How to write a song in three days | Christopher Richter | Skillshare

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Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

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Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Lessons in This Class

20 Lessons (47m)
    • 1. Welcome

    • 2. Tips before you start writing

    • 3. Different ways to write a song

    • 4. Choosing a topic

    • 5. Writing the lyrics for the chorus

    • 6. Writing the lyrics for verse one

    • 7. Writing the lyrics for verse two

    • 8. Writing the lyrics for the bridge

    • 9. Choosing the chords for the verse

    • 10. Choosing the chords for the chorus

    • 11. Choosing the chords for the bridge

    • 12. Analysis of why I chose these chords

    • 13. Playing through the chords

    • 14. Different styles we could use for this song

    • 15. Creating the melody

    • 16. Putting it all together

    • 17. Things we still need to do to complete the song

    • 18. The final song - this is what it could sound like

    • 19. Backing track to practice your lyrics and melody

    • 20. What next

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About This Class

Welcome to 'How to write a song in three days', the XSNoise songwriting series with Christopher Richter. I will take you through the songwriting process and teach you one way that you can write a song. There are many more different processes and systems that you can use to write songs. This course only covers one way to write.

There isn't a right or a wrong way to create a song. But there is a way to make it easier for you to write.

This course takes you through the lyric writing process, choosing chords for your song and then creating a melody for the song. A final recorded version of the song is available at the end of the course. I have also provided a backing of the music incase you would like to try your own lyrics and melody over the music.

Meet Your Teacher

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Christopher Richter

Learn to create music the way you want!


