Songwriting

APPROACHING SONGWRITING

Approach

Overview

There are many approaches that can be taken in the construction of a song. Some of the normal starting points include: writing Chords and following with a melody, constructing a Melody and following to fit it to a chord sequence, writing lyrics and putting them into a melody and/or any variation is considered acceptable in the approach to song writing. It is important to take the route the you feel most comfortable using. It is sometimes good practice to try other methods for the purpose of experimentation and the potential result of the creation of good works outside of your normal results.

RULES:

1) Though there are common ways of working when constructing songs, there are no definite rules; only guidelines. It is good practice to keep it simple to start and build from there.

2) Find Something That Means Something To you in some form; whether its a chord sequence or melody that resonates with how you feel at a particular time or a lyric message you wish to communicate.

3) By narrowing it down to start, it will be easier to proceed and elaborate on the initially simple idea.

4) Try not to overcomplicate things it can slow you down in your progression and reduce your enthusiasm

4) Be constructive and organised in your Songwriting; write things down, spill out as many of your ideas as possible relating to the song you are trying to create and it will give you more to play with.

5) Always be prepared to take another look or edit something if you feel its not quite right. Find and idea that works for you and try not to loose your vision.

CONSTRUCTING A SONG:

1) Single down what you want to say or communicate.

2) decide on any particular qualities this song should have base on your own personal identity and/or perspectives.

3) Make a start by either defining a melody, lyric, chord sequence, rhythm for one section or aspect of the song to build from

4) Follow by adding a relative counter part to give the main acoustical sustenance of the song for one section. Guitar and vocal for a verse and/or chorus is usually a good place to start.

5) come up with another section and/or all other sections in the same or similar format

6) decide on a structure of the parts

7) define a progressive arrangement throughout to suit the nature of the structure

8) Refine the song to perfect as best possible,

9) Record song to document the idea and/or promote your stuff!

SONGWRITING TECHNIQUES:

THE METHOD:

1) Sing a simple 3 or 4 note meldoy

2) work out the root notes of what you are singing on an instrument

3) turn them into simple chords

4) decide if they work better as major or minor chords.

5) Adapt harmonic rhythm if necessary

6) Construct other sections by singing in the melody as before in the way you feel it should go.

A CHORD WHEEL:

A chord wheel can be a really good tool within the creation of songs. It can quickly remind you what chords work within each key. This can help particularly when working with singers and the possible need to adapt or transpose songs into a key appropriate for the singers voice. It can also be good to simply help develop a greater understanding of the relationships of chords relative to the keys. Get yours here (click here)

REWRITING & REARRANGING:

Pour out your ideas and keep an open mind, don't let your ego rule your writing. Through rewriting and rearranging songs you create or other songs you know can be fun and help when experimenting with ideas in future occasions. Practice makes perfect (in the sense of progressively better throughout time spent practicing - lol).

STYLE CONSIDERATIONS

If you like a certain style of music, analyse that style, artist or genre of music to pick out and understand the characteristics that make it what it is. It will then make it infinitely easier to create your own song with the attributes of what you are trying to create.

MUSICAL STEREOTYPE:

What does a style typically entail?

Sometimes a good approach to creating something unique is to combine genres or take elements you like from different styles that you feel work well together and combine them in your own way. Just because it is the typical or normal way of doing things, doesn't make it right or wrong to do. At the end of the day, if it sounds good to you and you are happy with the result, it's your song and that's the way you intended it (though this is no guarantee your song will be popular to others).

SONGWRITING THOUGHTS AND PERSPECTIVES

It is important when writing songs to have a good vision of where you are coming from and what you are trying to create. Always be prapared to experiment with ideas; It is common for songs or aspects of songs becoming created purely as a result of chance, through experimentation. more often than not aspects of songs are created by an accident or mistake which often lead to inspiring a new idea to be attempted.

It is important to write about the things that mean the most to you as a human being. Songs that communicate a common feeling or idea will resonate well with others. These songs can become the most influential on people throughout time in one way or another depending on the style and/or subject material.

It is most important to not stress yourself when writing a song, don't force the song to be written if your not feeling in the right mood for the song or your imagination is not flowing. Find a way to relax, clear your head and start simple. try to slim down your subject material to a single idea and progress upon it. In the same form based on how that idea communicates to you musically; decide how you think parts should go. Start simple and progress upon it.

It is sometimes helpful to construct projects rather than single songs, as a means to build a collection of tracks that present what you do. A portfolio of work that could be perceived as an album. Once one is complete, it gives the people involved the incentive to steer the music in a slightly new direction and progress as a songwriter and/or musician.

MUSICAL IDENTITY:

Your musical identity is primarily your sound. Where are you coming from as an individual or songwriter?

Your musical identity relates to the culmination of all your musical tastes incorporated into your music that defines your sound or style. For example heavy drums, a hard hitting vocal, high dynamics, certain chord flavours, rhythms and in general your genre.

Your musical identity, just like you as an individual, will change over time, as your perspectives, experiences and preferences develop.

It is another good idea to ask yourself, what do you do well? Wherever your strengths lie, whether it is your voice, lyrical writing ability or your lead guitar skills, if you stick to what your good at (at least at first), it is fair to say you will be working to your strengths. It also helps you to understand where you might need to pay more attention when writing songs.

What do you hope to achieve with your music and/or song writing? It is important to know your market and how to apply yourself and your music within that market. How can you make your music different to what is already out there? If you hope to encourage social change, your music will need to be congruent with your vision, otherwise you will not realise your goal.

It is often a good idea to listen to other artists you might consider to be creating similar music to your own as a reference point. You can always analyse the song writing techniques and approached as a means to give yourself ideas for how you might approach your own. Another artists song can in itself be a good source of inspiration for a songwriter.

IMAGE, PRESENTATION & BRAND:

Your image or brand is the way you are perceived publicly in reference to you as an artist/band and your music. What do you associate yourself with. Does your target market involve children? If so you would not necessarily want to dress or behave in a way that was not considered to be appropriate or role model behaviour, especially if it is fundamental to your success.

It is important therefore to dress, behave and present yourself in a way that is in keeping with your target market/audience and the way you wish to be perceived as a band, artist or individual.