While it is possible to write a song about anything, this sometimes makes it difficult to get started. Some people use personal life experiences for inspiration, and others write things they have read about. Regardless of what you choose to write about, anyone can write their own song lyrics with a little practice.
Method 1 of 3: Brainstorm Ideas
Step 1. Do a free writing about what you have in mind
The songs are about anything (romance, lost shoes, politics, depression, euphoria, school, etc.) and so you don't have to worry about writing about the "right thing". Just start scribbling. In case you don't even want the lyrics to rhyme yet, no problem. Right now, you're just collecting ideas and material to work on later. When brainstorming ideas, try the following:
- Talk about the heart. The things you have very strong feelings about are usually the easiest to write lyrics about.
- Avoid judging your work or discarding it yet, since this is the draft stage and you will refine it as you continue writing.
Step 2. Find your favorite verses and build rhymes from them
Imagine that you are going to write about school and you have the verse "Pushing pencils for a teacher who is not smarter than me." Don't try to write the whole song at once but instead start building using this verse. All you need is a good verse to get the ball rolling.
- What would you rather do than go to school ("I'd rather be picking apples and hanging from trees")?
- How do you know that the professor is not smarter than you ("My essay on quantum physics only gave me an average grade")?
- For the most part, song stanzas are barely 4-6 lines long, so this is already half of one.
Step 3. Develop a simple hook or chorus
The hook is the part of a song that repeats itself. It should be simple and fun, and it usually tells people what the song is about. A good hook strategy is to just write two good rhymes and then repeat them, which helps to stick in the listener's mind.
- Choruses should be simple so they can be easily remembered.
- Hooks don't even need to rhyme, as seen in the famous Rolling Stones hook: "You can't always get what you want / But if you try sometimes you might find you get what you need." you can have what you want / but sometimes if you try, you may find that you find what you need ").
Step 4. Eliminate excess words, verses, and ideas until only the best material remains
The songs are short and to the point, and the best ones don't waste a single syllable. When reviewing songs, consider the following:
- Action Words: You should not depend on "is", "love" and other commonly used words that everyone has heard. You should try to use unique and precise words to convey the emotion of the song.
- Cut out. How could you rewrite a verse to make it shorter and more to the point?
- Where are the letters imprecise? Don't say "we got into the car" but instead mention the type of car. Don't talk about going to dinner but mention the type of food you had for dinner.
Step 5. Explore different kinds of rhymes
A song can be written in many ways. However, almost all of them rhyme. Best practice for beginners is to understand the types of rhymes available to them and just work on simple sections of 2-4 lines that rhyme. By putting together these sections, a song will slowly be born.
this is just the rhyme of the last syllables of two verses (for example, "Tu amor malv adored / It tastes like salt to me adored").
This is when the words do not technically rhyme but are sung in a way that makes them seem to rhyme. It is surprisingly common in all forms of songwriting. Some examples are "rose" and "aroma" or "field" and "hand".
This rhyme uses many words or syllables and they all rhyme. Look at the song Minutos by Ricardo Arjona, where he says "The wall clock / Announcing 6:23 / The past with thirst / And the present is an athlete without feet."
Step 6. Think of the song as a short story
Even songs that are about a political feeling or idea can be learned from narrative techniques. There must be a story arc or some kind of change or progression. For example, consider the number of love songs that begin with how discouraged the singer was before the boy or girl showed up. One takes a tour of romance, and this makes the lyrics interesting.
If you're writing a full song, just think of each verse as a scene in a short film. Most songs have three stanzas, so this only means a beginning, a middle, and an end
Step 7. Stick to one idea or theme per song
Even Bob Dylan, one of the most convoluted and complicated lyricists of all time, knew that a good song must be anchored in a good idea. Just by looking at Dylan's catalog, the songwriter shows that the best songs explore one idea in depth, rather than many ideas briefly.
- Blowin 'in the Wind examines many things, but anchors itself to a simple question at the beginning of each verse: How long can an injustice last before it needs to change?
- Tombstone Blues, one of the most expansive and misplaced songs, is about a concern about what is written and remembered on our tombstones after we die.
Step 8. Bring a notebook to jot down catchy verses that rhyme, even if they don't make up a song
Over time, however, these little chunks will provide springboards for entire songs, mixing and matching them to help start a melody. Carrying a notebook or note on your phone is the best way to capture ideas whenever they arise.
Prolific songwriter Paul Simon claims that all his songs are made up of these loose chunks. As he finds some that fit together, he slowly builds lyrics to a song
Method 2 of 3: Write Full Song Lyrics
Step 1. Set the mood, theme, or most important idea using the song title
The title can be the chorus or some other word or phrase that you think summarizes everything. The title is the first clue the audience has as to what the song is about or what it means. Therefore, you should take some time to come up with it.
With this in mind, avoid making a complicated title if you don't have to. For the most part, songs use the verses of the chorus for a reason, as the chorus itself mentions the main theme of the song
Step 2. Organize the verses in a rhyme scheme
A good way to think about this is a rhyme diagram in which each letter symbolizes a rhyme. So in an ABAB rhyme scheme, the first verse (A) rhymes with the third (A) and the second (B) rhymes with the fourth (B). Also, there is the AABB, in which just two lines in a row rhyme. There are hundreds of ways to structure rhymes, so start experimenting with verses until you like how they sound.
- The ABAB or "alternating rhyme" is also common and is easily written by dividing two long lines into four.
- Very technical writers might try to rhyme 4-6 lines in a row. This could be a AAAA or BBBB rhyme scheme or even AAAA AAAA in case you're feeling particularly complicated.
