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How to Write Song Lyrics

By Edited May 21, 2015 0 2

It's easy to write song lyrics. Writing a great song is a different story. In this article we'll explore the basics of how to write song lyrics. Most songs have a basic structure: three verses and a chorus. Within that basic structure, most songs have a rhyme scheme. A rhyme scheme's basic components are the pattern of rhythms within each line, and the end rhymes of each line. For instance, if you have a four line verse, and the end rhymes, in order, for each line are Bob, job, unemployed, and overjoyed, you have an AABB rhyme scheme. If the end rhymes, in order, are Bob, unemployed, job, overjoyed, you have an ABAB rhyme scheme. This rhyme scheme should be the same for each verse.

Things You Will Need

Pen, paper, (or computer) and an active imagination.

Step 1

The old writer's credo, "write what you know" also applies to writing a song. Take an experience from your life, or the life of someone close to you if you're looking for ideas for a song. Exaggerate actual events and situations at your whim. Here's an example of two verses for a song. Note how the ABAB rhyme scheme is duplicated for each verse.


My friend Bob
Is unemployed,
If he had a job,
He'd be overjoyed.

He used to work,
'Til he got tired,
His boss was a jerk,
So Bob got fired.

Step 2

Writing the chorus is another important part of writing song lyrics. The chorus should tie-in the themes of the verses, and in most cases, work with each verse. You should also have a different rhyme scheme for the chorus, as it makes the song more interesting to listen to. Example Chorus:

Won't you give a job,
To my friend Bob,
Please give a job,
To my friend Bob.

Note that the chorus has an AAAA rhyme scheme. One more verse will flesh this song out nicely:

Bob was on top,
Then times got tough,
Now he's at the pawn shop,
Selling stuff.

Step 3

Title your new song. The title can emphasize the overall theme of the song, or can be so ambiguent to the lyrics that only you know why a song has that particular title. If you prefer the more direct route of communication, titles are often taken from the lyrics within the chorus. I think I'll call this one "My Friend Bob".

Here are the complete lyrics for the song.
MY FRIEND BOB

My friend Bob,
Is unemployed,
If he had a job,
He'd be overjoyed,

Chorus:
Won't you give a job,
To my friend Bob,
Please give a job,
To my friend Bob.

He used to work,
'Til he got tired,
His boss was a jerk,
So Bob got fired,

Won't you give a job,
To my friend Bob,
Please give a job,
To my friend Bob.


Bob was on top,
Then times got tough,
Now he's at the pawn shop,
Selling stuff,


Won't you give a job,
To my friend Bob,
Please give a job,
To my friend Bob.

If you're interested in stories about the music business, travel, and life in general, you can visit Texas Troubadour Tales.

After you learn the basic rules, you'll realize that rules are often made to be broken. Don't be afraid to experiment.

Tips & Warnings

Copywrite your songs for your own protection.
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Comments

Sep 12, 2009 1:35am
aguy
Love the lyrics. Great example.
Dec 4, 2009 4:45am
praisejoe
nice tips!
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