- 01. Song Writers on Song Writing, the Book to Learn How to Compose Songs
- 02. Songwriting for Dummies, To Compose Songs without Growing Pains
- 03. Writing Better Lyrics by Pat Patterson, a Treatise on Song Composition
- 04. Get Creative with The Emotion Thesaurus: A Writer's Guide to Character Expression
Whether you are a musician, a composer, or a singer, songs are the pivotal point of a practice, a technique, but also an inspiration. As a comic book writer will be interested in drawing, it is essential to know how a musical piece is best written.
Of course, books can become superb supports to teach us the fundamentals for songwriters. For it must be said that music has never been so desirable. The market for making original tracks has never been better, so why not take some time to learn how to become the best songwriter you can be?
Music has become an essential part of our lives, not just to the songwriter, as digital platforms allow us to listen to music at all hours of the day. So much so to the point of engendering more and more private lessons for those who need help becoming a better songwriter.
With Superprof, you can get the help you need by taking some time with one of our skilled tutors. Nevertheless, there are still amazing books out there that can complement the any private songwriting lessons.
Here is a small selection of books you can read that are both simple and useful, to get you started with songwriting!
Song Writers on Song Writing, the Book to Learn How to Compose Songs
Written by Paul Zollo, this book is a bible when it comes to how to approach musical composition. Although Paul Zollo is not well known to the general public, he has in fact participated in many popular successes. And his experience is fascinating.
Indeed, from the harmonics to the tonality, through the lyrics, the book starts from a simple principle: the songs that seem the easiest are actually those that answer the most complex compositional equations.
Based on this principle, this book is a bible for all those who do not wish to enroll in music school to compose melodies, for those who are not really interested in music theory and who prefer action, and for those who simply want to write a song (or several)!
Many people learn best by doing, which makes this book so wonderful. The book goes through practical examples of actual hit songs and let's you find any patterns and techniques that are worth it to you. Writing songs with books that only go into technique is a bit hard, as they give you the theory without any of the practical examples to back it up. With this book, you'll have a whole catalogue at your disposal.
Based on fifty-two interviews with some of the greatest artists of our time, this book is a practical guide that is constantly being revisited, enhanced, enriched, and will allow anyone who wishes to learn how to speak music, whether they are a beginner, a guitar teacher, or a composer, to do so!
Songwriting for Dummies, To Compose Songs without Growing Pains
The "For Dummies" collection is already well known, and for good reason: it covers absolutely all subjects, from the most precise to the most extensive. And here, it does not let us down, since this book put together by a group of music industry insiders!
In these 350 pages, Songwriting for Dummies clearly shows us how words make sense when combined. The book alternates between concrete advice and real reflections on musical practices, improvisation, rhythm, what is a verse, a chorus, and manages to give us real advice for the general writing of a song. This is a great book for complete beginners looking to dive deeper into the basics.
Because even if it is not about UK literature, writing lyrics is not as easy as it seems, and from popular UK songs to nursery rhymes and wedding refrains, the least we can say is that this book does not only belong to the category of beautiful books, but also to the category of teaching manuals!
Find more singing lessons Glasgow here on Superprof.
Writing Better Lyrics by Pat Patterson, a Treatise on Song Composition
Between the lack of inspiration, the writing of each part and the desire to improvise, composing a song is a real inner ordeal, which requires both containing oneself and letting oneself go to the writing.
When one wishes to open up one's practice of musical composition as a self-taught person, when one wishes to compose music while reflecting on the meaning of one's actions, when musical training is necessary but constraining, there are books that can open one's mind.
This classic book by Pat Pattison, which has almost 4.3 stars on Goodreads, is a more theoretical work, which allows one to read a new approach to examining the art of creating original tracks and finetuning a melody.
First published in 1995, this book is still current, which proves how much it is relevant to read it, whether you are a beginner or not!
The book sees a creative approach to songwriting. It examines a set of 17 different songs, going in-depth on what it is that makes them so great. Indeed, by means of this short and simple book, you can get the necessary motivation to create a song.
Pattison offers more than 30 lyric exercises - so you know this book will let you get creative and put into practice all the new information you might learn about crafting good lyrics, melody and more.
Obviously, here, the point is not to forge the next new and big hit, but Pattison guarantees us a certain vision of writing, thanks to some technical and very simple advice, which we don't always think about.
The cover warns us: writing better lyrics requires work. After years in the business, the author decides to give us some advice on how to achieve a level of composition far superior to what we thought we could create.
Surrounded by musicians and rhythmists, he is like a teacher, like a support, who guides us to create music as well as to compose a song that is worth the effort.
Find more singing lessons Edinburgh here on Superprof.
Get Creative with The Emotion Thesaurus: A Writer's Guide to Character Expression
The least we can say is that this book lives up to its name! Indeed, writing a song involves a lot more than just stringing some words together to a beat. In this way, the book is a very good teaching tool for beginners as well as for professional track composers.
The bestselling book, written by Angela Ackerman and Becca Puglisi, was initially published in 2021, making it the newest book on this list. While not specifically targeted to songwriters, the book is considered as the "gold-standard" in the world of writing.
The original book is constantly being expanded and edited to keep up with the modern day. The guide itself focuses on what could be said is the biggest challenge for songwriters: how to convey emotions to an audience.
Because at the end of the day, whatever the era, music is an art form that stands the test of time in the most beautiful way, and building a good song structure will involve the ability to properly convey your feelings to the listeners.
The book actually covers about 130 emotions that range from the most intensely sad to the most euphoric happiness. The biggest advantage that this book will give you is it will show you how to properly pinpoint what kind of emotions you want to instill in your audience and how to do so.
The most important rule of writing is to show and not tell. There are obvious exceptions to this, which is mostly known as expository dialogue. This kind of dialogue has it's merits and it's place in music. However, for the most part, it can be best to stick with "showing" and not "telling".
What this actually means is that if you want to write a song about being sad, it will take a lot more than simply saying "I was sad on Sunday" to get your listener to emote.
Think of some of the trivial but unique things sadness involves. This could be anything from:
- Not feeling hungry
- Not getting out of bed
- Having messy hair
- Being irritable
- and more!
From tablature to intervals to the title of a song, composing a song is no easy task! However, thanks to some practical (and often simple) advice distilled in the books, it will be much easier for everyone to start rhyming and find the perfect sequence!
And you, what are your reference books? To go further, why not take a private lesson with Superprof, for example!
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