The debate of how to write a good song can go on forever, and it has! So what's the answer to the timeless question? Part of what makes a good piece of music, is what the public says is a good piece of music. That part of the puzzle we have no control over!
So by definition, it's not worth wasting brain cells thinking about it. Lets move to somethings we do have control over.
The other parts of what make a good song is how it's lyrically written and musically written. We have control over the structure, emotional connection and universal appeal of the lyric, so lets concentrate there.
In order for your song to tell the story there has to be a beginning, a middle and end. No way around this.
If you stop in the middle of your story, you've missed the mark. You leave the listener hanging.
Think of it this way, you've just watched 1 3/4 of a movie and then the electricty goes out and you can't see the ending, how unhappy are you at that point? Same thing with a song. My suggestion is while you are learning, rough draft your song with a beginning , middle and end. As you write into verses and chorus you get rid of the draft.
I'm not going to go into deep detail about the structure of the song. Lets just say a song has to have one. (we will get into more detail in another post)
There are no die hard rules, but there are guidelines that help the song flow and make writing it easier. The basic pieces go like this; a verse, a chorus and bridge.These can be mixed up in different patterns. Each piece does something different for the song.
- Verse = telling a story with the little details.
- Chorus = this should be the why or the summary, not a bunch of details again.
- Bridge = this is just the something extra or a twist in a song. The oh yeah I want to add this.
Here I am Lord again,
trying hard to live for you everyday,
Its a fight to do whats right,
To lay my life down for you, I must pray.
Conclusion: This is all one thought telling the story.
Let the Cross Fall on Me,
I will carry it gladly pass the doubt and the fear,
I will walk faithfully,
Every step I take reminds me,
that you have come before me and You'll be there,
So Let the Cross Fall on Me.
Conclusion: The part that sticks with you is the go ahead "Let the Cross Fall on Me" the summary to the verse.
As the site is developed rest assured I will be putting in many styles of examples, I do know what works for one doesn't work for all. Make sure you keep an eye out for different examples.
This may be the hardest part as far as I'm concerned. What touches me may not touch someone else the same way.
But as a writer its my job to express myself in a way that the reader or listener can feel what I'm feeling.
Sometimes I find it easier to sit back close my eyes and go through the mini movie in my head of what is inspiring me to write what I'm writing. Then I can write down how I feel along with the details, the smells, sounds or color of a room. Does the situation put me close to tears or make me want to laugh out loud.
Putting all of this down makes it easier to pull out the parts of the puzzle that help you connect with the listener.
Tip: Ask yourself if you're angry, sad, near crying etc. go through those emotions feel them. Think of situations that you were in feeling these emotions. Use those connections to describe the feelings in your songs.
What is universal appeal? This a topic that relates to the majority of your listeners, something you all have in common.
Example: We Are the World, most of us can relate to that. We all want to live in a peaceful world and work together to make things better.
Tip: When you find your title or hook for the song, think about who this relates wtih. Is it just men or just women? Can it connect with men and women, old and young?
This has covered the basics of a good lyric. keep your eyes open for more details around the corner.
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