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Songwriter Exercise 7 - Songwriter Rhythm

Create Your Section's Songwriter Rhythm (Part 1)

[IMPORTANT: The following songwriter exercise applies to one (1) songwriting section at a time.]

Preparing your songwriting section for lyrical delivery

Let's start with the songwriting section you've chosen to work on.

Rhythm is a very powerful part of your song.

Lyrical delivery is singing or reciting your words at a pace that’s in sync with your songwriting tempo and beat.

While a song's words are pretty important in expressing a songwriter's target emotion, they're slightly less important than lyrical delivery.

We - as the audience - only truly hear the words to a song after we memorize how the words are sung.

So as a songwriter, you must deliver your lyrics in a repeatable way to help your audience understand them.

[WARNING: The following songwriter steps require a LOT of writing, so be ready.]


"Step 1: Find your section’s line pattern (if one exists)."

Look at your songwriting section for a moment (sample lyrics are the property of "LightBulb")

Notice you have longer lines, some shorter lines, and a few lines in-between long and short.

I was given permission to use these lyrics as an example by a songwriter friend of mine.


"Step 2: Rewrite your section in syllable format. Split your words into their syllables."

“Syllables” are the number (#) of speech sounds a word has when you say it.

  • Car has 1 word sound (1 syllable).
  • Party has 2 syllables (par-ty).
  • Exterminator has 5 syllables (ex-ter-min-a-tor).
  • The sentence, “John went to the ex-ter-min-a-tor”, has 9 syllables.

Rewrite your songwriting section into syllable format, and then count the syllables in each line.

Notice how these sample lyrics are broken into their syllables...

So on a scale from 1 – 10, which of your lines would you consider long, short, and middle lengths?

So what's the blueprint of your songwriting section?

The blueprint for my sample lyrics is:

This is the blueprint I discovered from my sample lyrics. What does your lyrics' model look like?

...my section's pattern looks like it repeats every 5 lines: long, long, short, short, middle...

It's best to clearly define your songwriting section’s blueprint - if one exists - so you can use it to create the best delivery.

Knowing that my pattern repeats every 5 lines I can create a delivery for each of my first 5 lines...and then just repeat that model for my remaining songwriting sections...creating my rhythmic theme.

What if you can't find your section's line blueprint?

Just make your own! Again, you’re the songwriter; this is your song. For example:

If I was unable to find section line blueprint, I could just rearrange my words until I create one I like.

This is my lyrics original line blueprint.

Could be rewritten as...

Notice how I rearranged - and even deleted - some words from my lyrics to create a new delivery model.

Final Word:

You have complete freedom to rewrite your song however you choose...but it’s important to understand your line pattern so you can add lyrical delivery and create your songwriter rhythm.

Let's continue with part 2 of songwriter rhythm.

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