How to compose a song: tips

When composing a song you must take into account various aspects such as lyrics, harmony and melody. These are the three pillars. If you master them, you will be able to write unreleased songs from scratch without having to plagiarize. In fact, you won’t have to pay a songwriter to create songs for the band or your solo career.

How to make a song from scratch?

It’s not easy to compose music, but you can create popular songs to get started. These have simpler harmonies and common lyric structures, plus they feature easy melodies in many cases. The less complex songs are very pleasing to the ear, so they tend to be commercial. There are even many artists who focus on this type of music and have become famous.

To make a song from scratch you must follow a guide that simplifies your work and effort . On this occasion, we present 6 tips that will help in the composition process.

1. Know the structure or parts of a song

When architects design houses, they need a solid structure that supports the roof, walls, ornaments, etc. Also in music you need a structure of lyrics and harmony . This is why you should have at least basic knowledge of music, especially popular harmony, as it is not too complex to start with. If you don’t know and understand the structure of a song, it will be very difficult for you to write good songs.    

In summary, it is essential that you know the structure of a song, since it is the basis on which everything else will be supported.

For example, before asking yourself how to write a song, you should know the parts of it. Next, we will show you some of the most common structures in popular music.

  • Verse, chorus, verse, chorus.
  • Verse, pre-chorus, chorus, verse, pre-chorus, chorus.
  • Verse, pre-chorus, chorus, verse, pre-chorus, chorus, bridge, chorus.
  • Chorus, verse, chorus, verse, chorus.

As you can see, the parts and structure of a popular song are not complex, and you can vary the parts according to your preferences. Likewise, there are harmonic structures, for example, tonic and dominant for the verse, as well as subdominant, tonic, dominant and tonic in the chorus. Of course, there are hundreds of combinations, you can even add other musical degrees, super dominant, sensitive, through and more.

Songs to play with guitar can be a little easier, since you don’t need an accompaniment of drums, bass, keyboard, etc. Therefore, we recommend that you compose songs on the guitar or another simpler harmonic instrument. In this sense, the ukulele would be a good option.

2. Listen to songs from various genres and analyze their lyrics

Listen and sing songs of rock, jazz, blues, pop, funk, flamenco, etc. It doesn’t matter if they are very different genres, the goal is to fill your mind with a lot of music. The more musical variety there is in your head, the more authenticity you will have when composing. In addition to this, it is important to know enough rhythms to create striking songs.

At this point we won’t be too long, since you just have to listen to inspiring music to write your unreleased songs. Analyze the lyrics, each verse, what the authors mean, so you will have a better understanding of how to make a song. However, you can also write songs without lyrics, as some classical guitar soloists and movie soundtrack composers do.

3. Write during the day

Write whatever, about love, spite, motivation, situations of the day, etc. Don’t worry if at first it’s just random words, because that’s where a good song can come from. Some people find it easier to write the song and then create the harmony and melody.

It should be noted that it will help you to write your personal biography, where you tell what you have experienced. Also, there are people who write in their diary everything that has happened in their work or leisure time. That will help you feel more confident when writing an unreleased song.     

On the other hand, we recommend you to take your Spanish guitar anywhere, in case you have one, since it is not known if chord structures that accompany the lyrics flow during the day.

4. Study music at a school

It is essential to have diverse knowledge to be able to take better advantage of music and make songs that meet your expectations. For that reason, it will be useful to study music, especially popular harmony and some harmonic instrument that serves to accompany your voice.

For example, to start, you can learn Spanish guitar. But if you want a simpler and easier instrument to transport anywhere, it will be useful to study ukulele. In fact, there are many music tutorials on the Internet that will also help you grow with your voice and instrument.

It is not mandatory that you learn an instrument, but it is something very important for every singer, because you do not always have a musician friend nearby to accompany you on the guitar.

5. Copy the ideas of other artists

With this point we do not mean that you plagiarize, but that you use those beautiful elements of famous songs ; for example, the harmonic circles or the structure of the letters. In other words, you are not going to copy the whole lyrics and melody, just some parts that will help you in creating your own songs.

Now, we must recognize that there are people who have a lot of musicality. They have the ability to create music from scratch, just with their knowledge and ear. If this is your case, give your ideas complete freedom and create different songs.


6. Record whatever comes to mind and focus

When you are studying or working in the office, ideas may come into your head. Stop for a moment and record the phrases that come to mind on your phone , maybe that way you will compose an excellent song.

Also, when you want to compose a new song, it is best to focus on one main idea, for example, love for life, friendship, relationships, motivation, broken heart, etc. This way, you won’t deviate from the main theme throughout the song.

Finally, trust your songs and love them, even if they don’t resemble those of famous artists like Pablo Alborán, Juan Luis Guerra or Enrique Iglesias.

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