How to Write a Love Song – Berklee Online Take Note

How to Write a Love Song

The expression, “ And on the spur of the moment, all of the love songs were about you, ” sums up what a well-written love song should achieve : a specific however universal message that feels like it ’ south about you and your special person. This is easier said than done, and Bonnie Hayes, chair of the Songwriting department at Berklee College of Music, and conductor of the Songwriting Master ’ sulfur platform at Berklee Online, thinks you should go easy on yourself as you ’ rhenium writing your beginning love song. There ’ randomness a good chance it ’ ll be cockamamie, and that ’ s o.

Bonnie Hayes deems Céline Dion’s “My Heart Will Go On” from Titanic the sappiest love song of all time. “From the Irish flute at the beginning to the grammatically questionable title (“your heart will go on”. .. what?) this song feels like performing love by the book,” she says. “ I mean, love songs are sappy, right ? ” she says. “ It kinda goes with the territory of proclaiming feelings, specially universal and mighty feelings that lead to the biological imperative of reproduction ! ”
Leave it to the woman who wrote the Grammy-award succeed “ Love Letter ” for Bonnie Raitt to put it so accurately.
TAKE THE ‘ARRANGING FOR SONGWRITERS’ COURSE WITH BONNIE now with that worry out of the way, it ’ second time to go away and fair write a love song, whether it ’ s good, badly, cockamamie, sweet, or everything in between. The most important thing is that it ’ sulfur from the kernel. fortunately, we have advice from more of the best songwriting scholars in the business : Rodney Alejandro, Jimmy Kachulis, and Pat Pattison. They share their top tips for writing a love song this Valentine ’ s Day .

1. Stay Away From Clichés

While there is a case to be made for how slowly it is to love sappy love songs, one thing you don ’ t want to take from them are meaningless platitudes. Clichés are going to come across as unidimensional, and are not going to strike the hearer like the vivid imagination that you can conjure up. You know what lyrics have been overused to the point where they ’ re basically ashen noise : “ I can ’ t take my eyes off of you, ” “ you ’ re the one for me, ” “ we belong together. ” And please, try not to rhyme “ love ” with “ above. ”
You can still convey these sentiments, but by saying them in a different way. What about person can ’ t you take your eyes off of ? How do you know that person is the one for you, and that you belong together ? When you look at your sheet of wallpaper and see clichés, dig for deeper meaning.

2. Keep it Authentic

There ’ s no rule that says you need to be in love to write a love song, but it surely helps if you can recall a fourth dimension that you ’ ve been in sleep together or have felt love. It ’ south kind of like watching a romance movie and being able to tell if the actors have chemistry or not. Do they have to be in love with each other to convey to the hearing that they love each other in the story ? No, but they ’ ra able to convince you, surely because they ’ rhenium drawing upon authentic feelings of times they have felt in beloved.
“ Keep the lyrics authentic to your feel with love and shape the melody to enhance the emotions, ” says Alejando, a Grammy and Latin Grammy-nominated songwriter. “ Love songs resonate most when the feel and emotion being conveyed are felt in the performance. ”
Alejando admires the love song “ Nothing ” by Bruno Major, for its intense imagination of ordinary moments and paired down guitar play that matches that sentiment. “Nothing” by Bruno Major “ The lyric of this song paints the perfect picture of existing with your person in the dim-witted of moments, ” he says. “ The verse/refrain and 3/4 meter emit a sweet nostalgic emotional quality that causes me to smile as I recall my memories. ”

3. Borrow a Lyrical Theme 

Love is such an abstract concept, that it can be unmanageable to know where to begin to write a song about it. One manner that Jimmy Kachulis encourages his students to know where to start is to pair another sung to its lyric subject, and then make it their own.
“ Every well-written, focused lyric can be summarized in one sentence, ” he says. “ One of the things I ask lyric writers to do is to find a song where the root is very clear, and very expressible in one sentence. And then what you do is you take that root and you flesh it out with your own scenario. ”
Let ’ s take for exemplar the sung “ My Girl ” by the Temptations.

