Music is a very powerful tool in shaping our lives and well being. It can raise us up to unimaginable heights or cast us all into our deepest lows. And then it can be a companion through good and trying times and inspire us to do something great for ourselves. As I type this, I am listening to some soothing music to calm my stressed nerves.
No matter who you are, you must like music, you must have a song that can do wonders to your emotions. Aside affecting our emotional side, music can also have therapeutic properties. Some songs are played to patients on their road to recovery from surgery and a considerable amount of improvement can be detected in their health. I know you have a favourite song, and if not you have some songs that just gets you going.
Have you not wondered how this song (or songs) was written? How do you go by putting words side by side and crafting an appropriate rhythm that fits your lyrics? Do you have to be Frank Sinitra or Elvis Presley to write a beautiful song? Just how do you write a song?
What Makes A Song?
Like I usually say, to understand how to make something, the first thing is to understand how many parts makes it up. For example if you want to prepare Jollof rice and you don’t know that the major ingredient is rice, how can you make progress then? To any kind of song, you have to understand the small parts that makes it up. Working on this small parts ultimately leads to the final piece. So what makes a song?
This is the general pattern in which the lyrics of your song will be fitting. If you are writing a upbeat song, danceable to, you should choose a fast and lively rhythm. An emotional love song should probably have a slow tempo. But I have heard songs which doesn’t follow these rules, you own your song, your song, your rules.
This is the wordings to the song. As a songwriter this is your home ground. To write a song, you must determine what kind of song it is going to be. You must choose your lyrics to suit the kind of song you want. Love songs have lovely words while inspirational songs have inspiring lyrics. If you are writing sad songs, it should want to make us cry and upbeat party songs should have suggestive lyrics that will want to make us shake our bodies.
Genre is the kind and category of music you are writing. There are very many genres of music and more are springing up every other year. Many of them have lasted as long as man lived and they have had their champions over time. Below is a list of popular genres, if you love music you should be familiar with a couple of them too.
- Hip Pop (Drake, Nicky Minaj, Rick Ross)
- Pop (Michael Jackson, Britney Spears)
Rock (Imagine Dragons, 21 pilots, Queens)
- Naija Hip Hop (WizKid, Olamide, Davido)
- R & B (Chris Brown, R.Kelly, Joe, Kelly Rowland)
- Blues (Lionel Richie, Ed Sheeran, Owl City)
- Country (Don Williams, Taylor Swift, Shania Twain)
- Gospel (Don Moen, Kirk Franklin)
- Reggae (Bob Marley, Lucky Dube, Majeck Fasheck)
- These are some Nigeria genres
Juju (Sir Shina Peters, King Sunny Ade, Ebenezer Obey)
- Fuji (King Saudi Osupa, King Ainde Wasiu Marshal, Pasuma)
- Apala (Ainla Omo Wura, Q.dot)
If you have gotten your rhythm and are spurred to write, there is nothing that can stop you. So you have known some popular genres, the next is to get writing. All you need is a pen (or even pencil, so you can change any word at will) and a sheet of paper…..but
Did I scare you? Do be scared. Before you start writing, there are things you have to decide.
1. What genre of music will you like to write?
This is the first and the most important (okay, okay, the second most important after your rhythm) part of song writing. If you have not determine if you’re going to be writing a love song, how can get to doing that?
2. How many verses will it have?
Some songs are one verse long (You raised me up by Westlife) while most others have two verses with a bridge or hook. If you want to write a three or four versed song, no qualms.
3. What is it going to be about?
Is it a love song or a heart break song? Is it an inspirational or a clarion call to the suffering of the masses, decide that now. It is from the purpose of the song that your lyrics will spring.
Now we have done with deciding that, let’s start writing
Lyrics is the heart of a song. It is from the lyrics the music power to lift or crush or stir so desperately one’s emotions originates. As a good songwriter, who wants his songs to become hits and be remembered a long time, you need to put much work into your lyrics. A typical lyrics have the following parts
- Hook (optional)
- Bridge (optional)
Like I said before, a typical song can have one or two verses. If you know how to write poems you should be good with the verses. A song is nothing but a sang poem. Put your emotions into the verses, try to make one line rhyme with the next. Let your words carry the power of the idea you are trying to express.
This is the repeating part of your lyrics. It can be repeated six to seven times before the song is over. Most of the time it carries the song’s title.
This is a piece of lyric sang just before the chorus. It’s acting as an anchor between the verses and the chorus. Sometimes hooks appear only once, and other times if they appear more than once doesn’t necessarily have the same wordings. Together with the chorus, it is the first part of the song your fans would remember.
This also acts like an anchor, but it appears only once and only after the last verse. Then after it, the chorus comes back and the song ends. Bridges are a very powerful part of the song where you need to put strong or beautiful lyrics.
Now you know
Wow. You read till the end. Congratulations. Like all creative things, song writing is a learnable craft. You won’t write a stunning song on your first try ( Well, you can! You are a genius! Who am I to say you can’t!) but constant practise will hone your skills. Get your gears today, stardom is waiting for you.