Okay I have multiple problems when thinking about writing lyrics.

1. How do i know what story fits the song im writing about?

2. How do i tell a story without coming out and saying oh someone i loved died. I want to make the listener have to piece together the music like a puzzle to get the full feel of how i felt when i experienced the events of my life and such.

3. I need tips on how to match a melody to a song. Any ideas?
1. usually the story will match the song
sad song = sad story
happy song = happy story
however you could have a happy song with a sad story for irony or vice versa the latter probably isn't as good

2. say how you felt at that time, what was running through etc dont cut straight to the chase , try and just gradually hint about what happened then at the end of the song you could put it bluntly or leave 'em guessing

3. try doing the guitar/ bass line a 3rd or octave up these are very general , you can't teach creativity
thanks lamp that helps a good bit. I understand its hard to teach creativity but just having people throw in a few ideas helps :P thanks.
1. Like professorlamp said, usually the story ends up matching the song, but it doesn't have to be that way. "Date Rape" by Sublime is a (silly) story about what happens to people who rape other people, but the background music is very energetic and party-like.

2. Use metaphors and similes. You can even go so far as to write a story about a similarly metaphorical subject, like thinking of drugs as food and then writing a song about cafeterias, if you know what I mean.

3. Just think of a melody in your head and then see how the song sounds when you sing/play it that way. Something decent should come to you eventually. You can also use the instruments as just a simple rhythm section, like a guitar strumming the chord of the first syllable in the line.
Last edited by rd93 at Sep 27, 2009,
The songwriting/melody/lyrical process is different for everyone and, by no means, has to be exactly the same for every new idea that you're trying to portray lyrically. Some people do start with finding a melody or "riff" and encorporate lyrics later, while others develop lyrics first. Both are very important in painting a picture or setting for the listener; however, I find that if you are trying to tell a story or envoke emotion in your audience, the lyrics and format should be developed first, as lyrics and the story are the most intrical aspects of what is trying to be portrayed.

Good examples of painting a picture, envoking emotion or telling a story can be found in the country music genre. Even if you might not be into this genre primarily or at all, country music songs provide a good guideline and base for telling a story that gives the listener a sense of relation to the story you're trying to tell. Some good examples of country songs that paint a vivid picture and tell a story are (off the top of my head): "Paint Me A Birmingham" by Tracy Lawrence, "Walk A Little Straighter" by Billy Currington, "Sweet Southern Comfort" by Buddy Jewel, "One Boy, One Girl" by Colin Raye.

When writing a song, the title should be strong, not vague, and one of the most important pieces of the song. Seldom is a title not the strong point of a chorus or hook. I like to come up with a stong title first for my idea and then just spend time writing about any ideas about what you're tyring to portray with no necessary format. Brainstorming can free up your mind and get you thinking. Go back through your ideas and circle or underline strong iyrics, ideas or words that are descriptive or "buildable" lyrically.

When writing the song, try to periodically go back through each verse or statement in the lyrics and make sure that it relates to your title. The listener should be able to sense where the song is going, but still have a sense of curiosity to how the story will eventually end. You want to maintain interest through the story being told by using strong, descriptive words, metaphors, similes, etc...You want the listener to be able to close their eyes and see the setting, time, place and emotions you're feeling or your character was feeling. Sometimes simple lyrics are the best bet and most easily relatable to your listener. You don't want to confuse the listener by using poetry-style lyrics that have to be broken down and analyzed for the true meaning. Sometimes its best to simply state ideas rather than be overly descriptive. You want your audience to relate, not interpret.

An easy and readily utilized format for a song could be: INTRO, VERSE 1, PRE-CHORUS (build-up), CHORUS, VERSE 2, PRE-CHORUS, CHORUS, BRIDGE, CHORUS. This format should provide a good base for setting a scene/telling a story, while the pre-chorus' and bridge provide a melody change and really build the listener up for the most important part of the song (the chorus), where the reasoning for the title and the idea being portrayed are summed up and the story is emphasized. I always like to find a way to end the chorus with the title so that it has a stronger meaning or sense of worth. The verses, ideas and chorus should all relate back to your title. Throughout writing your song, constantly ask yourself, "does this lyric relate to my title?" Stay on point, don't stray away from the central idea/story and try to be as descriptive as possible in the simplest way you can. Bouncing around or talking about multiple topics can take away from a song's meaning.

I just wanted to provide you with some key ideas and guidelines that I go by when writing country music. Although lyrics are ultimately the most important aspect to a song, the actual way to go about developing your ideas is infinite. You can write lyrics first or you can also develop the melody/rythm first and have success. Experiment with both. Put the idea for your song in your head and go with it. Get yourself a microphone, hit record and just play for 20 minutes. Step away and then come back later and listen to the whole recording, noting some notes or progressions that are "buildable." When recording these melody/rythm ideas in your mini-jam session, use the format example I provided to clearly reflect an INTRO, set of VERSES, PRELUDE, CHORUS and BRIDGE and fill in the lyrics later or come up with lyrics first in the format provided. They're both reliable.

Hopefully this has provided some helpful tips or ideas. I love the song-writing process. Free expression through music provides an outlet for emotion and the sense of accomplishment you get after writing a truly great song is truly wonderful. Be patient, Don't force it and constantly critique it until you feel your song perfectly illustrates your idea. If you need any other help, feel free to ask me. I'm open to help others that need help with ideas because I oftentimes need help as well. Having people around that can provide constructive criticism or new ideas can open up a whole new world to a beginning songwriter.
I've moved this thread for you, but read the rules please, so you know what should posted where in the future.

I didn't read this last post, but I'm assuming it was quite helpful, but in any case, read the FAQs and rules here. This thread will be closed. Ask this in the S&L techniques forum.

edit - nevermind, haha.
Last edited by Final at Sep 28, 2009,
Quote by Final
I didn't read this last post, but I'm assuming it was quite helpful, but in any case, read the FAQs and rules here. This thread will be closed. Ask this in the S&L techniques forum.

He's right. I would have closed it if it weren't for all of the effort put into some of the responses already.