How to write a song?

Parts of a song and writing lyrics

How to write song lyrics? First, by knowing well the structures needed for composition.

Of course, there are many ways to organize a song. It is up to you to decide how you organize it. However, there are some common musical structures that are an excellent starting point.

A song consists of several parts, but none of them are mandatory, the overall composition is up to the composer.

These parts are :

The introduction

The intro is the initial section that leads to the other parts of the song. It can sound different from the others, be faster or slower or even not exist. Many songs do not have this intro section.

The Verse

This is the main part of the song. Generally, the verse lasts considerably longer than the chorus. What distinguishes the verse of a song is that it has the same melody, but different lyrics than the other parts.

The chorus

The chorus is the part of the song that repeats itself, without changing the lyrics or melody much (or at least without changing much). Also, it is usually the catchiest, even repetitive, part of the composition and comes after the hook.

The bridge

The bridge is another part that does not exist in all compositions. Usually it comes after the second chorus and sounds completely different. Also, the bridge is shorter, containing one or two lines, and may precede a key change.

The song structures

The ABBA structure is the most common structure in modern popular music. In the study of possible structures, “A” indicates the verse and “B” indicates the chorus. This means that in examples of this type, there are two verses, a chorus and the final verse. Try this basic form before moving on to more advanced forms.

Besides ABBA, there are several common musical structures:

AABB
ABA
AAAA
ABCBA
ABABCB
ABACABA
etc.

Generally, the “C” indicates the bridge, while the other letters usually indicate that these sections of the song do not contain the traditional parts – but are unique.

You have all the freedom to try to compose songs that completely break away from these rules and structures if you want something more complex. However, for beginners freestyling can be risky.

How to find inspiration?

Practice writing

Do some stream-of-consciousness exercises. To do this, simply start writing whatever comes into your head over and over again. This is the best strategy for capturing ideas before they get lost.

Do these exercises every day to get the ideas flowing. Over time, this can help you write better lyrics.

Keep composing until you come up with something of quality. Buy a diary and start writing whatever comes to mind until you find something really important. That’s how the creative process works: sift through the garbage until you find something good. Write as much as you can until you feel like you’re done or you’ve had enough, even if you find one interesting word. Let the music ferment!

A composition may go through several revisions. Don’t worry if what you put on paper doesn’t sound like a good song right away. You’ll shape it better later.

Keep all of these documents, even if they only contain one word.

It’s okay if the songs don’t sound right at first. You can revise and improve them later.

Write all the time. That’s right: start writing about anything: how you feel, the world around you, an important person in your life, etc. This process will help you look for the right words, which will form the basis of your compositions (whether they are full poems or loose sentences connected in some way). Finally, remember that these texts don’t have to be tense, sad or show any other emotion! With the right investment, any subject can become music.

Fragments of a diary can inspire great songs. For example, if you are going through a difficult time, write a song that shows your frustration, despair or hope. That way, your listeners can relate to what you are saying.

You will have times when you can’t write anything. This happens to everyone. When you feel like the ideas aren’t coming, just put the words on paper. Don’t worry about whether they’re good or not.

Imitate the great songwriters

Timeless songs are timeless for a reason. The best way to write is to listen to and be inspired by great songs.

Listen to that song you love and ask yourself… why is it so good? What are its parts? What stylistic and narrative effects does it rely on? Study the themes it addresses, the rhymes it uses, the rhythm of its lyrics, etc.

Once you have a good understanding of the song, try to create your own melody to incorporate it. If you start with the best of the best, and create a riff inspired by it, chances are you’ll make something cool!

Listening inspires you to create. The best songwriters listen to other music before they even start writing.

Tom Waits talked about one of his writing tricks: he puts on two radio stations at the same time and listens to how the sounds overlap.

Bob Dylan, on the other hand, said he begins each songwriting session with a few minutes of deep meditation while listening to a song that inspires him.

Remember, of course, that there is a huge difference between inspiration and plagiarism. Take advantage of influences, but aim to create something truly personal.

There you go… listen to the greatest hits and you’ll have thousands of ideas for those times when you feel like you have a creative block.

You can rewrite the lyrics of songs you love to practice – for example Amsterdam by Jacques Brel. You can change some of the verses of the song or write entirely new lyrics.

Your personal taste in music should dictate the type of lyrics you want to write. You are an artist in the making, so you have conditions to chart your own course and formulate opinions about other, more well-known and established artists.

If you don’t know what kind of music you want to write, listen to your favorite songs and look for similarities between them.

Learn more about the artists who have written your favorite songs. Then, check their work carefully to identify patterns and evaluate each person’s style.

Read great poetry, great literature. Have you tried, but find it too difficult to compose your own lyrics? Your imagination is the only limit here, but your skills are sure to grow.

