The Benefits of Starting Songs By Working Out the Lyric First

“The Essential Secrets of Songwriting” 6-eBook BundleGreat lyrics are great if they partner well with melody and chords. But how do you make sure that the partnership is strong and musical? Get “The Essential Secrets of Songwriting” 6-eBook Bundle, and become a top-level songwriter. And get “From Amateur to Ace: Writing Songs Like a Pro” free of charge right now. Read more..


Guitar, Pen & PaperIf you’ve never started a song by working out the lyric first, you may be missing out on some great advantages that can greatly improve your songwriting skills. Here are just a few advantages:

  1. Better potential for creating words and phrases that have greater impact. When you start with words, you place the importance on how you say something, and then work on melodic ideas to enhance those words.
  2. Better ability to craft descriptive and emotional words. We know that descriptive words belong in a verse and emotional ones belong in a chorus. Working out a lyric first means you’ve got tighter control over how and where words appear in the various sections of your song.
  3. Better ability to tell a story. Working out the chords first (or even melody first) can sometimes require you to force words into what you’ve already written. But by working out your lyric first, you’ve got the potential for a much tighter story that flows more naturally.
  4. Makes melody-writing possibly easier. Melodies that are created with the lyric in mind can be shaped to enhance important, meaningful words (by placing them higher, or on more significant beats).

By focusing on the lyric first, you get control of that one aspect that speaks directly to the listener: the actual words you’re using. I find that as songwriters get a chord progression and rhythmic treatment working, it often becomes all about the groove, and the lyrics can take a damaging backseat.

If you find writing lyrics hard in the first place, one of the best ways to get started is to treat it like a story first. Work out a storyline, then create word lists, and then you’re well on your way to creating a good song lyric.


Gary EwerWritten by Gary Ewer. Follow on Twitter.

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