7 Steps To Write A Memorable Song (2023 Update)

Are you thinking of starting your songwriting journey but don’t know where to begin? No worries, you’re not alone! Writing songs can be intimidating, but don’t let that stop you from trying. With a little help and practice, you can learn how to turn your musical ideas into fully-fledged compositions.

In this step-by-step guide, I’ll take you through the process of creating a song from start to finish. Whether you’re a beginner or looking to start a new project, these 7 easy steps will help you learn how to write a song. So, let’s dive in!

What Are The Basic Elements Of A Song? 

If you’re interested in learning how to create your own music, it’s important to know the basic elements that make up a song. Luckily, it’s not too complicated! Essentially, there are two main categories: structural and sonic elements.

Now, you might already know what these elements are without realizing it. If you’ve ever listened to a song and noticed when it changes from one section to another, then you’ve picked up on the structural elements. And if you’ve ever noticed the different sounds and instruments used in a song, then you’ve picked up on the sonic elements.

But just in case you need a little more guidance, here are the key terms you’ll want to know to categorize these elements.

Structural Elements

To make music, it’s important to understand the different sections that make up a song. Each part serves as a building block for the overall structure. Here are some key elements to consider:

  • Verse: This is where the singer usually tells a story or shares information with the listener. Verses are usually the longest section of a song, and they’re often accompanied by a repeated chorus. While the melody might be reused, the lyrics in each verse usually differ.
  • Chorus: The chorus is the most important and memorable part of the song’s melody, with a catchy hook that’s designed to stick in your head. Typically, the chorus repeats with the same melody and cadence. It’s also the shortest part of the song.
  • Pre-chorus: A pre-chorus is a repeated section that leads directly into the chorus. It’s a way to build anticipation for the main melody.
  • Bridge: The bridge is a section that contrasts with the rest of the song, either through different melody, rhythm, or both. It stands out and can help to build tension, leading back to the final chorus or a verse.

While there are many ways to structure a song, some common patterns include:

  • Verse – Chorus – Verse – Chorus
  • Intro – Verse – Chorus – Verse – Bridge – Chorus
  • Verse – Chorus – Bridge – Chorus

Remember that there’s no one-size-fits-all approach to songwriting. Every section of your song should add value and keep your listener engaged. Don’t be afraid to experiment with different structures or adjust your chorus to create a bigger impact.

Sonic Elements

When it comes to writing a song, there are a few sonic elements you should consider to make it stand out. Here are the main ones to keep in mind:

  • Rhythm: One of the key elements of any track is its rhythm. It’s what gives your song energy and groove. Think about how you want each section of your composition to flow into the next one. You’ll also want to consider how the different melody and verse lyric lines work rhythmically. And don’t forget about the rhythm of each sonic element throughout your song!
  • Chords and Bass: The backbone of your melody is the chords and bassline. These elements are usually repetitive, allowing the melody to stand out against them. You can create chords by using notes within the key of your song. If you’re not sure how to make a strong chord progression, you can find resources online or borrow one from your favorite songs.
  • Melody: Melody is the string of notes that stands out from your other structural elements. It can come through vocals or various instruments. It’s what people will remember most about your song, so make sure it’s catchy and memorable.

Remember, there are no hard and fast rules when it comes to songwriting. Not every song has to follow the same structure or have all of the critical elements represented.

However, these guidelines can be helpful when you’re just starting out. They provide helpful songwriting tools and vocabulary that you can use to communicate great lyric and melodic ideas with other musicians. So have fun experimenting and see where your creativity takes you!

How To Write A Song: A Step-by-Step Guide

1. Choose a Title

Your title doesn’t need to be set in stone, but it’s an essential starting point. Think of your title as your song’s focus. It will help you narrow down your ideas and give direction to your creativity. Don’t stress too much about it, but keep in mind that your title is often your hook. 

So, make sure it’s catchy and memorable. You can always change it later if needed. Remember that repetition is often used in top 40 hits to help the song stick in people’s minds.

2. Brainstorm Your Ideas

Now that you have a title, it’s time to brainstorm. Write down anything that comes to mind, without censoring yourself. It doesn’t matter if it doesn’t look like lyrics yet; you’ll work on that later. 

Think about your personal experiences related to your topic, your beliefs, and any other ideas that come to mind. You can even use a song idea generator if you’re struggling to come up with ideas. The key is to let everything out and onto paper. Don’t limit yourself or filter your ideas at this stage.

3. Structure Your Song for Impact

Alright, so you’ve got your lyrics down on paper – that’s great! But now what? Well, it’s time to structure your song. Song structure is all about organizing your lyrics in a meaningful way that creates an impact on your listeners.

But don’t worry, you don’t need to follow a strict formula. A lot of songs move from general in the first verse to more specific in the second and third verses. Or they build on the story from the first verse, and the third verse comes with a twist, punchline, or cliffhanger.

Van Morrison’s “Brown Eyed Girl” is a great example of this. The first and second verses are about enjoying time with his “brown eyed girl,” but in the third verse, the narrator reflects on the experience years later. And the chorus ties everything together.

However, keep in mind that your lyrics don’t need to follow a timeline or any logical order. You can find plenty of songs that don’t follow a straight line. Take soulDecision’s “Faded” as an example. The lyrics are out of order, but we can make up our own mind about what they mean. And that’s the best thing about songwriting – you can leave your songs open to interpretation.

