Improve Your Lyrics – Tip #51

It is important to set goals before attempting to start a project. With lyric writing, here is a goal you can set for yourself that could help dramatically improve your writing ability:

For people who typically write music in the verse-chorus form, they fall into the trap of allowing themselves too many verses. And it comes to no surprise either; a lot of grate music has the form of VVCVCBC – with two or three verses leading up to the fist chorus.

As mentioned previously, a verse is used to help narrate the story you are telling. Give details, explain the situation, etc. But allowing yourself too many verses can cause you to not get to the point – instead, blabbering on with unnecessary words cluttering up your song.

So, set yourself the goal of only allowing yourself one (and only one) verse before the first chorus. 4 to 8 small lines max.

Forcing yourself to be constrained to one verse will make you prioritize the important information first. Then, if you were to add another verse, you will be secured of already have hit the punch of the song.

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Improve Your Lyrics – Tip #50

Another form that you can use for your lyric writing is the through-composed form. The structure is represented as the ABCD form where each section is a new melody (or a development of the original). Thus, constantly being new and not repeating any material.


While melodic change is the most important distinction between each section in a through-composed song, other aspects such as number of lines or rhyming scheme can also change.


A through-composed structure works best when the lyrics you have written are a linear narrative, that itself will develop just as the music does.


So how can a songwriter and lyricist make a through-composed piece sound like one song instead a mishmash of many? Just like the lyrics should all be on the same topic, each section (ABCD…) should have a harmonic, melodic, and/or rhythmic variation of a motif to tie everything together.

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Improve Your Lyrics – Tip #49

Another lyrical form you should consider on using is the ABAC form.  While it is not conventual or popular, many great hits in the past have used this form.

Similar to the ABAB form, the A section contains the main musical theme/motif/idea.  The B section is the development while also serving as the catapult to return back to the A section.  Length for each lettered section is typically 8-bars long, but it can vary.

The C section is new…

Well, the C lyrics section is new, it that it is only performed once in the entire structure of the song.  It can contain a bit of thematic material found in the B section (acting as B’) or being completely new.

Titles usually appear (that is, if you want to incorporate the title into the lyrics) at the beginning or at the end of the AB or AC sections.

Try playing around with this form; especially if the structure of your lyrics is to create an emotional climax.

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Improve Your Lyrics – Tip #48

Another lyric form you can try experimenting with is the ABAB form.  While it is not so common today, it can be found in many hits from country, to adult contemporary, to jazz, to funk, and broadway music.

While the ABAB form may look visually similar to that of the AABA form, the ABAB is more two different sections than three sections connected with a bridge.

The purpose of the A section is to embody the main music idea and theme while the B section is used to develop the material as well as serve as a platform to prepare the listener for returning back to the A section.  So, the B in the ABAB form is more fluid and transitional than the B in the AABA form which is contrasting.

Even though the ABAB form is typically 32-bars long with each AB section containing 16-bars, it can be changed.  In some cases, a songwriter might add a little extra at the end, making the form ABABB or ABABAB.

Titles, or main hooks are placed at the beginning of the A sections, or at the end of the B sections.

Try writing a song that calls for development of the main idea in a ABAB structure format.

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Improve Your Lyrics – Tip #47

This is going to be a short post…

An allusion is a reference to another piece of work or to some “commonly-known” subject, object or whatever.

Basically, it can add a bit of “real life” to the song.  While a song can be personally, it might run into becoming too “imaginative” for listeners.  Using allusions or references to outside works can help make it a bit more realistic… or even add a bit of nostalgia for the audience.  Try it out!

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Improve Your Lyrics – Tip #46

What is a bridge?  If you were thinking in music terms or in anything else, it is something that connects two areas together.

In addition, from a music standpoint, the bridge offers something different (both musically and lyrically) to catapult with motion from one section to another.

Musically, bridges offer harmonic variation, rhythmic contrast, new melodic movement, modulation, etc.  Lyrically, bridges might contain a change in character focus, a change in timeline, or inclusion of in-depth detail on the subject/story.

Basically, offer something new when you want to include a bridge into the song.

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Improve Your Lyrics – Tip #45

Another form that you can use is the AABA form.

Similar to the AAA form, it contains repeated A sections. However, this time there is a B section right before the last A section that acts as a “bridge” section. As you would imagine, the B section is different from the rest.

Typically, the form is 32-bars in length with each section having 8-bars in dedication to it… but that is not a strict rule. The entire length can vary greatly to the shape/flow of your lyrics. The B section, in fact, can be longer or shorter in length compared to the other A sections, or even split into two. Also, the last A section can be stretched couple of extra bars.

Titles and/or hooks should be saved to the beginning or end of the A sections, but it is typically saved for the end of the last A section.

The AABA form can even be expanded using the same principles into an AABABA form.

Take a listen to many songs that utilize this form and see how they creatively craft it to the lyrics.

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