The Song Form

May 6, 2015 by

To write a consistent song there’s a lot you have to keep track of: what timeframe you chose, what viewpoint you’re in, etc.

It’s best to choose these things before writing but trying to remember everything while writing could lead to a lot of stressful brain activity (I’d know). So to make things easy (I’m all about minimizing effort) I made a form like the ones you use for RPG characters.

Title:
Plot:
Form:
Rhyme Scheme:
Viewpoint:
Voice:
Time Frame:
Setting:
Universitility:

That should be everything you’d need to know about your song before you write it. It’s OK if you don’t have everything figured out up front; you may need to write a first draft to know what your song needs.

Now for a more in-depth look at the form:

Title:

Moving on.

Plot:

Needs to include whether the lyric’s attitudinal (the singer’s feeling about something), situational (about a certain event) or narrative (a full story); and then what it’s about. For example it could be an attitudinal about about a teen wanting to dance or a situational about a particularly messy breakup (I’m sure two examples just came to mind).

Form:

Whether it’s a verse/chorus lyric, an AABA lyric, an AAA with a refrain, etc.

Rhyme Scheme:

Songs don’t have to rhyme but if they do they need to consistently so note the pattern here.

Viewpoint:

First person, second person or third person? It’s important to keep consistent pronouns.

Voice:

Whether it’s a talking or a thinking lyric. I’m not good at differentiating these two yet but some songs are going on in the singer’s head and some are like they’re talking to someone specific.

Timeframe:

Decide if it’s past, present or future tense and change the verbs accordingly.

Setting:

Where the singer is. This might not actually effect the song but like with writing stories the more you know the better.

Universitility:

(For lack of a better word.) What makes the song relatable? Is it about an emotion everyone feels like loneliness or love? or something everyone goes through like growing up?

Note: Rhyme scheme, viewpoint, timeframe and setting can all change; you’ll want to note that in your form.

Once you have your info the form will look something like this:

Title: My Fairest
Plot: Attitudinal. Prince Charming misses Snow White.
Form: Verse/Chorus
Rhyme Scheme: AABBCCA (verses), DEEFEE (chorus)
Viewpoint: Second Person
Voice: Thinking
Time Frame: Present
Setting: His castle (first verse), the forest looking for her (second verse), standing in front of her glass coffin (third verse)
Universitility: The longing for someone you love


 

Did this help? Please comment, I’d love to talk to you!

I post new writerly tips every week.

Good luck, writers!

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