There’s no right or wrong way to compose a song. Each musician kind of approaches it differently, so just keep that in mind! Here is just my way of writing a piano song that’s layered (using different instruments and sounds in the same song).
The first thing I do is write just the piano part. This is a song in and of itself. This is hard for me to explain how I actually do this, because I play ear, and I don’t really know how I do it. Basically I just sit down at the piano and play whatever comes into my head. It can be a song I’ve already written, it could be just me playing chords in different keys and sometimes believe it or not, I still practice playing all the scales in all the keys from time to time. Boring I know, but still gotta do it. Ok, so eventually after a while, I usually come up with something. I write the melody first, and the rest of the song is based around the melody. I don’t write the song in order. Usually after the melody, I write the different versus and then the ending. The intro I do last. All of this can take me different amounts of time. I’ve written complete songs in a day but that is rare. Usually just this part takes about a month.
Here is one of my songs as an example. This is “Brighter Days” just the piano version. I wrote this version first.
“Brighter Days”-Piano only- by Lindsay Della Vella-Copyright 2014
After I write this part of the song, I record it (to see more info on that, see this post). Once it’s recorded, then I just listen to it A LOT through the headphones and add harmonies using other instruments. I don’t record anything right away, but once I come up with something I like, I record it layered over the piano version. I keep doing this with different instruments until the song is finished. I really like this part of creating a song, because this is the part where I feel the song kind of comes alive.
Here is “Brighter Days” again with other instruments layered over the piano-
“Brighter Days” by Lindsay Della Vella- Copyright 2014
That’s basically it! That is what goes into writing a song for me. I hope this makes sense, it’s very hard to explain to people how I actually do this.
One thing I don’t do that kind of gets under my skin a little bit, is when people write songs that consists of basic loops over and over, and then have the keyboard basically write the song by itself, just because they pressed a few keys. I’m not trying to put people down that write that way (but I am a little). To me that is not real music. That is a computer-generated song. I can tell when songs are written using this method, and it sounds very mechanical to me. It’s like the song has no feeling to it, and it is not heart-felt. Songs should have some kind of emotion attached to it, and a keyboard generating songs by itself can not achieve this. Only a person writing a song can make it sound that way. Ok, I’ll stop now! I don’t want this to turn into a rant–just my opinion.
If you haven’t heard my other songs yet, scroll up and they are in the music player to the right of the screen. I also write songs for films and other projects, so if you’re working on something, and want custom music for it, please feel free to contact me.
Thanks again to those of you who listen to and download my songs 🙂
-Lindsay Della Vella
Photo credits-David Castillo Dominici and Salvatore Vuono at www.freedigitalphotos.net