Song Idea

Song Idea


By: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. - Founder


So after being inspired (per my previous article) we now should have a song idea. What is a song idea? Well, it could be any one of the following and/or a combination of:

  • I want to write about “fill in song idea here” (i.e. irresponsibility, or a breakup, or love). And I have no chord progression, no melody and no lyrics and I have to put them together.
  • I have written an old chord progression in the past and I want to use it in order to write a melody and lyrics about my song idea.
  • I have written an old melody in the past and I want to pair it with chords in order to use it with lyrics to match my song idea.
  • I have written lyrics in the past and I want to pair them with a melody and a chord progression.
  • After (any of) the above, I want to produce the song with all of its sub-components of music production (e.g. instrumentation, arrangement, tracking, editing, mixing, mastering, etc).

There is no right method, the quality of the result is what matters certainly. However, I almost always start with a chord progression and melody. Sometimes in parallel and others first with the chords and then with the melody. After those are “set” I add my lyrics.

But how? Well I will make a lot of videos about how I do this, however I can tell you that it’s certainly a combination of art and craft. You have it in you yes (creativity), but you improve on your craft in time and with your efforts, and in turn, art follows and the results shine.

One of the important points here is that sometimes craft leads and sometimes art leads. Meaning, sometimes you are driven by your artistic side because it’s simply pouring out, but other times you follow all the knowledge you have gained about chords and scales, and other elements of music theory and then you have something that inspires you and the rest takes shape for a good result (a good song). Heck, a synth arpeggiator or a beat could be inspiring and lead to a song idea.

By the way, I give a name to my song at the end. After the chords and the melody are finalized and the lyrics are at least “well formed”. You don’t have to spend cycles on song-naming while working “under the hood” in order to come up with a name. Even more so when knowing that the song could change direction while being crafted.

One of my favorite song-idea shaping-tools are to start with a chord combination that I like. That chord combo sounds so attractive to me that it’s begging for a melody to sit on top of it. That’s when I know a melody is ready to be written. Then when we have the left hand and the right hand of a nicely sounding piano (I use virtual instruments exclusively), we now have the idea forming, taking shape.


What comes next is inputting that idea as MIDI notes in my DAW. The tempo I use will be set before I start recording MIDI. I will tap my way through it while singing the melody in my head. Then do some fair editing with respect to quantizing and velocity settings and make sure my song segments are decided (everything is always loose, everything is editable through the process at all times however, I can change directions at any time). 

So at this point we have a decent sounding piano that can be bounced down to audio from our DAW. I may do some rudimentary mixing, even on the master bus and we are ready to move to the next step.

We are now ready to start writing lyrics.





This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. - Founder of is a songwriter, music and video producer, and music educator based out of Washington DC.

You can find some of his music, videos and tutorials here. 

Read 1845 times Last modified on Friday, 03 June 2016 04:27