Guaranteed Songwriting Tips and Techniques
This is a compilation of songwriting tips and tricks that will surely give a good head start for anyone new in songwriting. For those who are already writing songs for some time now, you may find the following concepts to be a reminder or a breath of fresh air into your collection of tips and tricks.
In connection to these guaranteed songwriting tips, you also need to know what effective songwriting habits you must have to be a better songwriter. Go read the link if you want to know more about it.
Perfect Rhyme Is Not Always Easy To Sing
To start our series of songwriting tips for this article, we will begin with our words or lyrics. Lyric writing and poetry have only one significant difference. Lyrics are meant to be sung. Sometimes, when we write a word, we find it perfectly rhyming and fitting into the structure, but it is challenging to sing
A lyric that is hard to sing is more likely bad to listen to either.
Although the average listener can’t tell what is wrong with your words, it’s there.
So to solve or avoid such problems, choose words that will communicate your message, and easy to sing at the same time.
Your Main Message Should Be In Your Chorus
Your chorus should contain the central message of your song. It is called the chorus because many people are singing it. Hence, it is something people would want to sing and easy to understand.
Your chorus should be singable by many or easy to remember.
Do not get too busy thinking and writing the verses that you miss delivering the main point in your chorus.
Some songs even start with their choruses. They want to hit home the message right away.
A metaphor is to use something to represent or symbolize a message or an object. The heart represents love, a snake will symbolize a traitor, and the mailbox represents an incoming message.
Keep your imagery consistent. Never stray from that metaphor or else you run the risk of losing focus and interest with your lyrics.
The song jar of hearts is all about sadness and a person breaking other people’s hearts. It would be very unfit to include apples, or cute puppies in the imagery
You are building a world of imagery around a single metaphor, in this case, the jar of hearts.
A Picture Is Worth A Thousand Words
To write a song is ideally like telling a story, and in every story, it’s the details that capture your audience’s attention. Details that you sprinkle in your verses, in the chorus, and all across the entire song.
These details can take the form of an image or a picture. The expression "A Picture Is Worth A Thousand Words" is definitely right for songwriting.
You throw an image to tell something to your audience, and your listener begins to use their imagination. This helps your listener engage more in-depth into your song.
Jim Croce in his classic “Time In A Bottle” tells us in his lyrics that if only he could put time in a bottle, he’d be doing something else he’d never done before.
You can’t literally put time in a bottle, but by painting a picture of time as something you put in a bottle, he brings the listener in a different aspect of looking at time in his song.
The last line of your chorus is a big opportunity
The last line of your chorus is a perfect opportunity to write the hook of your song. Most of the time, the arrangement of the music always leads to or highlights the end of a chorus. A songwriting tip to remember here is that choruses have endings that contain hooks.
Bon Jovi’s “It’s My Life” shows this method to be very accurate. The music of the chorus leads to a build-up of the last line of the chorus, which is the title itself – it’s my life.
The end of your chorus is a very noticeable spot, and learning to take advantage of this knowledge will give you a boost in engaging your listeners.
The first line of the chorus is equally noticeable too and is a perfect spot to place the hook of your song. These lines, when used properly, is very satisfying for the listeners.
Your First Line Can Also Be Your Last Line
When you find yourself thinking of how to end your song, a good option would be to end it with how you began.
Try using your first line as the last line of your music. This may not work every time, but when it does, it works as something to remind the audience what the song was all about.
It brings the message of the song full circle as you end with the same words you started with. This approach serves as a reminder to your audience how the song began.
Sometimes, nonsense makes sense at all
Sometimes, nonsense words are the most sensible thing we could do with our song.
Remember the song Mmmbop by The Hansons?
You are bombarded by nonsense words of mmbop dubi dap bop du woap…
I honestly don’t understand a word they were singing, but it works for me. A lot of listeners likes to listen to the song.
Another example of a song using nonsense words is Uptown Funk. The opening lines go like Dot, dot do dop dot do dop…
These words make your songs memorable. So memorable that people would follow along to the tune regardless of the gibberish we sometimes put into the lyrics. It’s one of those guaranteed songwriting tips and techniques you should remember.
As a songwriter, we need not forget that we can make use of simple to nonsense words to deliver our point.
Yes, it may take a moment for your listener to digest what you wrote, but it is totally fine as long as it works.
Keep Your Rhyming Interesting and Don’t Overdo It.
For ages and time immemorial, rhyming has always been a very crucial device that songwriters use over and over again. It’s designed to make your lyrics sound more exciting and easy to memorize.
Taking advantage of rhymes help you get inside your listeners mind much more natural, and the words stay longer.
You may want to consider adding variations to your rhyme but not doing it too much that becomes cheesy for your listener.
Keep the format or your rhyme scheme in similar sections. You may want to use an AABB format for the first verse, and do the same with your second verse.
It’s totally up to you on how you will use rhymes to captivate your listener’s attention.
Try switching lines, verses, or parts of a song.
When we are still constructing our song, we really don’t know what works yet. We keep writing stuff that flows from our minds hoping we could make sense of things later.
There will be moments when we realize that switching our verses, a few single lines, choruses or whatever parts of your song may actually help it get more traction.
We can either switch the verses or the chorus and bridges.
Simplify Your Song Structure
The structure of your song can ease listener experience and help them understand better what your song is all about.
When you have too much going on in your song, your listeners may tend to lose interest or have a difficult time following your song’s intent.
If you already have a verse, pre-chorus, and chorus, you may consider not adding a bridge and a coda anymore.
I’m not saying that it is wrong, but sometimes, simplicity can do the trick for you.
Although things will still follow a songwriter’s preference, it will sometimes help to realize that having too much detail or enormous structures can lead to uninteresting results.
