by Marty Dodson
Feb 12, 2024
These are 5 songwriting tips that you might not have thought of. Over the course of my pro songwriting career I have picked up many such tips but these are my top 5 to share with you today!
Your songwriting rhyme scheme helps the listener keep up with where they are in the song.
You want to keep the rhyme scheme consistent across all of the verses and consistent across all of the choruses if the choruses change. Not doing so makes the listener feel unsettled.
Your hook or title HAS to appear in one of the following places or you risk the listener not being able to tell what your title is…
The title can be: 1) The last line of the verse 2) The first line of the chorus 3) The last line of the chorus 4) The third line of the chorus if it’s also the first line. If you only have the hook in one spot, it almost has to be the last line of the chorus. People are trained to look for the title in certain spots. You want them to be able to call in to a radio station and request your song, so make sure they know the title.
You can do half verses and half choruses.
Sometimes, you need a double verse in the beginning to set the stage and establish the story. It’s ok to cut that in half the second time around. It’s probably preferable. The verses of songs are not what people remember. They want more choruses, not double verses everywhere. On the other side of the fence, sometimes you might want a short chorus the first time around and a double chorus for each subsequent chorus. That “build” is interesting and keeps the listener tuned in.
Don’t bore us, get to the chorus.
Nobody wants to hear 6 verses. I’ve never written a song with more than 4 and I don’t believe I have ever gotten a cut that had more than 3. People want to hear the chorus. Get them there as quick as you can.
Clear beats clever.
Don’t give in to the idea that your song can’t survive if it’s not clever. Songs that simply say what they mean to say work time and time again. Clever songs tend to walk along the border of “Cheesemania”. One wrong move and you are fatally cheesy. Say what you mean to say. Then, make sure it’s interesting enough. First and foremost, you are a communicator. Communicating clearly is the goal. I recommend the book Song Building for learning to create clear lyrics.
Write on! ~Marty
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