Posted Oct 24, 2012 12:42 PM
Writing songs. Everybody has tried it. Some people are good, whereas some people are bad. Either way, you can always write a good song. There are only a few things you need, and this article will go into great detail about how to get each one, and how to combine them to make a really cool song.
1) First, you need a chord progression. 3, actually, but they can be similar. The first one is for the chorus, the 2nd for the verses, and the 3rd for the bridge. The simplest songs have the same 4 chords (1, 4, 5, and 6) for all of the progressions, and just switch up the order.
Chord progressions can seem impossible to get, seeing as all the good ones are already taken, but if you just slightly tweak a current one, it usually works. Even if you don't change it at all, a nice guitar lick or melody can hide the fact that your chord progression isn't original. If you actually want to come up with a good, original chord progression, go ahead, but it really isn't easy. Most of the time, it is more convenient to simply use one that already exists. And if you are making your own, just remember this: All songs are just a big mountain from 1 to 5 to 1. How you get from 1 to 5 or from 5 to 1 may be crazy, but you always go from 1 to 5 to 1. Just think about that if you are making your own progression.
2) Next, you need a tune. If you have a chord progression, just strum it out on guitar a few times until you get the hang of it. If you need to, change the key so you can sing it and play it on guitar. A melody is not hard if you have a frame to work with; that is why you come up with the chord progression first. To come up with a tune, you just need to have a few notes that correspond with the chord you are playing, and then you can change the rhythm so you have a song that isn't all quarter notes. After you come up with a melody for the bridge, chorus, and verse, it is time to put them all together and see how your song sounds. Simply play the chorus progression while humming the melody, then do the same with the verse, and so on until you get to the end.
3) Finally, it is time to add words. You may want to use a website to help you with rhyming, or you could do it on your own. Professional songwriters sometimes hire a lyricist to write the words so they don't have to, but it really isn't hard. Just choose what you want your song to be about (current pop songs are almost always about breakups or falling in love), and write a poem that matches the beat of the song. That is all you are doing.
4) After you have the three key components, it is time to mash it all together. First play and memorize the chord progression and different tunes in order, then try adding the words. This is where most of the tweaking and editing is done. After playing your song all the way through, go back and change the things you want to change. They may be anything from a different word here to a different note there. Anything that you think would make it sound better.
5) To finish up the tweaking of the song, call up a few friends and ask them what they think. It is best to do it in person, but a high-quality phone works as well. Try out all the suggestions they give you, even if they don't seem good, because you never know. You can ask anyone at all: Doing a simple, medium-quality recording and posting it on UG is another great way to get suggestions and exposure.
6) After all your hard work, you are finally ready to do a real recording! You may want to try doing a few to make it perfect, and then you can post your final on UG, iTunes, and wherever else you want! Congratulations, you did it!