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FDP Forum / Tin Pan Alley - Songwriting / When writing lyrics....

Contributing Member

Greater Boston

Where suspense is never in short supply.
Feb 15th, 2012 05:40 PM   Edit   Profile  

Do you first come up with a 'theme' to write about or do you base it on the music or chord structure that you write first?

This is just a jam, but I'm working on some lyrics along the line of the title...

Salvation Road

Contributing Member

Vancouver, Canada

Feb 21st, 2012 09:03 AM   Edit   Profile  

i can't speak for anyone else, but for me.. i don't have a formula. often the lyrics reveal themselves as i'm writing.

sometimes, i'll play something and start singing over it, sometimes i'll have a melody in my head first for the lyrics and then try to put music to it.

recently (at the request of my band) i started from a song title and an idea... maybe it was a "theme", and i wrote something. i like how it came out because it conveyed an idea without having to spell it out and say the words. and the theme was used more as a backdrop.


Central NY

Feb 29th, 2012 03:39 AM   Edit   Profile  

"often the lyrics reveal themselves as i'm writing"

So true duck. This stuff doesn't just come out all fully-formed, at least not for me. It begins with a few choice words, snippet of a lick or a short melodic passage, and needs to be fed & grow into something. Sometimes, they don't survive to completed songhood, a shame yes, but maybe parts wll be reused.



Sep 23rd, 2012 10:47 AM   Edit   Profile  

Lyrics come to your mind naturally man, you just can't make limitations or you can't come up with a theme, they just flow into your mind.


I'm not an expert

... but I play one on the internet!
Oct 14th, 2012 06:42 AM   Edit   Profile  

Lyrics come later for me. They start by flowing out of my brain as quasi- gibberish, intended only to help me find a good melody. Often, a theme will emerge though, or... I'll find that I really did have something to say even when I thought I didn't.

An example on one I'm struggling to finish now, I started singing: "Take my field in anger from me, take my hand and breath away".

Doesn't mean a thing to me, but I love that I can infer meaning and after a while it starts to feel purposeful.

I might keep it, but change the word field to fear.

Contributing Member


May 15th, 2017 05:50 AM   Edit   Profile  

I always come up with the music first. Every time I write lyrics first, I always end up with too many words for the melody.

Contributing Member


May 15th, 2017 07:15 AM   Edit   Profile  

I've done it all ways, but (to me) the most successful is a simultaneous marriage of melody and lyric, usually some sort of "place holder" mumbled out that feels right against the tune. Then a mission of discovery to find out what the song is about, finding a bridge and or chorus, smoothing out the clunky lyrical phonetics. I like taking a whimsical approach as if the song is already written and I gotta figure it out.

FDP Forum / Tin Pan Alley - Songwriting / When writing lyrics....

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