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1. Welcome: Hello and welcome Teoh. How to write a song in three Days. The Excess Noise songwriting Siri's With Christopher Richter. I will take you through the process and teach you one way that you can write a song. Now there are many more different processes and systems that can be used to write a song, but this course covers one particular way, too. Right now, there isn't a right or a wrong way to credit song, but there is a way to make it easy for you to write. One very important skill is to understand how cords work. If you're not confident with chords and chord structures, I recommend you take the time to complete the first excess noise songwriting, Siri's course understanding cords by taking the time to learn the basics who have become so much easier to write great music. 2. Tips before you start writing: two really important activities that you should do before writing around music. The first is to learn how to play other people's music just by playing other people's songs . You learn about chord structure. You learn melody, song structure, arrangements, dynamics, tempo and song style. This is invaluable to becoming a great songwriter. Equally important is to listen to many different artists. Take the time to listen to songs from all different genres to increase the scope of music that you can write this into the sand melodies, the feel dynamics, structure and techniques that he used to make a song. Sand great. The final note on some writing is that you don't need to be a great singer or a great musician to be able to write great songs, but the Betty becomes a musician or performer. The easier it is to write, the better you will be able to write your music. If you are not a great performer or musician, you can always take your music to sing his bands or according at us, for them to single perform. You'll find that talented musicians and singers can add an amazing different sand to your songs that can help improve a good song and make it sound great. 3. Different ways to write a song: The process we're going to use is to write the lyrics first, flight by the cords and then depth the lyrics and then create a melody by experimentation to complete the song. This is a process often used by poets or writers that create fantastic lyrics, but I'm not singers or musicians. A musician then adds the music after the lyrics written an alternative processes to write the music first. This is often used by musicians that find it really easy to create music for songs and have an idea of the music and melody. They have not yet written any lyrical content. Both processes are completely valid and a fine two years infects. Neither one is wrong. It can often be a mixture of these 30 years to eventually create a complete song. One struggle that many songwriters have is often called songwriters Block similar to and authors writer's block. You cannot force creativity, but you can develop schools that make it easier for you to be creative. This course is designed to help you become more creative by learning the skills and techniques so that you have a simple system or process to work through to create your songs 4. Choosing a topic: Let's look at the lyrics first. The topic you choose could be absolutely anything. Find something that triggers your imagination and experience a phrase and event and emotional anything that makes you stop and think Any topic is up for grabs and could be used as part of your song. Be careful to take quite some phrases from people that could be classed as copyright By taking a whole paragraph from someone's book or from a website, you're potentially breaching the copyright of the original author. But there is still Simon's that you can choose from to make it easy for yourself. She's topics that are personal to you. 5. Writing the lyrics for the chorus: Let's get started on her first song. The most repeated and recognized part of the song is usually the chorus. People tend to sing along with the chorus and then stumble through the verses of the song. The reason we're starting with the chorus is because this is the focus of the song. This is what holds the whole story together. The topic I've chosen is based on my personality. I like to do things my own way, or they will learn well from others. I like to experiment and see what will work for me, which may be different than what we work for. Others, that the topic of Chesney's Making my own way, it seems like a good topic for me to start with. That's right, down some key words to help with the writing. So obviously my own way. Making decisions, path, cross raids, choice or choices, questions, direction. From these words, I can start to create a four line paragraph. The premise of this song is that I'm now making my own way, making my own decisions, and I'm going to see how I go. So let's let's start writing. We'll start with making my own way. So I'm making my own way another way that if that line is a path so I'm making my own way Take my in path. Uh, this is my This is my day. What I need what I need to ask I don't like to ask anybody else so I'm making my own way Taking my own path This is my own. This is my own day. Why do I need to ask? And because of course, I can repeat lines or words quite as exciting. Making my own way Take my own path. I could repeat that again. It's the third line and that will be quite OK. People tend to remember easily. Not repetitive courses. Two songs. So it make my own way. Take my own path. This is my own day. Why do I need to ask? Making my own way. Take my impasse and we've got making decisions. Um, decisions are mine now because I make my own way or I make my way. So again we're being very repetitive and repeating a lot of what's there and again as we do this. This will change a lot as the process goes through. So it will definitely change and let's move on to the next