Building A Song

My strategy to writing a decent souding song.

Ultimate Guitar
  • Step 1: Always start out writing lyrics unless you are writing an instrumental or a song that is meant to be focussed on the instruments but has lyrics to add some variety. Write about something that is happening in your life at that moment or your opinion about the government or something. Express your feelings and give the song the correct mood. If your song is about death, don't set the mood as happy and cheerful. (unless you were glad about this death?) Anyway, after you write the lyrics, think about using metaphors in your song. Here is some of the lyrics from the song Yellow Sun by The Raconteurs: Yellow sun is shining in the afternoon I'd really like to tell you but I feel it's too soon My actions are dictated by the phases of the moon The phases of the moon This song isn't really about the yellow sun which you may have already figured out. It's about the lead singer wanting to do something but feels that he can't. Jack White is great with using metaphors in his songs, so if you want to brainstorm off of some his ideas, be my guest.
  • Step 2: organize your song into verses and choruses, etc. If you don't feel that you need to do this, than skip to the next step. For you others, your song should be in chronological order. Let's say your song is about you loosing your dog or something. The beginning should start out stating that your dog has been lost. Perhaps describe your dog or say when he ran away or something. Don't start reflecting ont he memories you had with him yet, save that for the bridge. After you are done organizing the 1st verse now you can either start organizing the chorus, or leave some space for a guitar break or something, but don't start writing the guitar break until you are done writing all the lyrics. The chorus should describe your feelings about the subject. It shouldn't be very specific. Here is a very not thought out example: I lost my dog Oh where could he be? I lost my dog Did he run away 'cause of me? Once again take a look at lyric sites where you can read lyrics of songs and get some ideas on how to write choruses and verses, etc. Now if want to have a bridge in your song, go ahead and organize one. I'm not so sure how to explain what the bridge is supposed to describe, so take a look at some other lessons and see if it explains it better. The bridge should sound different than the chorus and the verses. Here are some forms the song can be in: 01. Verse Guitar Break Verse Chorus Verse Bridge Chorus 02. Verse Chorus Verse Chorus Bridge Chorus 3. Chorus Verse Chorus Verse Bridge Chorus There are countless different ways that you can organize the verses and choruses, but these were just a few. Feel free to put in some guitar solos and stuff.
  • Step 3: now it's the fun stuff. Now you can start writing the parts for the guitar! YAY! Ok, here it goes. There are many different types of music: Punk, Blues, Rock, etc. But this is how I like to write my songs. The genres I write in are Blues and Rock. For my guitar intro, I usually just play the same thing that comes RIGHT after the intro. If it's the chorus or the verse. I usually use blues scales for my songs, but sometimes I like to match up the notes for my voice and my guitar so that they are in unison (doing the same thing). Here's a song I've been working on:

    repeat first part without 5h7 part then:
    repeats whole thing And that's the intro. I used that for the first verse then I have a guitar solo then there's another verse except the guitar parts different. Back to the subject now. Now to the part after the intro and the part that comes after it. let's say it was the intro then the verse. For the guitar part for the chorus, make it more powerful than the verse and intro. Say you were playing just single notes and hammering on and pulling off, etc. like this:
    In the chorus play the power chords of the notes of the notes you were playing in the verse. For example, the fifth fret on the D string is the note G. You could play the power chord with the base note on D or the bass note on the third fret on the low E string. You can do the same thing with the other notes played in the verse. Try and mix up the rhythms to make the song more interesting. You can also add in a solo or some solos if you would like. Take a look at the lessons in the soloing section to get the idea on how to write a solo. Well, that's all for now.
  • 26 comments sorted by best / new / date

      Oh, I didn't realise I could write songs about the government! No other band has done that, right? You know what...while I'm on that line, I'll call my band...Rage Against The Machine! And it'll be real original...writing about the government and all. I'll be like: "The government...we should all conform "Did my dog run away 'cause of me?
      Oh man, would you mind if I used your really original dog lyrics? They fit perfectly into my mad 2-chord song that you showed me how to write!
      And I always thought the great thing about writing music is that you don't have to follow any specific steps or rules. Just write whatever comes to mind.
      great lesson! i give it a 10 but id like to add a song layout. i set up all of my songs like this: 1.Guitar break 2.Verse (x2) 3.Chorus 4.Verse (x2) 5.Chorus 6.Bridge 7.Guitar solo 8.Chorus 9.Guitar break yeah, i write some pretty big songs =P
      The_Raven wrote: Oh, I didn't realise I could write songs about the government! No other band has done that, right? You know what...while I'm on that line, I'll call my band...Rage Against The Machine! And it'll be real original...writing about the government and all. I'll be like: "The government...we should all conform "Did my dog run away 'cause of me?
      hey *****! hes trying to help songwriters that are starting out so get off his back asswipe i doubt you have ever tried to help out struggling musicians and when this guy writes a perfectly good article you gotta shoot him down...its people like you that cause unrest in the world so shut your ****ing mouth....great article by the way...10
      There really isn't any guide lines for writing songs. You can't just tell someone to write lyrics first. I ALWAYS write the music for a song before I write the lyrics. If I write lyrics first, it's like I'm writing poetry, which I strongly dislike doing. You should do it either way you like better.
      Castlebravo wrote: Craigo wrote: Voted then again. It was my idea first to vote ten!bulllllshiiit
      lol i accidentally hit the post button before i finished, i was just kidding
      Clearly the most informative article on songwriting i've ever read. I'm starting my magnum opus concept album on my feelings and the government right now!
      I only read the beginning sentence, where you say always start out writing with your lyrics. Is that genuinely the only good way to write a song? since i laid off the gear I lack the motivation to write lyrics anymore, it blows.. I've thought about writing some compositional sketches with just basic lyrics and idea's then building on them in more detail after. I want to write my first song so bad, I just lack the motivation and structure to attack it right now