Basic Guide To Lyric Writing

All great songwriters have had some tragedy happen to them. whether it was losing a family member, a particularly brutal break-up, drugs taking their life, all have stories to tell. And that is what gives their songs such power.

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All great songwriters have had some tragedy happen to them. Whether it was losing a family member, a particularly brutal break-up, drugs taking their life, all have stories to tell. And that is what gives their songs such power. Nobody can teach you how to write songs. You will never become a great songwriter over night, but, if you learn how to effectively write lyrics, you will be much closer to not sucking at it. First off you need to know the basic parts songs.
  • 01.Intro: pretty simple really. depending on the song, there may be no lyrics. several of my favourites don't open with lyrics, and I would bet several of the reader's don't either, but if your intro is going to include lyrics, they should pretty much start the mood of the song.
  • 02.Verse: for those that don't know, the verse is what contains the majority of lyrics. The lyrics in the verse should reflect the overall message of the song, E.G drugs are bad, I like cheese, whatever the song is about.
  • 03.Prechorus: this is for songs that have a difference in tone of voice between the vese and the chorus. The guitar is usually playing ascending notes, and the tone of the vocals slowly becomes the tone in the chorus. If you plan to change between screaming and singing, now is the time.
  • 04.Chorus: this is usually a set of lyrics repeated at points in a song. It will usually contain the song title, and convey the message for the song.
  • 05.Solo: if you are looking at this and wondering "what the hell does this have to do with the lyrics?" it can have a lot to do with them. A solo can change the entire mood of the song. Linkin park's shadow of the day springs to mind as I say this, as before the solo starts, the song is very moody, but after the solo, the song goes way less murky. Try it out, see the difference.
  • 06.Breakdown: a breakdown is kind of the opposite of a prechorus. It lowers the tone considerably, and can be used to descend into a chorus, if your chorus is draker than the verse.
  • 07.Bridge: the best way to describe a bridge is by using an actual bridge, with the two sides as parts of the song. It sometimes seems like an extension of the chorus, but you can detect a change of pattern. Some can sound like the chorus, some sound like a mini-solo, but they are like fills. Okay, now that I have covered the basic parts of a song, it is time to focus on the lyric writing part. You have to focus on one thing you are writing about. If you want a happy song, try a current relationship with somebody that makes you happy, girlfriend, wife, etcetera. If you want a sad song, you will know what you should write about, break-ups, death, anything not too sensitive that you can't complete the song without breaking into tears, you may want to find a different topic. Also a mentionable note, you don't have to write about personal expirience. Think iron maiden, or dragonforce. You now need a "lyric template" an organisation that your lyrics will fit into. Here are some of my basic ones: note: I didn't include the outro before because it is pretty simple. 1st template intro verse 1 chorus bridge verse 2 chorus solo chorus outro 2nd template intro verse 1 prechorus chorus verse 2 chorus breakdown outro 3rd template intro chorus verse one chorus verse two bridge solo breakdown chorus outro 4th template intro chorus verse 1 bridge verse 2 solo chorus outro 5th template intro verse 1 bridge chorus solo verse 2 prechorus chorus breakdown verse 3 outro These are just the templates, don't think that you have to follow these religiously. one last thing, songs can be based around one great riff or solo. don't assume that lyrics are everything.
  • 8 comments sorted by best / new / date

      this is not about lyrics writing, this is about song structure
      to add it is not only about basic structure, but it is particalurly only goes with only some genres like metalcore, screamo, etc... it's not a bad lesson tho, just the title is stupid for this one.
      sorry about the title, i couldnt think of what to call it at the time. all coments-good and bad-appreciated though
      "All great songwriters have had some tragedy happen to them." I don't know that this was true (or even relevant) to, say, Mark Knopfler when he wrote 'Sultans of Swing' in 1977 - in my opinion, Mark Knopfler is up there (almost) with Lennon and McCartney as one of the really, really brilliant songwriters, and he's a superb guitarist as well. The point is, don't make sweeping statements like that. Of course, many songwriters have had personal tragedies - Robert Plant lost his son, as did Eric Clapton. In fact, Eric Clapton has had a calamitous time of it over the last few decades. There are a few spelling errors here, and there is little do with lyric writing at all.
      your telling us that there is one composer out there who has never known tragedy? you sir need to get your facts straight