How to Write a Song: 20 Techniques for Writing Memorable Music

Aug 16 / Max Porcelli

How Does a Song Get Started?
(Good Question!)

writing lyrics and music to write a song

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The answer is different for every songwriter, but here are a few tips to help you get fresh ideas going:

When writing song lyrics, start with a captivating title. Brainstorm ideas that express the desired mood/message. A well-crafted title inspires lyrics and gives direction for melody/chords. By considering the title, you lay a strong foundation for a memorable song.

When songwriting, many start by experimenting with chord progressions to capture the desired mood and emotion.

This establishes a strong melodic foundation before diving into lyrics. By shaping the musical structure, songwriters create compositions that resonate deeply with listeners.

When working on a song, jot down key lines or phrases that resonate with you. These words provide a solid foundation for songwriting. By recording initial sparks of creativity, you can enhance the depth and meaning of your song. So grab pen and paper, and let your imagination flow!

When you're ready to craft your lyrics, start by using a voice recorder. Speaking your lyrics into the recorder helps you remember the memorable parts and capture the flow of ideas as they come naturally. This simple yet effective technique ensures you don't miss any spontaneous moments of inspiration during your creative process. So grab your recorder, hit that record button, and let the magic unfold!

To combine the music and lyrics, start by blending them together harmoniously. Take the time to explore and experiment with various melodies, chord progressions, and rhythmic patterns.

Be creative in finding ways to make your words seamlessly fit the music, allowing them to complement each other beautifully. By dedicating this effort, you'll discover the true magic that emerges when words and music come together as one.

Follow these simple steps and let your creative talents soar. Immerse yourself in the joy of crafting a unique song that resonates with you. Explore melodies, harmonies, and lyrics, and watch your creation become a personal masterpiece loved by many.

Unleash your musical brilliance and embark on this enchanting journey of self-expression. Your song has the power to touch countless hearts and leave a lasting impact on the world of music.

So don't be afraid to try something new and take risks when it comes to writing your own songs too. That's how the best ones are made!

Let's delve deeper into the topic to gain a more comprehensive understanding.

Learn Music Theory for Songwriters

theory to write a song

Writing a great song requires more than just knowing the basics of music theory. Taking time to learn the fundamentals of music theory can help you create better songs, that stand out from the crowd and make an impact.

Start by learning about basic concepts such as scales, chords, intervals and rhythm.

These principles form the basis for any good song and will give you the tools you need to create memorable melodies and chord progressions.

You can also explore advanced concepts such as harmonic progressions, contrapuntal melodies and modulation.

Once you have a good understanding of music theory, you can begin experimenting with different approaches and techniques to write music.

This will help you develop your own style and open up new possibilities for your songwriting. Who knows, you may even discover a whole new way of writing songs that could become your signature sound!

So if you're looking to take your songwriting skills to the next level, don't forget to practice and study music theory. It may seem intimidating at first, but with time and effort, you can be sure to make some amazing tracks!

Lyrics and Rhythm

The very first step in the creative process of writing a great song is to come up with lyrics and rhythm. Writing the words that will make up your song can be daunting at first, but having a basic template or plan can help you get started.

Start by thinking of a few lines that embody what you want your song to say. Next, pick out some key words — these will be the words that you want to emphasize and repeat throughout your song.

Once you have a few lyrics, work on the rhythm.

This step is important for creating a catchy melody and can help make your song stand out from the rest. Rhythmic elements like tempo, time signature, dynamics, and phrasing can all add character to your song.

Keep a Lyrics Diary

song writing diary to write a song

If you're struggling to come up with new ideas for your songs, consider keeping a lyrics diary. Writing down any thoughts, lyric lines or phrases that come to mind can help spark creativity and give you something to work with later.

You don't have to write out full verses, just jot down a few lines at a time and see what comes of it. If you're feeling extra creative, try writing a few different versions of the same line to see which one sounds best.

Record Sketches in your DAW or With your Phone

Steinberg Cubase daw to record Sketches
Once have some lyrics and rhythms sketched out, it's time to record them and bring your musical ideas to life. If you have access to a digital audio workstation (DAW), this is the perfect opportunity to utilize its powerful capabilities.

