The Art of Songwriting Challenge

songwriting challenge puzzle

There is an art to songwriting. Every form of art requires a process. A process helps you succeed as a songwriter. To help you improve I’ve complied this songwriting challenge. Go though each step. The ideas presented here provide a basic framework for you to start a new song. Most of the steps presented below were generated from the various songwriting tools available on this web site. There are links to each of these tools. If one of the challenge ideas doesn’t feel right to you, go ahead and explore the songwriting tool for additional possibilities. Above all – Have fun!

1) Prompt

A prompt can help get your creative juice flowing.  Here is a prompt generated by the Song Prompts online tool:

Write a song about or inspired by your place of birth.

2) Title

Every song needs a title.  Here are several titles created by the Title Generator online app:

  • Simple Priestess
  • The Pretty Cry
  • Smuggler After the Division
  • The Disease Problem
  • For The Struggle
  • The Defender Travel
  • Terrorizing Conclusion
  • Smoke The Fame
  • Sand Province Investigator
  • Borrow Whole-hardheartedly
  • Fit Frankly
  • On The Laughing Banished
  • Double Swims Above a Mister
  • Keeper Beyond Luck
  • Like The Card Nearby Teach
  • The Bank of the Abyss
  • Noisily Top Bungler
  • Point Buy Dramatically
  • I Cut the Aunt

Don’t worry if you don’t find that “perfect” title here. Find one that is close and feel free to modify and adjust it to something that makes sense to you. Pick a title and start to brainstorm ideas for your songs.  Also combine the title with the above song prompt.

3) Melody Ideas

The Melody Shape tool is great for providing a “seed” to grow your song’s melody. Using the tool here is a melody shape you can begin writing a melody

Using composing techniques, build a complete musical statement using this shape as a starting point for your melody. Play the shape backwards. Play fragments of the shape. Mess around to discover variations on this melodic shape.

4) Add Rhythm

The next tool is the Rhythm Motif generator. It creates two measures of rhythm patterns. Take the patterns and apply them to the the above melody shape.

TimeSignatureOpen Measure Linerhythm onerhythm twoOpen Measure LineOpen Measure LineOpen Measure Linerhythm threeimage FourOpen Measure Line

You can pick one or both of these patterns and apply them to the melody shape. Once you have a grasp of the melody see where in the melody shape your song’s title will fit.

5) Chord Progressions

The online chord progression tool provides you with many progression ideas. Here is a chord progression that was generated for that tool,

C / Em / F / Dm

Now here is where thing can get really interesting. Previously, you were provided with both a melody shape and a rhythm pattern for the melody. Now try to apply this melody so that it will fit the chord progression. You may have to transpose or even change some of the notes. The ideas is to keep the basic shape the same.

6) Song Form

Song form help structure the song’s storyline. Here is a song structure generated from the Random Song Form Structure Generator

Verse Chorus Verse Chorus Rap Chorus

Use the song form to help outline your song. For each part vary the length that the chord progression plays in each section to provide contrast. (Half time or double time)

7) Beats

Here is a drum loop from the Drum Loops for Songwriters Pop category. Take your melody, rhythm and chord progression and make changes and re-write to work with this drum loop.

8) Lyrics

With all these musical and creative ideas write your lyric.  Use the original song prompt from above and title you selected.  Use the melody you created as a framework to build your song lyrics meter.  Start a word bank by going to the Find Synonyms page.  Start with your song’s title and go from there.

9) Rhyming Schemes

Here is a rhyme scheme on which to build your lyrics.  the 1st and 2nd lines rhyme and the 3rd and 4th lines have a different rhyme sound. This scheme divides a section of four lines into two rhymed couplets.

AABB

To help you find and discover rhymes go to the the Rhyming Dictionary

For more examples of rhyming schemes visit this post: Rhyme Patterns and Types Used in Songwriting

Re-write

As the song develops, it is vital that you continue to make it better by re-writing, making changes. The various stages of this process is only a starting point. Polish and make necessary adjustments to each stage presented here.

Please share your experience with this process. How has it helped you? What step was useful? How does your process differ? Post your comments below. Also, feel free to provide an example of any song that you wrote using this Songwriting Challenge.

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  • Songwriter Tip:

    Here’s a tip on the final stage of the songwriting process, the Demo. Many times the budget is so strained that taking your work into a professional recording studio is out of the question. But don’t despair. The home studios that most of us have, while insufficient for recording anything for public consumption, are usually capable of doing a demo quality recording. Remember that it’s not the production that the clients are interested in, it’s the song.