How to Write a Song

Whether it’s the lilting lament of a dybbuk or the epic drama of a medieval tale, song is at once a universal language and a uniquely human expression. From dolphins to zebras, all life on Earth tends to break into vibrant songs to communicate their moods, desires and identity with the world around them.

The word “song” encompasses a broad range of musical compositions and performances, from the folk songs that accompany ceremonial dances to the chants used to ward off demons on medieval ships, to the art songs that form the foundation of classical music. Song, as a concept, also includes all the lyrics and melody that go with a particular song, as well as any accompaniment or structure that may be used to support or illustrate the lyrics.

There are many different ways to write a song, and there’s no right or wrong answer. However, there are some general principles that can help you create a more effective and compelling song.

Developing the Chorus

The chorus is often the most memorable and catchy part of a song. It features a melodic hook and chord progression that’s easy to remember, along with lyrics that convey the song’s theme or message.

The pre-chorus serves as a buildup or transition to the chorus, and it usually has a different melodic pattern and chord progression than the verse. Some songwriters use the second verse as an opportunity to subvert or change the meaning of the chorus, which is useful when you’re trying to tell a different story.