Songwriting 101:

Building Blocks!

In this lesson, we will start by having a look at the basic elements of a song,
and then use these concepts to create your own song!

1. Rhythm / Tempo

2. Chord Progression

3. Song Structure

4. Melody

1. Rhythm/Tempo

Guide Track
Whilst there are countless ways to start writing a song, one of the best methods is to start with a guide track.

 

Today, we are going to use a drumbeat as the guide track and build your song ontop of that. 

Choose your favorite drumbeat and tempo from the examples below.

Pop

Pop Beat Example 70bpm
00:00 / 00:27
Pop Beat Example 90bpm
00:00 / 00:21
Pop Beat Example 110bpm
00:00 / 00:17
Pop Beat Example 130bpm
00:00 / 00:15

Rock

Rock Beat Example 70bpm
00:00 / 00:27
Rock Beat Example 90bpm
00:00 / 00:21
Rock Beat Example 110bpm
00:00 / 00:17
Rock Beat Example 130bpm
00:00 / 00:15

Blues

Blues Beat Example 70bpm
00:00 / 00:27
Blues Beat Example 90bpm
00:00 / 00:21
Blues Beat Example 110bpm
00:00 / 00:17
Blues Beat Example 130bpm
00:00 / 00:15

Funk

Funk Beat Example 70bpm
00:00 / 00:27
Funk Beat Example 90bpm
00:00 / 00:21
Funk Beat Example 110bpm
00:00 / 00:17
Funk Beat Example 130bpm
00:00 / 00:15

Song Builder Files (Drums)

Drum Blocks - A single bar each of all the above drum beats, drag and drop into your DAW (music software) Don't forget to set your projects BPM!

                   A Blocks = Verse                               B Blocks = Chorus

2. Chord Progression

Next, we need to decide on a chord progression. Feel free to get creative here, but for our example, we are going to keep it simple.

 

If you need help coming up with a nice sounding progression, here is the list of common progressions from last week's lesson.

 

Chords in C Major

C    Dm   Em    F    G   Am   Bdim   C

     1     2     3    4    5    6      7     8   

 I     ii    iii   IV   V    vi     vii    I

1.    I    V     vi    IV   

2.   I    IV    vi    V    

3.   I    IV    V  

4.   ii   V      I  

5.   I    vi    IV    V

6.   I    IV    ii     V

7.   I    iii    IV    V

8.   I    IV    I      V

3. Song Structure

Now that you have your chord progression down. Let's make another one for the chorus and then write out a simple song chart.

Example Song Chart

Verse

| I             V           vi            | IV           x4

 

Chorus

| V            V           vi            | IV           x4

Song Builder Files (Chords)

Piano Chords - Long piano chord samples, drag and drop into your DAW and resize the chord to be the same length as the drum blocks.

Bass NotesSame as piano chords

song blocks.png

4. Melody

Last but not least is the song melody! To make this we are going to use notes from the C Major scale. This is where we get really creative and almost anything goes. But if you want to hook someone with your songs melody, then keeping it repetitive and simple is your best bet.

Tip: Try a higher starting note for your chorus melody so it sounds BIG!

Recording your Melody

Option 1
You can record the melody on your bass by using an audio interface, or the computer's microphone. (wear headphone so you don't also record the tracks your playing along to)


Option 2
Program the melody (here's a quick tutorial for Garageband)

Option 3
Or because you need this done by Friday for school, I'd suggest maybe playing the melody along to your track in class.

Good luck mate, hope it goes well on Friday!