5 Steps to Simple Song Writing
There are many reasons why someone may want to write a song, one is that writing a song can be a cathartic experience and a way for a person to get something off their chest, another is that maybe the song is a love song which is dedicated to someone special to the writer. In general a song can be written for any subject and that will usually dictate the genre/style of the song. For lots of people the prospect of writing a song can be difficult, and this can be a result of overthinking the topic because many of the best songs that are heard on a radio are deceptively simple. A working knowledge of music is helpful but not vital, and as this article will show the starting points for many songs can be stripped right down to the bare minimum in order to clarify a distinct starting point.
1. Song Foundations
One good way to start is to hum a melody, if this can be done to the point that the melody is memorised by the writer then it is very possible that the bare bones of a song is now created. Repeatedly hum the melody and try to decide how is best to use this raw component, is it a verse? A chorus? Or maybe it’s the sound of the instrumentation in the song? Once this detail is decided upon then it is time to move on with the writing process.
2. Logical Progression
Take for example that the melody is the intended first verse, and think what would work well as a chorus line to the melody. Bear in mind that most choruses have a more dramatic feel to the verse of a song, and try to proceed to take the melody to its logical place in the song. If this step has been approached properly in the above manner then the song should now have two components, a verse melody and a chorus.
3. Make Notes
Adding words to the melody will help the song to develop clearly and gives a subject matter to the song, which will help when music is put down. In many cases a song can also be started with the lyrics alone, and from there the writers of the song can proceed to add melodies and music. Once a working set of lyrics has been reached, music can be added.
4. Adding Music
It is obviously helpful at this point if the song writer can play an instrument, but this is actually not vital if the person knows a piano or guitar player who can help with the composition of the song. Musicians can be very versatile with how they translate ideas that are put to them by someone who is developing a song, and humming the melody or singing the song’s lyrics will give a musician the information they need to add something to the piece.
When structuring a song a simple formula can be followed that will help the song to reach its logical conclusion. Firstly an introduction or ‘intro’, this sets the mood for the song and paves the way for the first verse, after which a chorus can be reached. After the first chorus a short musical section will take the song back into the second verse and second chorus (it is also possible to put a prelude to the chorus if desired, a pre-chorus). After the second chorus there is usually a section of music that is different to the other parts of the song called the bridge (sometimes a bridge is used to get into the chorus). The bridge may have an instrument solo at the beginning or end of it, and after the bridge another verse and/or chorus will help get to the logical conclusion of the song.
By Darko Zoric
Principal & founder of Jumbonote Music School & Singer/Songwriter of original music. To checkout some of Darko’s music, pls visit www.darkozoric.com.au
To learn songwriting in depth, give Jumbonote Music School a call on 1300 787 697