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, i.e. 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)
- Possibly bridge or C-part (contrasting section leading over to 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, e.g. ask yourself “What makes a good chorus?” or “Should that be my first verse?” etc. 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.
- The website www.genius.com explains and discusses the meanings of many song lyrics (in English)
- A rhyming dictionary for the German language is available here (in German)
- A rhyming dictionary for the English language is available here (in English)
- An online thesaurus is available here (in English)
- The “Songwriter’s Manual” website created by Edith Jeske and Tobias Reitz offers useful tips on song writing (in German)
- The “Create Music” network offers further tips on song writing (in German)
- The website www.klangkost.net also offers tips on song writing (in German)
- And this blog post by Annika Wegerle tells you how to write better song lyrics ! (in German)
Creative song writers take note: in this round there is a new special prize for the best song text!