Sara Bareilles, Ben Folds, Sarah McLachlan, and Elton John — all amazing musicians who are known for playing the piano and writing heartfelt lyrics. Want to try your hand at it? Read on as Helendale, CA teacher Sylvia S. shares her tips for how to write a song on piano…
If you’ve ever tried to write a song on the piano and felt like the notes just weren’t coming together the way you wanted, don’t worry! You are not alone. Writing lyrics and creating music can be a daunting task, but it doesn’t have to be.
With these six tips for writing lyrics on piano, you can unlock your songwriting potential and create a beautiful piece of art.
How Should I Write My Own Song?
The process of writing a song can be both creative and complex. Here are some tips:
- A great way to start is by focusing on what genre and emotion you’re aiming to create, such as upbeat pop or nostalgic blues – it helps define the elements needed for the lyrics and music.
- Make sure to write down any ideas or melodies that come to mind, no matter how simple they seem – you never know when an unexpected inspiration might lead you in an inspiring direction.
- You may want to use a recording program like Audacity or GarageBand to compile your ideas into one cohesive song, or sketch out an accompanying guitar line on paper.
- Above all else, get comfortable with experimentation – try out different combinations of sounds until you discover something unique that resonates with your own personal style.
Writing a song isn’t just about following the rules – it’s about creating something magical from nothing!
If you’re ready to learn how to write a good song on piano, you’ve got to get creative! Consider signing up for songwriting lessons and learn more about how to write a song on the piano by watching the video below:
How to Write a Song on Piano For Beginners
So you’ve learned to play piano and you’ve created some original sounds. Maybe you’d like to learn how to write a song on piano along with great lyrics, and you’re stumped. You’re not alone. Before one of the most famous songwriters of the 20th century came up with lyrics, one of his beautiful love songs was stuck with the abysmal rhyme “Scrambled eggs, oh my baby how I love your legs.”
Here are some tips to help you get started:
1) Don’t Rush Things
Don’t worry if your song doesn’t come together quickly, or even if some inane phrase is stuck in your head. See what you have to begin with. Is it a few chords? Perhaps a melody line? Or is there a nice rhythm you’d like to build upon? Maybe you have a story to tell about love or dancing or something you just want to sing about.
2) Listen Carefully
Take a good listen to what you like the most about your starting point, and what needs a little help. Notice those parts where words and music come together easily, even if it’s only a short phrase and melody. Jot it down on a piece of paper so you will remember later, and keep a pen and paper where you can reach it quickly at night. Often the perfect rhyme is in your subconscious dreams, so don’t be surprised if you wake up with the answer.
3) Consider a Collaboration
What if you have music and no ideas at all for words? Many successful songs are the result of two-person collaborations, where one person writes the music and the other writes the lyrics. Consider taking on a partner for this task, particularly if you know someone who’s good at writing poetry.
4) Get Permission
How about if you don’t have the music for a song yet, and you’re looking for poetry or other songs for inspiration to get things started? Unless the lyrics are in the public domain, it’s a good idea to get permission from the writer, even if you don’t plan to “go public” with your song.
5) Don’t Forget About Poetry
On the other hand, public domain poetry is a marvelous and largely untapped resource to use for lyrics, usually with no permission required. I like Public Domain Poems, where I found this great potential song lyric from the poem “Love’s Philosophy” by Percy Shelley: The fountains mingle with the rivers, and the rivers with the oceans. The winds of heaven mix forever with a sweet emotion.
6) Consider Style and Speed
Decide what you want the style and speed of your song to be, and also the message you wish to deliver. Is it a love song played slowly atop beautiful harmonies? Or is it a fast-paced dance song, with punchy chords in the right and a deft riff in the left hand? Is your preference a simple country ballad combined with a surprising or humorous observation of life? Maybe you like hip-hop and strong rhythmic motifs shared between the bass and treble?
7) Take Time to Diagram
Whichever style and message you choose, create a diagram for your song. A typical diagram is A-B-A-B. This type of song has two parts:
- The A part, or the story line, is known as the verse. The words of the verse change each time the A-B pattern is repeated, usually as a rhyme that tells a story. The story continues and progresses throughout the song.
