How to write a good song

Song descriptions are key to connecting with listeners and getting featured in blogs and the press.

A song description by the artist is not meant to be a review of the song, nor a rehash of the lyrics, nor what the listener can hear for herself.

Instead, the purpose is to tell the story behind (the scenes) the song that the listener cannot possibly know: how it came about; what is the tale of the song; instruments, equipment and software used, and in any interesting or different ways or experimentation; technical methods, effects, and techniques used; how the melody, rhythm, and other parts came about and where put together; what equipment was used; what the instrumental goals were; any difficulties with the song; did it end up different than it started out? How?

That’s a great start to write a solid song description that is aimed to be consumed mosty by the press and other such interests like booking agents and venue managers; licensing agents; festival organizers; and so on.

Also, include who worked on the recording. Also, if the song is autobiographical, please briefly tell the listener the various things going on that they can’t decipher by themselves to provide a window.

Song descriptions should also be succinct and rich in detail. These are the things that can make the difference between being featured in a blog, on a radio program or in a playlist, or not.

For example: A young new musician and studying doctor from Ohio wrote a terrific song with a sweet melody during a trip to India where he was volunteering and researching health care access in remote villages. While staying in one of the villages, he was even able to record, and later mix in, remarkable choruses of Indian children singing to his melody.

He described as well how it came about that the children began to sing the chorus. He did not plan it that way but the children liked the melody and chorus of his song so much that they learned it and in a couple of days treated the entire village to a performance. Now that’s a story behind a song that gets people’s attention and interest.

Another artist used unconventional recording techniques by capturing everyday sounds in his home and mixing them into his music. Another artist’s song is actually about his mother but he is playing the third person instead of the first person because it’s too painful.

With song descriptions, we want them to be detail-rich but also succinct. Anything too long will decrease the number of people that read it and the overall success of the track.

Song descriptions help the artist connect with listeners and fans and evoke emotions, memories, senses, and even actions – such as someone deciding to promote your song themselves on their socials because of what you wrote about it or for other bloggers to pick up and write about you because they have something compelling for the reader in addition to just the track by itself.

Interesting tidbits, facts, stories and triggering emotions are main points that get people to stop, listen and even care – for a minute. That’s hard to do in today’s millisecond world.

The aim is to get the listener not only to stop but to fully absorb the song. If they read the description, become even more intrigued, and start checking out even more music from the artist, that is a touchdown.

The fight for people’s attention is a true and serious one. We now live in a world where 24,000 songs are released every day on streaming services alone, according to a 2018 Gracenote study.

So, to get hundreds, thousands, or oh wow! tens of thousands (not bots, but real folks) listens online is a great thing. But it takes strategy, planning, smarts and knowing the ropes to rise even a little above the noise of 24K releases every day!

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How to write a good song

Image via Shutterstock If you’ve seen Easy A, you probably remember the scene where Emma Stone receives a card that plays Natasha Bedingfield’s “Pocketful of Sunshine” and how Stone’s character hates the song – at first. Flash forward to a few days later, and she can’t stop singing it.

There are songs that we can’t stand, yet can’t get out of our heads. There are also songs that we love and feel addicted to. For whatever reason, songs get lodged in our brains – and often stay there for a maddeningly long time.

Labled “earworms” by the scientific community, it’s been suggested that these ditties hang around longer in musicians’ minds than non-musicians’. What makes a song have such a huge impact on our brains? Below, we’ll run through the four main components of creating a catchy song that you can’t get out of your head, even if you want to.

But first, let’s revisit that clip of Emma Stone and “Pocketful of Sunshine” as a prime example of earworm invasion:

1. Song structure

There are a variety of song structures often used in today’s popular music. Formats such as ABABCB (A = verse, B = chorus, C = bridge or solo) and AABA (A = verse and B = bridge) are very common and easy for listeners to remember.

While songs don’t necessarily have to follow any specific layout, catchy songs generally tend to follow one of the more common structures listed above or a variation of some sort. Finding the right balance between meeting listeners’ expectations and throwing in something surprising is a surefire way to create an earworm.

2. Lyrics

In today’s music market, many fantastic songwriters write elaborate lyrics. That said, the majority of catchy songs feature smaller amounts of words or words that are easy to remember, and often repeat portions (see ABABCB above), which, in turn, create a difficult song to get out of your head.

When the focus is on the song’s hook and chorus, keeping the fancy lyrics for the verses will lure listeners in and leave them humming the most memorable parts throughout the day.

3. Chord progressions and melodies

There are certain progressions that create addictive songs. Similar to song structure, catchy chord progressions must balance expectations and artistic expression. By tying the simplicity of commonality to the unexpected, listeners are drawn into the comfort of what they know and the excitement of what lies ahead.

Building off the chord progressions, the melody is usually what we retain in our heads. A catchy melody is generally upbeat, though there are some hauntingly beautiful melancholy melodies out there as well. Even the most irritating songs have a well-written line that our minds can’t escape. A melody that is both interesting and recognizable is a key component of a catchy song.

