Composing is So Hard to Do

Writing songs is hard.

I mean, it's pretty easy to write drivel. Start in G, catchy hook. G-C-Em-D hey, I got a song!

But to write a good song is hard. I've tried. Honestly, I don't really try all that hard. I know guys who sit for hours with a piano or guitar, a pad, and really try hard to compose something meaningful. Sometimes they come up with it. I have an old friend who is a brilliant musican, and has written a symphony. We're talking a whole score for dozens of instruments. That's a lot harder than it sounds, and it sounds hard. Remember, you musicians, that many orchestral instruments require transposition every time. But still - no lyrics!

No writing a praise/worship song is a challenge, mainly because it really requires inspiration. I don't think you can actually do it all on your own. The one song I've written that's been recorded and pretty much finished came to me during a sermon. (A sermon on an entirely different subject.) It was all written down on in the margins of the church bulletin.

Another one came to me during an encounter weekend. The place had a grand piano, and I was banging away, and found this nice little passage I liked. I kept playing it over and over - clearly a chorus. Some more time - that sounds like a verse. Ok, were moving now. I started playing with a bridge. A good friend (and better singer) came over and asked me what that was. I told her. She told me to play the bridge again and just started singing. The lyrics were perfect! Inspiration!

That was almost a year ago, and I've pretty much finished it, though I'm not happy with the bridge back into the chorus. I'll probably have to change the key at some point. I know there's all these rules about it, Circle of Fifths, how many steps to go up. I've never had any real music theory, so I'm still playing what sounds good, and applying what I learn as I study. We've thought about using it with our choir, Send Judah First.

I've got another one that's done that we've thought about doing, more of a ballad, came to me out of teaching I did. So I wonder what people use for inspiration, what methods they use when writing, all that jazz. If you feel like sharing, go ahead.

Here's the first song I wrote a couple of years ago, called "Bring Me Home."


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