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How to Write your Own Music: Song Lyrics

I recommend that if you have an idea for a song, record the idea first and then figure out what you are missing. If you have a melody but no words, you can develop lyrics in many different ways. I’m going to talk about two. One way is to organize what you want to say and the other way is to just start singing.

If you want to organize what you want to say in your lyrics, I suggest that you first listen to your recorded idea and writing down the emotions you are feeling as you listen to the recording. Then start writing about the emotions you felt as you listened to the recording. Who knows, you could be writing down your feelings and telling a story about when you were sad/happy/angry/sorry/grateful. You could be writing poetry that has the same emotional feel as your musical idea or you could be writing down random thoughts about the emotion. Once you have some words written down, try singing the melody you have written with the words you just wrote. You will see right away which words fit and which ones don’t. Just change the words that don’t fit with words that do fit and that have a similar meaning. Some folks like to have a Thesaurus on hand to help with this. Now, organize the words for the verse section (2-4 phrases of melody) to be about one thing (perhaps the first part of the story) and the words for the second and third verses to be about something else but something similar. All verses will use the same melody, but different words. Now, try singing some of the words you wrote to the chorus part of the melody, and lastly try singing what you wrote to the B-section part of the melody (See, previous Blog: “How to Write your Own Music: Create a Melody” for more info.). Work on matching sections of words to the sections of melody, until you are happy with all the words in the song. Make sure, they follow some coherent line, even if the song is more poetic and fantastical, unless, of course, you don’t want the song to make sense -which could also be interesting (like Modern Art).

If you want to just start singing, I suggest that you sing your melody on “Ahh” along with any background tracks you have (if you have any) until you feel you are ready to sing with words. Once you start singing words, don’t judge the words, just keep singing until you come across some words that you like. Once you have gotten a few words you like, try to spin off on that idea and create more words that go with it. I like to write the words of my chorus first, because I feel that it is the main subject or main emotion of the song. Then I write the verse(s) words and talk about my experience and/or feelings about the main subject. Lastly, I write the B-section words which always consist of whatever else I want to say on the main subject or I try to think of something completely different for this part.

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