Songwriting is a very difficult art. Given a set of lyrics, most of us could make a tune out of it and call it a song. Some people take years to make an album like the maestro AR Rahman did for the movie ‘Swades’ and miracles could happen like how Anirudh Ravichander made Kolaveri Di in 15 minutes. But what makes it a perfect track? Songwriting has 5 basic steps:
- Arrangement of the lyrics:
After you have the lyrics, division is the first most important thing. A song can be divided into the intro, bridge, chorus, hook, bridge and the chorus.
This division is one of the most commonly used format and most songwriters use this. But in the modern day, the format changed and sometimes, the chorus is at the very start. The order isn’t essential but the division is.
- Understanding the lyrics:
Understanding the lyrics is the most essential as it’ll help you deliver the right music and feel to the song. Generally, songs can be classified into three kinds. Happy, sad and motivational.
Also, there are two scales you can compose a song in: major and minor. Happy songs are generally set to the major scale. Sad songs are mostly set to the minor scale and motivational to both of these.
- Adding the melody:
Once the structure and the mood of the song are set, according to the lyrics the melody has to be crafted. Generally, the starting is set to a slow pace where there is not much instrument, but the usage of keys and the pads would be apt. The bridge is the place where the pace builds up. Here, the introduction of percussions and rhythms can be included. The chorus is the main part of the song. Choose the best lines of the lyric you have for the chorus. High notes are encouraged in this particular part of the song. Choose a lift where the best melody can be put.
The hook is generally a small change in tune where the feel of the song changes its mood only for that instance. Immediately after the hook, there’s the bridge and the chorus which have the same tune as before.
- Producing the right music:
Right chords play a very important role as sometimes the wrong choice of chords can spoil the feel that was supposed to be given to the song. The choice of instruments that have to be used and the chords associated with it are what make all the difference. Unnecessary use of instruments might lead to unusual clogging of sounds which in turn might crack your output. So choose the right plug-ins.
- Mixing and mastering:
This is the final stage. Mixing is that process of songwriting where the volume or the decibel levels of each and every stem and layer we add is adjusted the right way. Might seem very simple, but a bad mix can often lead to a horrible output. The total output must be less than 0 decibels or a little more. If the song that’s being produced has vocals then the focus should be on the vocals and the vocals should have the right filters. If it’s an instrumental then careful inspection should be done to check the volume levels on each and every stem we produce. A bad mix and master can often lead to cracking of the sound.
Everyone has their own style of songwriting. But the process that I’ve mentioned above is one of the most common ways of the production of a song. With these 5 steps, you can start your first song right away. Your next great song just needs that one last important step: