|– by Beauty Hong, Songwriter of Run Up Studio|
It doesn’t matter if you don’t know how to write music or if you don’t know how to play an instrument. As long as you have a decent voice and good writing skills, you may create a song in 2 hours.
Songwriting can be separated into two main parts: the lyrics and the music. You can write the song first and then fill in the words, or you can write the words first and then compose the music.
Prepare tools: paper, pen, any devices with recording function.
Method 1:Write the lyrics first and then compose the song
Writing lyrics is a fairly simple task, so beginners don’t need to pursue gorgeous rhetoric with a lot of substance, just try to write catchy lyrics first. The simplest lyric structure is as follows:
Verse 1 and Verse 2 have the same melody but different words, and the chorus is the climax.
Verse 1 and Verse 2 have the same melody but different words; chorus 4 is basically the same as chorus 3 but the lyrics and melody are usually slightly modified to make chorus 4 reach a peak and finish.
So lyrics are usually written with 3 or 4 meaningful passages. Why are they meaningful passages? For example, verse 1 is a meaningful passage, but the lyricist may write one, two, or three sections. No matter how many sections he/she writes, they all belong to verse 1 meaningful passage. Another thing to note is that lyrics generally need to rhyme at the end of the words, but nowadays pop songs are not so strict, so it is okay to rhyme every other line or to press 2-3 kinds of rhymes in a song.
Just think of a theme, follow the basic lyric structure, and write it out like a modern poem.
After writing the lyrics, the next step is to compose the song, or more precisely, “sing the lyrics”, which is to sing the lyrics you have written as you feel them. Don’t get too hung up on whether the words you write and the words you sing correspond exactly, as you’ll usually find a lot of places where the words need to be filled in or cut out just as you improvise the melody.
You may feel puzzled, this “modern poem” how I can sing it out? It’s not difficult, and this is the key step in composing for the music novice. Let’s say I give you a line “there is a cloud in the sky”, I want you to sing me this line, do not worry if you sing well at the moment, you can always sing it after a while brewing. This is true for a phrase, and also for a “modern poem”. I asked you to sing the next few lines you want to say to me, not worry how well you sing them, as long as you can improvise with your feelings, you have taken a big step forward.
When you sing the words, you can take your time one word at a time, and then you need a recorder to record the melody you just sang, and you can rewind and listen to one or two lines. The whole feeling is a bit like a jigsaw puzzle, you can sing the part of the melody that you are most sure of first, and then put together and glue the rest little by little, this process you need to listen and sing the completed melody over and over so that you can sing a natural and smooth melody along where you ended up last time.
A simple song with three meaningful passages that can be sung (scored) in two hours is a good start. You can start by finding a simple 20 or 30 words verse and try humming it out.
Sing out this famous poem
“MEMORY”, WRITTEN BY TREVOR NUNN
It is so easy to leave me
All alone with the memory
Of my days in the sun
If you touch me,
You’ll understand what happiness is
Look, a new day has begun
Method 2: Write the song first and then fill in the lyrics
What we mean by writing a song is actually “humming a song”. The steps are similar to Method 1, but you first hum a melody and record it on a recorder. Then fill in a few words according to the rhythm of the melody. For example, if you hum the melody “cause all of me, loves all of you” (without singing the words), you can tell that you need to fill in 8 words(~8 syllables).
Humming the melody first and then filling in the words, because it is also improvisation, beginners may not be able to hum the whole song and then fill in the words. Then we need to take it one section at a time, hum a key, fill in the words, sing it with the lyrics and record it, listen to the recording again and again, and then continue to build on it.
Method 1 and method 2 are similar, and in practice, it’s usually a mix of both. If you just purely want to create a new song, the above two methods are enough, the rest is just more practice.
The above are all quick recipes, in fact, people might have their way to do composition. And my experience is only this: if you like it, do it.