A songwriter is someone who writes the lyrics to songs, the musical composition or melody to songs, or both. That is to say, a songwriter is a lyricist, a composer, or both. The word 'songwriter' is however more commonly used to describe one who writes popular songs than to describe a writer of art songs.
Songwriters may perform the songs they write themselves, or may write for somebody else to perform. People who sing their own songs are nowadays typically called singer-songwriters, although the tradition of doing this dates back hundreds of years. It is often speculated that pre-historic man must have made up and sung songs, and judging by some of our heavy rock bands and rappers, that must be true (only kidding). More recently, the troubadours of the middle ages sang their own work, as did the German Minnesingers.
Nelson - On songwriting
Most songs are written for somebody other than the composer to perform, although it is known that Schubert often sang his own songs at private parties, and there have been a number of composers who were also singers and wrote for themselves, Carl Loewe being one example.
Many modern rock and roll bands have one or two songwriters, usually members of the band. In many cases, the lead singer is one of the songwriters.
WELL KNOWN SONGWRITERS
There have been quite a few popular songwriting teams such as the Tamla Motown team of Brian Holland, Lamont Dozier and Eddie Holland and the teams of Leiber and Stoller, Lennon and McCartney, Morrissey and Johnny Marr, Elton John and Bernie Taupin, Alan Jay Lerner and Frederick Loewe, George and Ira Gershwin, Jagger and Richards, Roger Cook and Roger Greenaway, Guy Fletcher and Doug Flett, Geoff Stephens and Tony Macaulay, Rodgers and Hart, The Bee Gees, the Jackson brothers, Albert Hammond and Mike Hazlewood, Ashford & Simpson and of course Stock, Aitken and Waterman.
Many songwriters also serve as their own music publishers, while others have outside publishers. Songs in country music are often written by staff writers; songwriters directly employed by music publishers. Legally, songs may only be copied or performed publicly by permission of the authors. The legal power to grant these permissions may be bought, sold or otherwise transferred. This is governed by copyright law. Songwriting and publishing royalties can be a substantial source of income, particularly if a song becomes a hit record.
Songwriters in the popular music genre often also work as record producers, commonly using the professional title Producer-songwriter.
SONG WRITING TIPS
In my experience there is no set way to write a song. The inspiration can come from any direction and unfortunately, at almost any time - which means a lot of ideas are lost. It can start with a catchy lyric, a beat, or a riff. A good story or event may inspire you, or you may feel strongly on a subject and want to vent some spleen. Song writers work in different ways and each artist will normally develop a method they prefer to use.
I would also say that mood is important. If you are not in a creative and relaxed frame of mind, it will be harder to write. Once I get an idea for a song, I usually set a beat to help create the mood and keep me in time - I don't like using metronomes.
I also prefer to work with a musician or producer. I am not a musician, but if pushed will work out a chord sequence or phrase on which to build a song. I'd rather a co-writer generated a sequence on the guitar or keyboards. Of course it has to be a nice sounding sequence. If the vibes are wrong to begin with, you may as well watch the tennis. From this sequence, I will generate a melody. The melody may come intuitively by simply listening to the sequence. The subject for the song may already have generated some lyrics, when they can be used to form the melody. By now you should identify with some of this.
I use the recorder (tape or computer) to get down ideas. Having settled down with some paper and a cup of coffee or tea, I'll immerse myself in the sounds and try to let go vocally, recording the result. After a few takes, there should be some form of melody ideas worth developing. At which point you may need to rewrite or arrange your lyrics.
You're saying something with meaning, right? You're not just creating background noise, are you? Then you need to grab their attention early or you'll lose them even before your song gets to the chorus.
THE 3 MINUTE RULE
I don't fully understand why, but three minutes is just about as long as a song should be. After that, I'm looking for a change. I need to hear everything in that 3 minutes. Two and a half minutes is too short and three and a half minutes is a bit long. The only exception is a dance track, when I'm on the floor. When sometimes 3 minutes seems a bit short.