With a DAW, you can quickly and seamlessly record your lyrical ideas into an instrumental track, allowing you to experiment with different arrangements and compositions until you find the perfect fit for your song.

However, if you don't have access to a DAW, there's no need to worry! You can still capture and record your creative ideas using just your phone. Simply open a recording app and ensure you follow a few basic principles to achieve optimal audio quality.

Consider using headphones to monitor your recordings and keep the microphone positioned away from potential noise sources for a cleaner and more focused sound.

Remember, the recording process is all about capturing and refining your musical vision, regardless of the tools at your disposal. So, don't let the absence of a DAW hold you back from bringing your ideas to fruition.

Embrace the freedom to express your creativity and let your inspirations soar!

Melody and Harmony

chorus melody and harmony

After you've got your lyrics and basic song structure down, it's time to move onto the melody. This is where things get a bit more involved as you'll be writing the chord progression for both melody and harmony in most songs.

Start off by writing a simple chorus melody that repeats throughout the song. Once you have that, create an accompanying vocal line for the verse melody. Try to avoid using the same melody for both so that your song doesn't become repetitive.

Once you have a verse and chorus melody, it's time to move on to the pre-chorus.

This is a great opportunity to introduce any new elements or modulations before getting into the chorus. Lastly, create a bridge section with its own unique melody for further variety.

Why is Song Structure Such a Big Deal?

The song structure is extremely important for a few reasons. Firstly, it creates an easy-to-follow roadmap for listeners to follow along with the song.

Secondly, it adds variety to keep the listener engaged and prevents your song from becoming repetitive or monotonous.

Lastly, creating a clear structure will ensure that all of the elements you introduced in your verse come back together in a cohesive way for the chorus.

Developing your Personal Style

Now that you have a basic understanding of songwriting techniques, it's time to start developing your own personal style and sound.

Take some time to listen to and analyze your favorite songs and try to identify why they are so memorable. What words do they use? How did they arrange

Listen and Learn

listen and learn how to write a song

When it comes to songwriting, the best way to improve is by listening and learning from the greats.

Listen to a few songs that you love and break them down into their components - lyrics, melody, structure, and harmony. Once you understand how all of the pieces fit together, you can start applying those same techniques to your own music.

You'll soon find yourself writing better and more memorable songs in no time!

Have Fun and Experiment

listen and learn to understand how to write a song

Writing music should truly be a fun and rewarding experience, allowing you to dive into the depths of creativity.

It is crucial to carve out dedicated time every day to immerse yourself in the exploration of various chord progressions, melodies, lyrics, and song structures.

Embrace the freedom to experiment fearlessly, as it is in these audacious endeavors that you may stumble upon brilliance.

Remember, even the most accomplished songwriters have encountered a few duds on their journey to creating their greatest hits.

So, if your initial attempts at songwriting don't quite hit the mark, be kind to yourself and persevere, for greatness often emerges from the most unexpected places.

Keep pushing the boundaries of your musical expression and let the magic unfold!

Exercise: Simple Syllables

notebook, pen, pencil to write a song

One great exercise for songwriters is to write a song using simple syllables and phrases.

Pick a few examples of short words or even one-word phrases that express the sentiment you want to convey in your song, then work on creating a melody around those words.

This can help you create memorable phrase hooks, as well as give you practice in understanding how different vocal melodies work with different lyrics.

Look for the Melody that Lives in your Lyrics

It's not just the music that makes a great song, it's also the melody.

When you're working on writing your lyrics, look for ways to incorporate melodic moments.

A good way to do this is to think of in song form how you would sing the words when speaking them out loud.

Focus on areas like choruses, verses, and pre-chorus, and think about how you can use those to create a melodic motif.

For example, if your chorus starts with the same melody as the verse, this can give your song added depth and flow.

Use a Field Recorder to Capture Cool Sounds

When recording music, you don't just have to rely on instruments. You can also use field recorders and other sound-capturing devices to bring some unexpected sounds into your songs.

This can be anything from a thunderstorm rumbling in the background, or the sound of birds chirping - it's up to you!

