It’s tempting at the start of a blog on beginner songwriting to begin with discussions of structure, form, melody and rhythm so…. I won’t
For the purposes of this post, I’ll assume you play a musical instrument.
Now maybe you already have some ripping riff or piano doodle you like to muddle about with. If not grab a 4 chord progression with some really basic chords. Just pick 4 chords randomly until it sounds good. Now get a nice solid, consistent rhythm.
Now play your riff, doodle or chord progression and start to hum over it. See where your little hum improvisation takes you.
You now have the music for your song. That’s it!
Don’t add anything extra. Don’t over-complicate. So many great songs are written around a single basic musical piece.
U2’s “With Or Without You” –> D A Bm G
Ben E Kings “Stand by Me” —> A F#m D E
Green Day’s “When I come around” —-> G D Em C
Radiohead’s “Creep” —-> G B C Cm
It’s tempting to want to keep adding new parts when they may not be needed. The listener can be seduced quicker with a simple progression or lick.
Mess around with the tempo and rhythm. Mess around with the lyrics. Mess around with the production. (Future post topics). But keep the foundation simple.
Are there any other songs that you can think of that follow this simple approach? Are you guilty of over-complicating the process? Comments please.