part 6. Writing the lyrics for verse one: we can now move on to the This verse extends or puts into context the rest of a song, as this is a creative process. You can get absolutely any way you like with the vis or lyrics of a song. But in this case, I'll use the verse to try to explain why I want to make my own way this canon relate to others and why they think they want to make their own decisions. So let's start with this. Let's start with too many decisions that everyone wants me to. You make that two million decisions that do you mean too many decisions? I've been asked to make too many things to think about too many expectations, ti many things to think about and expectations that I make no only use make twice at the end of the line. So too many decisions I've been asked to make to me, things to think about expectations that I take and not just the end of those loans run that's going to make it much easier for us to do f rising lead run Now there's so many different things and choices, he, uh but I don't know what to choose, and this is all about making decisions again. So you can see how the whole process of coming with lyrics congest be all over the place and you slowly piece bits together. So I'm thinking maybe this or that or something. Uh, too many decisions. I've been asked to make too many things to think about. Expectations that I take. I'm thinking maybe something. Maybe they saw that or not. Okay, I'm thinking maybe this or that or maybe not. Let's see. And how can repeat again the lawn from before? Too many things to think about and then just that one little bit, that would be different. Or is it just Is it just about is it just about me? Too many decisions? I've been asked to make too many things to think about in expectations that I take. I'm thinking maybe this or that, or maybe not. Let's see too many things to think about or is it just about me again? We've got another two lines that rhyme that will make it much, much easier. So you got let's see and about me. We've got asked to make expectations that I take so we've got a bit of a mixture of things weaken, used to do, rhyme and work well together. Okay, that's fifth verse. It may become a second verse yet we'll see, but let's move along a bit further and see what else we can come up with. 7. Writing the lyrics for verse two: this tea. We're gonna continue this on a little bit. Um we're always asking questions and how this is all gonna work together. We're not talking about how writing a song is gonna work together. But have this song is about questions making decisions Well, may making decisions se I'm now sort of gang. What should I do? Who should I ask her that? People, I should ask about things. So I What should I do? What should I say? Let's let's go. What should I do? Where should our gay then? What should I say? So what should I do? Wish you are gay. What should I say? And what should I think? So I've asked a big pile of questions and all this question to come back. Teoh may not knowing is this am I doing the right thing around my not doing the right thing , so I can actually put that in there. What should I do? Where should I go? What should I say? And what should I think? Am I doing the right thing? Oh, uh what should I do? You wish it are gay. What should I say? And what should I think you are doing the right thing? Or is this just a mess? Or is this will you pat? Where is this heading for disaster? Am I doing the right thing, or is this heading for disaster? Let's repeat that line of gain and we're doing the right thing, O r. We're doing the right thing, or I would like it to rhyme with second line. What should I say? What should I think? Am I doing the right thing? Or is it's a little bit to sink is despite about to sink. Okay, we got, think and sink. So what should I do? Wish it are gay. What should I say? What should I think I'm doing the right thing? Or is this heading for disaster? Am I doing the right thing? Or is this about about to sink that may or may not work? It'll be interesting to see how we fit that together. Notice that for the verse, as with the chorus, every second phrase has a loose run to it. In other words, line to what should I think online for about the sink of the lines that run. This is not required for every Salton, but it often makes it easier. When you're putting together a melody in trying to fries the music correctly, Let's move on. 8. Writing the lyrics for the bridge: phone. A part of the song is to write a bridge. The purpose of a bridge has many. One important purpose is to provide a contrast in the song For the listener, often a bridge is used to change dynamics. So quiet I halftime double time or other techniques that make the music interesting or engaging to the listener now in relation to this song. My kids fit in really well, and I guess it's the same when I was younger, you feel like you know it all and that you don't need others to help you. So this next line explains the recognition that I dint night everything. But I still want to experience it for myself, saying the breach. We're only going to do two lines for it, and we'll start off with. I got to admit it's cause, usually parents or mentors or usually all the people, they want the best for you. So I've got to admit, I know you want the best for me that we might use the word, but I've got to admit, I know you want the best for me. I you have more experiences, but I've got to go out and do it. I've got to go and see. I got to admit, I know you want the best for me. I may have more experiences, but I gotta get out and see. Let's try that as a bridge. It's very short. We might have to double the length of that yet. That will try that when we put put it to the music. So we now have the final draft of all the lyrics very, very rough, and I guarantee we're gonna change a lot of it as we go through the rest of the songwriting process. 