A song is a composition made up of lyrics and music. It can be sung without accompaniment (a cappella) or accompanied by instruments. It can be a solo song for a singer, or it can be a group vocal piece like a duet or a trio, or even a large classical music vocal ensemble, such as an opera or a concerto.
Generally speaking, songs reference topics and feelings. Lyrical themes can come from any part of life. But songwriters are often drawn to certain subjects because they are important in their lives, or because they have an emotional connection with them. In this sense, a song is something that resonates with a listener and helps them feel proportionate emotions about a subject.
In some musical genres, the term song may also refer to the entire work, or collection of tracks, that makes up a particular recording. This distinction is most prevalent in dance music, where the individual tracks are sometimes referred to as a track, and the final product, mixed and mastered by a professional, is known as a song.
Every song starts with a title or a concept of what the songwriter wants to convey in their lyrics. From there, the songwriter develops an overall musical context and melody to accompany the words. It is possible that a song’s lyrical content may change over time, but the chord structure and melodic theme will remain the same. For example, Creedence Clearwater Revival’s classic “Proud Mary” began as a whimsical line of poetry written in the first page of songwriter John Fogerty’s notebook.