Although real-life is often more interesting then fantasy "you won't believe this", sometimes a true story is too complicated to fit in a 3-minute song unless you write about just one aspect. Whatever you do, have a clear vision of what the song is about. Because if you don't, the listener isn't going to figure it out for you. We all live fast lives and there just isn't time.
The hook is the hard sell. It's the catchy part of the song. It's the repetitious part that's implanted in your mind after hearing the song just once. Or that's what it's supposed to be. It's the words that everyone remembers, the melodic line you can't get out of your 're walking down the street, and suddenly that tune just comes from nowhere - that's the hook.
Everyone's ears are conditioned to listen for a song's hook. And since everyone's waiting to hear it, it's best not to make them wait too long. Typically, a song is structured with the hook as its chorus, and many song titles are lifted from the hook. Remember the purpose is to reel in the listener, so utilize your hook. When song writing, the trick is to generate the hook, then concentrate on developing the hook. The hook is what will sell your song to the music executive and it will ultimately sell your record to the public.
RADIO and TV
I like most popular music on the radio or tv, which means I'm totally open to writing songs in any genre. What you hear and see via this medium, is the standard o music you should aspire to - whether you like what they are playing or not. A good way to understand what makes popular music tick, is to pick apart the hit songs. You will find that most of the top tunes have a familiar structure, catchy lyrics and or music or, amazing production. Hype by the labels will get a song on the radio, but it won't keep it there.
SHORT and SWEET
Going back to the 3 minute rule, the radio generally plays short songs (2 1/2 - 3 1/2 minutes). If your song is longer then this you are drastically reducing your chances that radio will ever play it. There is nothing to stop you having a longer version on your full CD and send radio a shorter edited version (that's what the big labels do). But unless you can afford to do different version of your songs, keep it short. The same holds true for getting publishers, record companies, producers or almost anyone that matters to listen to your song - including fans. Where do you suppose the saying "Get to the chorus, don't bore us" came from. The quickest way for them to jump to the next tape or CD is to not grab their attention right away and then keep it.
Inject a sparkle using a turn-about on a cliché, as in Diane Warren's "UnBreak my Heart". Tell a real, honest to goodness story and make people believe it. Don't repeat words in the same line, and don't be afraid to use sound-alike rhymes instead of exact rhymes.
Although a lyric and poem share the features of words, rhyme, and meter, the two should not be confused and often are. The differences between a poem and lyric: A poem is designed to be read, it's length can vary, and it can be complex in its language. Readers have time to stop, re-read and mull over a poem. Not so with a song, for unlike a poem a song is time dependant.
For this reason a lyric on its own is an unfinished product and only a part of a potential song. The meaning of the lyric should be instantly clear and must understand as it is being performed. A lyric is designed to be sung, and every word should sing. So you can't afford to waste a word and each word must be carefully selected to get across your message the most effectively.
Each line of a song should build on the previous one. Anyone should be able to read your verses and have a general idea about what the chorus will be.
SPEAK YOUR MIND
IF AT FIRST...
Sometimes, all it takes is a fresh mind to put your creative flow back into motion again. Never be afraid to revise your songs or start them completely over. Very occasionally a great song is captured in minutes, after that it takes patience to perfect work. Great songs are generally rewritten until technically perfect. No one writes a song perfectly on the first go. Good material has always been revised and fine-tuned by the time you hear it.
This sorts the men from the boys. It's easy to have the idea and get it down in the rough. It takes dedication to work through and perfect the song. it also takes a high degree of skill and technical competence. NK
Recording artists: We have a number of songs available for you to perform, purchase or otherwise negotiate rights to. All monies raised from this site is to be used to send a message to world leaders that there is an alternative to Petrol Wars and Nuclear Power.
WARNER MUSIC GROUP (AOL TIME WARNER)
Music companies looking for acts: please stay tuned and contact our A&R department
or write to the address below, when you spot someone with potential.
Extensive range of pipe organs built by Allen.
A wholly owned British company established in 1969 to handle the sales, service and hire of Allen Organs in the U.K., with, over 3500 instruments installed in churches, schools, crematoria, concert halls, and private homes.
