I wasn’t thinking “How do you write a song?” I was already singing this beautiful song, the tune was clear to me, but the words were a little obscure. I knew what the song was about, I could hear the hook line repeating itself over and over again as it tried to lead me into a lyric line that fitted the theme and the melody. I remember thinking,
“This is great, I must get the melody recorded so I don’t forget it.”
You wouldn’t want to lose that lovely rhythm feel either.
Not at all like when I wrote the book: ‘Walk A Narrow Line.’ I knew what to write about then.
So; grab a guitar, or maybe sit at the piano, use the mobile phone, its quickest, turn the voice recorder on and get recording. How do you write a song? All you need is the basic idea so you don’t forget it, sixty seconds worth should be enough. How hard can that be?
Well, pretty hard actually, especially if you were asleep and the whole thing was a dream. Even in your sleep you knew what you needed to do, but waking yourself up was not easy.
So, in your sleep you tell yourself that you will pick up an instrument and feel where the tune and chords go as soon as you wake up in the morning. Have you ever done that?
Eventually, out of bed you get, falling on to your feet. The last thing you’re thinking about is that song, as you stumble to the toilet, stopping to peer at yourself in the mirror, eeuk! Then you consider washing that face, but maybe later. Pick some sleep out of your eyes and scratch your crotch. That’s possibly when you remember the dream you were having, where you were toying with a great song, but alas! Its gone, yep, not even the shadow of a tune left in your head. You admonish yourself for not getting up while the dream and the music were fresh, while they were still a cloud that you could turn into a reality, but now; they’ve gone; pop! Just like that and you can’t get them back.
The perfect song eh! Did I hear you say “In your dreams?”
You might wake yourself up from slumber to turn it into reality; I have once or twice, but you can’t rely on it.
How do you write a song? There are many ways that writers come up with a song, you could experiment. Let’s say, you start with a subject which you write a lyric about. It’s a bit like writing poetry, except that you have to be quite aware of how the words bounce along in a rhythm, like Rap music does.
Then you would have to make a tune which your lyric can fit to. Most songs have musical phrases which repeat themselves, so try and come back to the hook you first thought of. Then again, maybe you have a friend who could compose the tune; co-operation is always good, it feeds in fresh ideas.
Sometimes, I prefer to start with the tune, which I will find by playing a chord line that has a nice feel to it. I might not even have a subject in my head, but prefer to see what kind of inspiration the chord groove throws up.
Another time I might have a specific subject, which after thinking up a line or two of lyrics I would play some chords and experiment while trying to create the right feel and tune to fit the subject.
You might just hum a tune in your head, then make up some words to sit with it. There are many ways to be creative musically, but always make a simple recording of it on something like your mobile phone, to help you recall how it went.