What are the principles of songwriting?

The principles of songwriting include the craft of taking both words and melody to create a song.

For a song to be effective it should tell a compelling story. A story will have certain elements. These story elements include: the setup, the conflict and the resolution. The story is developed through the lyrics.

The melody needs to be strong enough to stand on its own. The melody will enhance the lyric by adding emotional emphasis. In addition to lyrics and melody a song needs a harmonic structure.

The harmonic structure consists of a chord progression. The chord progression is a series of chords that are played behind and enhance the melody.

Another important principle in song writing is song form. The song form divides the song into separate but supporting sections. The song form will include these basic elements: verse, chorus, bridge. There are other song form elements but these are the basic ones.

There is so much more to songwriting, but these are a few basic principles needed to write a song.

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  • Songwriter Tip:

    If you only write music, or conversely only write lyrics, you can still write songs and publish them. All you need is a collaborator. Collaboration is a proven method for most writers who require a partner to do what they cannot do themselves. Most songwriters and composers know of successful collaboration partnerships, such as John Lennon and Paul McCartney, Elton John and Bernie Taupin, Tim Rice and Andrew Lloyd-Webber, to name just a few. There are also occasions when artistes themselves collaborate with songwriters. Publishers also sometimes put songwriting teams together. In most cases, however, publishing companies require complete songs and will only take lyrics alone under exceptional circumstances.