The Advantages of a Lyrics-First Songwriting Process

In my last post, “Finding Your Best Starting Point”, I offered suggestions for how to build a songwriting process when you’ve got a small fragment of music as your starting point. One of those fragments might be a bit of lyric. For many songwriters, starting the process with lyrics can yield great results.

There are several advantages to creating as much of your lyric as possible before working out the music that will accompany it. For instance:

  1. Lyrics create a mood because it lays out the story.
  2. Lyrics can imply melodic shape by way of the pulse of the words.
  3. Lyrics-first means you can put the magnifying glass on the words without the possible clutter from other song elements.
  4. Lyrics can imply the kinds of chords you might use because of the mood they describe.
  5. Lyrics can give you great rhythm ideas for your melody and instrumental accompaniment, patterns that come from the rhythms of the words.

And there are probably many other ways in which starting a song with the lyrics can be beneficial. When people look back on a songwriter’s personal catalog of songs, lyrics pay a huge role in a possible legacy. Songs with powerful lyrics have much longer staying power.

There’s a lot to be said about how to do a lyrics-first songwriting process that can’t be covered in a blog post. I’ve written an eBook about it, “Use Your Words! Developing a Lyrics-First Songwriting Process” that I offer free to purchasers of “The Essential Secrets of Songwriting 10-eBook Bundle.”

The most important thing to remember when putting your lyrics front & centre is this: great lyrics are not necessarily great poetry. The best lyrics have a casual, conversational style, using words one might use in everyday conversation.

The point of a good lyric, whether you’ve started with words, or written an entire instrumental to which you then add words, is to touch the emotional soul of the listener. Good songs are about feelings, and the words you use are one of the best ways you have to generate those feelings within the audience.

Gary EwerWritten by Gary Ewer. Follow Gary on Twitter.

Fix Your Songwriting Problems - NOWTime to fix what’s ailing your songs. Read “Fix Your Songwriting Problems – NOW!” – It’s part of “The Essential Secrets of Songwriting 10-eBook Bundle” – Or get it separately.


Posted in lyrics and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , .

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.