Posted Aug 25, 2011 07:14 AM
Few of the lessons here on songwriting are very helpful. They tell you what to do, but not how. I'm going to tell you how. It isn't really as hard as people think, my twelve year old sister can write. That doesn't mean that it is good, but it is progress.
There are three things you must have to write a song, or anything for that matter. This lesson is not limited to music. They are:
3) A story to tell
We will work down the list and I'll explain each one. That is the best way to start. We aren't George Lucas, we don't start at the end and then go to the beginning.
The key component to any writing is heart and emotion. Since we are on a music website, we will use that as an example. Every song you write must have a strong emotional basis. This is NOT gangsta rap. There is no heart in that. I don't feel emotion from "... Shot some thug in the street. Got green and felt neat..."
There is no point to that. It isn't music, it's stupid.
Emotion in music is closer to this "... And still I feel the same. Left with nothing but a name. In this I am lost..." (For the record, I just did that on the fly.) In the example, there is clear emotion. How you interpret that emotion is the biggest part. The biggest deal with this is to think with your heart, not your head. Don't worry about rhyme. It doesn't have to. Worry on content.
Without drive you will get nowhere. This doesn't just retain to writing. This is just life. You can't go into a job interview without drive. You have to not only write the song, you have to see the song through to completion. You have to push to get it finished. You have to want it so badly that you will stop at nothing to see it done. That is how you will make it big anywhere. No matter what.
3) A STORY TO TELL
This is the biggest one in my opinion. Even with the other two, if you lack a story, you will fail. It is also the only one that music and Gangsta rap have in common. They all tell a story. The quality of that story is a big factor. If it is a story about a duck, and it is a GOOD story, people will buy it. If it is a story about a duck, but you don't tell people it is a duck until the end, and it is a GOOD story, people will buy it even more. It doesn't matter what it is about, as long as it is GOOD.
Let's go back to our gangsta rap example. We left off with him getting 'Green'. This could be anything. But to keep it at a decent content level, we will say 'Green' is money. And we continue, "... used my green to buy a new car. don't know why I payed, my homies are gonna laugh so hard..."
See how stupid it gets. That, right up there, is most rap to me. Pointless, with a story.
so we go back to our emotional line from any other genre, we left off with feeling lost. This happens all the time, we all feel lost. We don't all shoot peole in the streets. so we continue on, "... how could you do this to me. Let me standing in the rain, with only my shame. This becomes my lovesick lullaby..."
Now we have a change in emotion that drives the story. We went from lost, to sad. With just those two lines, we can put the story together. It is a bad break up. Probably came without warning, and the clueless one, is left standing with his heart in his hands. This is the kind of story that drives deep, emotional music. This is how you need to go about writing. Not telling stories about shooting people and getting paid. No one cares about that. They care about emotion.
This lesson will not get you on the fast track to fame. It is more like the carpool lane... or a bus stop. Follow the afore mentioned guidelines, and yes, eventually, with practice, you will get a good song. I can't do it for you. I can only give you the tools and a bit of advice. The rest is up to you. Work hard and stay thirsty my freinds, Adios for now.