Songwriting And Composition

Here, I'm going to discuss various aspects of creating a track based upon information gathered through personal experience and many hours of discussion with other musicians.

Intro/Verse/bridge/Chorus. A cliché formula which is the basis on which many songs are constructed. It can be ditched in favour of of writer's aims or personal preference. The structure can be whatever is compatible with your own ideas, as long as it works for the piece you are putting together. The choice of distinct elements is likely to influence how chord progressions are decided upon and the likelihood of the writer needing to have a set of chords to use for each part of the song. I have on a number of tracks used one prgression for all parts to good effect and know others have done likewise. I've also used that approach but changed key for the chorus while keeping the same basic progression of chords and types in respect of major/minor with whichever other intervals I used for the initial construction. The key change is great for lifting/lowering and indicating where the transition from one part to another exists, it's often used to lift the end of a song where the whole turnaround is then played in a higher key.     

Tonality has a big influence on mood and as such the lyrics often help dictate the chord choice which conveys that mood. Some chords with particular intervals sound sombre or cheerful from the outset. The juxtaposition of tonally contrasting chords is a good way to capitalise on a passage of a song which is intended to convey feeling of one kind or other. Interpretation of feeling and delivering it in a song, for me is very important because my whole idea of enjoying music is expression, performed or taken in while listening to the work of others.  

Purpose is a key factor, will it be popular? Is it my way of conveying a message/propoganda/emotion/experience?  It is possible to combine popularity with a true to one's self outpouring. The evidence of which adorns many an album or single which has been comercially successful. That balance is the authors choice. Content is personal choice and can be statement like or the use of imagery and metaphors can be employed to great effect.  

Point A is sometimes more difficult than need be for some musicians. Without it, point B is unlikely to become a realistic destination. A word, a chord or a note can all be the point A. I am not including concepts/ideas or intent, because it's having a tangible item which will serve far better. Writer's block, can be overcome in a number of ways, but the method of getting past that is probably more effective if it is worked out by the person who is unable to write. Personally, I start with whatever comes to hand, knowing full well that point A can be discarded and replaced any number of times if it appears to be taking me where I don't want to go.  Honesty with one's self is a beneficial approach, as often it becomes apparent that a project isn't all that, before others get to point out the obvious. Unfortunately honesty is not to everyone's taste but it does have a proven track record and often needs a photo finish whilst arriving at the flag in a similar time to objectivity.   

Suggestive content is a matter of taste. I personally like to work with adult themes from time to time. Not that I'm an old perv, but because I like to use everything which inspires me. Delivering such content requires skill and an understading of how to coax the listener to bring their own experiences into the listening of a set of lyrics. Word play is a great device, using double edged phrasing or words makes a track work for a bigger range of listneners. Being suggestive and knowing the line that ought not be crossed can be far more effective in all styles of writing than simply putting things on a plate and applying copious amounts of sauce.

I'll keep adding to this as I get time to write or come with more solutions. I'm certainly open to any input from others. Feel free to e-mail your wisdom to the address on the front page.