There are countless different ways to write a song.
Some people just have parts of the melody, lyrics or accompaniment pop up in their head, and just have to glue them together. But what if you have to write a song and you can’t come up with something?
Today I’m going to tell you about on of my favourite ways to write a song: by combining two songs. And to make it happen in such a way, that nobody will notice you actually used old material to create something totally new!
As an example, I will show you how I’ve written “Dream On” all the way back in 2011.
1 – Choose two songs
First, of course, you need two songs to begin with. They can be your own, they can be someone else’s, it doesn’t really matter. I picked “Orinoco Flow” by Enya and “Now We Are Free” from the Gladiator soundtrack. Why? Because I like them. They make me happy. It can be that simple.
2 – What is it that appeals to you?
Now listen carefully. What you you love about those two songs? It can be anything, ranging from lyrics to chords to vocal style to structure to… virtually anything actually.
In Orinoco Flow I really loved the rhythm, in Now We Are Free the chord progression (or at least the to notes) stuck in my head.
Write these things down on paper, it makes the next steps so much easier.
3 – Time to combine!
Now – you really didn’t see this coming – it’s time to combine! There must be some way to fit these two seemingly unrelated parts of music together to create something entirely new.
For me it was quite easy: I played the Gladiator chord progression with the Enya rhythm. And it worked! I had something new that sounded great and it made me happy!
4 – Add something from yourself
Of course this is only the beginning. The real work starts right now!
Now you have your basis, you can go all out making it entirely your own. You can add a melody, you can add a bass line, arrange it using your signature instrument combination or whatever suits your needs.
5 – Now finish that song!
By now your had should be overflowing with ideas to finish that song. Maybe your created part is a verse or a chorus. Maybe you’re ready to add some lyrics. Write down every idea that sprouts from the combination of your chosen songs and make something beautiful!
Does this method make you a fake? No. Is it plagiarism? No – only if you make something that’s almost the same as the original, or if you take really large parts (for example I take a Nightwish song and only replace the melody). Plagiarism isn’t much fun anyway. You want to create something that’s totally you, right? You just happen to be inspired by certain small parts of other songs.
For your reference, this was my result, and does it sound anything like Enya or Gladiator? I bet not.
Are you trying this songwriting method? Let me know and post a link to your results in the comment section!