Determine Your Songs Structure
Song Structure Example One
The simplest structure is that in which there is only one type of lyric, the verse .
The classic Gershwin tune Summertime has an A-A structure, with only two verses .
Check out the video to the right to listen to the Norah Jones/Marian McPartland version.
Song Structure Example Two
Songs with both verses and choruses have two types of lyrics we call the verse A and the chorus B.
The famous Bob Dylan song, Blowin in the Wind, has this type of structure A-B-A-B-A-B.
Watch Peter, Paul, and Mary performing the tune below.
Song Structure Example Three
Other songs are more complex. They may have verses, choruses, and a bridge .
The Beatles Ticket to Ride is one of these songs its structure is A-B-A-B-C-A-B.
Listen to it here:
You Cant Accurately Transcribe What You Hear In Your Head
But lets be honest.
Occasionally inspiration strikes, youre motivated to write, but you cant take full advantage of it.
To express what you hear in your head, you have to be able to identify what you hear first. Its not enough to just get close.
Ear training isnt exactly fun though, and it isnt really enough either. You want what you write down to actually sound like what you wanted to write down.
To do this you need a reliable process for hearing and experimenting with your ideas.
Create Chords For Your Other Sections
Laying out the structure you want for your song is a good way to work out your chord progressions. If you have your chorus and opening, simply lay out your structure and work through it.
Listen to other songs to find out about their structure. Its good to think about your song in terms of hooks as well as sections. For example, instead of verse/chorus/verse/chorus etc, think about opening hook/verse hook 1/verse hook 2/pre chorus hook/chorus hook1/ chorus hook 2.
You want your chords to flow but also vary from one section to another. A great tip is to use turnaround chords at the end of a section. This will make it feel like a section is naturally going from one to another and can make a chorus sound bigger. They are common in jazz but are easily applied to pop songwriting, helping your songs sound more professional and sophisticated.
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Tools For New Producers
In this section, youll find a bunch of apps, services, and other bits and pieces to aid you in electronic music production.
Again, as this guide is a living resource, this section will be updated regularly.
If you have any recommendations, email me at
Splice & Splice Sounds
Splice allows you to collaborate with other producers and musicians. It uploads your project files to the cloud, which can then be edited by other people you share them with.
But even if you dont plan on using it for collaboration, its a good way to organize your project files and make sure they dont get lost.
Another core offering from Splice is Splice Sounds, a subscription service that allows you to download samples and presets that you can use in your productions. I highly recommend it.
If you want to increase productivity and time spent doing deep workthis is the app for you.
You set a timesay, 60 minutesand then if you dont use your phone during that time, a virtual tree gets built.
Over the day, you can build a nice looking forest. You also get coins each time you build a tree, which allow you to purchase different types of trees.
Ive been using it for years. I love it.
This is a default app that comes with your smartphone, and its severely under-utilised.
Streaks is great for tracking habits and daily systems.
Maybe you want to write better melodies, and your system is to write 3 melodies a day.
But what now?
Write Your Opening Chord Progression
The opening of a pop song is almost just as important as the chorus. Some might argue that its more important because this is what the listener will hear first.
You cant expect someone to listen to your whole song if they havent been impressed by the first ten seconds. Having a weak opening could mean that someone wont bother waiting for the chorus, which makes all your hard work for nothing.
You dont have the time to write a fancy instrumental introduction to ease the listener into the song. You need to open with hooks, whether theyre with your voice or with another instrument.
One idea is to open with the chorus hook but with an instrument. Only do this for a bar or two as you want your voice to come in as soon as possible. A pop artists voice is their greatest asset so you want to bring it in quickly.
How To Write A Pop Song
This article was co-authored by Halle Payne, a trusted member of wikiHow’s volunteer community. Halle Payne has been writing songs since the age of eight. She has written hundreds of songs for guitar and piano, some of which are recorded and available on her Soundcloud or Youtube channel. Most recently, Halle was a part of a 15-person collaboration in Stockholm, Sweden, called the Skal Sisters. This article has been viewed 160,445 times.Learn more…
Have you ever listened to a pop song on the radio and thought that you could write one of those? With a little imagination, a basic musical talent, and a love for metaphors, you can begin writing your own pop song in no time. Not every pop song is a hit, as many artists write hundreds in a year while only publishing eight to ten. However, by practicing over and over again, you can get good at writing pop songs and eventually write one that could be a hit.