9. Choosing the chords for the verse: Before we start writing any of the cost of this song, we first need to check what chords we can use on the cords we can use in this key is G. I am on a B minor, C d and a moaner se. Generally, the song will start with the verse, and in this case this will start on a G chord because the songs in G style Andrzej now that the most typical are common transition from the first chord is always to the fourth chord. If you can't from g g a minor, be Monica see So this Force one g I'm on a be Mina si set forth cord g to receive the most common transition. So if we listen to this, we'll get forever this cycle, which is just really no sand sight to see. And in a lot of songs it's much easier if we repeat, repeat what we doing. So let's go g for the 1st 2 a c g to see because we don't want to keep doing see every night Jean to a C J way. Want to change the music bit again? We don't want to make it really repetitive so a really good option is an A minor. The mind is actually called the relative minor in relation to a G chord. So if we got from a GED in tow, so we're gonna play, came on a back to SC has already used that sand happening on, then finish off with online. And in the race when we use a D, use the fifth chord starting from Jesus G a minor B minus C D. That's the fifth chord, and that fifth cord generally leads back to either. The first chord, said G results back to G or D can actually get backed into a see if we needed to, and that's what we're going to doing chorused in second. So first G Way could have changed any of those cords to any of the other ones in that least, but that's just a nice sanding collection of courts 10. Choosing the chords for the chorus: when they move on to the chorus. Remember, we finished adverse with songs in Gene Starting A J could, of course, finishes very adverse finishes. Indeed, they say for a chorus, we're going to get back to a city instead. That again, again, mike, things repeated. You makes it easier ways signs like the day we put any of this as well, Same spot. But we're using it for the course. One again. See geo way Shaming gang divers will get back to jail so that chorus is seen to a gene on. Then we repeat the sea to a G with day threatening back to see again. Still feels like the courses, the same sort of music going too far away from this basic chords, then finishing the last line of the chorus with the see Now that g slash b means a G chord with a B based night. So it sounds like that that line will send lock base going down one night time to a day centre, and then we're ready for either the bridge or a course again or back into another. This whichever we choose today 11. Choosing the chords for the bridge: The final part of the song is the bridge and bridges and Nice. You can do whatever you like with those, but we're gonna use a doctor or softer sand in the chorus of the courses course. At the end of the course we gang way waken get are the two a g from that day, making TOC remember days, Food Court, starting from G, and it's a nice way of ending a line, ready to get back into another section. So that's why we used the D. The end of the bridge or they say, guys, of course. 12. Analysis of why I chose these chords: there have been quite a few people were doing the course that wanted to know more about why I chose that particular cords that I did for the song. So why I chose those courts for the verse for the course on the bridge. We'll start by looking at the key. The key of the song is in the cave. J. Maja. Being in the cave J major means that we have a choice of cords for a particular group of chords. In this case, the cords of G a minor, a minor C D n a martyr. So But I've done I've chosen to use because we're in Jay Miner. I've chosen to use G as the first chords of the 1st 2 cords for the this, if you will say, have looked through the song we have C. We have a D chord in the verse within heaven, a minor which is part of this group. We will say, have a CIA Gina de, which all part of the G major core group looking through the song. The only difference that might stand out to you is the g slash B in the course, which I will explain a bit lighter where that came from. We also have an A minor, and they have a Day seven, which is still part of this court group. It's a D chord, but we've made it 1/7 so you can see that the verse course on bridge are all created using the collection of chords and if the G chord group, so that was the first thing that I did. The second thing is the number of bars in each verse course and bridge noticed that in the vests I have 123456789 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 bars In the vests, you'll assign Addison the chorus. We have 16 bars in the bridge. We have another 16 bars. Consistency in music and the way you create music makes it easier when you're writing music , and it makes it even easier to phrase your melody and to phrase your words when you're singing. So that was the second thing is that I've used 16 bars for each section of the song. Third is the repetition of chords in its section, noticing the vis I start with G G CC in the second line we have J J C. D. So have changed one chord, but everything else has been the same. Everything I did into the fourth line, we've got G the start again. They noticed that this G at the start in the first line g Again T j again I did changed. The A minor is a variation on line three, and I'll explain why a minor was chosen in a minute in the chorus. Again, if you looked in the first chord of each group of four is a secret. So I've repeated or created that consistency of using a secret all the way through Notice in Thebes Ridge have started with an a minor on the A minor repeats at the start of every fourth that it's all say that I've gone a mano a mano SCC and put that in a group and then in the third line of the bridge have repeated that again. The second