Friday, July 2, 2010

How to Write a Song

Notes On Songwriting

This step-by-step guide will walk you through a simple, creative process for writing lyrics and melodies in all genres of music. You'll learn how to use hit songs as patterns to help you learn exciting new songwriting techniques and give you fresh choices when writing.

by Robin Frederick

(c) 2009 All rights reserved.

Robin Frederick is the author of 'Shortcuts to Hit Songwriting: 126 Proven Techniques for Writing Songs That Sell." She has written over 500 songs for TV, record albums, theater and audio products. She is a former Director of A&R for Rhino Records and currently heads the A&R Team at Taxi, the world's leading independent A&R company.

There's something magical about songwriting. No matter how many songs I write or how much I know about songwriting, I am still amazed and a little awestruck that it happens at all. How does a song get started? How do you know where to go next? How do you know if your song is any good? Well, I'll answer the first two questions in this article. The third question - How do you know if my song is good? - is answered like this: A song that expresses what you feel is a good song, even if no one else thinks so. A song that expresses your thoughts and feelings in a way that reaches other people, helps them feel something deeper or understand something better - that's a really good song!

What is song craft and why do I need it?

Good songwriters use songcraft to give their songs emotional impact and make them memorable. The song-building tools and techniques we call "song craft" are not arbitrary; they were not invented just to drive songwriters crazy or force us to create formula songs without depth or originality. They exist because, over hundreds of years, songwriters have found that they help listeners to understand, experience, and remember the emotional message at the heart of our songs.

In the following article, I'm going to suggest some song craft shortcuts that will help you add emotional impact and memorability to your lyrics and melodies. (If you want to write lyrics only, I'll point you toward places where you can find a collaborator.) The techniques and hands-on exercises in this article can be applied to Rock, Country, Pop, and R&B/Soul. These are the four largest mainstream, commercial music genres.

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