Murphys Laws Of Songwriting Ralph Murphy
Ralph Murrays aptly titled Murphys Laws of Songwriting aims to arm songwriters for success by demystifying the songwriting process and opening the door to real professional songwriting.
Ralph Murray himself is a songwriter who has had songs consistently charting throughout the ever-changing decades. He has producer credits on records that have gone platinum. The book is all about getting a listeners attention, inviting them into your song, and keeping them there.
Hall of Fame songwriter Paul Williams said, in a review of the book, If there was a hit songwriters secret handshake, Murphy would have included it. You just know the book is packed full of great ideas.
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Should I Use Piano Music Writing Software When I Am Writing Piano Music
There are several types of software that you can use to write piano music. While these wont necessarily help you come up with a brilliant idea or perfect that gorgeous harmony, they can help make the process of writing piano music a bit easier. The logistics will be taken care of for you so you can focus more on the creative aspects of writing piano music.
Here are a few of the top piano sheet music writing software programs to consider:
- Notion 6
- MagicScore Meastro
- QuickScore Elite Level
How To Write Pop Songs That Will Appeal To Mainstream Music Fans
Youre not satisfied with playing it small you want mainstream success in music. Or, at the very least, you want to create music that appeals to mainstream music fans.
Does this sound ambitious? Thats because it is.
Writing catchy pop songs is not the hard part. Getting them out to the masses is. If youve been a musician for any length of time, then you already know how challenging it can be to cut through the noise and stand out from the crowd. Music is just one factor your personality, branding, image, and a variety of other elements all play a part!
But if you want it bad, there is only one course of action to take start making pop songs and market them like crazy. Heres what you need to know about reaching fans who love top 40 music.
But first, if it’s your aim to do music professionally, you’ll want to check out our free ebook while it’s still available:
Free eBook: Discover how real independent musicians like you are making $4,077 – $22,573+ monthly via Youtube, let me know where to send the details:
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Open Your Piano Roll Grab The Pen Tool And Midi Scribble
My favourite feeling in kindergarten was grabbing a handful of crayons and scribbling all at once. To be honest, Im not sure why I stopped.
Well, I guess I didnt really stop necessarily. I Just do it in my DAW now.
If Im stuck building a beat I often open my piano roll, load up an instrument, grab the pen tool and just start scribbling down notes.
After Im done I play it back and listen for the happy accidents.
Most of the time its 90% crapolla. But that interesting 10% is super valuable for ideas. So grab your DAW and channel your inner 5 year old every now and then.
Write Strong Opening Lyrics
The opening line of your song is very important because it sets the tone of the whole song. It can be good to get your song title in the opening line but this isnt essential. A strong hook with a memorable opening line will hold a listeners attention straight away and keep them engaged throughout the song.
If you cant think of a great opening line, write a few ideas down and get on with the rest of the song. You might find it easier to come back to it after youve written more lyrics. If youre really struggling then theres nothing wrong with using a hook from your chorus as the opening.
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Writing The Melody And Chords
As you experiment with different melodies and chords, this is a perfect time to use some sort of recorder on your phone or on your computer. Try simply singing your lyrics in different ways at least three times, then listen back to your recording and see if you have any keepers.
You could also start with some chords instead. Play some chord progressions on guitar or piano and record those. Then try out some melodies against those chords using your lyrics, if you have those ready.
Or you could try both chords and melodies at the same time. Again, its a great idea to record your experiments so you can really fine-tune which melodies and chords are working and which ones could be tweaked to your satisfaction.
If you are having trouble coming up with a chord progression, you could always borrow one from another song. Choose a song in a similar style and tempo to yours and combine the chords with your own lyrics.
For an example, if you are writing a folk song, you can borrow the chords to Blowin in the Wind, which has a chorus of Bb C- F Dm.
You can use any portion of these chords that works for you. Just make sure that you dont copy the actual melody of your borrowed tune. Song melodies are protected by copyright law, but chord progressions are not, so you can borrow chord progressions any time you like.
Tunesmith: Inside The Art Of Songwriting Jimmy Webb
Jimmy Webb is one of historys greatest songwriters hes a multiple Grammy award winner in three categories, a Songwriters Hall of Fame member, and his song By the Time I Get to Phoenix is apparently, the third-most performed song in the last fifty years.
Tunesmith: Inside the Art of Songwriting is written by an veteran of the music and the book itself was released over two decades ago, but the advice is beautiful and timeless.
The book combines anecdotes, meditation, and advice to break down the creative process into digestible chunks. He works through song construction, chords, lyricism, story-telling, and even a bit of self-promotion and marketing.
