Have you ever heard a song that gets your heart racing, fills your eyes with tears, or gives you goosebumps? The songs that have the ability to poke at your emotions are the ones that tell a story. Good songwriters are good storytellers, and were here to help you craft the perfect story, lyric by lyric.
How To Write A Song That Tells A Story
Writing a song is similar to writing a book but shorter, critical, and more compressed than the latter. You need to capture the heart and soul of listeners in less than 4 minutes. Paul Simon, an American musician, songwriter, and actor, said a song simply needs direction. He tells in an interview in Songwriters of Songwriting with Paul Zollo that the song’s meaning doesn’t need to be planned or forced as it’ll automatically have its direction.
Build a Theme
Before you create a story, you should figure out your songs theme. What emotions do you want your listeners to feel? Is it a sad, happy, exciting, or chill song? Establish what type of emotions you want your listeners to feel, and then you’ll be able to come up with the succeeding ideas.
Create the Plot
While creating your plot, be clear on your intentions and visions in creating the song. You need to write the character of your story, setting, summary, climax, and ending. Create a plot in just a few sentences so you won’t go astray from the right path.
Create the Melody
This step has been long debated, whether to create a melody first, or lyrics first. Musicians like John Legend have structured their songwriting process by starting with an idea, then the melody, and lastly, the lyrics. Legend said the music tells him what to talk about rather than writing a bunch of lyrics and fitting them into a rhythm. However, this all depends on a songwriter and their style. Stick to what feels natural.
Keep It Simple
You don’t need to put too much pressure on yourself when it comes to the art of story writing. Musicians tend to be their worst critics, ending with no song at all. Do not overcomplicate things, and stick to your simple theme and plot. You don’t need to see the bigger picture in one go when writing songs, so take one step at a time; just like what Paul Simon said, do not force anything.
Bring a Recorder Anywhere
Connor Oberst, an American singer-songwriter, emphasizes the recording of any spur-of-the-moment inspiration. He says that you can’t manufacture inspiration, leading us to quickly take notes of new ideas while it’s still fresh on our minds. Of course, there’s nothing worst than having a great melody in your head and then forgetting it the next hour.
What are your best songwriting techniques? Let us know in the comments below! For more musical inspiration, head over to our YouTube channel and tell us what tutorials you’d like to see next.