Study the form and layout of an example song. Learn about song writing philosophy, song formats, applying a key signature, the use of harmony and the layout of harmony through song sections…
One of the popular questions that guitar players are typically curious about, is the question centered around how to write a song.
The short answer is that songs are written around emotions or experiences that end up causing an artist to want to express themselves. And, that expression is released through rhythms, harmonies and melodic lines.
The long answer centers around how that expression actually becomes focused in a musical way. How the music is organized into those rhythms, harmonies and melody lines.
Discovering how an artist can produce a piece of music will involve learning to comprehend a practical understanding of both the development process and the writing process.
SONG WRITING DEVELOPMENT:
Composing skills are not easy skills for the introductory level musician to develop. Reaching compositional mastery will take a musician many years of study and practice to be able to achieve.
While there isn’t one single “fail-safe” composing system there are however a number of important ‘stages of development’ that a musician can learn from which will help them navigate through the complex art of composition and do so at a somewhat accelerated rate.
One of the most important “first stage” levels of every songwriters skill set is the time that is spent doing copyist work (transcription).
A great deal of song writing insight can be gained by learning about another artist, and how they compose, arrange and record their songs. When we work through the musical pieces of composers who we admire our understanding for song structure will increase more rapidly.
THE WRITING PROCESS:
How does a song begin? Is it a feeling of inspiration? Some musicians say that travel is one of their biggest influences for coming up with new songs.
Other musicians will say that their new song ideas will begin with a rhythm groove, (or by way of a groovy riff), that was inspired by a series of notes that push harmony in a certain way.
Other musicians have said that their song writing inspiration will come out of the discovery of a strong melody line that they tend to either, “stumble” upon or get inspired to create by way of another song melody they enjoy.
Other musicians have commented that they really have no set system that facilitates how they will compose their music because their writing approach is constantly changing.
Once inspiration strikes it obviously needs to grow and expand in a manner that eventually creates a full song structure.
Songs can grow from out of a simple structure of a verse and chorus and either remain that way (many pop-songs), or a piece might evolve into a more complicated song arrangement.
A piece of music might just as easily be very basic in its harmony, or it can become more harmonically complex with the use of various key changes, and song sections, (including; guitar solos, a bridge, interludes, separate intros and outro’s, etc.).
WRITE MUSIC WITH PURPOSE:
One thing that a good song writer can do is compose musical ideas in ways that are captivating, (the song will pull the listener in).
The piece of music needs to capture the listeners interest. Obviously style plays a role with how a listener will respond.
For example; a person who is interested in primarily country-western music might not exactly enjoy a heavy metal song – no matter how well it was written.
This songwriting series will be taught in three parts. It will cover the analysis of various songwriting ideas used to create a pop/rock song.
The example piece was written by Andrew Wasson for this video lesson series. The piece contains several sections, (see the form and layout list given below across bullet points).
In this video we will examine the songs key signature, the use of harmony and the layout of the harmony through the various sections of the piece.
Sections for our example song include:
- Guitar Break
- Guitar Solo
Thank you for participating! A copy of the lead-sheet for this piece is available for download below.
- Click the button below to download the lesson handout (access to lesson material will require a FREE membership)