let melody = slow 6 $ "0 2 [4 8 .] [3 4 3] 8 4 9" scalePattern = slow 12 "" scalePattern = slow 16 "" scalePattern = slow 12 ""

Lyric Writing Techniques

Below are various exercises for writing lyrics that I have found useful as a starting place when I’m stuck.

Hot pen

Set a timer. Write until the timer runs out. Do not let yourself stop until the timer is done. Write nonsense if you have to.

Begin each line with the last word from the previous

This works well in conjunction with hot pen. Try to make a line that starts with the last word of the prior line. This create an artificial sense of continuity and may reveal relationships between ideas that you have not previously considered.

Cutup technique

see [[ Cut-up Technique ]] for more.

Transcribe a conversation

I learned this in Jeff Tweedy’s How to Write One Song, which is excellent. Record or recall a conversation you had with someone or one you overheard. Adapt lines from the conversation as song lyrics.

Noun/Verb ladder

This is also from Jeff Tweedy’s How to Write One Song. Pick 10 nouns and 10 verbs. Create lines that combine nouns and verbs that aren’t used together often. This helps make lines that are surprising or striking. Take the best of these as a starting point for lyrics.

Adapt a poem you like

Use a poem as a jumping off point. Adapt lines from the poem as lyrics. You can use these just to get a sense of the rhythm and flow of the song and then replace them with your own ideas. You may also choose to keep them. However, if you keep the adapted lines you must indicate that the song is an adaptation of their poem and, if they are alive, ask their permission.


Notes mentioning this note

There are no notes linking to this note.



Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.