Find Symmetry In Your Structure
It’s easier for your listener to follow along if you have symmetry in your song. Symmetry is beauty in itself.
Your verse one should be similar to verse two. I’m not saying the verses should contain the same words, but they must have the same structure. The same number of lines and the rhyme scheme.
You choruses also must have the same number of length. It is possible to have different lyrical content in your choruses but keep it in a way that it is symmetrical with the other choruses you have in your song.
If you dive deep into music theory and song form, you may find that there are several ways how to write and structure a song. For a start, just remember that symmetry is good.
Learn What Your Strengths Are In Songwriting
We all have our biases, and we can’t deny it. If you are a guitarist, you tend to think of songwriting from the perspective of a guitar player. That may mean, you would like to do more of your guitar music than that of your song lyrics.
That may not be true all the time, but definitely whatever we are used to will eventually sip through our music.
Learn what your strengths are in songwriting and find co writers whose skill sets complement yours.
The more you make music and songs with other people, the more you will realize where you are good at, and it’s an advantage.
Knowing the areas where you are weak simply means you have an opportunity to improve on it. That is only possible if you work with other people.
Be Open To Suggestion While Keeping Your Identity
Suggestions and opinions often times makes us feel uncomfortable when it goes against our own way of thinking.
Don’t close your doors to it. Take a perfect look at any opinion or suggestions given to you. There are things we may never have tried before, and it may seem awkward at first, but don’t turn it down.
Listening to new ideas can help you become a better songwriter.
Try and write something you’ve never done before. Explore areas that you have never tried or approaches that you’ve never thought of doing before.
It can be surprising to something you have written which is totally different from what you usually write. It’s one of those guaranteed songwriting tips that won’t fail you.
Even though it can be a bit uncomfortable in the beginning, tell yourself to be open to new possibilities and always have a free line and an open ear to suggestions.
If People Can’t Sing It, Don’t Write It
When you are composing the melody of a song, be sure to make it singable. Don’t set the bar too high that only a few singers can hit the notes of your song.
Remember, you want people to enjoy your song and be able to sing it. What good is a song if it's only written for a diva to perform and the vast majority of listeners can't appreciate it.
Also, don’t try to write a melody that even singers are having a hard time performing. You will have trouble producing a song which is too rangy. Don’t make it overly challenging.
Another one of those guaranteed songwriting tips you should be remembering is this. If singers and listeners are having difficulty singing your melody, then you have a problem. It’s an indication of a bad melody.
This is definitely true if you are still seeking to gain traction and followers for your music. Make sure your songs aren’t placed too high for singers to perform it. One of those very important songwriting tips to have in your arsenal.
Bridges Offers A Different Angle Of Your Song
The main goal of writing a bridge is to give your song a different look and a different musical perspective. It helps you and your listeners step away for a moment – both in lyrics and in music.
You are still telling the story of your song while giving it a different touch or texture. The bridge sheds new light on your narrative.
You can try to change the tonal center of your music in the bridge to bring your audience into a different sound away from the original tonality of your song.
The bridge also acts as a preparation for the peak of your song, which is the final chorus. It helps create build that tension that ultimately resolves to your final chorus where everything is bursting into a finale.
Alternatively, you can choose to make your bridge an instrumental instead. It will give a different touch to your song. A break from the words and bring your audience to a little musical treat. This is o
Don’t Follow Trends – They Will Fade
A good addition to our collection of guaranteed songwriting tips that will have a lasting effect is to not chaste after trends. Write something that moves you. If you can’t learn to appreciate your own material, you can’t expect people to love it also.
If you are swayed to write what the latest trend is, chances are you're already too late. What may be trendy today will soon fade into oblivion tomorrow.
Songs that last often are not following the trend. They were written by songwriters who at the moment was deep into things that moved them. Hence, their songs moved their listeners.
Songs that last are songs that were written by heart, not by trend.
A Song Can Only Say So Much
Don’t try to write everything in one song. You only have roughly four (4) minutes more or less in today’s standard. Don’t write everything your mind speaks of.
Choose what works for you, but sometimes it's saying less that says a lot.
You can’t possibly try to say everything unless you are writing an oratorio.
First of all, today’s listeners have very short attention spans. Unless you write a hit like Bohemian Rhapsody, try to keep it short and concise. Deliver the point as soon as you can, don’t try to say too much.
Follow The Structure Of Your Favorite Song.
This is not plagiarism. Our favorite songs are songs that have worked and have made their mark in the music industry. Why not learn from these songs? They are already guaranteed songwriting tips waiting to be picked and be used for creating songs.
Use these songs as a reference and a guide in how you will do your work. These songs have already been successful, and it’s a perfect blueprint for you to follow and understand what made it work.
Figure out how the songs where segment and try to write the same format. It's an excellent way to learn songwriting.
We all had someone to look up to and imitate before finding our own voice. It’s not a bad thing to take inspiration from already successful materials.
If You Want To Publish For Radio Then Don’t Write Long Intros
In today’s market, having a long intro in your song doesn’t do very well. You have limited time to say things in your songs, let alone have time to do a long intro.
Back in the days where only the rich can afford to record songs in big studios, listening to songs with long intros were totally fine. You only have a handful of songs to remember, so people had time to listen to.
In today's very competitive market where everyone can just write and produce songs in their bedroom, you need to get to the point as soon as possible.
Get to the singing part and don’t waste precious time doing an intro, especially if you are publishing for radio.
You can do two versions of your song. A short version for radio edit and an extended version for your official release.
I hope you find these guaranteed songwriting tips and techniques useful, here are 10 more new ideas you can explore.