Tips for writing music
It’s hard to point out a musician who doesn’t want to succeed and be recognized for his authorial compositions. From that moment alone in his room, learning and studying the first chords and writing the first lyrics, to the first school bands, in that attempt to form the next great band in the country, the dream of any teenager or young musician is to show his own work to the world.
Even so, not all musicians have the natural talent to compose music and lyrics. So many give up midway, or believe they need that divine inspiration, those 15 minutes in which it seems you are able to write the next “Bohemian Rhapsody” or – for musicians more focused on our country – the next “Like Our Fathers”.
To write songs you must first write songs. It seems a silly and obvious tip, but that’s exactly it. It’s no use thinking that the first time you sit down to write a song or a lyric, you will produce the best work of your life. This work – as well as basically everyone else – requires a lot of practice to achieve perfection.
But then you ask me: and how do I get started?
This question is more or less like the classic question: what do I write first, music or lyrics? Well, answering quickly, there is no easy or correct way to answer this question. Sometimes you will write the lyrics first, fit some melody or harmony into the structure and modify the lyrics thousands of times until you find the right format. In others, you will compose a very mass riff and then fit a lyric that matches perfectly with it. And in some others – the rarer ones – you will be able to compose the two things together.
The most important thing in all this is that there is no right way to write a song. Some of the best – and worst too – songs ever written were used using the most diverse techniques. This is because the process of composition is always something very individual and characteristic of each musician, duo, trio or band. This does not prevent you from incorporating a composition process of some other musician.
That’s why we’ll present killer techniques for you to start writing your songs and unlock your creativity.
There is no wrong way to compose a song
We’ve already commented up here, at the beginning of the article, but it’s good to insist on this tip, because this represents one of the main blocks for musicians: to think that there is a right way to compose a song. You have total freedom to do whatever you want and “make mistakes” as many times as you want, because there is no right way, or right song. Some melodies are more “gum” than others and every musician has written bizarre songs or songs that they would never show to the public.
It’s all right! That’s why we always review our lyrics and songs after a while of soaking. So forget about that block and have it checked in the compositions.
Tip within tip: try to leave your lyrics or melody “resting” for a few days to refresh your mind and feed your critical sense. With this detachment of a few days, it is possible to realize the real potential of the song or lyrics.
Compose from a chord progression or a groove
When you pick up a guitar or sit down to play the piano, you usually send some chord progression or some groove unconsciously. Great!
Go deep into the groove and keep playing. This “keep playing” thing can create an ambiance to invent a song, a melody or even a lyric, especially when you have other musicians accompanying you. Also, a good groove is the first thing the average listener will notice when listening to a song.
But don’t just stay on the chord progression or groove. In most musical styles, these two things are just part of the arrangement ideas, which doesn’t mean you’ve composed a complete and super original song. Without a strong melody or a well constructed lyric, this groove or chord progression is just something common.
Do something different
It is common for composers to get stuck from time to time on a path in which all songs begin to sound the same, even trying new note combinations or a different beat.
A cool way to clear your mind for new ideas is to try to play a new instrument that you have never played or just played a little. With a different instrument, you can very well create melodies that you had never thought of or different structures for your song, besides interesting arrangements to complement the music you are writing.
Search for musical inspiration
Before composing, it’s great to try to feed your musical inspiration. And this inspiration can come from everything around us: emotions, relationships, nature, people and experiences, among many other things. To generate different ideas, you need to do different things. Try to leave home, go to places you’ve never been before and do new things. Even simple things like walking in a park you’ve never been to, or walking down the street from your house work a lot.
Compose from an idea or concept of letter
There are times when our experiences lead us to incredible ideas for new authorial music. Capture the feeling and emotion of your concept, dive into it and really tell your story. Don’t be vague when it comes to writing the lyrics.
Use a music composition software
Music composition software can be a musician’s best friend. These programs help in the writing process, organizing the work and allowing you to see what you are playing.
Quality software packages provide features, including a metronome to keep the beat, a playback for you to play along with some recording, an input for you to plug the instrument or microphone directly to your computer and record a song you play or sing and several editing tools to help you compose the structure of the music.
Remember that the lyrics of the song are important
Unless you or your band are making instrumental music, the lyrics of the song is, without a doubt, the most important part of your song. Writing lyrics can be one of the most frustrating and difficult aspects of the composition process, especially if you are a composer without much experience.
Having a clear idea of what your music will talk about is a good start. You can write exactly what you want to talk about in each part of the lyrics (stanza 1 – X, stanza 2 – Y, stanza 3 – Z) and then start organizing it with the rhythm, the structure, the cadence of the words to fit them into a melody. In addition, a melody that is strong and memorable – which is usually situated in the chorus – is particularly important to summarize the central idea of the lyrics, while the verses and the bridge pro chorus can be built around the central theme.