Posted Mar 26, 2004 01:17 PM
Alot pieces of lyrics people seem to be lacking a key element, flow. What exactley is flow? It's basically how well a piece transitions, how well it meshes together. Without flow, songs can sometimes seem like long lines of prose that coincidentally rhyme. So here's a few tips for it.
01. Theme. Don't try to put too many themes or ideas into a single verse. This can sometimes make something seem jambled and frankly, sloppy. Try to avoid it. If you must, I would reccomend that you use 2 main ideas per verse.
02. Count Syllables. This should really be stressed in most cases. Just count how many syllables you're using in a single line, and compare that to the line that contrasts/compliments that line. Say you wanna write something like.
The short line should probably act as a counterpart to the other short line, giving them enough contrast to develop an idea further, while the longer line will compliment the shorter one by using a bit more detail to let the piece evolve on its own a little more.
Also, say you have a big word, but you wanna drop or add a syllable. Limit it to that. Don't drop more than one syllable or add more than one, because otherwise the word can become hard to understand.
There is, however, a difference between adding syllables and stretching words (vowels 99% of the time).
We've all heard a song before where somewhere in between the singer stretches a short word like "yeah" for a few extra seconds. This is a good touch, but be careful when using it, it needs to be rationed.
03. Writing Techniques. Bridges, choruses, verses, these are the bricks of a song (the mortar is the flow). A few typical styles are:
Optional third verse;
Optional chorus to follow;
There are definetley set times to use a bridge. It is primarily used to tie together a verse and chorus that normally wouldnt compliment each other very well (would'nt go together well).
It is entirley up to you on whether you want to use a bridge or not, but remember you have alternate options. Sometimes instead of using a musically supported bridge, you can use a technique such as strumming with all the strings muted by your fretting hand or make a quick insturmental bridge. Sometimes you don't need to use any kind of bridge at all.
Example of a song with a bridge : "Drive" by Incubus
Example of a bridgeless song : "Where Are You Going" by Dave Matthews Band.
04. Creative Language. Be descriptive now and then. You can't be abstract all the time. Hemingway is a good example of how descriptive writing can sort of draw people in and interest them if they dont weant to analyze every song they hear. Grab a dictionary once in a while if you don't know a word. Using original termino your songs can make them seem more "polished" and even maybe like you've got a huge vocabulary.
An example of almost bland writing - the beginning of John Gardener's "Grendel".
Example of vivid language and imagery - Green Hills Of Africa.
05. Style. You don't need to stick to any strict format or style. use a bridge once in a song, maybe after a chorus to tie the chorus into the verse, repeating choruses, using musical fills to compliment things, etc. be creative with your style, and write about what inspires you.
06. Finding Inspiration. Look at what kind of music you like to listen to, and what kind of music you want to write. Try and look for patterns or styles that that artist uses. Another tip I would highly reccomend is look into literatrue by some of these authors and some of these example works.
Nathaniel Hawthorne - The Birthmark.
Edgar Allen Poe - Like a 4 dollar book with tons of great stuff: poems, stories, essays.
Julian Barnes - Talking It Over
Ernest Hemingway - The Sun Also Rises, Green Hills Of Africa, The Old Man And The Sea.
Poets: Robert Lee Frost, William Blake, Edgar Allen Poe, Walt Whitman, Ezra Pound, Ts Eliot, Elizabeth Barret Browning, Sara Teasdale, Sappho, Stephen Crane.
All of these can be very inspiring. dont rip off their works, but find inspirastion to write something from them. If none of these are to your liking, like I said, find something that is and look for thingsd in that that'll inspire you.
"It Is The Muses"
"It is the Muses
who have caused me
to be honred: they
taught me their craft"