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Song Writing 101

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Nick Cyr

Ms. O


2 September 2004

Song Writing 101:

Expressions of the Soul

There is a common misconception is that one must be in love in order to write a song, but in fact many people write songs just to express themselves. Being able to carry a tune and the ability to write poetry are good skills to have if you want to be a songwriter, because after all songs are poems put to music. Being in love would be an exceptional advantage to have, because when an individual is in love all of his or her feelings are enhanced. Love is the most intense emotion human beings feel, and it can make people do extraordinary things. Even William Shakespeare, the most knowledgeable man about love, wrote,

"But love is blind and lovers cannot see

The follies that they themselves commit;

For if they could, Cupid himself would blush."

These things are usually good but not always. They can be good, like asking the person you love to marry you on the scoreboard at a football game. They can also be bad, like stalking or threatening that one partner will hurt themselves to get the other partner to do something. Love does conquer all, and it is a powerful tool if you can conquer it in song, through feeling, through lyric, and through melody. By the way, Love really is all it is cracked up to be. It truthfully is worth fighting for, it is worth being brave for, and it really is worth giving everything for.

Writing a song starts with an action, such as when you and your girlfriend look at each other but no words are said just smiles that say so much. I reflect on my experiences, and I find myself inspired, which motivates me to write. I think about details, such as who was involved, how I reacted, and most important what I was feeling at the exact moment. This is one reason that I can write songs. I have the ability to control my feelings so that no one knows what I think or what I care about. Having the ability to decide what feelings I show and which ones I do not is a useful trait in itself.

Many find songwriting to be an escape when you're very emotional. Whether you're angry, sad, frustrated, or in love writing songs helps to express your feelings. Those feelings are the most reoccurring feelings in songs. Sadness was the most recent for me. Two of my friends' grandfathers passed away in the same hospital, the same day, and even in back to back rooms. Both of them were also buried the same day. Instead of writing a card, I found it easier to express myself in a song. The first stanza went as follows:

The air was cold but I couldn't find any to breathe.

The service was short but I couldn't find reason to leave.

The Priest said the words like he was saying them into my face.

It was silent but crying broke the silence in that place.

Days of darkness and sorrow fill the hearts of tomorrow.

Most of the songs written or the songs we hear have to do with someone of the opposite sex. This is because most of the feelings we feel are intertwined with our partner or the person we wish we had. Once I acquire the romantic level I feel I need, I begin to listen to my surroundings. I listen for noises and sounds to try to find a rhythm, beat, or melody that goes well with my words. Listening to other songs occasionally helps me express myself easier when I write, and helps me develop songs. I first take a line from the song and begin with that and go back to change it after I have started. Most melody and rhythm instruments, as well as the rain and storms serve as inspiration. If you have ever just sat and listened to the rain you know what I am talking about. After I find myself with my eyes closed humming a melody or beat boxing to myself or out loud, I think of the feeling that gave me my idea for writing. I then become consumed by the feeling. When I feel happy, I normally smile and maybe laugh to myself. When I feel sad, I might frown or even cry. If the feeling is anger, I might yell out loud or make comments about things to myself.

Furthermore, I am good at manipulating other people and myself as well. Being a writer who depends on his feelings to be the backbone of his writing, I have to have a certain awareness of what people are thinking and how to get them to think what I want. I have to be able to manipulate myself just the same or manipulate people enough to make me feel a certain way to produce ideas. I can read people and sometimes I can even tell what they are thinking.



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