line and the fourth line of the bridge are also the same, so you can see here there's consistencies that keep repeating over and over, and the more you do that, the easier it will be. A few to create music, but also the easier it is for people to listen to the music. So that's the structure of those courts and how have placed them altogether. The next thing to look at. And I said I would explain this soon. Remembering the this I have G for the first line, followed by sea than G C. D. And then of putting an e minor. Now The reason I've used a minor is because a minor is what is called the relative minor to G. So what I could have done in the vis is continued g all the way down for the 1st 2 bars of each line of form. So I could have had gj cc JJ say D J J C C J J Day date. But I wanted to put in a very ashen but with that outstanding two different. The relative minor is created by gang back to cords or two notes from the core. They're currently on safe. I'm using a G and up with the jail right at the top in this list. And if I worked backwards two nights, so if shop a Monta, that's stunning from a G, a minor is the relative monitor G. So whenever there's a G chord being played, I can switch that to a name on it. And it was sand similar, but different enough that it sounds like you're playing. You are playing a different court, so the relative minor chord can be switched with the magic cord at any time. So Jane and name on it can be switched quite easily. And I was still saying quite good. Similarly, if we're playing a C chord, we could change a sequel to an A minor. The relative monitor, see, is a manner, so it's starting at sea. We could be minor back to a minor. The relative minor to D would obviously be back to Hey, mama, any time there is the D chord, I can replace that with a B minor chord. Or if there's a big monocled, I couldn't place it with the D chord, and people sort of send a bit similar. The reason it's sand similar is because a guy back to J. Cord J Cord and a name on record have very similar nights. There is a difference of changing one night with another night, but there are two nights that stay the same between a gene and a minor, which is why they work quite similar. There's one last thing that I'll point out as well, and I did so I did mention it, and that is the G slash B and at the g slash B actually means a G chord with a B based night. So that means we played G on guitar or on piano. And then if we playing piano, will play a B note with the left hand on the piano or if we playing guitar, we can play the note as the low note on the guitar. Or we can have a bass player play the Bay Night Force. Why did I put that in there? Because if we start at sea on the last line of the course and we go back one night Texas to be back. Another note. Texas toe A. You can see here we're working your notes down and musically, it's and really nice to have base run the works its way. Other up with them s I C B. I use the alphabet backwards, and that little run they're just adds a little bit, too. That last inning of the course. Probably the only last thing to explain which again you may have noticed is that the end of every eight bar is a decor. The D chord is the fifth chord standing from G, and this is what we call the leading cord. So studying on G 12345 we have a D accord. That D accord is used as a leading court. It leads back to G or it leads back to see. So let's have a look. I've got a decode here. The end of the vests of the end of the eighth bar, the vis in a day chord at the end of the 16 part of this. And it leads from the vision of the chorus in D two c, and that works quite well again. The chorus We've got four bars. The eighth Paris Day leads to a C chord after it again into the course we've got Day seven Now this is one big word is a little bit different. Day seven to aim. Ana isn't quite the lady in cord lading into the man called that it would normally get, but it still works. So There's nothing wrong with doing things different to showing you the most common ways that you can make things work. So from the bridge we have the eight by his D again looking to a minor Thesixties. Buying the bridge is D, and the bridge goes back to the course. In your case. So we're going from D or the way back to a C chord, or the bridge could care back to of this. So again, it's the d getting back to a gene. So that's the lading D accord, which in this case are placed it at the end of every eight bars. Hopefully, that's giving you a better understanding of how I created the verse chorus Umbridge and what the thinking was behind. Putting that together. Obviously, the most important thing is if it's Sands right and suits the melody, then it's going to work with song. But these are just some rules or some guides that you can use to help you create a bit of song and credits song easy without having to overthink your decisions that you make when you're choosing courts 13. Playing through the chords: So if we take the course of a three way but G and through Elvis, - then finally. Fridge way. No way that's rich. 14. Different styles we could use for this song: the style, groove, tempo or feel are all things that will evolve in the developed song. But to keep it really simple, let's assume that we're writing an acoustic attacks on singer songwriter type pops on. So the tempo that will start with is 110 beats per minute, which we could change later. Will also starting for four for crunchy bits paid by and that will just keep it very easy listening. We could, of course, make this a heavy rock or jazz, pangkor, metal country or any other style of music, But let's get the fist song Dan first. 