Business Campus, Stocking Lane, Hughenden Valley, High Wycombe,
Bagpipe retailer in Leith, Scotland, whichbegan in1981 with the setting up of the "International Piper" magazine with the late Captain John A MacLellan, former director of the Army School of Bagpipe Music at Edinburgh Castle.
Lorn House, Links Gardens Lane, Leith, Edinburgh EH6 7JQ
+44 (0) 131 553 5503 +44 (0) 131 553 5550 firstname.lastname@example.org
BARNES & MULLINS Suppliers of guitars, PA's, effects, saxes and more.
BONNERS A range of musical instruments for sale at Bonners Music instrument shops in Brighton and Eastbourne.
BOOSEY & HAWKES Publishers, online catalogue of instruments, music books CD's.
Insurance from Cornhill for musical instruments.
Cornhill Musical Insurance is one of the UK's leading specialist musical
instrument insurers. Pioneered cover for the music industry over 40 years ago,
under the British Reserve Insurance Company and continue to offer flexible cost
Tel: 0870 2400 303
Probably the oldest prestige piano companies in the world. Holds the Royal Warrant as manufacturer of pianos to Queen Elizabeth II.
Organ builders with a base in Northamptonshire. Founded in 1960, Copeman Hart enjoy an international reputation for producing not only the most pipelike sounds but the most comfortable, authentic consoles.
HART & COMPANY LIMITED Finedon Road, IRTHLINGBOROUGH, Northamptonshire,
ENGLAND, NN9 5TZ
Oxford based specialists in restoration and retail of traditional pianos, particularly the better-known makes/models built between the 1890s and 1940s.
Village is one of the UK's most comprehensive studio equipment, pro-audio and
computer music website. Digital Village have dedicated teams of experts that
will help you choose the right equipment for all your music technology needs.
For telephone mail-order, expert advice, price-beating enquiries and the best
package deals on your studio equipment, please contact your nearest DV branch.
Whether you choose to purchase on-line, in-store or via telephone mail-order,
contact Digital Village – a supplier of professional recording equipment for
over 25 years.
www.dsmusic.com email: email@example.com phone: 01600 772770
DOLPHIN MUSIC Next day delivery on all orders.
eBay is the world's largest online marketplace with over 10 million items for sale and 42 million registered users, eBay is the place to find the things you want or sell the items you have. Simply follow the instructions to register.
FENDER (UK) Fender guitars and amplification UK dealers and prices.
GUITAR SUPERSTORE Great site for guitars and everything guitar related.
GUITARIST MAGAZINE Well known magazine for guitarists.
Guitar lessons on DVD, CD and video helping guitarists improve including beginners, intermediates and advanced players. Based in Hampshire. Tel: 0800 781 0414.
piano parts company, with an online catalogue, has been supplying piano tuners,
manufacturers, technicians, schools, colleges and universities all round the
world for over 120 years.
Protect your musical instruments against theft, damage and accidental loss. Policies can also provide new for old cover, hiring of replacement equipment, personal accident protection and public liability cover.
In 1935 Jaques Samuel began what was to become London’s largest independent piano house. 142 Edgware Road, Marble Arch, London, W2 2DZ
Tel: +44 (0)20 7723 8818 Fax: +44 (0)20 7224 8692
Concert piano technician also offering piano accessories, transportation and hire service.
Violin dealers, makers, repairers and restorers based in London.
Amusing online journey around this excellent London guitar shop.
MACHINE HEAD Stockists of extensive range of guitars, amps, and accessories.
The world famous Marshall Amplification Plc began in 1962 in London England where Jim Marshall had a music shop and taught the drums.Denbigh Road, Bletchley, Milton Keynes, Buckinghamshire, MK1 1DQ
+44 1908 375411 +44 1908 376118 spares: 01908 375411
Online advert site for musicians, instrument manufacturers and traders. Our categories cover all musical instruments and accessories
New & second-hand musical instruments, mail order music shop with a personal touch, advertise concerts, instruments & services FREE, concerts, repairers, teachers, GCSE Help Page, music links, joke page.
This site has a fantastic selection of sheet music, books about music, tutor methods and music accessories - covering a wide variety of instruments and genres.
