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Jong's the art and craft of songwriting
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Jong's the art and craft of songwriting


This is a lecture that was first heard in Likha, a songwriting camp at Mint College on October 13, 2012.

This is a lecture that was first heard in Likha, a songwriting camp at Mint College on October 13, 2012.

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  • 1. The Art & Craft of SongwritingThe first & FREE part of the workshop series by Jong Azores Former Artist & Repertoire Manager
  • 2. The SongwriterA songwriter is an individual who writes both the lyrics and music to a song. Someone who solely writes lyrics may be called a lyricist, and someone who only writes music may be called a composer.
  • 3. As an Art: skill acquired by experience, study, or observation; the conscious use of skill and creative imagination especially in the production of aesthetic objects (merriam-webster.com)As a craft: skill in planning, making, or executing (merriam-webster.com)
  • 4. The Songwriters Not all songwriters have formal musical training. There are those who do not even know how to play any musical instrument
  • 5.  words + music = a song. Great lyrics + great music = Hit Song. A great lyric is simply a mix of easy, nice words revolving around an interesting topic. Rhyming is nice what matters most is the flow of the words. Great music, means simple, "catchy" melody and well-structured chord patterns. Music + Lyrics need to be put into a concrete Song Structure.
  • 6. Lyrics is not always poetry where there are rules of meter & rhyme. Lyrics are the words that fit the music nicely and neatly that may result to have amazing metaphors or glamorous word combinations. It is extremely important that the lyrics be confined in an interesting topic.Topic is the subject matter of the song.
  • 7. Some lyrical guidelines1. Include the title in the chorus.2. Make sure the chorus is a general explanation of the topic3. The verses are detailed explanation of the chorus.4. Use the language you are confident with.
  • 8. Why Rhyme?Lyrics that rhyme are the most memorable, and the easiest to remember. But, take care! Rhyming too much sounds STUPID, and keep in mind that rhyme should come second to meaning...Never sacrifice the idea for the sake of a rhyming word and never put stuff together just because they rhyme.Mahmoud Ibrahim(How To Get Started With Songwriting)
  • 9. More about lyrics1. Do you have a specific audience?2. Is there a theme you’re trying to get across? If so, obviously you need to stick to it.3. If you’re going for the story telling option, you need to have a start, middle, and an end to the story.4. Do you want it to rhyme? If so, get your thesaurus out.5. Is there a hidden message in your song? If so, define it, and think about how you’re going to convey it to your audience.Simon SmithComposing Made Easy
  • 10.  Give identity to the song May give those who read a "little" shock Maybe something FAMILIAR or a COMBINATION with other words that everybody uses but nobody had put them together before. Maybe words that you are not used to hearing it.
  • 11. a good melody has a design that makes us feel like we’ve been taken somewhere.Most songs start in a very understated way, gathering power as they go, finishing at a much higher energy level. The majority of songs do this “power grab” in stages, starting at a relatively low energy level, then building toward the chorus, subsiding again in the next verse, building toward the next chorus, etc. Here’s a sample (but by no means definitive) plan:
  • 12. If rhythm is the backbone of a song, chords the muscle and lyrics the heart, then surely melody is the soul. Melody is the element that transcends all else and is remembered before the words are fully comprehended and long after they are forgotten.Melody is the thread that ties a song together. If done poorly, every seam will be apparent and it will not hold together for long. When sewn together carefully, a song becomes a melodic whole with one section flowing seamlessly into the next. — David Pomeranz
  • 13. Melody & Chord ProgressionThe melody of your song determines how your chord progression is going to sound. With a chord progression however, you can create a melody.
  • 14. Harmony/RhythmHarmony is the tuneful sound: melody; the combination of simultaneous musical notes in a chordRhythm is the aspect of music comprising all the elements (as accent, meter, and tempo) that relate to forward movementGood harmony, like almost every other aspect of music, will make us feel like we’re taking a walk around the neighborhood, where we might see something out of the ordinary, but most of what we encounter is pleasantly predictable.Theory tells us why chords work, but not necessarily which ones to use. Creativity has always been up to you!Gary Ewerhttp://secretsofsongwriting.com/
  • 15. Which comes first? Music first • Melody is defined • Chord progression established Lyrics first • Poetry • Approved copy Music & Lyrics at the Same Time
  • 16. Form: The Song Structureall songs, to be successful, need a perceivable, somewhat simplistic form. - Gary Ewer1. Parts of a Song A. Intro B. Verse C. Pre-chorus/ Refrain D. Chorus E. Interlude F. Bridge a) provide additional melodic material, reducing the risk of melodic boredom; b) intensify melodic and lyric energy. G. Outro2. Combinations of these parts
  • 17.  The hook was what people sang over and over to themselves after song was done, and that’s what you want a hook to do! - Gary Ewer Types of hooks: • Melodic hook • Lyrical hook • Musical hook • Rhythmic hook • Sound-effect hook
  • 18. Just Get Started! You Can AlwaysChange Your Song Later
  • 19. Songwriters’ Habits1. Have a notebook with you at all times2. Have a digital recorder with you at all times3. Ask people what they think about your creations4. Keep your hit ideas organized5. Practice- Mahmoud Ibrahim6. Experiment
  • 20. 1. Find a message you feel passionate about. Write about your interests & what you know. Keep it simple.2. Find a simple melody. Songwriters are not paid by the note. Often the easiest melodies are the longest lasting.3. Find the chords. If you can’t play an instrument, record your song and find an accompanist later.4. Find a place to write. Find a quiet, peaceful setting to clear your mind, and let the melodies and emotions flow.5. Hear what’s in your head. Imagine how your finished song will sound like.6. Find the confidence to put your heart and soul on the line and share your song with others. Learn from the feedbacks to improve your songs. Take it all in, but before making any changes, always consult your heart for the truth.
  • 21. It’s time tomake a Demo Recording!
  • 22. See You Next Session!The Business of Songwriting