
A familiar song structure is verse, chorus, chorus, bridge, chorus. It’s like a path that leads the listener from the beginning to the end of the song. There’s enough repetition in a song to make it feel familiar and yet enough variety to maintain interest.
A verse may be more conversational and low-key, followed by a high-impact chorus. The chorus lyrics often include the song title and give answers to the questions you raised.
The verses then tell the story in more detail. The verses and choruses follow the same melody and chords but the bridge has different lyrics and a different melody and chord progression. It provides a break and an insight or turning point.
6. Technology can help
There are a number of songwriting apps available and knowing how to use technology like this makes the process much easier if you want to learn how to write songs today. Apps like Noteflight offer free versions which are easy to use and allow you to create, view, print and hear musical notation in your web browser. You can compose music and record live audio into scores.
Hopefully, the above steps gave you some ideas or helped to point you in the right direction if you want to learn songwriting. Writing songs is a skill and you need time and effort to master it.
Don’t be discouraged if you find it difficult at first. If you persevere, you will get better at it. Try to remember why you want to do it, as this could motivate you to continue.