4. Edit, Edit, Edit

Now, let’s talk about the secret to great songwriting – editing. It’s often left out of the equation, but it’s crucial. A pro songwriter knows how to edit their work and make it better.

Here are some questions you can ask yourself to help you write better songs:

  • If your song is based on personal experience or real events, how could you dramatize them to make them even more exciting?
  • How could you replace “boring” or “uninteresting” words with more powerful ones? For example, “fight” can turn into “battle” or “war,” “annoying” becomes “unbearable,” and “important” becomes “critical.”
  • What could you do to make the song more emotionally relatable? Sometimes being general works better than being too specific.

Remember, editing is all about making your lyrics stronger and more impactful. So don’t be afraid to make changes, experiment with different words and phrasings, and keep refining until you have a song that truly resonates with your audience.

5. Find Your Melody

Now that you’ve got the lyrics in mind, how about the melody? If you don’t have one, don’t worry. You can start by whistling or humming some ideas to yourself. It doesn’t have to be perfect, and you don’t need to be a professional musician. Just experiment until you find something you like.

In fact, sometimes the lyrics themselves will suggest a melody. So, try saying your lyrics out loud and see how they feel. You might find yourself singing in a certain way, and that’s a good sign. Follow your instincts and see where they take you.

6. Find Your Rhythm

Once you have a melody, it’s time to think about the rhythm. Again, the lyrics can be your guide. They might suggest a certain type of rhythm that fits the words. But don’t be afraid to experiment. Sometimes, the most unexpected ideas can work well in a song.

Try different rhythms until you find something that feels right. It might take some trial and error, but that’s okay. Remember, writing a song is a creative process, and it’s supposed to be fun. So, don’t put too much pressure on yourself. Just let your ideas flow and see where they take you.

7. Record Your Song and Find a Collaborator

Now that you’ve put in the hard work of writing your song, it’s time to take the next step: recording it! This is an essential part of the songwriting process, and it can help you in a couple of different ways.

Firstly, recording your song gives you the chance to hear it objectively. When you perform it, you’re caught up in the moment and might miss some things. By listening back to the recording, you’ll be able to identify any changes you’d like to make.

Secondly, recording your song prepares you for the next stage of the process: collaborating with others to bring your song to life. If you know any musicians or producers, now’s the time to reach out and ask them to work with you. If you have a teacher or mentor, you could ask for their input as well.

Don’t worry if you don’t have anyone to collaborate with just yet. There are plenty of tools out there, like Hookpad, that can help you sketch out chord progressions and experiment with different musical ideas. The key is to keep pushing forward and exploring your options.

Remember, your ultimate goal is to share your song with others and maybe even release it long-term. Recording your ideas and finding a collaborator is an important next step in making that happen. So go ahead and take that leap of faith – you never know where it might lead!

5 Tips for Writing Memorable Songs

1. Expand Your Chord Progressions

If you’re using the same few chords in all of your songs, you’re limiting your musical ideas. To create a more complex and interesting sound, try using all types of chords in your songs—major, minor, dominant, diminished, and augmented. By expanding your chord progressions, you’ll create a more diverse musical landscape for your listeners to enjoy.

2. Incorporate a Rhythmic Motif

Many of the catchiest and most popular songs rely on a rhythmic motif to keep listeners hooked. Next time you’re listening to your favorite songs, take note of how a funky or syncopated melody or backing track can be the catchiest part of the song. Experiment with different rhythmic patterns and incorporate them into your own songs to make them more memorable.

3. Use Riffs as Songwriting Tools

Riffs can anchor an entire song, regardless of whether you’re a guitarist, pianist, bassist, or non-instrumentalist. They’re one of the best songwriting tools at your disposal. 

From Tom Morello’s funk-metal guitar lines on Rage Against the Machine’s “Bombtrack” to the Timbaland-produced synth lick on Jay-Z’s “Dirt Off Your Shoulder,” riffs can carry a track. So, get creative with your riffs and use them to make your songs stand out.

4. Consider Your Live Performance

With music production software, you can create amazing digital symphonies in your home recording studio. However, keep in mind that record company executives want to see how well you connect with live audiences. 

So, while creating your masterpiece, think about how it will sound when performed live. Make sure your music is just as captivating live as it is in recorded form.

5. Try Writing Without Your Instrument

Usually, when we think about writing a song, we imagine ourselves seated at the piano or holding a guitar. While this is an excellent approach, it can also limit our creativity and lead us to rely on familiar chord progressions and rhythms. 

To break free from this, try setting your instrument aside and take a walk outside. Try to come up with new melodies and rhythms in your head. If you think you have some great ideas, record them using your smartphone’s voice recorder. Then, once you’re back at your instrument, figure out how to play them instrumentally.

Final Words

Congratulations, you’ve written a song that’s going to stick in people’s minds for a long time! But what do you do now? Here are some steps you can take to put your song out there and keep growing as an artist.

  • Share your music on digital platforms like Spotify, Apple Music, or Soundcloud. This is a great way to get your music heard by a wider audience.
  • Use apps and tools to track your success and gather insights. There are plenty of analytics tools available that can help you measure your performance on Spotify and other platforms. This data can help you understand what works and what doesn’t, and inform your future songwriting decisions.
  • Keep writing! The more you write, the better you’ll get. And who knows? Your next song might be even more memorable than the last.

So there you have it. Writing a memorable song is just the beginning of your journey as a musician. Now it’s time to share your music with the world and keep growing as an artist. Let us know in the comments what you do with your songs, and happy songwriting!

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