Respect your style. Don’t compare yourself to other musicians and composers. Everyone has their own style: some can open and expand their minds, while others are more specific. Although the world of music is full of rules and conventions, it is ultimately a creative and individual process.

Composing is an art form, so you must develop your own style. Don’t be tempted to follow something just because it’s fashionable.

Find the words

All language is music. The best lyrics are those that give freedom to the music, no matter what language they are written in.

Don’t be literal. Lyrics like “I love you so much / I think about you all the time” are not only cheesy, but completely forgettable. In any composition (and even in traditional poems), it’s best to evoke genuine, subtle emotions through the words. So there’s no need to write flatly descriptive – the trivial reality, your audience already knows!

Brainstorm and see what you can produce in terms of music.

Learn to rhyme. A rhyming dictionary is a great tool for coming up with lyric ideas. It may sound silly, but when you’re just starting out, it’s a great tool for finding inspiration. Don’t end each verse with similar sounds and always try to be natural, without including words that have nothing to do with anything.

Anyway, you have to consider the genre – some leave more room for rhymes than others (for example, hip-hop and rap). It’s all about style.

Try non-traditional rhyme schemes. How about experimenting with different rhyming styles so you don’t become old-fashioned or corny? Don’t feel stuck in traditional, fixed structures. Explore assonance, consonance, alliteration, etc.

Avoid clichés. Any composition is poor when it is built on clichés, which also limit people’s musical talent a bit. Avoid clichés, such as “I love you more than anything.”

Know the language of music well

Study music theory and notation (bars, notes, harmony, chords, etc.) to learn how to incorporate each element into the lyrics you compose. In general, always try to create verses with an even number of syllables and appropriate rhymes (without trying to fit too many words into too short a time).

Start with a previously written melody. If possible, start composing by taking melodies that already exist. This makes life easier for many inexperienced musicians. You can do it all yourself, ask a competent friend to help you, or even adapt a classical melody (as long as it is in the public domain).

Respect your vocal range. Not everyone has the vocal range of a Jacques Brel or an Edith Piaf. When composing new tunes, consider the range of the person who will be singing (whether it’s you or someone else).

If you are writing for yourself, find your vocal range. First, warm up your voice. Then, start making a “hum” sound with your lips closed and lower your voice to the lowest pitch possible. The lowest pitch you can reach by making the “humm” sound is clearly the lowest point in your vocal range. Repeat the exercise, but this time raise the pitch. If you can hold the pitch of the “humm” for three seconds, that is the pitch of your vocal range.

If you want to expand your vocal range, repeat this exercise but try to go a little further than the limit you know you can reach.

Give the singer time to breathe. Like any human being, singers also need to breathe. Include two to four extra beats in the song from time to time so the performer doesn’t die from lack of oxygen and to help the listener understand what’s going on.

Read your compositions. What do your songs say to the world? Do they tell stories? Do they make statements? Are they descriptive, philosophical, absurd, comical? Start swapping words until everything fits together. Think about what message you want to convey to the world and how you can do it through words. Do they have different meanings? Is it worth the repetition? Remember, listeners will only remember the most memorable parts.

Don’t be afraid to rewrite parts of songs. Who says you can’t change what’s already written? If you liked the composition the way it is, that’s great! Most songwriters like to polish their material until they get a really good result. Depending on the case, it’s okay to cut out whole verses. Revision is the best technique in music composition. You will only get good lyrics if you revise them enough.

Ask others for feedback. After you finish the composition, show it to a few people you trust. You can even do this in writing, but ask them to help you find places that lack rhythm or need tweaking. It’s not always fun to show your work to a lot of people, but the right critique can make all the difference!

Show your work to the world! These days, everyone shares everything they do and create with others. You may even be shy – and you don’t have to sing what you write! But at least try to share that talent with as many people as possible.

Collaborate to enrich your writing and composing skills

Learn to write the instrumental part. If you’ve written the lyrics but not the instrumental part of the song, get someone with experience in this area to help you. The process is not that different – and also involves some ground rules.

With practice, you will be able to learn to play a musical instrument on your own. However, it is always worthwhile to take a class. Classes will make learning easier, helping you to understand important concepts in the world of music. Learn the basics of some instruments, even those you don’t play extensively. Again, this knowledge facilitates the whole process of music composition. For example: start by learning to play the piano or guitar, which are not that complicated.

Also, learning to compose melodies will help you create a complete song, not just lyrics.

Learn to read sheet music. Although not a prerequisite, knowing how to read sheet music will make composing much easier (even for someone else to sing!)

Improve your singing. People who sing well will find it easier to compose. Practice your voice and see what happens.

Create melodies that match the lyrics. Try to create an original melody on guitar, then add percussion and keyboard to complete the composition.