Music Talks Education Center: Anatomy of a Heart and Soul Song

What are some of the primary components involved in writing a song that will mentally and emotionally connect the listener, motivating them to purchase your music?  Well, it begins with the song, not a slick production and certainly not today’s cool affordable recording technology, software and gear.  Just the basic song and then surround yourself with other talented people to help you bring it to life.  If you do not have a song that connects to a person’s heart and soul, then you have nothing.  And it does not matter what genre of music you play, find the heart and soul within it.  It is the single most important ingredient when writing a song.   Heart and soul is created by the human heart and soul, for the human heart and soul.

Go back to your favorite artist and to his or her music.  Listen to it over and over again. How does it make you feel physically, emotionally, mentally and spiritually?  Give thought to how much money you have invested in this artist.  Not just record sales, but also concert tickets and merchandise.  Then ask yourself why have you loved this artist music so much and for so long.

Next, look at the lyrics.  What is the message?  What is the story? Can people relate to the words?  Can they relate to the message and the story?  Will they say to themselves, “Boy, I know what you mean, I’ve had that experience, I can relate to that”?  Look at the title of the song, does it stand out and grab you when you first read it?  Does it suggest or tell you what the message or story of the song could be, or does it make you wonder while not revealing much?  A good title stands out and catches your attention.  A good example of a title that makes you wonder is Danny’s Song, by Kenny Loggins.  It made me ask the question, “Who is Danny?”  And what is his story?  I love titles like that because they have the potential to make the listener focus on the lyrics to find out what the message or story is, further connecting the listener to the song.  Hopefully, you are writing strong lyrics and not just catchy song titles.  Great titles followed by weak lyrics, stories or messages are usually disappointments for the listener.

Finally, there is melody.  It does not matter if it is a ballad, a two-step polka, head-banging heavy metal, hip hop or a dance tune!  Melody is king in the music world.  Everyone wants to sing, hum, whistle or play an air instrument along with a great melody.  How you get that melody, what instrument you use is your decision.  The idea is to make sure you have a strong melody and that it stands out either with an instrument or in support of your lyrics or both.  And, if the melody is playing the supporting roll to your lyrics, be sure that they play well together and that they do not engage in a tug-of-war (but that is production).

That’s it (as simple as it may seem)–a basic song, melody and lyric.  It does not matter the order in which it is created.  What matters is that when combined they create a strong song that reaches the listener’s heart and soul. If you reach into their heart and soul,they will reach into their pockets!

 

David Knight

Music Talks Educational Network

david@musictalksedu.net
Visit our Website at: www. musictalksedu.net.

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