How to write a song
So you are ready to write your own song; a melody and maybe some words have been floating
around your mind, and now you need to bring them to life. How do we go about this process ?
#1: Learn the musical language
If you do not have a library of songs memorised, that you are able to perform, you will not have the musical common sense, required to write a good song.
#2: Translate your inspiration into a musical fragment
We all have different pathways, that we must follow, for our inspiration to become a tangible song. If you have completed step one, then are already know what a song is, and you are ready to be inspired.
Inspiration will lead to a musical fragment, ideas that can be: words, a melody, a groove , a harmonic progression. Inspiration is a consequence of bringing to life, a feeling or an emotion.
#3: Complete the fragment until you have a song
How do we repeat these musical fragments of step two, until we have a song ? How do we organise the song, so as to be played by others in a band setting?
Throughout this series of How to write a song posts, I will explore quotes, facts and knowledge, to help you achieve a solid foundation, to build your songs on.
My work as a music producer, will start happening once you have finalised your song, and are ready to develop it further, to make it shine so others may also enjoy, ultimately admire, and buy your creativity.
Does a song just pop out of no where ?
The how to write a song process is like a seed that grows and blossoms. The melody, the chords, and lyrics, go through a creative accumulative process, similar to the gestation of any living creature. It takes time for those ideas to find their way from our subconscious, into reality.
You cannot force ideas, but you must work on them consistently, until you have the exact words, melody, and chords that fit them.
One of my favourite authors is Camilo Jose Cela: Nobel prize in literature, in the Spanish Language. His quote on inspiration for how to be inspired to write is :
“Inspiration is working a good portion of hours”
This is a simple premise that I concur with and does also refer to how to write a song. Once the idea pops up in your head, you need to sit down on the piano, or on the guitar, and just bring to life the emotion. This may take a few minutes, a month, or even more time, but always keep on working on the idea, until you are able to give birth to your song.
So you are inspired what comes next
Paul Mc Cartney states that in terms of music and lyrics,
“Most of the time, if you’re lucky, they come together. You just sit down and start… and eventually, you hear a little phrase that works, and then you follow that trail.”
I taught at Paul Mc Cartney´s School of Music, back in 1997, how to write a song, to local Liverpool bands. These courses were supported by European Social Funds, as an initiative to help local bands get their music into the market, and develop a business strategy to achieve a successful lasting carrer.
My specific goal was to mentor musicians, to aid in the development of original music. This is an easy task, if in the studio you have musicians that are performing live, that know songs and have already composed and recorded for years.
What basic knowledge do we require to write our first song ?
Learn songs you like, you love
To start off you need to acquire and develop fluent musical vocabulary, in the same manner as you did when you learnt your spoken language, when you were a child.
A child learns a language by listening, copying and recreating the sounds they need to convey an expression. A composer, also should go through this process. In the early stages of your learning, you should not worry too much about music theory, which we may relate to grammar. You need to learn the language, learn all the songs you like, learn the melodies, the chords, play the melodies, sing them and enjoy them .
Ask any good composer, or songwriter, how many songs of others they know and can play, and you will hear, a lot. A songwriter must have memorised a library of songs: structures, chords, melody lyrics, before his or her own songs will make any sense.
How many songs ?
20If you memorise 20 songs you love, and are able to play the chords and the melody, sing the song and play the guitar or the piano, at the same time, then you will be ready, without any doubt, to compose a song that sounds good.
If you jump this accumulative process of selected good music, and you only read music theory books; study music in the traditional manner, you will not compose a song that sounds good.
I state this fact based upon my experience. I wish my teachers and first music producers I worked with, had insisted on this basic learning. It would have saved me so much time and wasted effort, and furthermore added much more joy to my life .
After having recorded and produced over 27 albums, composed and arranged over 100 songs, and spent seven years writing the music theory book on arranging and orchestration I asked myself:
What could I have done to make even better music form the start ?Learnt 20 songs , of other composers, songwriters, I liked and loved.
You may start composing once you have your first song memorised. But, please keep on working hard to create the minimum repertoire of 20 songs of other composers and songwriters . Memorise 20 songs from the beginning to the end, memorise the melody, chords and lyrics. Sing them, play them, enjoy them and very soon you will have a good understanding of what music theory books try to explain through words. Music books will not teach you how to write a song efficiently, until you have these 20 songs in your personal musical library .
Music Production services
My Songwriting Music Production services are here to help you transform your beloved inspiration into your masterpiece. Therefore, if you wish to be unique and believe that uniqueness is the virtue that will make you shine in the crowd then I can help you. If you feel good when you are unique and wish to make your songs reflect your special message, then I will help you with how to write a song, that will be your unique world class contribution.
My music production services are not only about how to record, mix or enhance a performance, as this type of service can be found in most top recording studios. Therefore together, we will fine tune your lyrics, chords, bass lines, groove, background lines, emotional contour, timbre, flow and then record, overdub and mix to industry standards.