What is it, to write a song?
Here, here’s a pencil and piece a paper. Write a song.
Hmmm… nothing? … Thinking?
OK, Writing by anatomy…
There will be sections of 16 measures of 4/4 time (let’s say).
This will will be section ( A )
Do we go for cool guitar chords?
I repeat right here “Do we go for nice sounding guitar chords” here?
Hey wait! I’m NOT saying “yes, lets try some guitar chords.”
But to be realistic, let’s get more basic about things for minute.
Let’s say you’re planning songs for a band, maybe a indie alternative band that’s a bit punkish with energy.
Ok , then. We we taking a minute to look at the situation. “Nice” folky chords are not the sound for our band. Maybe we need to think about a beat. We better think about the kind of song you need to write.
(But to be fair, there’s nothing wrong with writing whatever you write and not doing it “for” something.)
Ok, but in this instance, lets say, as our idea, to write a (your choice of style) rock song.
And I gotta stop again right here and ask, what comes first?
Okay here’s an important idea, what is it you remember about a song that you’ve heard before?
Can you sing some of the lyrics?
Okay the songwriting muscle one really needs to develop is to create the “focus of the song”. Let me explain.
You have something to say in your band, in your lyrics.
Now, this next concept is something of note – (no pun intended) but consider this,
As Brian Eno said “Most people think the song is about the lyrics.”
SO! I’ll ask again, what is the focus of the song? Not to disregard the lyrics…but how does one “focus” the idea of the song?
Okay, okay. If you have an idea of the sort of music you want to make, kind of like: do you want paint autumn landscapes, or draw super hero comics? Your music speaks in larger ways, and the lyrics will fit in, and here it is… the part of a song that you remember, that you sing along with, that has a mood in itself – we are talking about the melody.
I can pretty much tell most of you, dear music creators, that this is something that takes some focused thought.
What have you ever really thought about the idea of “Melody”?
Think about the poetics of melody.
The relationship to the key you are in, the placement and the sound adding the chords to support the melody.
Here is the danger, and it messes with guitarists and singer songwriters quite a bit. (Oh! Understatement!!) We tend to start playing chords first and hope to find (sing) something to fit the chords. Okay, go ahead and try it this wrong way and then, with a clean slate, try starting the process again by coming up with a line of notes (not chords), a melodic, short repeatable “phrase” like a word phrase that can be sung, try following these suggestions as an experiment for starters.
Stay positive, and keep this general thought in mind: Write memorable melodies and add the chords (harmony, accompaniment) to support the melody.
MELODY, then CHORDS.