- The B part, or the message, is known as the chorus. The words of the chorus are usually easy to remember and stay the same with each A-B repetition. A “hook” is a combination of words and melody that gets stuck in your mind. In some songs, a chorus rhymes, and in other songs it will repeat a strong non-rhyming statement like “I Love You,” or a call to action (like “Celebrate” or “Dance”). Deciding whether or not to rhyme is called “poetic license.”
- In addition to parts A and B, some songs are more complicated, with a C part, or bridge, tossed in the song’s midst for interest.
How to Write Chords for a Song on Piano
Before you start writing chords, it’s important to understand what they are and why they are important. In short, chords are groups of three or more notes that create harmony when played together. When combined with rhythm and melody, chords form the foundation of a song’s structure. When writing a song on piano, understanding chord progressions can help you transition between different sections of your piece easily.
Once you understand how chords work and how they fit together in a progression, the next step is to find the right chords for your song. The most popular chord progressions tend to be made up of major and minor triads (three-note chords). You can also experiment with seventh chords (four-note chords) for added complexity or texture. However, it’s important not to overcomplicate things – sometimes simple is best!
Now that you know the basics of writing chord progressions, it’s time to create your own! Start by playing around with some basic major and minor triads in different keys until something clicks with you. Then, add seventh chords where appropriate and experiment with different rhythms and melodies until you’ve created something unique that captures the mood of your song perfectly.
How to Write a Song on Piano With Lyrics
Now that you have a few parts of your song working well, and you have a diagram to map out the road, it’s time to start writing the rest of the lyrics. Love songs and country ballads can generally have simpler rhymes and more complicated story lines or flowery descriptions. In contrast, dance songs and hip-hop often have complicated rhymes with a simple message. Whether you want to tell a story or show off poetic prowess, a rhyming dictionary is very helpful. I like RhymeZone.
SEE ALSO: 5 Ways to Start Composing
Great songs are not always about interesting story lines or amazing rhymes. Sometimes the rhythm of the words, a simple message and melody, along with very basic rhymes can create a winning combination.
As for that unknown love song about breakfast food, it was magically transformed from mundane to memorable by these everyday words: “yesterday, faraway, here to stay, yesterday.”
How to Write a Song on the Piano: Genre by Genre
Whether you’re a budding composer or just want to try your hand at writing a song, the piano can be an incredibly versatile tool when it comes to creating music. With its wide range of sounds and tones, it’s easy to write any genre of song with just a few chords. But if you’ve never written a song before, it can be hard to know where to start. That’s why we put together this guide!
How to Write a Pop Song on Piano
Pop songs are all about catchy melodies and harmonies that will stick in your head for days. The trick is to make sure that each chord progression leads into the next seamlessly so that the listener will be drawn in from start to finish.
Start with some basic chords in the key of C major (C, Dm, Em, F and G) and experiment with rhythms and variations until you find something that sounds good. Make sure each chord progression has an interesting melody over top – remember: no two pop songs should sound exactly alike!
How to Write a Rock Song on Piano
Rock songs are all about power and energy – think heavy riffs and driving beats! Start with some basic power chords (A5, B5, C5 etc.) and build up from there.
Experiment with different rhythms until you find something that feels powerful yet melodic at the same time. Once you have your main riff down, layer more complex riffs over top until you have something truly rocking! Don’t forget – when it comes time for your solo, rock out like nobody’s watching!
How to Write a Love Song on Piano
Love songs are all about emotion – sweet melodies that evoke feelings of romance and longing. Start off by experimenting with minor chords (Am7b5 or Dm7b5) as these will set the mood for your love ballad perfectly.
For added texture try adding passing chords between each chord progression – these will create movement in your arrangement without breaking away from the overall feel of the song. Finally don’t forget about lyrics – having meaningful lyrics can really take your love song from good to great!
How to Write a Good Song on Piano
Writing lyrics on piano doesn’t have to be intimidating—in fact, it can even be fun! With these six tips for writing lyrics on piano, anyone—even those who are new at playing this instrument—can create beautiful pieces of art while developing their own unique sound along the way.
Consider signing up for piano lessons to help you get better at your craft – you’ll likely find the creative juices start flowing the more often you play the piano.
So take some time today to explore these ideas and start crafting some amazing songs!
Sylvia S. teaches singing, piano, theater acting, and more in Helendale, CA. She comes from a musical family of several generations, and her experience includes playing an electric keyboard and singing vocals in a professional, working band. Learn more about Sylvia here!
Photo by Jaybird