Do you always have a melody buzzing in your head or is it even a line of text? And now you want to know how you can turn it into a song?
In our guide, you’ll find all the tips and tricks you need to write lyrics and music, as well as step-by-step instructions that can help you.
The essentials in short
- How a song is written and structured depends on the genre
- A theme or emotion provides a good foundation for a song
- Many songs are written from personal experience. This is often easier, especially for beginners
- A song doesn’t necessarily have to have lyrics
- When it comes to songwriting, there are no rules you have to stick to. You can give free rein to your creativity
Background: what you should know about songwriting
Basically anyone can write a song. However, this can be overwhelming, especially in the beginning. That’s why we want to clarify some basic questions and give you tips on how to get started very easily.
Which comes first: music or text?
One thing you should know about songwriting: there are no hard and fast rules! Some begin first with the text, others with the melody, others with harmony. For many beginners, it is often easier to write lines of text first (like some kind of poem). The following applies: start with what is easiest for you or where you may already have an initial idea. If you’ve already thought about a text passage, you can try continuing to write it first. If you can’t get a melody out of your head, you can try developing it.
If you are writing a song with another person, it is important to first agree on what to do and who is responsible for which part. Obviously, neither the lyric nor the musical part has to be 100% ready before moving on to the other. It can always be modified and expanded later.
Method 1: text first
If you write the text first, it is often easier because you just have to add a melodic accompaniment to the story that is told in the text. It can be difficult to write the melody as expressively as the lyrics.
Method 2: melody first
If you start with music, there are also several approaches. You can write the melody first. Melody is what people usually think about and what they sing about on the street. Nowadays it takes a back seat and therefore some of it is not really elaborate.
Method 3: first build the harmonious structure
But you can also build the harmonic structure first by trying out different chord progressions on the guitar, for example. You should make sure that the melody does not get “stuck” on the chords afterwards. Most of the time it happens that the melody does not exceed an octave because it fits too much into the harmony and can therefore seem boring.
Method 4: Start with the rhythm
Another method is to start with a rhythm, so to speak, to write the song from the bottom up. This style is particularly suitable for electronic dance music. First there is a loop or rhythm, this determines the tempo of the song. Then you expand it with more instruments, melody and voice or rap. This method can help when you don’t know how to get started. The practical thing is that you can play a loop for several hours.
In general, you should make sure you don’t expect too much of yourself. If this is your first song, it will be a little patchy sooner or later.
What equipment do I need to write a song?
Depending on how you want to write a song, you don’t need a lot of equipment. A pen, a piece of paper and a tool might be enough. Guitar and piano are often used in song writing because you can try out different chords on them. But other instruments that you have at home and / or that you can play can also be used. Here too there is no right or wrong.
However, if you want to make things a little more different or don’t have an instrument, music software can help. With this you can digitally imitate the tools, but also try out different tools and put them together. In most cases, you can also record and embed your instruments with such software. Notes are also shown to you as notes, which is an added bonus if you can’t read and / or write notes on your own.
Many manufacturers use a MIDI keyboard. It serves as a digital interface for musical instruments and controls electronic and virtual instruments. If you want to learn more, you can find our MIDI keyboard test .
A recording device is also a good buy for you to be able to capture ideas or record melodies in between. Often the mobile phone is sufficient here, which normally not only has a recording function for audio, but also has a note function. Because ideas and creativity don’t wait for you to sit at your desk.