Good day, Ellie. This is in parallel to Mamianka's response. I began writing simple melodies and accompaniments at twelve or maybe earlier, combo arrangements at fourteen or so, and original pop music instrumentals not much later. I write lyrics only when strongly motivated; because it does not come...
Good day, Ellie. This is in parallel to Mamianka's response. I began writing simple melodies and accompaniments at twelve or maybe earlier, combo arrangements at fourteen or so, and original pop music instrumentals not much later. I write lyrics only when strongly motivated; because it does not come naturally to me; it's a chore I avoid.
I do, however, edit others' songs occasionally, sometimes composing additional lyrics or music, or both, reordering or repurposing verses, changing chord progressions, or just making minor alterations like substituting a word or chord.
The great division in songwriting is lyrics and music. To write without a partner, you must learn about both. Even with a partner, it's best to have some background in your non-primary skill.
A song can tell a story, describe a scene or an interval in time, etc., and doing it well requires language and storytelling skills. Even though you're obviously familiar with your native language, study it to learn grammar and variations in sentence structure. Read good writing and study good lyrics, with the goal of seeing how the manner of expression conveys meaning or evokes emotion effectively, and how the story is made to progress.
Obtain copies of Strunk & White's "The Elements of Style" (3rd edition if possible), and Sheila Davis's "The Craft of Lyric Writing".
Just as you study language to learn how it works, you must study music to learn how it works, and the best learning aid is a keyboard and teacher. Be sure that the teacher understands that your intention is not to become a proficient player, but to learn the basics of music as applied to songwriting.
Among other things, you should know the spectrum of three-note and four-note chords, learn about altered chords and the rules for naming them, common chord sequences, and chord substitution. Study the music of existing songs, not just the types that are your principal interest, to learn what makes a good melody (phrases of connected notes, leaps higher or lower) and how the melody enhances the lyric, noting how common chord changes are used, modified, or even avoided.
Write every day, music or lyrics alone, lyrics to your own melody, to an existing one, new music for existing lyrics. Review music or lyrics from a few days to a week before, and make improvements (good writing is rewriting). From time to time, assemble a complete or semi-complete song and audition it to reasonably good musicians and singers. Accept their feedback gracefully.
4 days ago