15. Creating the melody: We never reached the end of day two We now have Day One lyrics a draft of the lyrics Day two We have a draft off accords that make up a whole song Say next we will move on Teoh the melody Welcome Jasmine Jasmine She's gonna sing or ever got singing this song for us Now we have the words we have the cords We just need to put it all together and come up with something that makes some sense And a melody That sort of works must smoothly and flyers So that courts we have G is for this to see back to J to see today way to pick a star place in any suggestions Country tends good No country not so well sort of jazz Let's go for, uh to me ask things expectations that I Maybe that maybe just called Then we're gonna go into the chorus Which guys Way making my take Oh, I o no way changes to anyone that way You know you want the best for me. I know you have no experiences, but I gotta get out and see Goddio you want but and then we're back into other events or close to being more before we decide to do something. And I changed the lyrics. Few bridge. You could change quite a lot about it. Here I did the bridge, and then I just added more. So the last one, of course. Okay. The way you want the best for me. Way e. I know you have every but I got. Yeah, I got And then it'll get back on the course again after that. But you did. No way. That's wholesome. Well, we've only got one this, but that's whole different places. Thank you very much. Yes, that would be good. Thank you very much. 16. Putting it all together: now that we have a melody for each part of the song. We had the lyrics and we have the cords. We need to look at how a model of this together to form the final song. They're making sure each of the sections of the song work together. We need to decide on the dynamics of the song. Does this song start quiet or build up in the first chorus? Drop back down in the second verse or build up again Get building to the bridge All those types of things to decide on on how the song will actually work se inaccurate, sir. In this example, I've ordered everything as all the songs verse, chorus, verse, chorus, bridge course. Obviously, you could realize that if you have more versus or you'd like to put two courses together, you can do that. And in this example, we have started off with. And if you can imagine the middle line of the big box on the screen, that middle line is sort of the middle dynamic. So as we get above that middle line beginning ladder as we go below it were getting quieter . So for the first example, we're starting off with the verse sort of part way below the middle range in volume or dynamics. We get to the next course and we build up to the next chorus, one of the first course. We dropped back down to the verse within. Go back up to the next course, but slightly louder, a little bit, a little bit more dynamically loud, out or higher. We then get to the bridge and we can build a bridge right up. And then we can finish with the chorus. That's just way, way up there, dynamically, so it really pales on. So if you can imagine a full band playing the song that you've written by the time you get to the last course, everything's happening. And it's a very full on song. In the second example, we could start with this Dan Phil Equant bring the chorus up dynamically to sort of the middle of the range, so it's it's sort of amazing along quite well. The second verse drops back a little bit from the fierce chorus, but not as much as here. We start the first of this. The second chorus can then be quite lead and then in this case, we're gonna drop the bridge right back to really quiet, very quiet bridge, and then back up to the course again is dynamically. It is as loud or as strong as we went toe. Have it in another example, which is sort of a reverse. We could start off with the first verse in about the middle, build up to the next chorus, build up even more to the next verse, drop back for the course and any certain songs, suit this type of dynamic in the bridge, really quiet and then finish on A quite of course. Now this tends to work more four quieter ballads where the story that you're telling needs to finish off a bit quieter and not full and heavy. Now, the best way to decide how to do this or what works best for your songs, to play the song through a few times and see what seems right to you. 17. Things we still need to do to complete the song: Now there are two things that we haven't put into this song, and one of those is an introduction and an ending to the song. Generally, what you can do is pick the parts of the song that you think would work the best or try by using part of a chorus or part of a verse or part of the bridge as the introduction, and then the same with the ending part of a chorus part of this part of a bridge. And put that at the ending you could any you could just add four bars, the start, four bars at the indoor bars. At the start, it was at the end and use part of what you've already created. So wait until you've got it all together and then try each one ago. Which bit works best to give a really good introduction to a song or in a really good ending to the song, said. The anything left to do now is play you the funnel. Some 18. The final song - this is what it could sound like: decisions. I've been to many things to think about expectations that I think maybe this maybe that maybe not. Two things to think about is way me You have experience. 19. Backing track to practice your lyrics and melody: 20. What next: If you find you're struggling with any of your son writing or songs place, let me know. I love to help you out and give you some encouragement. Have listened to what you're up to and give you some ideas on what better way she can fries your songs or on different ways that you could approach putting your music together. If there are ways I can improve the course for you, please let me know as really want to make it as easy as I can view to learn and encourage you to write great music and great signs. Thanks for taking this course. Look for to seeing you in the next course. Think about is this is Day one.