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Briandb1222

Songwriting...?

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I've been wanting to write songs for some time now...even before I even thought about picking up a guitar. Now I want to be a musician as well of a songwriter. My problem is...how do you put words into lyric form? I've had many ideas for songs but when I write them out, it tends to be more in essay form than lyric form....i guess that's the writer in me (as you can tell, I have a lot of inspirations! Including book writing!) can someone point me in the right direction?

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There are some good songwriting tips in the songwriting forum Brian, here's one http://www.guitarforbeginners.com/forum/index.php?/topic/4062-lyric-construction-basics/

It is important to get the ideas down as soon as you think of them, I always have a pen and paper with me as they tend to come out of nowhere, I agree with Tinsmith too, that's a good idea it's all about getting the words down, I remember parts of things I've thought of but it's annoying if a good line's forgotten.A good way to check out construction is to check out lyrics from your favourite songs to see how the artists do it, there isn't really a definitive way to write a song, there is the classic verse, verse, chorus way, that's probably the most used method, I think the main thing is a song has to suck people in has to have a hook, maybe a singalong chorus or a great riff, it also needs to get people's attention fairly quickly so it needs a good intro to keep people listening. If you want to you could post some ideas here and members would be happy to help to give the words form, a lot of members do that, it does help to throw ideas around and could help you practice song construction. It is different to essay writing as a writer has to say what they want to say in a short period of time and it is difficult to get in the habit of condensing lines down to the bear essentials but it comes with practice. As you're a writer already I think you'll get the hang of it fairly quickly.

Edited by starsailor

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Indeed! I think one Of my problems is that perhaps I lose interest in what I was interested in the day before. I came up with ideas yesterday...got them written down but didn't quite have the time to really sit down with them and form them into a song

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"how do you put words into lyric form"

That's a *huge* question for such few words. :) There's a lot of work that goes into lyric writing. Adding melody making into the mix increases the learning curve.

My first suggestion is to go find lyrics to the songs you like and read them. Study them. See how the ideas of the lyric come out. Look at how the rhyme or non-rhyme schemes work. Look at how the verses are put together. Look at how the words in the verses lead up to the chorus. Look at how the chorus compliments the verse. Then listen to the melody and hear how it interacts with the lyric. Listen to the cadence of the words against the beat of the melody.

**

Understand there are no rules to writing a lyric or a song. There is, however, a formula for writing a successful song.

I'm not going to tell you to write in any particular fashion. What you write is *entirely* up to you. Your ideas. Your thoughts. I will tell you this. If you write only for yourself, then nothing matters except what pleases you. Lyrically or sonically. If you write to entertain others, then you must learn to write lyrics and melodies in a coherent manner that pleases both you and your listener. Always remember your listener. But stay true to your heart.

How many times have you listened to a song and said to yourself, dang, I can write a song like that? If you have ever said that to yourself, get it out of you head right now. Because, frankly, you can't. That's not to say you never will, that is to say, get your head clear of preconceived notions. Because writing songs takes a ton of effort even with a clean slate. BUT ..... once you understand the basics, you are a long way forward to writing some good stuff.

Now.... read this --> DO NOT BE AFRAID TO WRITE CRAP <-- and memorize it and store it away upstairs.

And.... read this --> GET A THICK SKIN FOR REJECTION <-- and memorize it ... ditto......

When you first start writing, don't worry too much about structure or the technical side of writing. The BIG thing at this point is to get your ideas on paper. Don't fret about having too many words, or not enough words. Get your idea down. With practice, this process gets much easier!

Get tools. A dictionary. A thesaurus. A book of popular quotes. A rhyming dictionary. Most of these are available on-line. Of course, pen and paper. Or your keyboard and notepad. I say these tools in particular because, the English language has exploded to over a million words in all their shapes and forms. You can't remember them. Neither can I. :) Get the tools. You'll need them to help develop your words skills. Do you think that's cheating? It isn't. The vast majority of popular songs are written by hired staff writers and not by a musician. They use these tools!

