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writing song lyrics

Discussion in 'Playing and Technique' started by moody07747, Oct 6, 2006.

  1. moody07747

    moody07747 Member

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    What are the steps to writing song lyrics?

    It seems most songs follow a short story and the chorus part of the song just repeats one line.

    Anyone have any good sites to help me out?
     
  2. Redbell

    Redbell Member

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    Here's a little tip but it's not scary, go get yourself a Rhyming Dictionary, a Thesarus to help your vocabulary along & before you know it you'll be writing a song.

    Have fun, Son!
     
  3. marcher5877

    marcher5877 Member

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    Don't sit down and expect to write a great song. Sit down and expect to write. What is great isnt going to be what comes out, what is great will be left over after you edit all the b.s.

    Good writers all share one common trait: They write. A lot.

    If you want to be a good writer, write a lot, like everday. A lot of what comes out of you is going to be garbage, but thats allright, even Beethoven *****. Go back after a few months and go through it all and see what stands out above the rest, what really makes you stop and think and gives you something to think about. Thats what is great.
     
  4. moody07747

    moody07747 Member

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    I do have good writing skills and an eve taking writing classes in college now. I just wanted to know how you put a story into a song...I guess you just go with the flow...
     
  5. Sunstone Recordings

    Sunstone Recordings Member

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    yeah man, write "stream of consciousness" style... that is, write anything and everything that pops into your mind (as rediculous or silly as they might be) and just get the creative juices flowing.
     
  6. moody07747

    moody07747 Member

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    AKA "Freewriting"

    ill try it some time...I do this freewriting before i start a story for class...but im not just thinking of anything...im sticking with my topic.
     
  7. gainiac

    gainiac Senior Member

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    I've heard that he used to keep his bedpan under his piano bench...!!!!
     
  8. davidkiddmusic

    davidkiddmusic Member

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    A good way to write lyrics that I have found is first find a topic, situation, theme or word phrase that you like/are interested in writing about. Free write a bit about it; how you felt about a/the situation. Write about maybe what happened; write in stream of consciousness. Write about the 5 senses... what you can or did feel inside, smell, touch, see, hear. I write a few short paragraphs if I can.

    Then synthesize. Sort out your thoughts Create your storyline or make an outline of how your thoughts should be presented in the song in order. Bridges should always take you somewhere else if you are writing one I believe.

    Then put the pieces together. I studied songwriting/lyric writing at Berklee College of Music. I always thought that songwriting was like putting a puzzle together. Once you have all the pieces, you have to put them together. Reading alot really helps with vocabulary and phrase structure as well as wordplay and metaphoric writing.

    Hope this helps. Good luck.
     
  9. Mullet Kingdom

    Mullet Kingdom Senior Member

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    It's different for everyone and there aren't really any steps or guidelines, per say.

    Q: how do you write good songs?

    A: by writing a lot of ****** ones. ;)
     
  10. moody07747

    moody07747 Member

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    Great information there, thanks :AOK
     
  11. 1973Marshall

    1973Marshall Member

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    I'd like to give you another idea -

    Think like a singer. Singers like words and sounds that are open and accent the feel of a passage. The best lyrics "sing well". When you play guitar, you do not thing of fret patterns and linear phrasing, you think of melodies, pocket, tone, feel, ornamentation, and intonation. In other words, you live in the moment and work off of idioms like licks and styles.

    Well, with lyrics, try playing the music and humming out melodies. Say/Hum whatever comes to mind. If you have anything catchy in mind or a good one liner, start there and let it rip. That's the best way to find what the moment might be inspiring out of you, and better yet - phrasing that "sings well" with the song.

    Kinda like improving over something til you find that perfect solo you were looking for.
     
  12. marsellus

    marsellus Member

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    This is what I do. (Hope this helps or at least gives you an idea.)

    We (the band) come up with the music alone. We structure it out to the point that we like the song musically just as it is.

    Next, we record a live demo of the instrumental version of the song.

    Then, I sit and listen to the song on repeat (during free time, or even at work if you have a desk job). While doing this, it's easier for me to get a vocal melody in my head because I dont' have to focus on what I'm playing.

    When you get the melody, you have your framework, so it's now just a matter of filling the framework with words. This part may take awhile if you're extremely critial of yourself (For me, I have to still like the lyrics 3 days later for me to keep them.)

    Anyway, hope this helps.

    -Josh
    www.Marsellus.net
     
  13. donnyjaguar

    donnyjaguar Member

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    I'm no songwriter but it strikes me that Bob Dylan (and others) create the progression and the hook and then string together a bunch of random thoughts. :) Surely Dylan can't be the only one who can put "lay right down in your easy chair", "Ghengis Kahn couldn't keep..." and "strap yourself to a tree with roots" into one song. :)
     
  14. Miles

    Miles Member

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    Write about what feels real and what entertains you. Keep it simple at first to build your craft, but always remember that there are NO rules. Otherwise, you may paint yourself into a corner. There doesn't have to be a chorus or any certain style.
     
  15. supergenius365

    supergenius365 Silver Supporting Member

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    I learned a "trick" from Dylan. Apparently he finished recording Blood on the Tracks, but decided to re-record the whole thing right before it was supposed to come out. When he went back to the songs, he changed alot of the pronouns around (i.e. "you" became "I" and "she" became "we"). That is a great help if the lyrics are getting too personal. I also do that with other words. I might change "girl" to "arcade" or something equally as strange. It makes it fun for me and creates a lyric people most likely have never heard before. I still know it means "girl", but I don't say it.

    Free association while the music repeats over and over is another way I write. My band gets some progression going, and I free associate over it until something cohesive appears. Luckily, they are patient and get into the whole creative process.
     
  16. frankthomson

    frankthomson Member

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  17. RL in Fla

    RL in Fla Member

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    "Create someone who never existed in a place that never was , doing something that never happened and make me care about it in 30 seconds at 7:00 AM." – Ralph Murphy
     
  18. JRenn

    JRenn Supporting Member

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    Haha, that's a great quote! Thanks for that, RL. :roll

    I think the main thing you have to know before you write a song is why you are writing it. If you are writing just to have a song, you may find that there's no inspiration behind the task of writing, and fall horribly short of a 'good song.' You also have to be able to define what you think a 'good song' really is. If you like songs that tell stories, then try and tell a story. If you like songs that make you want to dance, try and boogie a little bit.
    IMHO, the best songs are the ones that the listeners can really connect with and feel. Those are the ones they remember. If that's what you go for, try and make a real-life emotion or circumstance come to life in a way that people will understand.
    Sure rhyming's great and all... But I think what makes a good song is knowing what you're trying to say, and then putting that into words (and chords/melodies) so that people will really get it.

    Hope that helps a bit. By the way, I think all of us are still learning how to write good lyrics. It's great that you're wanting to venture on that journey with us!
     
  19. TiEsQue

    TiEsQue Member

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    I read an interview of Paul Simon on the topic. He said he keeps a notebook and whenever he hears or thinks up an interesting phrase he writes it down. He'll be in line at at the grocery story and the person behind him will say something interesting or he'll think up some clever twist of phrase in the shower and write it down. Later, when he's writing songs he refers back to the notebook for ideas. That way he's writing lyrics all the time, not just when he sits down to write.
     

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