How to Write a Song

A song is a piece of music where someone sings words that can have meaning or not, and is either performed with voice alone or accompanied by instruments that provide notable beat and melody. The words in the song become the lyrics and can be of any subject matter and are usually sung to express emotion or create a mood.

There are many different types of songs and each has its own style, genre and purpose. The most common song types include pop, rock and country music, although there are also folk, religious, traditional and ethnic music songs, and a variety of other commercial genres including dance, rap, and electronic music. The song ‘Danny Boy’ is an example of an Irish folk song, and sea shanties are another example of a work song with a repetitive rhythm that helped sailors coordinate their activities on sailing ships.

If a song genuinely expresses feelings, moves people emotionally or gets them dancing – that is what makes it a good song. However, if a song is written just to have a hit record, it is more likely to fail. The key to success is to stay true to the motivations that got you started writing.

Once you have a solid title, you can begin to turn it into a lyric. Start by asking questions that the title suggests to you and the listeners. For example, “Heartbreak Hotel” suggests questions like: What is a heartbreak hotel? What happens there? How do you get there? Write down answers to these questions and use them as the basis for your lyric.