Monday, 17 September 2012

Songwriting - 3 Easy Tips for Writing Better Songs

Songwriting - 3 Easy Tips for Writing Better Songs

By Anthony Ceseri

1. Aligning Melodic Lines with Lyrical Lines

It's important to talk about how your lyrical lines align with your melodic lines. Ideally, you want each line of melody to align with a line of lyric. If one gets longer than the other, things can start to sound strange. For example, let's say you had two lines of lyric that said this:

I'm trying to call home

To talk to you

Those are certainly two thoughts that are part of the same idea, but warrant being spoken in two separate phrases, or lines. They each stand on their own. But what if the way your melodic motif worked out, it forced your line into sounding like this:�

I'm trying to call [on melodic motif #1]

Home to talk to you [on melodic motif #2]�

This situation would be problematic, since it would be splitting the lyrical idea into two separate portions of melody. It would make the lyrics sound awkward, and we'd have a disconnect when we heard them. It would be as if I said to you "I'm trying to call. Home to talk to you." It would sound weird.

Think of each melodic phrase as a sentence. Then keeping your lyrical phrase within each melodic phrase will make more sense.

2. Avoid Inversions

Sometimes songwriters like to contort lines, to force in the rhyme they want. They take a phrase and prevent it from sounding conversational by flipping the phrase, in order to get the word they want to rhyme where they want it to be. Let's look at an example, so you can see what I mean:

Look what I've been through

Across the world I've roamed

Then I met you

And now I know my home

The second line in this section feels unnatural. "Across the world I've roamed," isn't how we'd normally say that phrase in everyday speech. We'd say "I've roamed across the world." But to get something to rhyme with "home" in this example, I've created an inversion. I don't recommend doing that, as they can create a disconnect in your lyrics. As a rule of thumb, ask yourself if your line is written the same way you would say it to someone. That usually holds all the answers when it comes to inversions.

3. Know Some Common Rhyme Schemes

A rhyme scheme is simply the order in which we put our rhymes, for each section of our song. Knowing a few of the common ones can be helpful when you're writing lyrics.

In these models, x indicates a line without a rhyme, while A and B are lines with a rhyme. The A lines rhyme with each other, and the B lines rhyme with each other, but don't rhyme with the A lines.�








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Anthony Ceseri is the owner of, a website dedicated to the growth and development of songwriters of all skill levels. Anthony's writings appear as examples in the book "Songwriting Without Boundaries: Lyric Writing Exercises For Finding Your Voice" by Pat Pattison, an acclaimed lyric writing professor at Berklee College of Music.

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