The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #58222   Message #920616
Posted By: CapriUni
28-Mar-03 - 01:47 PM
Thread Name: Art of Songwriting
Subject: RE: Art of Songwriting
Steven --

While it is true that you don't have to write lyrics to be a songwriter (just look at Richard Rodgers, as an example), if you want to try your hand at it, and teach yourself to do something you've never done before, all the more power to you!

Me? I'm also just dabbling my toes in the shallows of this songwriting ocean, too. But I'm coming it at it from the other side: I've been a writer all my life, and have never really played an instrument beyond the childhood banging on pots and the like. But writing lyrics for songs is a good bit different than writing a poem -- even a poem with a meter that rhymes. Even so, the more I do it, the more I'm getting the hang of it.

My advice, for what it's worth, echoes MMario's -- find a poem already written, and put a tune to it. A poem with a strong rhythm and rhyme is best, maybe even something like a nursary rhyme. Matching each syllable to a note (or two, occasionally) will give you a better feel for the potential melodies that already exist in the spoken word.

As you play around with words (the way you've played around with your flat top), I bet you'll start to find lyrics coming into your head, the way tunes do now...

I just had another thought: Try reading newspaper articles out loud -- particularly direct quotes from people. Reporters don't directly quote everything a person says -- only the strongest things, either because it's the most important idea, and/or (most often, "and") because it's said in a way that evokes a clear image in the reader's (listener's) mind. These are also the criteria for a good lyric, too. So when you find a strong direct quote from someone, try putting it to a tune... It might just turn out to be the chorus of a new song!

Good luck!