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How to Get Started with Songwriting - P2



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What are Lyrics

First of all, lyrics are far away poetry. Poetry has lots of "word rules"; it is simply a language game that has nothing to do with music. Lyrics, on the other hand, have everything to do with music and it is more important for good lyrics to fit the music nicely and neatly than to have amazing metaphors or glamorous word combinations. However, it is extremely important that your lyrics be about an interesting topic...



Lyrics Topic

If you have an interesting topic, then you have done almost half the job...You now have something to write about, many of those who feel the urge to write lyrics, just don't know what to talk about..

Well, I like to start with brainstorming...just look around you, what do you see? A computer, a screen, desk, people...etc. Pick up one of those words; I will take "computer", what about "computer"?! Narrow it down.... There are processors, keyboards, internet, computer programmers...etc. I chose "internet", needs more narrowing down...There are websites, chat rooms...etc. OK, this is taking too long, and it should; choosing the topic is what it's all about. Just for the sake of this article, I narrowed down to "Lonely people in chat rooms".... sad lyrics topic :(, get in that mood, so you would be able to write about it..!

By the way, write about it as if it is personal experience. Instead of thinking of "lonely people", think about "I am a lonely guy in a chat room". This establishes a sense of credibility, which in turn ends up as a great emotional link with your listener.



Lyrics Title

Now that you have a topic, you should start working on having a title for your lyrics. The title should give those who read a little shock; it must be something FAMILIAR but that nobody is used to hearing ALONE, or in a COMBINATION with other words. Examples are "Sympathy for The Devil" (Rolling Stones) and "The Scientist" (Coldplay); "sympathy" and "devil" are two words that everybody uses but nobody had put them together before, that's a weird combination. "Scientist" is a very common word, but nobody just came up to you and said: "The Scientist"!! You are not used to hearing it on its own.

Now back to "Lonely people in chat rooms". One can use "lonely" but that has been used billion times before, actually the whole idea of "lonely people" is over-consumed. The new thing here is "chat rooms", and the title should refer to that. I guess "lonely in a chat room" is OK. No?!! Yeah, it sounds too silly, because I included "lonely", the over-consumed word. "Chat with me"....better is just "Chat" (only my opinion, but the shorter the better).



Finally...The Lyrics

Now you have come to the point where I can give no or little advice. Make your lyrics as simple as possible, no big words or Shakespearian attitude, no difficult-to-understand metaphors, not even a lot of easy-to-understand metaphors...The thing is that lyrics are only part of the song, and if your lyrics require a lot of work to understand, there wouldn't be much energy left with the listener to understand the music...

Most important thing is that you don't repeat yourself and -at the same time- don't go off topic. For example, don't write "Nobody to speak to, Nobody to hear me"...that's repetition. And if you want to write about "other people who are chatting with the lonely people", save it to another song; that's off topic...stay specific and at the same time interesting as much as you can.

Still, there other few general guidelines (not rules) that most songs follow...

1- Include the title in the chorus.
2- Make sure the chorus is a general explanation of the topic
3- The verses are detailed explanation of the chorus....BUT NO REPETITION
4- Do not repeat the same word more than two times (or three max.) in a verse or chorus (the chorus itself is repeated, but within it no over repetition allowed)
5- If it happens that the music doesn't fit the lyrics neatly, alter the lyrics not the music.

Now, we will go on with the very few "Lyrics Rhyming Rules"...

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