hi. pretty simple question really but i was just wondering if anyone here had a general game plan when it came to writing a song - eg. lyrics first, melody first, chords first. how do you guys do it, and how is it that you take the first step?

me personally, ill go through a week or 2 of not being able to come up with anything interesting at all and then one day ill effortlessly come up with a chord progression or a riff or two and then ill be stuck for another week or so. but i really do get stumped when it comes to making my riff or chords into an actual song, the melody and lyrics just stump me.

so i was looking to see if anyone else has a process by which they create their songs, and how they learnt to do that/.

EDIT: and, how have your guys early efforts been? because i mean obviously everyones early riffs or whatever are a lot less interesting than their later ones due to technical ability, but the basic melodies i have been able to come up with have been very limited and not very varied and i can't work out if this is justb ecause i've only been writing vocal melodies for a month or so or am is it something which youre naturally good at if youre every gunna be?
Last edited by kthxbi at Aug 5, 2010,
Normally i lay down a rift or chords first, and then i build around that for the music... I myself write lyrics all the time, and either i have some lyrics that fit the music i just wrote, or i write lyrics when the time is right... Sometimes i'll have a song down musically written for weeks before i add lyrics.

But the best way i find to add lyrics is to just have the song written, and just keep jammin the song until the lyrics come to you.
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Generally lyrics come first to me, and as I write them I have a natural melody going in my head. Then I go to the music writing.

My lyrics come to me veryyyyy quickly. Most of them took only about 15-20 minutes to write. I don't set rules though, as I write music instrumental stuff, too, and if it sounds like lyrics fit, I like to sing out the notes to it and record, then fill in the words.
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A lot of times, I dismiss songs I write, and then months later, come back to them, and realize they were a lot better than I once thought. Some of my favorite songs I've written are ones I've all but thrown away, and then stumbled upon a recording or lyrics sheet months later.
I sit down and start playing.

I'll just play around, play songs I already know, experiment a bit. If I happen to play something that catches my ear, I build on it.

Once I have the progression, I think about what the progression reminds me of, like past experiences.

Then I take the emotions/actions from that past experience to create lyrics that matter to me. I find that lyrics that actually mean something to you tend to get a better sound from your voice, not really sure why.

So once I have the chord progression with the lyrics over it, I modify the progression to create some gaps for cool drum fills or a guitar solo to spice up the song and give it some flair.

After that it's just revision and possibly modification if the song needs more length.

(In all honesty, I don't typically follow this pattern, I just roll with whatever comes to me, but if I had to sit down and just write a song, this is what I would do.)
There really is no standard order, but the best way is to come up with a basic chord progression first, since this is the backbone of any song. Then, you have to fill in with dummy lyrics that fit the chord progression. These can be replaced with "final version" lyrics later. Then, you have to work out the other parts and at the very end, you put in the final version lyrics.

Remember, this is only a general guideline and some people do not do it in this order. Basically, if are rolling along creatively, you want to keep the ball rolling as far as possible. Do not do anything to stop the flow of creativity because once stopped, it can be almost impossible to get started again.

I found a great lesson on here, and after I read it I've never had to stick the same order EVER!

Let me see if I can find it, and if not I'll just try to explain it to you later...

EDIT: The Lesson!

Pretty much it tells you how to create an outline of your song before you write it, and if you do that, you can skip around in any order you want without getting lost.

I don't really like the way he layed out his "sketch" example, but you can change it around and mess with it so it works for you, thats what I had to do...
Last edited by nbur4556 at Aug 9, 2010,