Write. Write every day. One line or a dozen. The more you write, the easier it gets. Never throw away what you write. You may think it's dull, stupid or silly today but next week it might just be the thing you're looking for to write a killer song. Ideas come and go --->IN A FLASH<--- Write it down now. Don't think you can remember that killer line that hit you a 3:47AM until 6AM when you actually wake up. You won't. Unless you have extraordinary capabilities.... and even then, it's gamble on losing the line that could finance your future. ;-)

Write concisely. Write in every day conversational language. Don't try to impress anyone with an array of words that would make the Chancellor of Oxford University get weak knees. Just write like you talk. Embellish when needed, add a little poetic scenery for flavor, mix, pour and bake. Don't talk over the heads of your listeners. That's a serious turn off. You want listeners to understand and appreciate what it is you are saying. But don't dazzle them with dangling participles. Instead, delight them with daily discourse.

......... oh, we haven't even started yet. We just now, sharpened our pencil... ;)

**

LC

Edited by Lcjones

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I guess you could say that my writer side is to clinging to the technical side of writing...I mean even as I have read choose words that have meaning to meaning to me, however I always look at my title and wonder how I can name it dingbat I has the same meaning to me but also catches the listener's ears and/or eyes.

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Some good advice here Brian. It's an excellent idea to keep a notebook or a pile of discarded print out pages (with the back not printed on) so you can scribble down phrases and ideas or a line that comes into your head. I find it's easier to scribble it down on scrap paper than in a book - less inhibiting. Every now and then I sift through a bunch of it and see if anything catches my mind/eye - I often can add something on a second look that seems obvious but hadn't thought at at the time.

If you think you have a line/phrase/idea that feels extra good to put in a song, stick it up somewhere on a post-it note or cork board so you get reminded of it and it doesn't sink without trace in a drawer. You'll probably end up with some interesting wall paper!

If you have some music or a progression you want to make into a song, play it over and over and see what sort of lyrics would suit the style/feel. Hum along to the tune and try to add words that seem to fit - you might get the subject of the song even if the final lyric isn't there yet. Unless it's a great rock tune (when the actual words may not really matter) try to make the listener feel something, or identify with something in the song.

One way is to have your idea/story line, and then scribble down all the words that really relate to that idea/story - whatever you think of that you might use to tell someone the story or tell them about the idea. When you have a bunch of words look at them and pick out a few that are strong words that really describe the event, how you feel about the event/idea etc and see if you can string a few together to make some lines.

A song will have melody and rhythm, and so should your words. If you have the music first, you can fit the words to the tune. If you don't have the music first, I always try to give the lyrics a rhythm (and length of line) that will fit, more or less, with a beat/rhythm. If a word you want to use has too many syllables to fit the rhythm, change the word, or shift the words (or the line) around so that when you say them aloud they sound rhythmic and flow nicely and don't feel/sound 'clunky'.

Some lyrics rhyme and some rhyme a bit, and a few hardly rhyme at all. It's good advice to look closely at song lyrics that you like in a printed form and try to understand how the lyrics fit into the song. See which lines are rhymed and which aren't. See how a pause in the lyrics (and or music) can cause tension/expectation in the listener who has to wait for the other shoe to drop.

Sometimes a part of a song you cant' find a lyric for can be filled with a Oh Yeah (or similar) or the repeat of the previous word/phrase or line.

Notice how songs are structured in a hundred different ways with verse/chorus/bridge/pre-chorus outro etc etc and sometimes straight through from beginning to end. Some songs end with a repeat of the opening verse, and others don't.

Either the lyrics or the music (or both) must be 'strong' and doesn't cause a ho hum, 'can't be bothered with this nothing music', reaction. You have to engage the listener with something or they'll turn off, and it has to be in the first 10 seconds or they're gone. Think about your own reaction when you are surfing through songs - how long does it take before you decide to click on another link or continue listening - with me it's less than 10 seconds - not necessarily a good thing, but that's what the new media technology lets you do.

If you want some safe practice in writing with rhythm and rhyme check out Our University Thread in the Songwriting Forum - it's fun (and we desperately need some new recruits since the old guard have been shamelessly wagging classes lately :winkthumb:).

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