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So You Wrote Some Lyrics

This the first article in a series of articles that cover the steps a lyricist should take in order to convert his lyrics into actual complete songs.

So you write lyrics...but are you a real lyricist? I mean have your words been put to music? We all know that lyrics are the words of songs. So if your lyrics didn't end up as songs, it means they have just been wasted!! The question now becomes: What steps should I take to convert my lyrics into a full-functional song?

Well, there are two situations. First, you might be a musician too and then you have the choice of writing music for your own lyrics. Second, you might not be able to write music for your lyrics, which is OK, but you will have to "sell" your lyrics for another songwriter who is willing to wrte music for it.

Considering the first situation; being a musician besides being a lyricist, you first need to know how to write music for existing lyrics. Many musician songwriters compose some music first and then go ahead and fit some lyrics into it, but what about the other way around?

It's fairly easy, if you got enough will and patience. The idea is simply to keep reading your lyrics until you totally "absorb" the lyrics and be able to understand the rythm that already exists in them. Then, you start "trying to sing" the lyrics until you come up with some melody for the chorus. This usually takes time, until you finally find a melody that's good enough for your lyrics. There are no particular rules or steps to follow, although there is a couple of things to watch for:

1- Let the melody do the talking. If the melody doesn't fit the lyrics exactly, then alter your lyrics not the music. You will find that it's easier and makes more sense than changing the music to make it fit the lyrics.

2- Don't settle with the first melody you get. The first melody that pumps into your head is usually imperfect and as your song develops more, you will definitely need to change a few things around to be satisfied with what you got.

As for the secong situation; being strictly a lyricist who doesn't write music, you will need to make yourself and your work known to musicians whom you think might be intrested in working with you. To do that, you will need to know how and where to make your lyrics available for others to review. We will cover different ways you do that in the next article in this series, so stay tuned.

For more tips on writing melody for lyrics, click here to read Irene Jackson's article: "The Music".

Mahmoud Ibrahim is a young songwriter from Egypt. He is the owner of, a website dedicated to songwriting collaboration.