Music or Lyrics

2017-09-08 19:24:38


When it comes to songwriting, it is natural to ask the question of the chicken-or-the-egg type: the music or the lyrics, which comes first?


It's a time-honored question, and perhaps also the time-honored answer - it really is up to you!


So many budding songwriters get bogged down with this issue, wondering whether to pen some words first, and make a piece of music to fit them, or vice versa. They get concerned about what is the "right" way to write songs. And, when it comes down to it, even if you searched everywhere you could for the definitive answer, there really could be only one: There is no "right" way.


You could liken it to making a cup of coffee. Some people pour the boiling water on to the instant coffee and then add the milk. Others prefer to add the milk first, and then the water. The end result is really the same.


So, it all depends on you. What kind of songwriter are you? Do you love coming up with a tune first? Perhaps your lyric writing skills are where you draw inspiration. Whichever you are, it might be worth mentioning that perhaps the best writers don't get stuck in just one way of writing. One day they'll start humming a tune, the next they'll write a few the end they'll still have come up with a great song, whichever way they began.


To make things even more complicated - or even more vague, depending on how you see it! - there is another option: the lyrics and the music at the same time. In fact, rather than writing a piece of music for some lyrics, or the other way round, you can actually come up with a song which sounds altogether more "whole" if you work on both parts simultaneously. On the other hand, it is rare that lyric and musical inspiration hit you at the same time.


There is even an interesting concept that the music is IN the words and the words are IN the music. Certainly the music conveys a mood and informs the writer what sort of lyrics to write. Likewise, when you write lyrics first, they make it clear whether it should be a sad, happy or bittersweet song., and weather it should be uptempo, slow or something in between.


Song writing is all about you, and how you want to do it. Write in the way that feels the most comfortable, the most natural to you, and you'll find that your best songs will flow. Try and force yourself to work in one style, however, and your songs will be stilted and lifeless.


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张力平,IT行业资深分析师。Zhang Liping, aka Sevencastles,a senior analyst in IT industry and the owner of Seven Castles,'a Shanghai blog featuring news and views of great interest'.