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how to write songs
Last Post 10 Oct 2006 02:10 PM by palace. 16 Replies.
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palaceUser is Offline
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palace

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10 Oct 2006 02:10 PM
    i just found this bit of sound advice on lyric writing from the empire music company.... it has to be said that all my favourite lyricists must have followed this down to the last letter... Poems and song lyrics have much in common. Here are a few things to keep in mind when writing a song lyric for musical setting. Songs Consist Of Three Sections: 1. The Verse contains the main story line of the song. It is usually four or eight lines in length. IT IS IMPORTANT THAT YOUR SONG HAS THE SAME NUMBER OF LINES IN EACH VERSE. Otherwise, your song will not sound smooth. Most songs have two or three verses. 2. The Chorus states the meaning of the song. IT CONTAINS THE TITLE IN THE FIRST AND/OR LAST LINE. The chorus is repeated at least once, and is usually the most memorable part of a song. It differs from the verse musically, and it may be of shorter or longer length than that of the verse. 3. A section called the Bridge is found is some, but not all songs. It has a different melody from either the Verse or the Chorus. It is often used instead of a third verse to break the monotony of simply repeating another verse. Length: Most songs contain two or three Verses and a repeating Chorus. Two common song forms are: 1. Verse/Chorus/Verse/Chorus/Verse/Chorus 2. Verse/Chorus/Verse/Chorus/Bridge/Chorus It is important that your song is not too long. Many radio stations will not play songs that go much over three minutes. For this reason, it is rare for a song with more than three Verses and a repeating Chorus to become a hit. Publishers will generally reject a song that has many verses. Rhyme: Not all songs rhyme, but most do. Rhymes make your song sound better, and will help keep the listener's interest. Use as many different sounding rhymes as possible. For example, if you rhyme "free" with "me", your next rhyme shouldn't use the same "e" sound. Use a consistent rhyming pattern. For example, if your first verse has four lines, and you rhyme the second and fourth lines, each following verse should follow the same pattern. Language: Do not use obscene language, or encourage immoral behavior. Remember, your song has to get played on the radio for it to become a hit. Radio stations will not play songs that offend their listeners. Use the first person point of view (I love...) when writing songs. Third person (HE or SHE loves...) is also okay. Avoid using the second person (YOU should do such and such...), or first person plural (WE should do such and such...) It sounds too preachy. Content: The most common subject for popular songs is love. The majority of songs that get played on the radio are songs about falling in love, being in love, breaking up, love of God, etc. The biggest sellers are songs about love and relationships. Most record buyers are young people. It is wise to consider writing about subjects that will appeal to this group. Write about your subjects from a young person’s point of view. For example, do not write a song about how wonderful your fifty year marriage has been. Instead, you could say how much you look forward to loving someone for the next fifty years. Some Popular Writing Techniques Most writers' song ideas start with a title. Here are some ideas with examples: Use a color: "Blue Moon", "A Whiter Shade Of Pale" Use a name: "Lucille", "Mr. Bojangles" Use opposites: "One Step Forward and Two Steps Back". (This is one of my favorite writing techniques.) Take a popular phrase or cliché and twist it. Give it a new meaning: "The Greatest Man I Never Knew" sung by Reba. Here are some opening line techniques: Start with a time: "Wednesday morning at five 0’clock…" (The Beatles, "She’s Leaving Home") Start with a place: "In a bar in Toledo, across from the depot" ("Lucille", sung by Kenny Rogers.) These are just a few techniques designed to capture the listener’s interest. You hear them a lot in Country music. Listen to songs with the ear of a writer and you will hear these techniques used over and over again. ATTENTION! Song writing is a craft. It is true that any words can be set to music, but a poorly written lyric will ruin any song. We give honest lyric evaluations. This is a free service. E-mail them to jstone3216@yahoo.com If you want a reply by postal mail, please send a self-addressed stamped envelope for our reply. We do not give writers false praise in order to get business, nor do we wish to be hurtful. Some writers get angry when we do not accept their lyric. But please understand, our comments are to point out specific things in your lyric that can be improved. Our endeavor is to be constructive, so we can produce the best possible songs. A rejection does not necessarily mean that you are a bad writer. It only means that we didn't like that particular lyric.
    palaceUser is Offline
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    palace

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    10 Oct 2006 02:13 PM
    i particularly like this bit: "Avoid using the second person (YOU should do such and such...), or first person plural (WE should do such and such...) It sounds too preachy" pot... kettle... black
    DaraghUser is Offline
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    Daragh Murray

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    10 Oct 2006 02:17 PM
    "Do not use obscene language, or encourage immoral behavior." hehe i like that bit, but isnt immoral behaviour the whole point
    PolUser is Offline
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    Pol

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    10 Oct 2006 02:32 PM
    I got song writhing for dummies as a present once ..it had some sound advice but the guy who gave the industry imput was the lead singer from surviver and preety much gave to the world the same list as a bove.
    aidanUser is Offline
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    Aidan Curran