Using these extra sounds will give your song a unique character and help it stand out from the rest of popular songs.

Re-Arrange your Songs to See what Works Best

Re-arrange your own songs

Once you have a few drafts of your first song done, don't be afraid to mix them up and see what works best.

Try swapping the chorus for the verse or the pre-chorus, or change up certain melodies.

Experimenting with the structure of your song will help you to come up with something truly unique and memorable.

Collaborate With Other Songwriters

If you're feeling stuck or want a fresh perspective on your song, it can be beneficial to collaborate with other professional songwriters.

You don't have to write the whole song together - just discussing ideas and giving each other feedback can help you to come up with something great.

Plus, it's a great way to meet like-minded people and develop your songwriting skills even further.

Song Building Blocks

Song Building Blocks

Once you have an idea of how your song should look, it can be useful to break it down into its building blocks.

This will help you to make sure each part works together and that nothing is unintentionally left out.

These building blocks typically include the intro, verse, pre-chorus, chorus, bridge and outro.

With this structure in place, it will be simpler to tweak and rearrange your song until you are happy with the result.

Create a Great Title for Your Song

write a song title

When all the pieces of your song are in place, don't forget about the song title! A great title can help to draw listeners in and give them a taste of what they can expect from the song.

Think of it as a mini summary that captures the essence of the song in just a few words. These are just some of the techniques you can use to write memorable songs.

So, why not give them a try and see how they can help you create your own masterpiece? With patience and practice, you'll be well on your way to writing great songs that stand the test of time!

Record your Song

Once you have finished writing your song, it's time to record it.

You can choose to work with a recording studio or home record using your own equipment.

Whichever route you choose, make sure that you take the time to get the sound just right.

Consider layering multiple instruments and vocals as needed, and use effects such as reverb or delay to give your song a unique sound.

Publish and Promote your Song

youtube, laptop, notebook


You have now written and recorded your own song. The next step is to publish it and start promoting it.

Consider the type of platform you want to use to get your music out there, such as SoundCloud or YouTube, or even an online streaming service.

You can also use social media and other platforms to reach more people and get the word out about your tunes.

By taking these steps, you can start building a following and connecting with music lovers around the world. It may take some time, but it will be worth it when you see how much joy your songs bring to others!

More Songwriting Tips

Writing great songs takes time, practice, and experimentation - but it doesn't have to be hard. With these songwriting tips, you'll be able to write your own memorable songs in no time.

So get out there, start writing melodies, experimenting with different sounds and instruments, and have some fun. Before you know it, you'll be writing music that's just as great as your favorite songs!

Remember to think about the structure of your song before you start coming up with melodies and lyrics.

This will help lay a solid foundation for creating something truly special. And don't forget to experiment with new musical ideas too - you never know what kind of amazing piece of music you could create!

Start writing today and let your imagination take over.

And don't forget to share your creations with the world - you just might be surprised by how many people love it!

Fast Recap

So, crafting exceptional songs requires dedication, honing your skills, and embracing experimentation - yet it need not be arduous. Armed with these songwriting insights, you will effortlessly create captivating melodies that resonate with your audience in record time.

Embark on your musical journey by immersing yourself in creating captivating melodies, exploring diverse sounds, and experimenting with various instruments. Enjoy the process, and in no time, you'll be crafting music that rivals your favorite songs in greatness!

As said before, prior to delving into melodies and lyrics, it is crucial to consider the structure of your song. This mindful approach ensures optimal word choice, improved structure, enhanced readability, and overall eloquence while preserving the original meaning.

This will establish a strong base for crafting something genuinely extraordinary. Additionally, always be open to exploring fresh musical concepts—because you never know what magnificent composition you might bring into existence!

Begin your writing journey today, setting free the boundless power of your imagination. And remember to share your creations with the world - you might just be astonished by the multitude of hearts they capture!
About the Author

Max Porcelli

Steinberg Certified Trainer, DJ, and Producer with 29 years of experience. He owns 989 Records, an Electronic Music Label based in Italy. Every Saturday he hosts an exciting Radio Show called 989 Records Radio Show on air on Patchouli Deep Radio, London. 
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