#5 My Top Ten Mistakes as a Songwriter The Concept

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The concept is a theme or idea, that the songwriter develops or the lyrical content of the piece that you are creating. I’m sure that you would be able to come up with some songs that make no sense at all but I think that you would have to agree that they are an exception rather than the rule and most of us have to work hard on the lyrics for a song and most writers work as a partnership split of lyrics and melody. My first paying gig as a songwriter was to put music to the lyrics of the mostly lost songs of Robert Burns in 1994. This careful study of a lyric taught me so much that it is not possible to retrace in this subject matter but, what I can tell you right now is this, the music just seemed to melt into the words as if it was just meant to be there. The lesson at this point is simple great lyrics don’t just happen, they have a meter, rhythmic structure, rhyme and a concept, when I compared my lyrics to the lyrics of Robert Burns, it was like comparing a world class footballer to a boy playing in a school playground.

On the subject of concept I can only tell you what works for me, I keep a note book next my writing pad and guitar, on the front cover of the note book is song titles, idea’s for song titles can come from anywhere, radio, TV, film, magazine articles, a figure of speech, how an individual says things a certain way, when I hear something I like I write it down somewhere and add it to my song title book.

From my title I can now find a concept that will work in a song. A good example of this is when I was speaking to my wife Karen and I asked her; Do you remember our fist date? “Of course I do” she said “It was a rainy day in Glasgow” rainy day became the title “One Rainy Day” The concept was easy, what happened that day is the story for the song.

One rainy day it poured our way

From a cloud somewhere

It washed your cheeks your lips so sweet

We splashed our cares

We ran on up the street

The way that sweethearts meet

Romance had come our way

One rainy day

You notice the lyric is speaking in the first person, I’m speaking about me and the person I love it is not generic, general, I love you etc it is how we felt at that moment, I’m expressing how I feel!! I will cover this point in the next blog.


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