How to write a song

how to write a song

If you have ever tried writing songs, then you know that it is hard. Where do you start, and what should it be about?

I have made this little guide for you guys that need a little push to get started. I have developed a couple of techniques over the years that might help you out when you write songs.

Here is my song writing guide:

1) The Topic

We dont get very far without a topic, and unfortunately i cant answer what the topic of your song is going to be – Because it is YOUR song. You have to find a topic that means something for you. The best songs are the ones that tells something about the artist.

If you dont have any ideas, then you can choose between some classical topics. Love, friendship, loss, sorrow and joy.

2) Metaphors

A song can get boring really quick if it doesn’t contain any metaphors – It is not a must, but can give the song a little flavor. A lot of the greatest hits are known for expressing feelings with beautiful metaphors.

Here is a couple of examples of metaphors for loneliness:

Alone in the dark

a lone flower

I am a kite on sky without string

in the desert of life

I am a missed shoe

3) lines

Before building the structure og verse, chorus and bridge, we need som lines we can use. I usually write down anything that comes to my mind – both good and bad. Then i have a lot to choose from when i write the final song.

Historie writing

Sit down and write a story. It can be a memory, something you see or something you make up. Start out by not thinking in song lines. Just write the story in normal format. Then when you have written the whole story, you can start breaking it up into lines.

Improvisation

This method works best if you play an instrument like a guitar or a piano, where you can quietly play the melody in the background. But it can also work without any instruments. The method basically is about singing whatever comes to your mind at the moment. Remember to write things down whenever you make up lines, so you dont forget it.

Metaphors

Here we gotta use our metaphors, which is a part of the foundation of the lines we write. Start by creating short lines, where you use metaphors and a few adjectives and conjunctions. I have tried making an example with some of the metaphors i mentioned earlier:

 

I am alone in the dark
left and alone
In the desert of life
all on my own

4) Prepare your lines

It is hard to define what makes a song good, but a very important thing is “the flow”. It has to sound good, and it shouldn’t sound like you are having trouble with pronouncing the lines of the song. In some cases it means that you have to practice singing a particular line in the song – in other cases you just have to simplify the line to improve the flow.

I would recommend new songwriters to start out with simple lines. In other words, dont use too many words per line you write – and also dont use too long and complicated words.

5) Create a structure

There are a lot of ways to structure a song, but i want to show you a classic structure of a pop song. But by any means, if you have different ideas to structure your song, then go ahead! You can use this formula though, if you want a good classical pop song structure to your song.

2 x verse
1 x chorus
2 x verse
1 x chorus
1 x bridge
2 x chorus

6) Add instruments

You often want to add instruments to your song when its done. It is really a matter of taste when it comes to which instruments should be used in the song. If you have a slow pop song, then it might be enough with a piano or a guitar, whereas a rock song typically needs the whole package with electric guitar, drums, bass and all that.

I hope this little guide will help you get started with your song writing! Good luck.