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How To Write A Song
on Wednesday 21 June 2006
by Michael Russell author list print the content item {PDF=create pdf file of the content item^plugin:content.81}
in Songwriting
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by Michael Russell
http://mgrcentral.com

Did you ever wish that it was your song playing on the radio? It could be. It is not that hard once you know the formula. With a little creativity, a little knowledge, a little luck and a good formula to follow, your song could be one of the next biggest hits.

Songwriting comes easy for some, and is very difficult for others. I have actually written songs in my sleep, and immediately upon awaking, written it as quickly as I could get the words on down on paper.

What I want to discuss here is popular songwriting, like the songs you hear on the radio. A good pop song, whether rock, country, middle of the road, is composed of two things: a catchy tune and some good lyrics.

There is a formula that most great songwriters use to write great songs. It regards the structure used to write a song. Granted, it is music and it is art, so the rules are not hard and fast. But if you want to increase your chances of getting your song on the radio, it is a good starting point.

Here is the formula. Verse, chorus, verse, chorus, bridge, chorus.

Write that down on paper leaving plenty of space between each word and this will be your script.

Verse

The verse is the part of the song that tells the story, the part that leads to the chorus. Each verse is usually different, telling a different part of, or adding to, the story. It usually explains how you got to the things you are singing about in the chorus.

Chorus

The chorus is the part of the song that is repeated after each verse. The lyrics are usually the same each time the chorus comes around. The verse usually leads to the chorus, and the chorus is usually the pay off for listening to the verse. Does that make sense?

Here is a lame example (you did not think I would give you my best work, did you?):

(verse)
My dog is sick, he\'s got a tick
He\'s my best friend, don\'t let it end


(chorus)
Oh, woe is me, can\'t you see
Woe is me, will I ever be free


(verse)
My car broke down, just out of town
It got towed in, but it\'s broke again


(chorus)
Oh, woe is me, can\'t you see
Woe is me, will I ever be free


Now, if you would kindly stop laughing at my lame song for a minute, I want you to think about whether or not you understand my point. Songwriting is story telling. The verse tells the problems, the chorus expresses the results or the emotions.

All right, now that you have that mastered, let\'s tackle the bridge. Ah, yeah, there is more to the song than the pain and the release. We need the diversion. That is what the bridge is; it is the diversion from the verse and the chorus.

The bridge may have a slightly different melody to it, or it could even have a different rhythm or a different tempo (Elvis\' \"Suspicious Minds\" did a great job on this technique).

Let\'s go back to the lame song and add a bridge:

(verse)
My dog is sick, he\'s got a tick
He\'s my best friend, don\'t let it end


(chorus)
Oh, woe is me, can\'t you see
Woe is me, will I ever be free


(verse)
My car broke down, just out of town
It got towed in, but it\'s broke again


(chorus)
Oh, woe is me, can\'t you see
Woe is me, will I ever be free


(bridge)
Tomorrow is a better day, I\'ve got a new truck on the way
My dog just had a flea it seems, so once again I\'ll live my dreams


(chorus)
Oh, woe was me, can\'t you see
Woe was me, but now I\'m free


The bridge offers a solution to the problems I was having. You don\'t want to leave your listener on the edge of suicide, you want to give them hope.

Notice, I also changed up the wording of the chorus. This was done to reflect my new found joy.

One more thing on formula. It can be anyway you want, but most verses and chorus come in lines of 4. So, instead of this:

(verse)
Oh, woe is me, can\'t you see
Woe is me, will I ever be free


(verse)
My car broke down, just out of town
It got towed in, but it\'s broke again


it would be:

Oh, woe is me, can\'t you see
Woe is me, will I ever be free
My car broke down, just out of town
It got towed in, but it\'s broke again


The same goes for the chorus. Again, if you are creative, do it however you want. But for a new songwriter, this gives you some guidelines to scratch out and start carving out your new creation.

One more thing, do not make the notes to the melody so high that your fans cannot sing along. We are certainly all not Stevie Wonder.

Michael Russell Your Independent guide to Guitars and Song Writing. Visit his website at http://mgrcentral.com


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