MUSICAL WAREHOUSE Australian musical instruments.
MUSICIANS SHOP Discounted instruments and accessories with online facility.
NUSYSTEMS is an on-line store and mail order company for all your computer music and pro audio requirements. NUSYSTEMS build their own brand of Digital Audio Workstations (DAW) and Notebooks specifically for music production and recording.
Omega Music (UK) Ltd. has nearly 20 years' experience of operating a successful mail-order business. Noted for our integrity, we are one of the most respected music businesses in the north of England. Our Education Department supplies instruments and accessories to thousands of schools, colleges and universities nationwide. Our long-established retail store is the natural centre for music-making in our area and has on display one of the largest selections of musical instruments and accessories in the region.
A leading maker, restorers and dealers of antique pianos: grand, square, upright and fortepianos, based in Kent.
PETER SMITH & SONS Guidance/ advice offered on new and second hand pianos.
Offers 4,000 products online, at competitive prices, for musicians of all types.
Harps, harp music, clarsach, pedal harps and concert harps. Founded in 1980 by a group of craftsmen, all experienced in harp making. Workshops are a converted coach house beside a large Victorian family home set in the Surrey countryside.
01342 893242 Fax. 01342 892646
PREMIER PERCUSSION Information on percussion products, Leicestershire.
Guitar effects consoles, with fascinating history attached - Roger has worked with many of the true greats.
MAYER ELECTRONIC DESIGN ASSOCIATES
SAXOPHONES.CO.UK Sales and rentals of saxophones, flutes and clarinets.
SOUND TECHNOLOGY PLC Guitars, basses, sound software and more.
STATUS GRAPHITE Hand-crafted graphite basses and guitars.
STRINGS DIRECT Order strings online; accessories cables, useful tutorial.
Suppliers of classical guitars and associated recorded music.
THE CONTRABASS SHOPPE Dealers in orchestral stringed instruments.
Manufacturers and suppliers of hardware and software for the church
based in Cheshire.
times a year, the Totnes School of Guitarmaking runs a 12-week course for up to
seven people. Each of them has chosen what kind
of guitar they want to make, and leaves at the end with the finished
Think Music is a comprehensive direct musical instruments and equipment retailer. We have over 3000 product lines for you to browse and buy.
UK Websites Directory A new directory site worth a look!
Organ builders and installers in Northern Ireland, started in the garage adjoining the home of Christopher Gordon-Wells in 1966 then expanded into an old schoolhouse at Stoneyford north-west of Lisburn. Present Gregg Street workshop, was purchased in 1971 and has been steadily adapted and adjoining properties acquired for larger voicing shop and pipe store.
Gregg Street, Lisburn, BT27 5AW, Northern Ireland
Online store for PA, guitars, drums, pianos and more.
of Music Limited, 20 Denmark Street, London WC1
Builders of pipeless organs based in Surrey.
Wyvern Organ Buiders Ltd, Chobham, Woking, Surrey, GU24 8AQ. U.K.
Tel: 01276 856363 Fax: 01256 855241 email: firstname.lastname@example.org
The home of Gibson electric guitars today is "Gibson USA," built in 1974 in Nashville specifically for the production of Gibson's Les Paul guitars.
you have a comment or question about anything related to Gibson Musical
Instruments send an email to email@example.com.
We'll do our best to respond within 24 hours. You can reach the GMI
Customer Support staff 24 hours a day by calling 1-800-4-GIBSON
Entertainment Relations, 3rd Floor, 29-35 Rathbone Street, London, England, W1T 1NJ Tel. (0) 207.470.7800 Fax. (0) 207.470.7870 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Online suppliers of a variety of equipment for guitarists.
For 150 years Steinway has been dedicated to the ideal of making the finest pianos in the world. Site includes dealer locator.
Steinway Place, Long Island City, NY 11105
YAMAHA EUROPE Product information from Yamaha's extensive portfolio.
New energy drinks for adventure capitalists
This website is Copyright © 1999 & 2014. The bird logo and name Solar Navigator are trademarks. All rights reserved. All other trademarks are hereby acknowledged. Max Energy Limited is an educational charity.