How to Write a Song and Record It At Home
Has this ever happened to you? You’re in the shower and suddenly inspiration strikes. Wanting to capture this new tune you’ve started humming, you run to make a quick voice memo on your phone. Days later you return to the melody, realising you’ve struck gold — but, the only thing is you don’t know how to write a song. Well, look no further! In today’s blog, we’ll talk about the ins and outs of songwriting, and how to record your masterpiece at home.
How to Write a Song
Follow this step-by-step guide on songwriting and you’ll be generating hits in no time!
Step 1: What is Your Song About?
So, you have a rough tune, but what is your song actually about? Sometimes thinking of a title can help to generate ideas. Keep in mind that all good songs have what’s known as a “hook”. This is a phrase that is repeated throughout the song that is the main message you’re trying to get across. Offering its words also as the title, the “hook” should be memorable and easy to sing. Once you know what the core of the song is, it’ll make the rest of the words easier to generate.
Step 2: Song Structure
Songs come in many different forms. This has to do with the number of distinct sections a song has and how they are arranged. Common song structures are:
- Strophic where the same section is repeated again and again.
- AABA where the first two and last section are the same musically with a slight tonal shift in the B section.
- Verse-Chorus where there are three main elements (verse, chorus, bridge) that can be rearranged in any order.
Each structure provides its own benefits. Typically pop songs follow a verse-chorus formation, but there’s nothing wrong with writing outside of the box.
Step 3: What Came First: The Music or the Lyrics?
There is no right or wrong way how to write a song. Some prefer to write the lyrics first and let them dictate the tune. While others decide to go music-first and let the words slot themselves in. Choosing between what to start with is a personal choice — do whatever is the more inspiring!
Step 4: Adding Accompaniment
An accompaniment is the music that supports the voice. Consisting of a variety of different instruments, it’s important to consider the journey of the song. Think about whether you want to start sparse and build up the accompaniment or start out strong and pare back. There is no correct answer!
Step 5: Adding Harmonies
While the song you write might be for a solo voice, adding harmonies is a fun way to expand your song. Using thirds or fifths above the melody is a great way to start!
How to Set Up A Home Studio
You don’t need fancy equipment to create a hit. Check out these tips for how to record a song at home. You can even use the microphone built into your phone!
- Try to record in a room that is quiet and has no ambient sound. Consider setting up your gear in a closet. Or hang towels around your set-up to dampen any unwanted noises.
- Keep the microphone a good distance from you. Do a few tests runs to see if there are moments when the audio “pops” and therefore you need to pull away.
- Use free software like Audacity to tidy-up your takes.