Webmaster, World Of Songwriting
Keep in mind there is no one set way of learning how to write a song, every songwriter has a different process, but for the sake of the beginner songwriter I’m going to explain how I write my songs. Then as you begin to write more and more songs of your own you will find that the secret of of how to be a songwriter is to discover your own method that works best for you.
Step 1. What do you want to write about?
Before you start messing around with chords and melodies, I find it helpful to have an idea of what I want to write about, this helps me stay focused on one subject and stops my song veering off in too many directions.
You should be able to sum up what your song is about in one short sentence.
For example, “A relationship that’s on the rocks” or “cheating girlfriend, begging for me back”.
Knowing what theme your song is based around is the first step in learning how to write a song, it will help with the future steps of choosing the right chords and melodies.
For instance, if your song is sad you would tend to use more minor chords and melodies constructed using the minor scale.
Step 2. Get A Chord Progression
So now that you know what you want to write about it’s time to get a chord progression together. You have two options:
Play the same chords for the entire song i.e. same chords for verse, chorus etc.
Play different chords for verse, chorus, bridge etc.
Both options work perfectly and many successful songs have been written using both methods. Here’s some examples you should take a listen to:
“All Along The Watchtower” by Jimi Hendrix
“With or Without You” by U2
“Don’t Stop Believin'” by Journey
“Slow Dancing In A Burning Room” by John Mayer
So lets say you want to use a different chord progression for verse, chorus and bridge. This means you need 3 different chord progressions. Great stuff! Lets start with a verse.
In order to write chord progressions we need to pick a song key. If you don’t know how to pick a song key read “how to write music using song keys”.
So lets say we are in the key of C. This means we can play “C major, D minor, E minor, F major, G major, A minor”. All you need to do is play around with these chords until you find a progression you like. When you find one, that’s your verse. Do the same for your chorus and bridge (if you have one).
That’s the foundation for your song down, now you can start working on melodies and lyrics.
Here’s a conversation with Broadcast Music Inc (BMI) Songwriter, Claude Kelly