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    10 Oct 2006 03:49 PM
    quote:
    Originally posted by Pol
    I got song writhing for dummies as a present once ..it had some sound advice but the guy who gave the industry imput was the lead singer from surviver and preety much gave to the world the same list as a bove.
    not really a great songwriting authority - I think I'll wait for the bacharach and david version: "before you break the rules, first you have to know them" - burt bacharach.
    PolUser is Offline
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    Pol

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    11 Oct 2006 08:45 AM
    ''youve got the eye of the tiger '' - guy from surviver ''bacharach can suck my balls ''- Pol
    heartyUser is Offline
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    hearty

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    12 Oct 2006 11:47 AM
    i wonder if the post is a piss take? i'm wavering between yes and no. the article has a lot of useful info if you'd like to write an identkit pop song. although, as most music is in 4/4 time, most songs follow a verse/chorus/verse/chorus/middle eight/chorus pattern... gar
    raoulUser is Offline
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    raoul

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    12 Oct 2006 11:53 AM
    This Note’s For You -RTE 1 (tonight at 10pm) This series explores the secrets, the struggles and the art of popular songwriting through the eyes of some of the finest Irish exponents of the craft. Presented by broadcaster and musician Tom Dunne, the six films go behind the scenes to reveal the songwriter’s experiences of writing the soundtrack to our lives, hits that came from nowhere, duds that never graced a radio wave. How every day they struggle to harness music’s inherent power; how occasionally it can make them a fortune; at other times send them into a straitjacket of despair. They reveal the tricks of the trade and how they use them; the birth of their creative careers and finally they explore the future. Will machines take over and produce what the next generation wants to hear? Shot in Ireland, the UK and the US, the individually-themed episodes feature frank interviews with some of Ireland’s most accomplished songwriters including Paul Brady, Phil Coulter, Damien Dempsey, Brendan Graham, Mick Hanly, Neil Hannon, Gemma Hayes, Mundy, Liam O Maonlai, Fiachna Ó Braonáin, Declan O’Rourke, Pete St John and Ash’s Tim Wheeler.
    deraUser is Offline
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    dera

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    12 Oct 2006 12:05 PM
    I hope Damien Dempsey and Mundy are in straitjackets of despair. Seriously, Mundy's going to reveal the tricks of his trade? "It's a subtle blend of fake sensitivity and ersatz laddish charm, kids!"
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    roadhousemag

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    12 Oct 2006 12:10 PM
    i fookin HATE o maonlai, o rourke, mundy,....but o maonlai especially....... what's he gonna do? the usual...dress up as a bit part extra in an ancient times documentry screaming as gaeilge? o'rourke comes accross as a d*ck and mundy....well mate its now tuesday and you've over stayed your welcome...go in the room with the four of us and the "pay twenty quid and w'ell do a half hour version of the decent song we have" gang....
    palaceUser is Offline
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    palace

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    12 Oct 2006 12:14 PM
    hearty, if by "pisstake" you mean "sarcastic", then the answer is yes... yes it is
    heartyUser is Offline
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    hearty

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    12 Oct 2006 01:43 PM
    quote:
    Originally posted by palace
    hearty, if by "pisstake" you mean "sarcastic", then the answer is yes... yes it is
    well, yes of course. but ironically, there are plenty of things in the post that people do seem to copy, rules they do seem to adhere to. gar
    palaceUser is Offline
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    palace

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    12 Oct 2006 02:43 PM
    ah yeah... i know... ...but it is usually the ones that stay away from those boundaries that i most admire... ...martin finke, bill callahan, will oldham, colin meloy, john darnielle... all of them make a mockery of the formula posted there... ...and it's the tone, you know...it makes it sound as if it is the only way to write songs and have "a hit", god forbid!
    deraUser is Offline
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    dera

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    12 Oct 2006 02:55 PM
    quote:
    Originally posted by palace
    ah yeah... i know... ...but it is usually the ones that stay away from those boundaries that i most admire... ...martin finke, bill callahan, will oldham, colin meloy, john darnielle... all of them make a mockery of the formula posted there...
    la Newsom .. (I just thought she should be there; I know it wasn't meant to be exhaustive)
    palaceUser is Offline
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    palace

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    13 Oct 2006 06:45 AM
    ms newsom... of course! she's probably the best example of all... can't wait for the 5 epics she's dishing up on her new album
    deraUser is Offline
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    dera

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    13 Oct 2006 07:30 AM
    quote:
    Originally posted by palace
    ms newsom... of course! she's probably the best example of all... can't wait for the 5 epics she's dishing up on her new album
    I think they're pretty spectacular, although I feel very guilty for downloading mp3s of such a beautifully analogue-produced record. The Van Dyke Parks arrangements take a bit of getting used to - he's quite a distinctive voice on the record, and it does sound more like a proper musical collaboration with VDP-as-artist rather than VDP-as-professional-arranger. But I'm a big fan of his too, so am very happy indeed :) I think I put something from Song Cycle on the first compilation I made for you, didn't I?
    palaceUser is Offline
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    palace

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    13 Oct 2006 07:48 AM
    yep, you gave me a VDP song before
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