Monday, June 7, 2010

How to make your own song?

One of the best hobbies that a musician can do is creating songs. This type of endeavor requires a lot of creativity, imagination and musical skills in order to make a good song.
In fact, creating a “hit song” is very rare, even in top writers catalog such as Paul Mc Cartney, you can as well estimate that his hit songs are well around 5 to 20% of the entire songs he written.

This short how-to guide maximizes the chances of creating a good song.

Things you will need:
1.) Cassette Recorder
2.) a piece of blank paper.
3.) Ball pen
4.) Musical Instrument (Guitar or Piano)

Step 1 Write Lyrics first.Using your imagination, write lyrics that tell a story or something that can be inspiring. Using poetic lines is ok, but it is best to write meaningful and easy to understand lyrics.

Write lyrics that can relate people’s lives. This has a strong impact on a success of the song particularly if it is common among people. Start with a good title then followed by the first stanza.

I use 4 lines for each stanza, with the same or similar number of syllables in each of those lines. Example:

Can I know your name?”

I can’t understand how I feel
When you smile my heart beats so fast
I can’t understand why I feel so shy
When I try to look at you

Step 2. Complete the lyrics by defining its pre-structure. Typically, a common structure is:

Verse 1
Verse 2

It is important that you have to present the chorus as early as possible. In music business, time matters, if you are going to present your song to music industry professionals; most of the time their attention span is short particularly around 1 minute and 30 seconds. Chorus is the most important part so make sure that it is well presented in that short span of time.

It is also the reason why the chorus is next to the 1st verse.

Do not yet write any melodies at this stage. Just complete the lyrics.

Step 3. Now start writing melodies. To do this, you need the complete lyrics and start humming or guessing any good melodies that might fit the lyrical lines. It is important that the melodies should fit the lyrics. You can as well tweak the lyrics to fit a great melody line. It is your choice.

Writing melodies is not actually writing notes, but you will base your humming on a chord progression. For example, C-Am-F-G or G-D/F#-Em-C, it is ok to deviate or make your own unique chord progressions but this is not recommended.
If you examine the chord progressions of most hit songs, it is relatively common and predictable like the one shown above.

Step 4 It is ok to spend one day humming the 1st stanza finding good melodies, remember that melody of the song plays an important role on the success of the song. You have freedom to select any tempo of the song. The important is to have a great melody.

If you find a good melody, it is now the time to record it with a cassette recorder (by singing the 1st stanza lyrics with the melodies you create).

Do not forget to write down the chords.

Step 5 Write the hook of the song. This is the most critical part. Great/professional song writers even spend at least a week figuring out the best hook for the song.

Hook is the most addictive part of the song. It is placed in the chorus. It is often the part of the song that is easiest to remember. Hook is often characterized by high but long notes. You might be able to define a hook in 5 notes or 4 notes. For example:

a.) A song “Come Together” from the Beatles. You can remember the song in the long run by just singing “Come—To—Ge—ther” …

b.) All by myself by Celine Dion. The 4 notes on the “All—By—My—Self” is the part which is easiest to remember even if you forgot the rest of the verse lyrics.

This is the characteristic of a good song hook. Make sure to write a hit quality hook, something which is addictive, meaningful and easy to remember. One way is to use the song title as the hook lyrics like the example above.

To test how strong is the hook. Sing it in front of your kids (5 to 6 years old) on a daily basis. If they sing it with you without telling or guiding them, it is a good indication that you have just written a good hook (your kids like it and they remember it).

Step 6 Complete the bridge by creating a contrast melody. The bridge part does not follow the chord progressions of the verse and chorus. The bridge is also optional; some great songs do not even have a bridge part.

Step 7 The ending is just a repetition of either the hook to make more memorable to the listeners. It is why in most commercial songs, the ending might consist of the repetition of the chorus (either using the same or different set of lyrics) and fading out until it ends.

Songwriting is not that simple but it is really an enjoyable and a rewarding hobby. Even a single hit song can make you a living in the long run because of the royalties involved. Not to mentioned, how many lives are changed because of your song (lots of songs became couple wedding themes or inspire them to work, fall in love and enjoy life).

Tips & Warnings

1.) Avoid boring sections of the song. You can always sing it to your friend and if they find it good at first but feel bored at the end, something is wrong within your song. Maybe the verses are too long? Or you have very slight melodic variations?

2.) Do not forget to file a copyright with the copyright office. Protect your asset.

3.) Try to join an open acoustic guitar sessions within your community and present your song. You might receive some constructive comments or even confirm that you have written a very good song.

4.) During the process of tweaking the lyrics to fit a great melody line, make sure that it is still sensible and meaningful.