- There are some writers who try to spread a rhyme over several verses, as in an AAAB CCCB scheme. For an example, take a look at the song Tombstone Blues.
Step 3. Know the lyrical parts of a song
In general, a song has three main sections, not counting the intro or outro (which of course can have lyrics). These three sections intermingle to form the final song.
- The choirs or hooks It's the repeating parts of the song and the catchy part that you hope everyone will remember the song for. They are usually short and repeat identically.
- The stanzas these are usually the longest and most unique parts, where you expand on the ideas of the song and present your plot, tell your story, etc.
- The bridges, also known as "eighth media", they are sections with different instrumental pieces. They often transition between a chorus or verse or provide a section with a different texture and sound. It can be an instrumental solo or give input for a change in mood or theme of the lyrics.
Step 4. Order your verses, choruses and bridges, if any
After you've written at least a chorus and a few verses, you can start thinking about how they alternate. You can even write a bridge to change things up a bit. The most typical song structure is intro / verse / chorus / verse / chorus / bridge / chorus / outro. However, there is nothing that holds you to this structure.
- Another popular trick is to use multiple bridges to go from each verse to each chorus (for example, verse / bridge / chorus / verse / bridge / chorus / etc).
- Also, bridges can be instrumental breaks (for example, guitar solos).
Step 5. Hum, whistle, strum, or experiment with a piano to find the melody of the lyrics
Writing your own lyrics is hardly half the battle. You also need to know how to sing them. Even if you are a rapper, you still have to think about the "flow" or rhythm of your words. To do this, it is best to experiment, often with some type of instrument, although you can even whistle or hum until something sounds good.
Paul McCartney of the Beatles is famous for finding the melody for Yesterday just by repeating the words "scrambled eggs" until he found the notes. The lyrics were added later
Method 3 of 3: Improve as a Composer
Step 1. Experiment with internal rhyme so that your lyrics have a more melodic and singing quality
Inner rhyme is when there are smaller rhymes hidden in the middle of the verses. There are regular rhymes at the end of the verses anyway, just with a little more flavor in between. For an example, take a look at this verse by MF Doom from the song Rhinestone Cowboy: "Made of fine chrome alloy / find him on the grind he's a rhine stone cowboy".
- A good way to start internal rhyme is to cut the verses in half, treating a couplet as if it were 4 short verses and not two longer.
- The internal rhyme does not need to be regular, like regular rhyme. Even one or two in a song can have a wonderful effect.
- There may even be internal rhymes in the same verse, as in another MF Doom verse: "never will he boost loose Philly's with the bar code. "
Step 2. Rhyme many verses with each other to get concise, melodic sections
Take a look at the Red Hot Chili Peppers song Californication, in which most of the verses rhyme with the title, "Californication." Many of the verses rhyme with this word, so singer Anthony Kiedis doesn't even have to rhyme the first and third lines of each verse with nothing, giving you "free" syllables in each verse.
As another strategy, you can rhyme the last verse of each verse with the last verse of the occasional verse. Take a look at the song Simple Twist of Fate
Step 3. Use poetic tools to add musicality without rhyming
The lyrics are poems to the beat of music, and you can learn a lot from this thousands of years old art form. You can add the following tricks to any verse to give your songs a very satisfying, professional shine:
- The assonance it is when you use the same vowel several times (for example, "a long tuft" or "the absent mother").
- The alliteration it is equal to assonance except with consonants. Some examples are "three sad tigers" and "sighs escaped from his strawberry mouth."
Step 4. Write a few metaphors and comparisons
Not all songs should have deeper meanings, and many of them shouldn't. Worse still, there are some songs that try too hard to force a deeper meaning and, in the long run, are just confusing or scattered. With this in mind, a well-placed metaphor can take a song from catchy to powerful, personal, and impactful.
- A metaphor it is when it is suggested that one thing represents another, as in the song Minutos de Arjona. It does not literally mean that the minutes "are God's kamikazes", but rather it is a way of referring to the force with which the passage of time impacts on us.
- The comparison it is a more direct metaphor that uses the word "like". For example, "She was like a rose" hints that she is beautiful but could be dangerously prickly.
- The synecdoche is when a small part represents a larger whole. For example, "the pen is mightier than the sword" actually means that "ideas are stronger than violence", not that feathers literally defeat swords.
Step 5. Try rhyming inventive or unusual words
The most impressive lyricists know that audiences have come to expect many of the rhymes in popular music ("heart" and "reason", "love" and "beauty", etc.) and lose their power to pleasantly surprise us. Composers who stand the test of time continue to surprise us with longer and more intricate rhymes.
From Arjona's Taxi History: "It was ten forty, I was zigzagging in Reforma / He told me 'my name is Norma' while crossing my leg". Very few people have rhymed the name of Reforma Avenue in Mexico City with the name "Norma."
Step 6. Rewrite, rewrite, rewrite
The best lyricists in the world know that a song is rarely perfect in one attempt. Paul Simon even claims that finishing a single song takes him 50 sheets of paper, all of them with scrawled lyrics. A good songwriter knows to keep working on songs long after first thinking about the idea.
- Keep old copies of your drafts. This will allow you to always go back to an old version in case you want to try something new and it doesn't sound very good.
- Put new song lyrics to the test in gigs and performances. Where did they feel good and where was it uncomfortable to sing them? What sections did the public seem to like?
Step 7. Anchor your lyrics on real events, objects, and things
While a song with a lot of philosophy is not bad, you need concrete images to help the audience visualize the ideas. Returning to Blowin 'in the Wind, notice how Dylan frames each large social affliction in a real picture (a collapsing mountain, a walking man, a lone dove, etc.). In this way, the song places a literal image in the mind of the audience.