Discussion in 'By the Genre' started by jennigs, Dec 10, 2013.
I really need to write a song about bullying but don't know where to start
Well, what's your instrument? What's your "platform," i.e. are you writing it to be performed by a singer, a singer accompanying himself with a guitar, a band, a symphony orchestra...?
Whatever the case, here's how I write songs for my band:
-I come up with different riffs / melodies / chord progressions / drum beats pretty much every day and I usually record them with my phone's recorder to be used later or I jot them down on Guitar Pro (a music program)
-I have themes / ideas, i.e. subjects for songs that I want to write about (lyrics, I mean), so I write the lyrics (ironic that although I'm a writer, for me, writing the lyrics is the hardest part when it comes to song writing). Sometimes I do this after everything else is ready, I have plenty of "ready" songs that just lack lyrics
-when I write lyrics, I try my best to convey the feelings, the mood, the message that I want to convey to the listener, find the balance between content and form (e.g. sometimes I sacrifice a rhyme for clarity of meaning and vice versa depending on which is more important in a given part)
-some riffs / melodies etc. have a certain mood: they can be angry, joyous, melancholy etc. so if the subject matter of the song is, say, bullying (which often induces feelings of anger, frustration, sadness, disappointment), I'd be inclined to use riffs / melodies etc. from my collection that fit those moods
-like that guy from Satyricon, I often copy / paste parts into my songs: I have a massive collection of riffs, melodies, chord progressions etc. that I can use, combine some of them into a song when I find some that seem to fit together nicely. This is what I usually do although sometimes (rarely) I have moments of inspiration when I sit down to write a part, but more parts keep coming up and, before I know it, I have a ready song in my hands, written in a few minutes
-I make the arrangement: I write the guitar parts, bass parts, drum parts, and vocal melodies / harmonies, and make sure they all fit together, that there's no dissonance where I don't want any etc.
-introcude it to the band
-voilà, a ready song
Hope this helps.
I am a better musician than writer, which may not be saying much, but in any case...
If you have a topic you want to write a song about, you can start with writing out what you want to say in prose. Personally, I find it easiest to write lyrics first then do the music. The trickiest part of making lyrics out of prose is the meter/cadence or whatever... the rhythm. One idea that works well is to take a song with a feel you like and try to write your lyrics to that rhythm. If you can carry a tune, then you can write a melody. If you don't play an instrument, the music part may be a problem, but T. Trian gave some good advice there. A lot of music is made currently by folks who have no musical training. Loops and samples.
A song about bullying might work best in a softer context, unless you want to write from the bully's perspective, in which case a rap song could be just the ticket. Good luck.
Establish your feelings on the topic and the story you want to tell, and write them down. If you have any particularly strong images or metaphors you intend on using, write those down, too.
Compose some music that sets the mood you wish to set.
At that point, you'll have a meter and rhythm in place so that you can write lyrics. Stay focused on the preliminary ideas you've written already.
Once you've done that, sing and play at the same time. This will show you the difficult passages where words and groove may clash. Either practice those to make them perfect, or iron out the difficulty in rewrite -- which is something I think improves most songs, yet is too often overlooked by songwriters.
Sometimes, I write a song about something, but don't write any lyrics at all, because I want to challenge myself to capture the mood using only music.
Generally speaking, that's how I write music.
You can hear some results here, if you can tolerate the poor sound quality of old analog recordings.
Local band's songwriter incoming. A few tips I've picked up from songwriting and circulating on forums of songwriters:
1) Have you heard a tip where, if you chew gum whilst in a lecture, chewing the same gum can make it easier to remember what you learned? The first step in a good song is a little like that: get yourself in the emotion of the song you want to write about, be it happy, sad, angry, etc. by thinking about memories which make you feel those things. This will make your emotions much more honest and open, and the emotional connection will show in the lyrics themselves.
2) Keep a notepad and pen handy at all times. You never know when inspiration will hit. Write down anything that comes to you even if you don't think it's up to scratch; you might see it in a new light later. Most importantly, keep everything you write. Do not throw anything away. It's all a vital part of the process and you can turn to your body of notes when you're stuck for inspiration.
3) Write daily. Even if it's nonsense, just pick up a pen and write anything. I write lists of gibberish words that my brain throws at me every morning: roger, silk, canoe, etc. It gets the creative parts of the brain working so that ideas are much more freely-flowing later.
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