Songwriter Exercise 1 - Determine Songwriter Emotion
Determine Your Next
Song's Emotional Target
"Step 1: Feel-out your next song."
As a Songwriter, which
feelings will listeners experience in your song?
Being a songwriter has little to do with you,
and everything to do with other people. As a songwriter,
your job is to connect to listeners on an emotional level using
your song lyrics and music...so they can connect with other
Everyone feels emotion, but not everyone knows
how to express themselves when dealing with life or other
- an artist who uses music to express exactly what we're
feeling about an idea or situation - helps us to cope with
This is why we love to listen to songs over and
So if you want to become a songwriter only so you
can become rich and famous, you had better find another hobby,
because you'll NEVER be a great songwriter that way.
As a songwriter, you're an artist first, and
career professionals second.
There are 4 basic families of human emotion
that you'll use as a songwriter to connect to listeners through
Happiness - amusement, apathy,
- boredom, regret, remorse, pain, grief, guilt
acceptance, awe, lust, admiration
agitation, annoyance, bitterness, betrayal, rage,
["Fear" is also a feeling, but it adds stress
rather than relieves it, so we don't really use it.]
View The Following Chart:
The prominent songwriter, Sandy Knox has been
quoted saying, “I want listeners to laugh, to cry, or want to
make love”, meaning you want your listeners to somehow respond
emotionally to what they hear.
So have you chosen a target
feeling for your song?
If you're having trouble choosing a target
feeling for your song, try drawing on some
inspiration. Afterwards, take another look at the chart
above to help your decision. Which emotional category is your
next song going to project?
Now on your
record the Target Emotion of your song.
"Step 2: Understand your target feeling…and potential melody"
song's melody going to be "Strong" or “Deep”?
OK! You've selected your song's target
feeling...how would you describe it? In your opinion, is it sharp, powerful or energetic (what I call "strong")...or will it
be slow-building, long-lasting or thoughtful ("deep")?
If you are writing a strong, fiery song, I
think you should consider using more of a creative melody
with your lyrics. If your song will be more thoughtful and
subtle, consider using a simple melody so your music isn't
too distracting and allows listeners to pay attention to your
lyrics much better.
For example, a songwriter friend of mine wanted
to compose a "dark" song. So based on her lyrics - and my
chart - I decided to write a melody that expresses a mixture of
bitterness and pain, as each of these are darker elements of
So which type of melody
have you chosen for your song?
It's OK if you don't have an idea of your melody just yet...
You're simply deciding which type of melody to create. Don't
feel intimidated or frustrated if you don't know how to create a
melody just yet. As a songwriter, your job is to draft your
song's blueprint, while it's your composer job to create your
Now on your
record the Melody-Type of your song.
"Step 3: Acknowledge your music genre for this song"
Hard Rock/Heavy Metal
In this step, I simply want you to define the
music genre of your next song. It may seem obvious, but many
new songwriters fail to focus on a specific genre of music,
only to struggle through their songwriting because their song
doesn't have a true identity.
“Determining your song’s target feeling puts the
songwriter in the right frame of mind to communicate their best
lyrics, tempo, rhythm and melody. Let's continue with your next
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