Songwriting Segment 4
- What is the easiest vowel to rhyme?
- It would have to be “e”: Not only are there countless words ending in “e”, you can also choose other words ending in “y”, “ly”, “ing”, “ech”…
Examples “ed” “ly”
Beseech Bleed Aimlessly
Breach Concede Ardently
Each Creed Boundlessly
Reach Deed Breathlessly
Speech Exceed Brotherly
Teach Feed Inwardly
Preach Heed Worthlessly
Plead (hundreds of “ly”)
- B) Then, “e” rhymes can be found abundantly in words ending in “ty”, “ry”.
- C) Words ending in “e” seem endless:
Agree, Be, Decree, Free, Flee, Gethsemane, Knee, Sea, See, She, Thee, Tree.
- D) Some singers don’t enjoy singing lines that end in “e”—it’s a placement issue: “e” comes through the nose. I’ve heard singers try to place “e” a little lower and it comes out “eh”—sounds bad to me.
Some Final Notes
- When inspiration strikes just right, don’t’ think about rules, structure, “do’s and don’ts.” You will lose the spontaneity in what you need to say.
- Get it down instantly: you’ll have plenty of time to do what we call “polish” your song. Trying to do everything perfectly at the beginning may cause you to lose your inspiration, or lose a line, or a word that was spectacular!
- The point: Yes, you want to write poetically, but phrases you would not use in common, every day speaking usually don’t work in a song.
- Old hymns, some of them, use old English, almost Elizabethan Style, and they work well because first, the melody is characteristic of that era—during the period of Elizabeth I, Queen not England and Elizabeth II Queen of the United Kingdom.
- This brings me to the last note. Actually, I have written in this style: “How Blessed” is written with a flavor of old world elegance. It worked. Try writing in all styles: Southern Gospel, Hymn, Contemporary; a style that mixes these three, most people call it, “middle of the Road” style.
- Then there’s Blue Grass, Country and Convention styles. Convention style is old quartet and choir style such as “I’ll Fly Away,” “Victory In Jesus.” Certain lyrics fit certain styles. You will hear this instinctively. I would love to record one of your songs someday!!
Songwriting Segment 3
- Last Unbreakable Rule
- There is no such thing as “poetic license.” Many bad writers endeavor to use this term to justify bad poetry.
- What is bad poetry:
- It begins with a would-be writer who refuses to use a “rhyme” book. Big mistake. You would have to know every word in the English language. No one does, but a really good book that gives you a huge variety of words that rhyme well can elevate your song from amateur to professional. I use “The Complete Rhyming Book—Revised” by Ronald J. Boggs, published by Double day. I’m sure there are others.
- Rarely, but there are times, rhyming words come to us that are not in the book—words that are more fitting. So, don’t rely totally on a book.
- One of my pet peeves is hearing tired, overused rhymes because the word is difficult to rhyme. Two, which Christian songwriters must use often are “God” and “Blood.” Very difficult. If I hear “God” rhymed with “trod” or “sod” one more time, I may say something regrettable!
- “Blood” is difficult: I began an exercise years ago that has worked at times. A word such as “Blood”; I go down the alphabet in my mind—I have discovered words to rhyme nicely with a word such as “Blood” there are not in any book: “Blood” is “ud”.
C—Crude, (but really, in a Christian song???) Could-passable. But keep going—even when they’re silly, just keep going down the ABC’s:
D—Does—not in the books, but it’s nice: Dove
E—Enough, on the borderline, but it could work;
G—Nothing—Glove? Can’t imagine using it.
J—Just: Fair, not real good, but it comes from the same place in the threat;
M—mud, a silly one
S—Stud, Now, there’s a Spiritual Word!!
T—Nothing: Maybe, “Tough”
W—Was will work.
Other possibilities: Of
God: Even more difficult to rhyme. The only useable rhymes I can think of and ones in book:
Abroad, Applaud, Awed, Defraud, Laud, Maraud, Rod, Clod, Shod, Sod, Nod, Odd, Wad.
- As you can see, rhyme words for “God” are extremely sparse:
- You may want to use another name for “God”. “Lord”—“Master”—“Father”—“Friend”—“Great I Am”—“Creator”—“Shepherd”—“Holy One”
- You get the picture: there are ways around a difficult rhyming word.
