Easy Guide On How To Write A Song

Easy Guide on "How to write a song".

Ultimate Guitar
There are may ways in which a song can be written, this is one of them. Here are some basic steps:


Mostly any song need lyrics. These can be either in a poem form, free form (no rhyme) or other. You can start by simply taking a phrase, a feeling, a situation, a general idea or belief and writing a poem about it. If you do write a poem I suggest keeping the same measure(number of syllables in a verse) troughout the poem. Now if you want a chorus (refrain), choose the most relevant part of the poem and make that your chorus. You can write the chorus separately, or you don't have to have a chorus. But if you do have one, remember that the chorus must reflect the idea behind the song( that and, it has to be catchy).

Tune (or melodic backbone)

This can be done in two ways:
  • You first have the lyrics; you take a guitar (or a piano) and start playing a tune (a succession of note, arpeggios, or chords), then try to sing the lyrics along with the tune.
  • You have a good tune in your head; start playing it and then try singing different lyrics that come to mind. No matter which one you pick, keep in mind that the lyrics and the tune have to represent each other, you must get the same feeling both from the lyrics and the tune. If the tune is soft, choose according lyrics (something regarding love, relaxation, world peace etc.)

    Basic song structure

    You now have a tune, and some lyrics. You have to decide a basic song structure for your song. This means you have to decide how you're going to split the lyrics, chorus, intro, outro, solo. Here is a good song structure: small guitar intro, first verses, chorus, more verses, chorus, small chorus add-on, guitar solo, chorus, small outro. The intro and outro can be the same as the basic tune, or just the first part of the tune, but without lyrics. If your playing it on a guitar, it easier to change the chord after each verse.

    Adding to the song

    If you intend to play the song with a band you have to add to the song. Lets say you made your song tune on a acoustic guitar. You can include the following instrument to the sons:
  • Bass: the most important thing about the bass is that it keeps a good rhythm and it also completes the frequency spectrum of the song (by the low pitched notes it plays). A good tip for the bass musical line is to mark the crossing between chords(arpeggios) by playing the fundamental note in that chord.
  • Electric guitar: there are a lot of things that an electric guitar can do in a song. It can help keep the rhythm, it can use special effect to add to the songs feel, it can play a good solo and so on. If you use a acoustic guitar as the base rhythm, don't play the same chords on the electric guitar, it becomes too full. You can use fifth to sustain the tune. You can also play a nice simple tune that goes along with the main tune, but were the electric guitar excels is at solos.
  • Drums: these are very important to a song, they are the ones who keep the beat of the song. You can have a full drum set, or just a couple of bongos. If your drummer is good, he'll have no problem at getting the beat of the song. You can vary the percussion of a song a lot, so don't hold back.
  • Piano: this is a very good instrument to base your song on. As a secondary instrument, it can be used for background effects, and certain solo parts. But if you have based your song on an acoustic guitar there is so much a piano can do.
  • Other instruments: there are many instruments that you can use to complete the sound of your song. Don't hesitate to try new and exotic sounds.

    Final form

    After you tried all the instruments available, and all the variations you wanted, it's time to set the final form of the song. If you're in a band, agree to a common version for the song. Don't forget, you'll have to make compromises some times (that's a part of being in a band). If you want to play it life, rehearse it a few times, just to be sure you all know how the song goes. As a conclusion, you don't have to have a license diploma as a musician to write a song. Just play what you like, be open minded and the songs will come to you. A song shouldn't be written because you have to, a song should be written because you want to.

    Here is an example of a song:

    Lyrics: I wrote a song on a Sunday morning, (C) (C) (C-G) I did it till my pen started moaning, (Am) (A) (A-E) I picked up a guitar and started to play, (F) (F) (F-C) I wrote my song and I did it my way.(G) (G) (G-D) Chorus: Be free, (C) (C) (C-G) Let yourself be free Rise to the challenge(G) (G) (G-D) Of your own destiny. Chorus add-on: Break the boundaries of society. Lyrics: I played my song in a thousand places(C) I brought smiles to a thousand faces(Am) I faced my fears and I got this far, (F) I am now a world famous rock star.(G)
  • The symbols in the brackets are chords (you can choose a chord pattern by using The Circle of Fifths). You change the chord when the verse ends.
  • a very simple bass line can be done by playing the fundamental of each chord when the verse begins. The bass can peed up the tempo where it is required.
  • the electric guitar can play fifths ( C-G, A-E, F-C and G-D), can also vary the rhythm, can have a distorts effect on the chorus. It can do a simple solo (because it's the C major scale, you don't have any accidentals(#)) after the chorus add-on (you can use a pattern from Musical Mode Pattern for Picking article).
  • the drums have a basic 4/4 beat which can be varied easily. Small drum breaks at the end of a verse and the begin of the chorus are a good idea, it tells the people listening that a chorus is coming. Enjoy. Your guitar community - www.guitaristsunited.com.
  • 70 comments sorted by best / new / date

