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Tips On Writing A Winning Song
"With flowers You paint,
O Giver of Life!
With songs You give color."
        - NEZAHUALOYOTL (1402 - 1472)

Tony Arata    Nashville Hit Writer by C.A.Blevins, Music Row Publications

"The most important thing is, with the songwriters that I know, it's always been the same thing—you just try to write the best song you can. But the thing I've noticed that has changed the most is, there weren't as many songwriter/artists, if you will. [There] was a time when there were artists, and they did songs by songwriters.

I've always said that I think you can be a songwriter and you don't necessarily become an artist just because you get a record deal. And the converse is true: If you're an artist, you don't become a songwriter just because you get a record deal.

I personally think that's cost us in the quality of songs. I don't know anybody that has 10 jewels. But there are 10 jewels on any given day in this town. And money is the reason for this. If money is the driving thing, what you want is the best-selling album which might have to do with the best songs...so you could be cutting off your nose to spite your face."
[excerpted Charlene A. Blevins. Copyright © 1999 Music Row Publications.]

Song Form or Structure    "No Rules... Just Right" [© 2000 McClure & Trowbridge Publishing]

Songs have many structures and no set rules...so you can create your own as long as it flows. Study the masters, or songs you like.

A= verse
B= chorus
C= bridge (Bridge usually appears only once in song)
D= channel (Usually two lines lifting into and building into chorus)


Country . . . A..B..A..B... [Ex: "I Saw The Light"]
Country ballad . . . B..A..B... [Ex: "Jesus Said"]
Instrumental . . . A..B.... A..B
. . . A..B..C
. . . B.A..B..C..A..B..B.. A..D..B
. . . A..D..B...C...B
Study the masters, or songs you like. E.g. "Stars & Stripes Forever", "In The Mood", "Steel Guitar Rag"

Rhyme Patterns:
Do lyrics have to rhyme? No! But they often do. Study speech patterns and listen to dialects. Listen for the rhythms and patterns. Go to different parts of the city or among different strata of society to listen. Some dialects and languages are very rhythmic and melodic, others staccato, others clipped or gutteral.

Listen to works of music from these different subcultures, e.g. blues (you know, the real stuff by Lightning Hopkins, Leadbelly, Muddy Waters, Albert King,...); 40's big band and swing (you got it - the real stuff); classical (Bach, Brahms, ...).

The more you listen, and the more you understand, the more tools will be available to you in expressing yourself as you write.

Rhyme End of Lines
.......1 & 3 2 & 4 in a four lined verse

Rhyme End of Lines
.......1 & 2 3 & 4 in a four lined verse

Rhyme End of Lines
........2 & 4 in a four lined verse (No need to rhyme 1 & 3)

Rhyme End of Lines
........3 & 6 in a 6 lined verse

Rhyme Within a Line and Alliteration
........ _____Rhyme____Rhyme

You may use 'false' or close rhymes with the same vowel sound.
"My middle name is Sam,
I'd rather kick a can"

Practice good syllabic sound meter, combining with the flow of the lyric:

Mary had a little lamb . . (7 syllables)
It's fleece was white as snow . . (6 syllables)
Everywhere that Mary went . . (7 syllables)
The lamb was sure to go . . (6 syllables)

Make sure your verses one and two have close to the same syllabic sound meter. It makes it easier to put melody to the lyric.

[© 2000 McClure & Trowbridge Publishing; ref. Amy's WebTV Page, no other credits listed]
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