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How to Get Started with Songwriting - P4



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Composition vs. Songwriting

There is a difference between Beethoven and James Hetfield. Beethoven wrote miraculous symphonies, sonatas and concertos...Hetfield wrote catchy smart (well, it's still Metal!!) songs for Metallica.

I'm not saying James Hetfield is a bad musician; songwriters are as good musicians as composers but the nature of songs is different...They are much less complicated, they are heard along side with the song's lyrics and they are usually played by bands of about 5 members.

Song's Music Conventions

If you analyze a song, you will most probably discover two distinctive melodies (musical sentences) throughout: The verse and the chorus (Remember P.1?). If you analyze one of those melodies, you will find out they consist of certain phrases that are repeated with very slick minor changes.

Confused?! Listen to U2's "Beautiful Day"; you will find the first melody (Verse) which is played twice, then you will find a second melody (Chorus). The verse itself is nothing but very similar and very short phrases that are put together in a catchy way...

Don't think it's easy to write a melody that consists of short slightly different phrases...It needs practice and hard work (Download "Ten Steps To Improve Your Songwriting Skills" for more).



Music After Lyrics

This is how we did it here in "How to Get Started"; we first got you started by writing the lyrics and then we moved on to music. Sometimes it's the other way around.

There is no particular plan to follow if you want to write music for lyrics. For me, I usually read the lyrics a couple of times then start "singing" the lyrics. The result is a nice but imperfect melody that I later have to modify and alter to be satisfied with it.

Just try :). Keep reading your lyrics then try to sing them. If it doesn't work you can always look for a music collaborator by posting your lyrics to Collaboration Lyrics Directory.



Music Before Lyrics

May be you want to write your music first...Seek the help of your guitar or piano and start playing. Record what you play. Stop playing. Listen to what you recorded. May be, just may be, you will find a nice "song worthy" melody.



Arrangement

Now that you have a melody, try to arrange it…Arrangement starts with writing chords that are played alongside your melody. To write chords you have to be familiar with music theory. Continue to P.5 for more about chords...

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