How to Write a Song


A song is a piece of music with lyrics or words, typically accompanied by instruments. A song also usually has a melody and a rhythm or beat. While there are different definitions of a song, the word is most often used to refer to a piece of vocal or instrumental music that lasts in the three-minute range and has some sort of structure. Songs can be any style of music, including Irish folk songs, African storytelling songs, Christian hymns, and heavy metal music.

The first step in writing a song is finding inspiration, which can come from anywhere. Songwriters often carry a notebook to jot down ideas that they find inspiring, and may be influenced by anything from their own experiences or fantasies to events or things they see around them, like street performers, art galleries, public spaces, nature, or television shows. Some artists like to use their mobile phones to record sounds that inspire them, and then transfer the recordings to a digital audio workstation (DAW) later for further development.

Once a songwriter has a core idea, they may start playing around with melodies and chord progressions until they have something that is catchy and memorable to listeners. Popular songs often feature some part of the song that stands out and becomes recognizable to listeners, which is called a hook. The hook can be a short instrumental section, a vocal refrain, or even a word or phrase that is repeated several times throughout the song.