4. Production quality

This last category is dependent on what exactly you do in the music industry. Are you writing for other artists? If so, the production quality may be out of your hands. If you’re in charge of the production of your song, however, this absolutely contributes to its popularity. Though there’s an audience for less polished recordings, not many people want to listen to a poorly recorded album version of a song that sounds like a demo. In order to have a catchy song that appeals to the masses, the production quality must be high. This isn’t to say that someone who can’t afford to record in a professional studio hasn’t written a catchy song, but a high-quality recording of the song will open up a larger market and make it more likely to receive favorable reviews and airplay.

Whether it’s a song you love or can’t stand, you have to admit there’s great science behind songwriting. Creating something that piques a large audience’s interest, even those who consider it a guilty pleasure, is a tough task to take on. For a fun exercise, try figuring out what makes that song you can’t get out of your head so addictive. If you’re a songwriter, you could even adapt that writing format and see what you come up with.

What do you think makes a catchy song? Let us know in the comments below!

Hey there! My name’s Cooper, I am discovering the world while running my online teaching business, playing venues with a band / solo, and trying to learn with the most inspiring musicians wherever I go. In the last 8 years I’ve spent long periods in Australia, northern Europe, the USA, Sri Lanka and more. Originally I am from Tel Aviv, Israel. I hope I can be a helpful friend on your musical journey. ?

How to write a good song

As guitar players, I believe most of us at some point would at least sniff around in the direction of writing our own songs, instead of just playing covers and other people’s music all the time. The venture would most likely end soon after it begun for most of us because we will not feel that we are successful, or run into huge “writer’s blocks” that will make us give up. Sounds familiar? Well, before we have a look at how to write your own song , let’s see what can be the benefits of it.

Today I will be showing you a few benefits of writing your own music and will also give you a few key tools that had helped me a lot on my way to becoming the amateur-but-happy songwriter that I am today. I even now have a few songs that I am actually PROUD of up my sleeve! I am happy to play these songs for others, and some of them get great feedbacks from many people. If it sounds like something you might wanna do yourself, so you’re welcome to keep on reading. Here are a few good motivators for you to start this venture today:

If it sounds like something you might wanna do yourself, so you’re welcome to keep on reading. Here are a few good motivators for you to start this venture today:

1 – You Will Have The Ability To Turn YOUR Thoughts Into Actual Songs!

This is something that so many people can only fantasize about. Writing songs just sounds like a cool thing to do. Think about having actual songs written down and composed about feelings that YOU felt. Places that YOU visited. People that YOU know. Turning your thoughts into something tangible! As they say “A good writer can portray a beautiful story out of the most everyday experiences.”

Well, for us guitar players, with the guitar in our hands helping us through our way – this is easier to achieve and stay motivated than it is for anyone else who is not currently in the world of playing music.

2 – Writing Songs Develops Your Overall Comprehension Of Music To New Levels:

You can never know exactly what went through the heads of The Beatles, The Rolling Stones, Johnny Cash, Elton John and countless other greats as they were coming up with some of the best lyrics and compositions of the 20th century. They threw out words, melodies, and harmonies that inspired billions of human beings.

But sitting with yourself and trying to come up with your own words and music will slowly give you the ARTIST point of view on music. From this point of view, you will see a lot more, and I can definitely say that all of my enjoyment and appreciation of music has moved forward by leaps and bounds since I started writing songs myself.

How to write a good song

Check out the 6 best songwriting tools in this post:

3 – Writing Music To Your Lyrics Dramatically Develops Your EAR And Your Grasp Of Music THEORY .

Suddenly you will start getting the feeling of how a transition from a V (the “fifth” chord of a certain key) chord to a I (1st – Root) Sounds like. You will start noticing the unique feeling of a VI chord and the sense of a IV chord that is building the tension before the V and so on. You will start literally hearing and seeing things that you have never heard or knew existed in ALL the music you will listen to, and it will al come back ten-fold in a very practical way.

4 – Songwriting Immensely Develops Your Creativity And Your Right Brain .
How to write a good song

This one is self-explanatory. I also believe that creativity is something that can be seen as a whole, and when you engage your right brain and work on it through songwriting, it takes all your ideas and thoughts in life to new heights. Not only in music, but in all other areas of life as well.

So Where Can I Start?

First of all, check out my article about the best tools for the beginner songwriter. There are a couple of books I highly recommend, that can point you in the right direction about how to write your own songs, make your way much easier, more focused and most importantly – more FUN.

THE BLUES! – The most accessible form of music for beginner songwriters that I had luck with is the blues. playin’ around with the basic I-IV-V structure can pull out huge buckets of creativity out of you! Try that for yourself as an exercise : Take a standard blues progression (For example E-A7-B7 or G-C7-D7), and start playing it over and over. Mix it up. Have fun with it. Change rhythms.

