About songwriting...


Old fart on this board
Apr 15, 2001
Fin fuggen land
I've been meddlin' around with my guitar last few days, and I managed to create my first half-serious attempt of a song.

I have the music almost ready, all I need now is chorus. But my mind goes totally blank when I try to compose something.

So the question is: how do you develop melodies or chord progressions etc. to match something you've got down already?

And another question: How do you get the idea for lyrics? Do you just get an idea of a story or something and go on from there or do you come up with a line or two listening to the music you have and expand that bit?

Any advise, questions etc. welcome!


Vocalist - Guitarist
Apr 17, 2001
Mystic, CT

I usually start with lyrics. I figure out what I want the song to be about, and I generate 3-5 verses, 1 bridge, and 1 chorus. I usually let the poetic style dictate number of lines per verse, rhyme or no rhyme, sylables per line, etc. etc.

Then I think about the lyrics and try to mentally come up with a rough melody for verse, bridge, and chorus. Given those melodies, I then try to write the rough music that would fit behind those melodies. Sometimes I write a bunch of music and a bunch of lyrics and melodies and try to match them together to see what fits...

In your case, I would base the chorus on what already exists... Usually when I write the music first my verses with be based on the root note or chord, then my bridge might be on the 3rd or 5th, and then the chorus goes back to the root.... but usually an octave higher or lower. Thats a rough rule of thumb I mess with.

Also I like to change the rhythm timing between verse/bridge/chorus without changing the tempo. So if I build a verse rhythm at tempo 100, and I am playing 16th notes(chords), my bridge might be tempo 100 using 1/8 notes(chords) and my chorus tempo 100 using 1/4 notes..... or some mismash thereof.

As far as writing lyrics after the music, the mood of your music should set the topic of your lyrics. Hense a fast kick ass tune wouldn't normally be about my dog dying. And a slow melodic tune wouldn't usually be about getting shitfaced and outdrinking your mates.

Once you pick a topic, decide what ideas you want to get across in each verse/bridge/chorus and try to jot down some lines dealing with each. Then go back to your music and try to develop your vocal melodies. At this point you have to match your words/idea to the melody - which will dictate how your ideas will be finalized into lyrics that fit.

Make sense? Thats only one of a million ways to go about it, but you should do it the way that 'feels' the most comfortable to you.

OH... and I find that ancient/old writings and literature can be a gold mine in lyrics and ideas. And its not copyrighted! It usually takes a bit of massaging to make them fit.... but then again so do my first draft lyrics.

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