Songwriting and Music Resources

I am no professional songwriter, nor a professional musician.
I have created this page because I have had to use many pages, books,
and resources to learn how to write a song. Enjoy!

General and Composition   Lyric Writing   Writing Music
Chords and Harmony   Miscellaneous Music Theory
Recording   Individual Instruments   Book Store
My Songwriting Tips   Various Links


General and Composition

Jeff Mallett's Songwriting Site
This is the most extensive list of resources for songwriters, although its a bit large for easy navigation.

Richhoncho's Songwriting Links
This site contains a vast number of resources for music and lyric writers

Free Printable Staff Paper
This page offers free printable staff paper of many different types.

Finale Music Notation Software
Finale makes some good music notation products. Check out the free Notepad software.


Lyric Writing

The Online Rhyming Dictionary
What could be better than a free online rhyming dictionary designed for poets and songwriters?


Writing Music

Music Theory For Songwriters
This is invaluable. It is a crash-course in music theory as well as chord progression maps. Quite informative.

Keys and Chords for Composition
This page contains a few charts that detail the appropriate chords for major and minor keys.

Fundamentals: Keys, Scales and Chords
This lesson consists of four brief parts explaining major keys, their scales and chords. The techniques should prove helpful.


Privacy Policy

Chords and Harmony

Chord House Guitar Room
This and its cousin below are probably 2 of the coolest music resources I have found on the net. This site allows you to build a huge variety of chords, gives you fingerings, lets you hear how it sounds, and then you can save and print (or email) all the chords you saved. Wow! Using this will allow you to advance beyond the I-IV-V7 progression. The advanced guitar room is more of the same

Chord House Piano Room
More of the same from above, only this is for piano. If you wish to write music by building off chords, then this is the place to go, because you can even hear the chord's sound.


Miscellaneous Music Theory

Gary Ewer's Music Theory Lessons
Scroll down the page to find the free lessons. I must say he teaches in an understandable manner. There are sound samples that go with the lessons, which help the ear pick up the theory. Very useful!

Weekly Music Lessons
This site is very detailed, and was the only one I could find on the net that actually discussed chord progressions within different modes. Basic and Advanced material is here.

The Ancient Musical Modes: What Were They?
This page takes a look at the different ancient modes, analyzing them critically, as well as providing a historical background to the modes. He has many midi files of songs transposed into the various modes, as well as two very neat original compositions in Phrygian and Lydian.

Guitar and Music Theory Lessons
Another comprehensive music theory site that covers music theory in depth. I believe in creativity, but as you can tell from these links, I also value the theory behind music.


Recording

Audacity
This excellent music recorder and mixer is completely open source and free. I highly recommend it for everyone.

Music Studio G7 Deluxe
Magix has created an affordable home digital recording system. It's like having a recording studio on your computer. With it you can make some interesting music, and impress your friends with professional sounding recordings.


Individual Instruments

Ear Trainer
Seeing that the voice is technically an instrument, this page will help you train it. I am rather weak vocally, thought to be tone deaf for years. However, singing in Church and along to the oldies in high school convinced me I can match when I have to. This page should help!

Functional Ear Trainer 1.1
Free software for ear training. It uses a unique method that seems promising.

Online Guitar Tuner
If you don't have any tuning instruments handy, try this nice online tuner. It keeps playing the note until you stop it, which is helpful.

Wholenote Online Guitar Community
This is an online community for guitarist that is extremely thorough, and I think there is something here for most guitarists.


Book Store

     

     


My Songwriting Tips

As I said, I am no professional, but as I learn and write, I have come up with a few ideas that have helped me. They are:

1.- Buy a Keyboard With Rhythm Capabilities
I found that I usually just talked about writing, until I sat down on a keyboard and turned on the rhythm mechanism, which allows you to also play chords that change the sound of the music backing the rhythm (or you can just set the rhythm if you like). Having the built in rhythm section (and built in music backing) is extremely helpful as a "nudge" to get started, and encourages tight writing, as opposed to sloppy, rhythmless pieces (which most of mine turn out to be unless I have something providing a consistent rhythm).

2.- Learn Music Theory
For me, learning music theory, i.e. the nuts and bolts of how music works was very helpful. Knowing the "sound" each chord produces, as well as which notes are a part of chords (as well as chord construction) allowed me to very quickly go from simple chords (C, F, G7) to more advanced and unique ones (C6, Fmaj7, etc). Some of the books I have listed above are helpful. Some are basic (Idiot's Guide To Music Theory). Others are rather advanced (All About Chords, Melody in Songwriting) and require a firm grasp of basic music theory.

3.- Sit Down and Sing
For me, sitting down at the piano (see number 1 above) and tinkering with melody is the most productive way to write. However, just playing chords on guitar and singing to it works also. Generally the ear tells the voice which notes work and which do not. While I love music theory, and believe it is essential to good writing, getting out of the theoretical and just doing the task is important.

4- Study the Melody and Chords of Your Favorite Songs
Buy a book of your favorite songs from your local music store. Study the melody (for instance, what note does it start on in relation to the chord?), then study the chords and chord progressions. Try starting with the same chords, add your own melody, then change some of the chords, and you have an original song. A less creative way to do it, but good for beginners.


Various Links

Jonathan and David's Byrds Page
My brother and I operate this web page. Ultimately it was my love for the Byrds that engendered my interest in songwriting. The Byrds are folk, rock, country, and more!

The Joe South Lyrics Page (with MP3)
Joe is a 60s singer-songwriter who wrote many hits for others, and a few for himself.



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