Thursday, March 20, 2014


My thoughts on songwriting

I have been asked many times how I construct and write a song. The questions are always the same, do I write lyrics first or the melody?  What inspires me to write a song?  How long does it take to write a song? And many more.  I will address a few of these and try to convey my thought process of songwriting in this post.

I have to say, in order for me to write a song I have to be moved in my heart, to feel the happiness or the pain because it seems to me that is what most songs have in them.
The first thing I would suggest to anyone who wants to write songs, is to write!  Always, and I mean always carry a small note book or pad with you, when you sleep have it next to your bed, when you travel have in your pack or purse always within reach. Buy something special that you like, a leather bound journal perhaps and make it personal.

I make notes all the time about how I feel, a word or phrase that might make a good lyric, something someone might say while having a discussion, or something I might overhear that sparks an interest.  I have files of notes written on napkins, scraps of paper, etc... And I keep everything.  I am always open and looking at whats going on around me, the people I see in the street, my friends lives, my life, a picture I might see, the look in a strangers eyes of hope, happiness or pain.  If you look, it's all around you...

I can't really say I have any specific way or order of writing a song.  What come first, lyrics, verse, chorus, or melody? There are no rules as far as I'm concerned. I do know that many times the first lines I come up with usually end up in the chorus of my song. I tend to, but not always work on the chorus first as I feel it really sets the feeling of what I want to get across to the listener, to move them the way I am moved. I always think that when I finish playing a heartfelt song, look up and see tears in the listeners eyes my message has been received.

As far as the tune goes, I will sit for days sometimes experimenting with chords and structure until it falls into place.  I would not want to put a bunch of major sounding chords into one of my dark or sad songs and vice versa, but there are always exceptions.  Other times, I will just hear a tune in my head in which case it's nice to also have within reach some kind of recorder, your phone usually works good.  My experience with tunes and lyrics is, if I don't write it or record it at the moment I hear it, I will forget it.  A song can take me an afternoon to write or years, I have many partially writen songs in files that I revistit occassionally.

My next post I will go over a song I wrote, where the lyrics came from and what I was feeling at the time.

I do hope you found this interesting and informative.

Thanks so much for supporting The Dan Project

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