Writing lyrics

You don’t need to be a genius to write song lyrics. All you need to get started is a good idea for content, having fun to try things and knowing a little bit about song structure, that means what makes up a song. First put a few ideas together on what you’d like to get across and work out what you hope to achieve. Also bear in mind the suggestions offered in the “Finding a topic” section and decide on what you want to go with. Jot down anything that first comes to mind in terms of lyrics and phrasing and possibly first lines. Afterwards you need to think about style. You’re probably familiar with the usual style of alternating between verse and chorus from many pop hits:

  • Verse (= where suspense is built)
  • Chorus (= containing the main message)
  • Verse 2 (repeated suspense)
  • Chorus
  • Possibly bridge or C-part (contrasting section leading over to chorus)
  • Chorus
  • Chorus

Boring? Complicated? Luckily you have “artistic freedom”, so you can change things up as you see fit. Many successful song lyrics move completely away from this style. Your best bet is simply to start writing and then decide how you wish to style individual parts, for example ask yourself “What makes a good chorus?” or “Should that be my first verse?” and so on. Take a look at how lyrics you like are structured. Putting yourself in a writer’s shoes can offer great inspiration for your own lyrics.

Greater creativity is often found when working with others. Therefore ask for feedback and work with others together on lyrics. Perhaps a friend, teacher or family member could help you come up with something brilliant!

A rhyming dictionary may help when it comes to finding rhyming words. If you can’t find a suitably rhyming word for something crucial, you could also look for alternative words with a similar meaning. The “Thesaurus” or “Synonyms” functions in Word, Open Office or in some apps can be useful. You can access this by right-clicking on the word you need to find an alternative for. Rhyming dictionaries and thesauruses are also available online.

Creative song writers take note: There is a special price for the best song lyrics at the song contest!

Text: Tobias Rotsch