Its also a fascinating glimpse into the golden days of Nashville-style songwriting.
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How To Write Your First Pop Song
There is no doubt that writing your first few songs is quite a challenge. No worries though, a good start to your song writing journey can make all the difference. Here are a few ideas to help you take a step in the right direction. Though these ideas are somewhat specific to pop songs, you can use them to write a song in many contemporary genres of music.
Hip Hop Songwriting Back In The Day
Hip-Hop has always been all about BARS. Lyricism was king. You had to be witty and clever to be a rapper back in the day. You couldnt get by on rhyming random shit together. You needed skillful wordplay, metaphors, double entendres and storytelling.
There was a huge focus on lyrical skill and putting together words and concepts in unique and interesting ways. It was more about the message than the vibe. Of course, cadence and flow was crucial. But you didnt get respect for great flow/cadence but wack lyrics.
There was some use of melody, especially for the hook and to accent certain parts of a verse. Bone Thugs N Harmony were notorious for their rapping ability and their ability to harmonize and use melody effectively. But again, people really cared about the lyrics back in the day.
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Songwriting Basics: How To Create A Modern Pop Song Using Just 4 Chords
3 August 21
These days, its all about subtle variations in the arrangement
Pop music obviously derives from popular, but like all art forms, whatever is currently popular changes.
While individuality is always to be encouraged, if you want your tunes to fit well against the current landscape, theyll inevitably need to conform to some extent to what your audience is expecting. This applies not only to the sound, production and genre of a song, but also to its structure.
Successful pop songwriters always keep things simple enough to lock a tune into a listeners subconscious, with enough tonal variety to keep them interested. So, while there are no hard rules to structuring a song, in this lesson well illustrate one way to give a fairly traditional pop song format a more modern twist, using variations in the arrangement of a few parts to make a complete song from no more than a simple, four-chord progression.
For illustration, weve mocked up a lead vocal from random samples, split into five main sections – Verse, Pre-chorus, Chorus, Drop and Bridge. Each has its own distinct melody, and – importantly – all work well over the four chords weve chosen.
ts the uniqueness of each sections melody that will define our songs structure, rather than the unwavering chord progression beneath it.
Finding Inspiration To Write A Song
First things first: set your surroundings up for songwriting, since ideas can come to you at any time!
Youll want to get those ideas committed to paper, a computer, or voice recorder as soon as possible, so keep good quality pens in your home, work environment, and car.
Know how to get to your phones recorder quickly you can sing a melodic idea or say your lyrical idea and save it for a later time. And always have blank notebooks or journals around even a one-word title is worth writing down, so that you dont forget what it was later on.
Youll also want:
- A dictionary this will give you the precise meaning of any word you use. Youll want to choose your words carefully to get the emotional response that you feel for your song.
- A rhyming dictionary this will help you think of possible rhymes to use with any word. Many songs use rhymes at the ends of the even lines of the verses.
- A thesaurus this will help you find alternate words to use, particularly to substitute a more interesting word for words that are too common, like pretty, sad, or nice.
Its time to get inspired! No one in music is an island. Everyone is influenced by different singers, songwriters, guitarists, composers, instrumentalists, and so on. To find your own inspiration, make a list of some of the musicians and songs that have meaning for you. It can be any style!
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Be At Ease With Your Tools Of Choice
As cliché as it may sound, great songs come from a great writing workflow. You can use any medium to write lyrics, be it pen and paper or any software application. If you can express yourself freely without any distractions, any method works as long as you can revisit your ideas eventually. For writing melodies, you can pick up your favourite instrument or simply hum or sing it in your phones sound recorder. Comfort and accessibility are key. Charlie Puth named his second studio album Voicenotes because he used his phone to record song ideas. This is how much of an impact the right songwriting tools could make!
Write Down Ideas For Your Own Hooks
You might come up with an amazing hook straight away, but its more likely that youll need a few attempts. Even if you do come up with a great first hook, create some more so you can compare them to each other.
Getting a few ideas down can help you create different chord progressions. You can then switch around these hooks over different progressions to see what works best.
A great chorus tends to have multiple hooks. Use your favourite hook and chord progression as the opening of your chorus and then use some of your other hooks to finish it off. You could also save your best hook for the second half of the chorus and use the others to build up to it.
Remember to keep it simple and try not to overcomplicate or overthink it. Great choruses are instinctive and spending too long on it can be detrimental. Set yourself a timer and see how much you can accomplish in half an hour or an hour.
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