Now, make sure no one is near so you can feel totally free and confident, and start improvising words to this tune! Words about the day you just had. Words about a big dream you have. Words about your favorite vacation spot. Words that make sense. Words that make no sense! Anything!

You are now bound to see your inner songwriter coming out! If not, give it another try the next day and you will. The blues is such a fun form of music that invites your lyrical creativity very easily! You can also take the chords of any song that you like and write new words to it, 3\4 chords songs that repeat themselves are the easier to work with.

Realize That This Is A Journey.

Just like you did not know how to play songs flawlessly on your guitar from the day you first picked it up, understand that songwriting is an art and a talent. Just like any other things worth getting to, it takes dedication and persistence if you want to get good at songwriting.

The beginning is the hardest part to keep on pushing through, because your songs are not going to come out of you easily, and none of them would end up as a Grammy nominee either. (Probably…) So persistence is the number one thing you will need here in order to start getting to songs that you are proud of and enjoy.

How to write a good song

If you’re a songwriter, you’ve probably written a love song at least once. It’s by far the most common song topic, whether it’s about falling in love, breaking up, or rekindling a romance. Today, I’d like to focus simply on someone you love. This does not have to be a significant other. People often contact me to write songs for their parents, children or friends. A ‘loved one’ for this post’s purpose is simply someone you love, whether platonically or otherwise.

If you’re going to write a song for someone, it’s important to make it unique to them. You don’t want them to feel like you didn’t put much effort into it, or that you don’t know them that well. While there are many ways to write a song for someone, I’m going to give you 10 specific ideas for song topics.

How to write a good song

10 Specific Song Ideas for Loved Ones

Obviously, you can tailor these ideas to you and your situation. Maybe even combine a few if you want! The sky is the limit here. Above all, keep your intended target in mind and always direct your thoughts toward the end result. When you finish your song, please let me know! I’d love to hear it and see what they thought of it.

1). Tell their story

How to write a good song

Take yourself out of the equation. What is their story? Where did they grow up? What made them who they are? By writing a song exclusively about them, you’ll show them that you pay attention to their stories and you care about them as a person. Just make sure you know the story completely and don’t get any details wrong!

2). Tell your story

How to write a good song

This is a little more traditional, in the sense that you tell them how YOU feel because of them. It’s important to be specific and use detail that’s special to your relationship. If you use a lot of generic detail, it will be hard for your loved one to make an emotional connection to it (and they may not even believe you wrote it about them). Get personal!

3). Describe one part of them

How to write a good song

Pick one physical thing about them you love. It doesn’t matter if they’re insecure about it (and it might even help if they are!), just choose something you love and go into detail about it. For examples, look at “Brown Eyed Girl” or “Sara Smile.” You can be even more detailed than these songs, since these were intended for commercial release. If you do intend to release it commercially, you can afford to be a little more generic.

4). Describe an Object

How to write a good song

Pick something they love. A music box, a necklace, a photograph. Tell that object’s story. This item has meaning to them, so they would likely love a song about it! What do you feel about this object? Does it remind you of them? Does their dependence on it worry you? Those are all song ideas.

5). Talk About an Event

How to write a good song

Pick one thing you did and write about it. A sporting event, a concert, your wedding, anything you can remember. Even better if you pick a minor event they might not remember well. It will show them that little details matter to you! When did you experience a time with them that you’ll always remember? Immortalize it in your song.

6). Talk About Their Favorite Artist

How to write a good song

“Tim McGraw” by Taylor Swift is a good example here (and look how successful that was!). Who does your loved one love? Do you enjoy it as well or do you roll your eyes but let them listen to it, because you know how much they love it? Light teasing is okay here! Just keep it light, no personal attacks or anything.

7). Solve Their Worries

How to write a good song

What is a struggle they are facing? Write a song of encouragement. Write about how you would fix it for them if you could. Give their problem a happy ending.

8). Celebrate Their Victories

How to write a good song

Did your loved one accomplish something big? Is there something they’re proud of? This would be a great song topic because they’ll have that moment to celebrate forever. This is even better if they are an ‘unsung hero’ of sorts. Let them know that you notice their accomplishments, even if no one else seems to.

9). Talk About Their Hobby

How to write a good song

Almost everyone has a hobby they’re into. I have a whole post on writing about hobbies if you choose to go with this one. Even if they don’t seem to have a hobby, what is something they do often? Are they a good cook? Do they enjoy any TV shows? In order to do some songwriting research, it might help to spend some time doing this with them. They’ll be so surprised when you present them with a song about this!

10). Talk About an Inside Joke

How to write a good song

This one is tricky, because it’s hard to make an inside joke funny to everyone else. If you can explain it well, you’ll have a great story and a meaningful song. How did your inside joke start? What makes it so funny to both of you? Just make sure to only do this one if it’s a joke you don’t mind sharing. They might not want a private joke in a song, so use caution!

Did any of these spark an idea for you? If so, let me know about it!

After it’s done, definitely let me know and tell me how they liked it. I’m excited to hear what you create!