I’ve got sunshine 
on a cloudy day
when it’s cold outside
I’ve got the month of May
I guess you’d say
what could make me feel this way?
My girl

“My Girl” by the Temptations In unretentive, this is a song about a person who makes the hard times bearable, and there are a bunch of early sleep together songs that you can condense down to this opinion, like “ Hey Julie ” by Fountains of Wayne or “ ( You Make maine Feel Like ) A Natural Woman ” written by Carole King and made celebrated by Aretha Franklin.
You ’ re going to take this root about person who helps you through the hard times and write your own version. This will put some parameters into set so that you ’ re not working with space possibilities.
“ You ’ re expressing the lapp theme from a well-written sleep together song, but your creativity is in inventing fresh characters, ” says Kachulis. “ then ask yourself, ‘ Who is singing to whom, where, and when ? ’ ”


4. Create Characters

A lot of novice lyric writers write autobiographically and have a hard fourth dimension separating themselves from their songs, says Kachulis. As mentioned earlier, you want to draw from authentic feelings and emotions, but you don ’ triiodothyronine necessarily need to be the chief quality.
“ Most of us can tap into a time when we very felt loved, ” says Kachulis. “ But then we can besides say, ‘ approve, can I write a birdcall about a middle-aged couple ? ’ Or ‘ can I write a song about an older couple ? ’ ”
He encourages his students to think like playwrights or screenwriters. You could pull from a personal feel, or you could imagine what it ’ s like.
“ You don ’ t have to be a middle-aged woman who is struggling with her career and family and children to imagine what that ’ s like, ” he says. “ I encourage lyric writers to combine their personal autobiographical have with an fanciful experience. ”
Going back to the previous distributor point about a person who helps you through the hard times, you can tell many different stories with this theme : the floor of a adolescent couple who are dating long distance in their first year of college, a middle-aged match that ’ sulfur going through unvoiced economic times, or an aged couple that ’ mho dealing with health issues.
“ Can you write that love song ? ” says Kachulis. “ Of run you can write that love sung. You don ’ t have to be 80 years honest-to-god and pale to write that sung. That ’ randomness one of the beautiful things about being a creative lyric writer. You can imagine. The bang-up writers imagine what it ’ s like to be those characters. ”
public speaking of capital writers, in the by few years, we ’ ve seen Taylor Swift move away from autobiographical songwriting, and move into more of a storyteller character. At the startle of her career, she was known for writing songs about real people and real experiences. Her latest albums are a deviation from her usual style of songwriting because she ’ randomness taking on the character of a storyteller, writing songs about characters and not necessarily herself. “dorothea” from Taylor Swift’s album evermore.

5. Think About Perspective

To write a love sung that feels like the hearer could drop themselves into it, you must think about the position that it is written in. Kachulis says that the majority of popular songs today are written in what ’ sulfur called direct address. Direct savoir-faire is the writer or the writer ’ s character speaking in first-person directly to another person ( you ), who could evening be the hearer.
“ Love songs need to feel intimate, ” says Pat Pattison. “ The most affair you can create lives in direct address ( I, you ) and present strain ( carried by your verb ). ”
about every crop up song is written in direct address, but Kachulis says it ’ s not the lone position you could write a love song in. He says that using a narrator could be a full cock for person who wants to break out of writing autobiographically.
“ The narrator is outside the song, and the great thing about the narrator is they can see inside people and tell the audience what the quality is thinking and feel, ” says Kachulis. “ The narrator can change timeframes and change scenes. ” This is called third-person narrative, which can feel less intimate than conduct address, but can be effective in telling a report from a bird ’ s eye scene. The song “ Mary May & Bobby ” by Joe Purdy is an exercise of a sexual love song written in third-person narrative. “Mary May & Bobby” by Joe Purdy, written in third-person narrative One way that Purdy makes third-person narrative feel more intimate is by adding dialogue .

He said, “Mary, marry me
We could live out by the sea
Oh, like they do on the movie screens
Oh, marry me, Mary May,
Before you are fly away”

Whichever position you choose, fair be surely to keep it coherent. In this nibble by Pattison, he dissects the lyrics to Ed Sheeran ’ s “ Perfect, ” which becomes quite confusing because the hearer doesn ’ metric ton have a good understand of who is talking to whom.

We hope you enjoyed these tips from Berklee Online ’ s songwriting staff ! good fortune writing your love song, and if you ’ d like to learn how to hone your songwriting skills even further, check out Berklee Online ’ s songwriting offerings, including courses, certificates, and a bachelor ’ s academic degree and overcome ’ s degree program.

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