Building Your Lyrics

A good way to get over writers block, start writing a song, organize your song, and have your song make sense.

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Ultimate Guitar
Building Your Lyrics
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Step 1 - Main Idea

The title could be the first thing you do, or the last thing you do. But make sure that you think of your main idea. The main idea is usually something you feel strong about, something you want to persuade others, a story, an experience, etc. Just write down something that you want your song to be mostly about. You could now base the title off of your main idea or just wait and see if you want to use something else, but you are now ready for step 2.

Step 2 - Chorus

Your Chorus should be about your main idea, it shouldn't be very detailed tho. You should write about how you feel about your main topic; even though the chorus doesn't have to say your main idea, just write about how the main idea makes you feel or thoughts that you have. You don't even have to rhyme yet, just jot down your feelings, rhyming could come last if you wanted it to. Now onto step 3.

Step 3 - Verses

Your verses should support your main idea and/or your chorus. Now, the verses should be detailed. Still not having to rhyme, jot down reasons for the main idea, thoughts about the main idea, emotions that you feel while experiencing the main idea(you may have used these in the chorus, but you shouldn't have been detailing them, now is the time to go more in depth with your feelings about the main idea, etc. It's always best to use the five sense six if you see dead people) during the writing process, the audience will be more into the song this way. Do not make your versus too long or the song will most likely become boring. There is usually two to three verses in a song, but it is up to you.

Step 4 - Bridge

You don't need a bridge, a lot of music these days don't have bridges. Bridges are usually used when your main topic is something you feel. The bridge could be like what you do when the feeling comes over you. Usually a more aggressive part of the song.

Step 5 - Rhyming

Now that you have your chorus, your verses, and maybe your bridge, its time to make it rhyme. Go back to your brainstorming and start piecing it together, rearanging it, and tweeking it. If you can't make some of the words rhyme, find a thesaurus to find synonyms of the word you want to rhyme with, and start to piece that together (I suggest www.rhymezone.com for synonyms and rhymes, and many other ways to build your wording). You will also need a rhyme scheme, meaning how often the rhymes occur and in what order they occur. Having a good rhyme sheme is also very helpful when making the melody of the lyrics.

Step 6 - Melody

Melody always depends on what kind of song it is and what rhyme scheme you have. Sometimes it's easier to have a riff on a guitar or piano or something similar. I can't go in too deep on melodies because I have my own style and everyone has a different style (except pop music).

Step 7 - Structure

Time to put the pieces in place. The verse usually comes before the chorus and then theres another verse, and maybe a bridge, sometimes there's also a prechorus which is basically tying the verse and the chorus together, like a transition. but you can put your song together any which way you like.

Step 8 - Instruments

After putting the lyrics together, it's time to add instruments and tone to your song. You don't always have to do this if you just want to be a songwriter or if you're in a band, hand out the lyrics to your members and they can individuallypiece the instrumentals together. Or sing the song to yourself and think of what a good sound would be, if you cant do it in your head, record yoursefl singing it and then maybe hum to it and it could come out naturally.

Conclusion

Ok, well that's all I have for you now, with any questions or examples, instant message me or email me.

250 comments sorted by best / new / date

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    guitarcrazy900
    It's a good article, there are times where, for me at least, it's a very spontaneous thing and the words just fly onto the page and the melody comes together right away while i'm writing. But for just sitting down and writing its a good structure to follow.
    MetalGuitarist0
    yeah... it has some helpful points, but i dont think anyone can ever make a formula for songwriting
    Alien_from_a_cd
    It's agood article, but the fifth step isn't always nessesary. Not all songs rhyme, you know. But apart from that, great point!
    ooblah
    i thought it was good. If you want a good example of writing lyrics that dont rhyme, check out steve harris of iron maiden... his lyrics rarely rhyme but yet they get the point across really well.
    IsayNI
    ya good article but like some peeps are sayin you really cant write a formula for songwriting... and usually my band will make songs and then ill write lyrics for them but i do alot of the brainstorming and stuff that you were talking about and alot of the steps still aply... but i find it helps to have a tune already and then taking a song you wrote and then reformating it to fit the music
    Kadrean
    A damn good guide, I'll definately be using this one! Mwahahahahah and so on.
    petergedeck
    Ey dudes, this lesson is cinda cool. it helpt me to my first non paperbin song. Im full of insperation now t my new band HAMLET, thanx
    SURFraptor7
    i definitely have melody problems when im writing songs... my choruses always end up very similar and bland, so maybe this might help... good article
    Mike_rocka_boy
    Good lesson but remember... song not always have chorus.
    Man i have never heard a song with out a chorus so your point there was just stupid but now when i get a band together i actually know how to right a song! Thanks man this helped a lot!! A+++..
    ollerom_mot
    good article, the basis of a lot of songs i imagine, and a good way to write it, but often i'll just write lyrics, not use them until a few months afterwards, then end up putting them on a song. i've never once written a song to lyrics, i find it much easier to write the music first and put lyrics to it afterwards.
    GreenPen
    Man i have never heard a song with out a chorus so your point there was just stupid
    Song that doesnt have a chorus - Seven Nation Army, and some other White Stripes songs. Surely you've heard Seven Nation Army?
    DeathBeyondLife
    it doesnt need to rhyme, the title dont have to mean anything and ive heard song with no chorus. are band made one. as it tells a story. www.freewebs.com/blackjackmetal2 the site is under construction
    Iboseth
    Song that doesnt have a chorus - Seven Nation Army, and some other White Stripes songs. Surely you've heard Seven Nation Army?
    I agree... the chorus is a riff not a lyrical chorus
    Skip Dawg
    I also agree with metalguitarist0 I think it was a good artical but didn't really help me that much
    Armyguitarist
    Thanks, That was a great article. I've been wanting to start writing songs but never knew exactly where to start. Kudos to you!!!
    queen471
    40th! woooo *sarcasm*. common sense really that article. you eigther have song writing ability or you dont, you cant just learn how to at the flick of a wrist
    sketelz
    awesome... great article... thanx, I never thought of writing songs that way, so thanx for the tip
    Baroque_and_Rol
    Mike_rocka_boy wrote: Good lesson but remember... song not always have chorus. Man i have never heard a song with out a chorus so your point there was just stupid but now when i get a band together i actually know how to right a song! Thanks man this helped a lot!! A+++
    You obviously don't listen to prog.
    pgoulasax
    yeah... this is a really good article and might work for some people, but i don't think it's possible to put songwriting in words. It just comes different for some people.
    robby havens
    Mike_rocka_boy wrote: Good lesson but remember... song not always have chorus. Man i have never heard a song with out a chorus so your point there was just stupid but now when i get a band together i actually know how to right a song! Thanks man this helped a lot!! A+++
    have you ever listened to music? perhaps you should listen to something by the doors, cream, pink floyd, anything except their major hits ofcourse cuz people generally dont like songs without a chorus.
    skiatook
    I didn't know how to write a song at ALL until this article. Thank you!
    7leafvacation
    great article. theres only 1 thing i would add. if you dont have ideas, just sit down and freewrite, about anything that pops into your head. like they make you do in english class, except without getting graded on how much you write