Video:Tips for Writing Songs on the Guitarwith Sean McCabe
Crafting your own songs can be a simple, honest process. In this how-to video from About.com, get inside tips and advice from a singer-songwriter on how to write your own music.See Transcript
Transcript:Tips for Writing Songs on the Guitar
Hello! Im Sean McCabe and I'm here today for About.com and Im going to talk a little bit about the craft of songwriting.
How to Start Writing a Song
And I'm going to use a song which I wrote about 5 years ago to illustrate my general ideas. And the song is called You Are My Everything. It was written quite quickly in fact so I sat down one day I had the line, the title of the song: You Are My Everything and I said, ok, I might have a song here and I am going to sit down and write it.
So, I sat down and wrote 5 or 6 verses. In my case when I write a song, I usually write the words first, so I sit down and I write the words, and if I am happy with what comes out, then I grab my guitar and I try and find the melody, I sing the words and usually if the words are good a melody will come quite quickly, the right chords will come quite quickly.
Record As You Write the Song
And then I just grab my walkman and I record the song. Good thing to do actually when you are writing a song and you finish it, record it right away because if you dont record it and you come back to sing the song later you might have forgotten som elemental things that you actually had in your mind when you wrote the song.
Two Types of Songwriting
In general I believe that there are two basic general types of songwriting. There is the songwriter who starts off with the lyric, who writes the lyric first: Bob Dylan would be the obvious example there, or Woody Guthrie and other songwriters like John Lennon who really were more into the words.
Then there are the writers who have the melody first. And a good example of that would be Paul McCartney. He is a melody based writer and it seems to me that when he writes he has a melody first and then he perhaps goes to the lyric after.
The Lyric-Based Approach to Songwriting
I prefer the lyric based approach because that is just the way that I am but I think it is fairly good to start off with the lyric especially if you are a beginning writer and you dont know where to go. Not to be intimidated, just to write whatever comes into your own head - it doesn't have to be anything grandiose. Just simple thoughts and you might be surprised by the quality of what comes out.
Then grab your guitar, grab your mandolin, start strumming, start singing the words you have written and once again you could be amazed by what comes out then. It is a real thrill to have a finished song by the end of that half hour, by the end of that hour.
So that song is from my album, Thats the Story and if you do want to know a bit more about songwriting just go to About.com.