One of the first things that you have to have at your disposal are the elements of a song. Those elements are what a huge part of this blog post’s content is about. These are broken up into five different elements.
The first one is called melody. This is probably the most important element in the songwriting process. In today’s music most melodies are written in the aural tradition. Some people may pay a copyist to write the melody as it is played by the original writer.
Many melodies that are written and played today are simple, two to five note melodies that are easily hummable by the general public.
Many melodies bounce back and forth between two or three notes, thus repeating them many times. A key word for melodies these days is repetition. You want something that stays in people’s ears. You want something that gets their attention. These days melodic repetition is the way to do it.
Chords are perhaps the foundations of all music. They give the song structure and voicing so that melody can arise. Harmony is another term for this. You build chords or harmony by stacking one note on top of another, ensuring that each note is a third apart. A third is a musical interval that measures the distance between two notes that are two notes apart from each other on the keyboard. Think of the tone of the third as a very sweet sounding combination when paired together. These are your building blocks for melody. When you strum a guitar or play a piano or play any other instrument, among the first things you play are chords. These are the building blocks of the songwriting process.
Rhythm is another central part of the songwriting process in that it is the element that moves the song through verse, chorus and bridges. It is the part of a song that isn’t static. In other words, it causes the rest of the song to move in a fashion that is hooked to the listener’s ear from beginning to end. It causes people to dance. It is the glue that holds the song together.
Timbre or Quality
What is the quality of the song? What are the timbres of the instruments? Is the combination loud and rowdy or is it soft like a ballad or classical-sounding piece? This is one of the final elements of songwriting that you decide when you first put chords and melody together. Think of it as the expression of the song that also helps the lyrics take on a new tone. Do you want the song to be aggressive, light, happy or otherwise? As the songwriter, you choose how to convey the music and its message.
With these simple definitions, you can start writing songs with power and feeling in no time!