      dude you should like release this lesson on dvd and use that song as the jingle in the commercial
      Robin Whiley
      That was just great for beginners. I mean the critics suck. Damn. people need to grow up. It was a great help though. Thanks. Thumbs up. And go die, you dicks.
      yall r some random ass people spending your last days posting commets.....go out there and get better LIFES
      The bass can peed up the tempo where it is required.
      Good article though.
      i r eskimo
      The title says EASY songwriting...give the guy a break, If it bothers you that much you give people the solo lessons instead of moaning cause this guy didn't.
      captcool : This was a good lesson, and all you punk critics, should learn that simple chord songs have sold more albums than you can count, i.e Johnny Cash. Well said!! I back you up captcool XD
      some of people said its a f**king shit and the others said its a wonderful lesson.i think its a good lesson to begin and put your ideas in order.
      Duke von Rock
      does anyone really think you become a platinum selling guitarist from writing sololess chords only songs? you wont even get a pub gig and then youre banned to hang out at mtv with the rnbers and ballad people for all eternity... this lesson sucked bigtime
      thats real descent man, all respect im a songwriter but this has given me a better technique ! nice on! and a quote to thehammer man everyone has got to start somwhere! its takes alot to be a solo artist tho! good luck to all!
      Wasn't useful... At all. I'm starting to think you did that whole thing just so you could advertise for another site.
      Duke von Rock wrote: does anyone really think you become a platinum selling guitarist from writing sololess chords only songs? you wont even get a pub gig and then youre banned to hang out at mtv with the rnbers and ballad people for all eternity... this lesson sucked bigtime
      Live Wire has no solo, how many records has Mtley Cre sold?
      dude... the song u wrote is so shitty its not even funny. stupid lyrics. But this isnt a bad lesson for begginers, how ever for more experienced guitarists this is just a waste of time. usually its way easier to write songs as a band not individually too. im not against simple chord songs either its just that doesnt always work man and who cares how may albums they sold. how good do they sound is the question. i mean look at the jonas brothers they suck and are talentless but a hugely famous and are selling thousands of albums. just think about man...this is kind of a bs lesson
      wow. way for everyone to be @ssholes to the poor person. wow. sooo.... how many of you that are puttin him down have lessons??? ya... exactly my point. grow up.
      ya no.. the kinda ppl i get sick of are the ones tht dont really appreciate what sum1 is trying to do for other guitarists and there have been plenty of songs with just chord progressions so give the poor bugger a break. if u care enough to complain bout what he has written then you do it instead cos at least hes giving it a go
      I've been playin for awhile now and got some good things going on in my head. I love all music and I do not judge any style or form of it. Music is music,thats the way I was raised and what I've learned.I reallly like'd the lesson cause even if you can write the music you still have to be able to write the lyrics to it. This is a starting point for me and many, I want to say thanks.I dont see any of the nay sayers sh!t on here.So I pay them no mind.If they knew what they were talking about they'd have a following and sharing there music.It is what it is and it is that you aint!!So thanks for a start.
      I think that its a good start for people trying to write songs, and for all you guys who are like it needs a solo to be a good song its not true there are plenty of others who sell lots of records who dont use solos and putting solos into songs just because you think there cool or cause you want to be the next vanhalen or whatever isnt the way to go either, if it dosnt fit the song then theres no point to have it in there to begin with.
      nothing groundbreaking, but then again, nothing terrible either. Good article overall Ive played for almost two years now, and not one song has been made yet lol. I get a sort of "Aaah, go on. This'll be easy" feel when i read this article, which is definately a good thing. Cheers bro. im bookmarking this
      CMJ Gibson
      can someone help me, i have been lookin for a site/article that could tell me how to write a song using scales or something like that. pls help
      Believe in yourself. Be creative. Don't expect success the first time. Don't be disappointed if you never succeed, either. Remember, many bands never even get to have a hit rock song. To have a hit, lots of it is actually business and manipulation. Scientific studies show how people like songs the more they hear them, that's why Payola happened in the early rock 'n' roll era. So you need to just get your music played a lot. You also need to know how charts are compiled and put your energy there. Read "The Manual" by the TimeLords about how to have a #1 hit (though it may convince you that it isn't at all worth it).
      Guns N' Chains
      I'm not sure if those lyrics in the lesson are to be taken seriously like I think some did. More like sarcasm, right?
      Metal Chief
      This is a very good idea of writing a song, and that song was quite good, but you missed out some essential parts such as the key, time signature, chordal progression and the style. Anyway, this was a very good lesson. Well done!
      Wow, this is all so groundbreaking and new, and not common sense.
      this has helped so much, i fink i can get an a on ma exam now lol, thanks a mil
      prettty good dude nice for the lesson ima try to make a song with sort of a marilyn manson type feel to it
      Self Orgy
      nice, it's very easy and basic, exactly what novice guitarists like me look for
      The info on the Page was great! How much beter can it get for free!! It's helped me turn some simple tunes into something I can play for friend. Thanks!!!
      haha, this is a great lesson, and i really love the song u wrote at th end =P great job!