Tips to Writing a Good Song : Keep the Music Simple
There are many self made musicians on youtube and myspace with tons of talent. Do you ever wonder how you could be like them? What makes some songs better than others? How do you make people want to sing your songs over and over again?
Anyone can write songs, but it does take some skill to make a song a hit. In this hub, I will offer one important tip to write good songs -
Keep the Music Simple
Some of the best songs have the same chord progression or melody or structure repeated over and over and over again. Pop songs tend to be more successful when they are kept simple. This does NOT mean that the song is BORING. Boring songs do not take the listener anywhere emotionally, and they do not inspire people to listen to them after one listen.
Simple tunes can often be very beautiful. Simple tunes can also be very interesting.
Don’t be surprised, but simple tunes often come naturally to us, as harmony and beauty in music is something that is an innate quality for most of us. For example, nursery rhymes and most children's songs are very easy to learn, and they hardly have any dissonance or weird intervals. When we write songs, we should not be afraid to begin with a simple tune.
HOWEVER, while composing a simple tune might come very easily, turning your tune into a song that flows requires time, a discerning ear and keen musicianship. In fact, while some songs may hit us in a moment of inspiration, many songs require time and effort to prune and ferment.
So how exactly can this idea of a simple song be executed with class? Here are some ideas.
For a start, you can layer your melody over a chord progression that is a little unique. Sometimes, writing a C2 instead of a C chord can make the song sound more interesting, as the color of the song changes.
Alternatively, you can dress up a simple tune could be layering different harmonies on top or underneath it. Often singers tend to harmonize naturally by singing a third below or above the melody. Sometimes, a clashing note at the end of the phrase that resolves will make the tune sound more sophisticated or jazzy, and this is a very effective strategy that can do wonders for your song.
One favorite method is to vary a tune’s rhythm while preserving the notes each time it is sung. For example, ‘The Star Spangled Banner’ and ‘Happy Birthday to you’ are two songs with the same rhythm but different tunes. Dong this tastefully keeps the feel refreshing, and keeps your listeners’ ears perked up, as they will be listening out for little musical surprises.
Sometimes, you can vary the mood of your verse, bridge and the chorus. Moods can be varied by using various chord progressions, or rhythms or changing the instrumentation... eg. major vs minor, fast vs slow, high register vs low register... transposing to different keys..
Yet another important strategy is to write stellar lyrics that will shine through a simple melody (instead of being overpowered by a melody that draws attention to itself). Simple often means effective, and this allows people to reflect on the lyrics, while they enjoy singing the tune. Songs that have complicated tunes are often hard to master, and this is discouraging for people when they are trying to learn your song. This is especially for songs that are telling stories, or for songs like religious songs - where lyrics and words are of high importance.
Have fun with these tips! And feel free to experiment, and combine these tips too. Writing music is a process that you should enjoy. Perhaps you might have some tips of your own too! Please share them with others in the comment boxes below!
More Hubs About Music
- How Did Music Evolve in Humans? the link with bipedalism
How did music evolve? In this hub, I adopt an evolutionary psychology approach and give a possible explanation as to how music might have evolved.
- How to be a Good Choir Accompanist? Tips and General Guidelines for Pianists working with Choirs
Being a choir accompanist can be a most enjoyable job to some, while it can be excruciatingly stressful for others. Here are some guiding principles that all accompanists should abide by, no matter what kind of choir they are accompanying.
- How To Have Effective and Fun Children's Choir Rehearsal
Conducting a childrens' choir offers so much opportunity to inspire and make lifelong impact on young lives. This hub offers some advice on how to make choir rehearsals enjoyable and effective for both you and your choir.
More by this Author
What is a good choir warm up to break the ice? Singing people's names can be a great vocal warm up, and this hub describes how you can jazz this up.
Have you always wanted to learn how to play the piano? Perhaps you never had the time for lessons, or could never afford lessons - in this day and age, there are many ways and resources out there for you to teach...
If you have an INFJ friend, this article will would give you ideas for how to make their birthday special without overwhelming them with surprises.