How does a good song work, whether it’s pop, heavy metal or rock? A song has a structure and a series of patterns that are repeated constantly. Here are tips to follow if you want to know how to compose songs.
So, before going on to the 5 aspects to compose a song you have to choose a chord progression. That’s the first thing you have to do.
A chord progression is basically several chords that are followed one after the other with a repeating rhythm. To that progression is added a melody and a lyrics that is played or sung over and so you have a song.
Keep in mind that if you want to know how to compose a song you don’t need to be original. Most chord progressions have already been played so don’t try to reinvent something new because it’s probably already been done.
How to compose songs:
How to compose songs: Think of the form
the shape of a piece of music refers to the structure of the song. For example:
This form is used in 90% of pop, rock and many other genres.
The form has to be simple. Think of a song that you like a lot and analyze its form. You’ll see how there are a stanza and a definite chorus. The chorus is usually repeated several times during a song and the verse also but with different lyrics.
On the other hand, the bridge is another piece of the song that brings variety and says to the listener “hey, here’s something new”.
Therefore, you have to find a balance between a clear, repetitive structure and something non-repetitive so that the listener doesn’t get tired:
If you compose a song from a stanza and that stanza has 20 lines like a long poem and you don’t add anything new it will be boring.
If you decide to compose a song and do a verse, then a chorus, then a variation of the chorus, then a guitar solo, then a half verse, an instrumental part, then an instrumental part, etc. The listener will not understand what you are trying to convey and will also get bored.
If your song starts with an instrumental part, a chorus, a stanza, then another chorus and you make the song have a structure easy to understand the listener will like it more.
In short, without form, the song loses meaning and why do we want to know how to compose a song if it won’t make sense?
How do we know if form makes sense?
Tell a trusted and sincere person to tell you what they think of the song you’ve composed. There are several possible responses from different people.
If your son doesn’t like it, identify what doesn’t sound good. Maybe it’s the melody, the lyrics, the structure, maybe you don’t sing well, etc. It can be a lot of things.
Finally, if the destructive doesn’t give you a clear reason why he doesn’t like it, don’t listen to him, get a second opinion.
How to compose songs: The melody
A melody of a song has to be creative and predictable at the same time. First, make sure that no one has ever played before what you have played (you can fall into the trap of plagiarism) and second, that your song is memorable.
After that, the melody has to have a clear rhythmic structure and phrases where one answers the other with the same rhythm. Let’s see an example of a good melody and a bad melody:
How to compose songs: Rhythm/harmony
The harmony of a song also has to be structured in the right way, a catchy rhythm is essential and a simple harmony is very important. When trying to compose songs we should not add difficult progressions to boast if the song is not going to be remembered by anyone.
How to compose songs: The lyrics
the lyrics must be artistic in order to attract the attention of the listener. Think of universal things to create sympathy with your listeners, do not make songs too lofty but not too simple. Listen to the great songwriters and imitate their form, imitating form doesn’t mean plagiarism.
if you decide to talk about elevated issues the more concrete the better. For example, talk about a woman who lost her husband in the Second World War. Don’t talk about the Nazi invasion of Poland.
On the other hand, if you want to know how to compose a song that is worthwhile and does not sound repetitive, also use a dictionary of synonyms to make your vocabulary wider. A recommended exercise is also to change the verbs, nouns, and adjectives to a song that you like very much and appropriate it.