Songwriting – Segment 2
The Most Important Components
- The Title and the Hook!
- < > The title will begin to sell the song even before it’s heard—it must be intriguing, interesting, maybe catchy—but it must be an attention-getter. I have a rule in songwriting; actually, a publisher won’t give a song a first look, much less a second one, if these rules have not been followed.
- < >: In songwriting, “Brevity Is Beautiful”! The shorter the title the better, as long as It captures the main point of the song. The “Hook” is that one line that thrills the most: you’re telling your story; you come to the last verse, then the last line of the last verse is unexpected; it is a “big finish”—pulling together what the song has been trying to say, and, suddenly, here comes this one line that puts an exclamation point on it all!
- Sometimes, the title, itself, is the “hook”, so, throughout, everything you say crescendos in that one line over and over.
- < > The title tells what the story is all about: every line must be about that “title.” You can have only one point, and you must drive it home. “There Rose A Lamb” is a perfect example of all this Study it; study the lyrics to other really good songs. “There Rose A Lamb” won the Singing News Fan Award, The Dove Award, and was the most played (on radio and television) that year.
- This tremendous success is because it hit every button, every rule, of “writing a great song.”
- “There Rose A Lamb”
- It is a “story” song. Amazing Grace”–THE most recorded song in music history, and that includes, pop, rock, jazz, blues, country, and of course, Christian music. No song has been performed in more mediums—concerts, radio, television, countless movies and many, many languages.
- It has no chorus, at all, therefore, no tag, bridge…just four short lines that never wander from “this Grace that is Amazing”!
- “There Rose A Lamb” is three times longer than the iconic, “Amazing Grace,” yet it meets and performs all the rules of great songwriting.
- It begins with setting the stage for the story; In a 3 verse song, the middle one must be necessary to bridge the gap between 1 & 2.You are building excitement and the middle verse is written because it is pertinent, very valuable to the story. Verse one is a quick explanation of what it is about; the last line, “Oh, I have reason to rejoice.” “Rejoice”: About what?
- The second verse tells some thrilling details: “He chose the day, He chose the hour, that He would rise by His own power! Then we tie verse one, “a sacrifice three days ago,” and repeats the event…the subject of the song, “And, now, praise God, a Lamb arose.”
- Instinctively, perhaps without realizing it, the listener is getting excited…OK the Lamb arose…what now? There has to be more.>Listeners don’t know why they love the song: they can’t analyze it, they just know it is taking them on a lyrical, melodic journey that thrills them each time they hear it!
- This is the perfect point to mention the one thing that separates a secular song from a gospel/Christian song—The Holy Spirit, a secular may give us chills, but it doesn’t reach way down in your heart and transport you to Heavenly places. For those 3 to 5 minutes you’re in another place,, loving and worshipping God.
- “The Lamb Arose” “The Big Finish!
- The chorus is a brief, overall description of who the Lamb is and what He accomplished. Still, there has to be more: These are simple, historic facts about the event and about the One, the main character, who perpetuated the series of circumstances, leading to the big event.
- Then comes the third; here, it begins to become very personal—yes, He arose; yes, He orchestrated every thing that led to Resurrection—But, what does it mean for me?
- Line one: setting up the hook: “I wasn’t there when Jesus died;” Continue with this, “How should I know how to tell the story? What is all this to me”?
- The HOOK actually, is the last two lines: “But I was there when He saved my soul:” “For within my heart, THE LAMB AROSE!!”
- It’s a goose bump finish, now, everyone who has Jesus living in their heart, is ready to rejoice with the one performing the song! Christ arose! But it meant NOTHING until He arose! But it meant NOTHING until He AROSE in MY heart!
- iii. Even those who don’t have Jesus living in their hearts yet, they realize that something wonderful happened for ALL mankind when Jesus Christ rose from the dead; stepped out of the tomb of Joseph of Arimathea, and into every heart, young, old; rich, poor; from every nation and ethnicity; Christ will come into any heart that realizes they are lost and need a Savior—something in them needs to change; and believes He is the answer because He is, this Lamb is the Son of God, and asks Him humbly, “Save my soul, Lord Jesus; come live, dwell, abide in my heart and soul! Forgive me of all my sin and save my soul!”