Archive for » February, 2011 «

Breaking Down The Songwriting Elements

Songwriting is a skill and an expressive art form. A song usually comes from inspiration, however, if we intend to expand our command of the skill set, we need to at least minimally, be aware of the elements that make up a song, and then learn to control those elements as a part of our self-expression. I won’t go into ridiculous dictionary definitions of the words song or songwriting, but will defer to the determinations of The Library Of Congress with regards to what constitutes a song, and for our purposes, we will be talking about vocal music as opposed to instrumental music.

My Songwriting Coach

The first element is the lyrics. They are the essential element of communications in the song, telling the story or presenting a philosophical position. The Library Of Congress will assign a copyright to lyrics alone, so if you have some great lyrics that you have yet to have set to music, they are a candidate for copyright submission. If you are an amazing lyricist, don’t let anyone tell you that you are not a songwriter. It’s just that in order to have a completed song, you will need to learn the other elements, or team up with a writer who is more dominant on those other elements. more…

Everyone Has A Song In Their Heart

Songwriting isn’t a science. It’s a multi-varied art form. Even when songs are written by different band members in the same group, the results can turn out quite differently. If you are an awake listener, you should have no difficulty telling the difference between a John Lennon song and a Paul McCartney song even if they were on the same Beatles record. The same thing holds when listening to a Don Henley song compared to a Glenn Frey song even though they were side by side on an Eagles CD. This story is the same in band after band where there are multiple songwriters in the band. So even in the same musical genre, which we have to realize is the case when songwriters are in the same band, there is something unique about the musical output from one writer compared to another. And that’s in the same niche, style, genre, or whatever you want to call it.

My Songwriting Coach

What about comparisons of songs across wildly divergent styles; Heavy Metal compared to Jazz, Folk compared to Hip Hop, Pop compared to Hard Rock, Country compared to R & B. There is so much difference between all these types of music, and yet we have to notice something profound. Ozzy Osbourne and Mozart used the same scales. Even more significant is that as different as all these styles of music are from each other, after closer observation, they are more alike than they are different. Don’t you think it could be a remarkably beneficial exercise to study the parts of music and learn what makes a song a song, regardless of style.

There are thousands of rules, but they’re not all applied to every song at the same time. Using different structures and forms, different cadences, different harmonic progressions, rhyme schemes or no rhymes, melodies that are super melodic or melodies that are monotone or talk-sung, super chatty or minimalist lyrics, all contribute to make each song different and the niche, style or genre it is in be more unique.

The purpose of this blog is to help you explore your own songwriting if you are already a writer, or to motivate you to begin writing if you’ve always wanted to. It will be filled with tips, strategies to try in your writing, analysis of some existing songs, and a mixed bag of other beneficial info. Check back from time to time to see what’s new, and we’ll see you on the radio, iTunes, CD Baby, or wherever you market your music.