What famous songs have legitimately changed the world

Songwriting tips

  • Matthias Mar 11, 2010 5:13 pm Answers

    I read the article * despite * the "BILD-worthy" title. ;-)

    Well written, good suggestions, good job - thank you!

    When will the modified version for instrumentals come?

  • Dominik Mar 12, 2010 4:21 pm Answers

    Thanks for your tips; all very plausible. I find 13 in particular interesting and worth mentioning. There are very many people who have (too) a small horizon.

    In the 4th "Pareto principle" you have misunderstood something: This actually means that in 20% of the time already 80% of the work is done, so that the work becomes more and more inefficient towards the end. I can confirm this from experience ("Works of art are never finished, they are just given up at some point").

    It does NOT say that 80% can be thrown away. This may often be the case, but it is not the basic idea of ​​the Pareto principle.

    More info here:

    • Robert Winter Jul 25, 2020 12:33 am

      It's just nonsense that every song needs good lyrics.

      This may work in your limited universe where the profane dominates.

      Beyond the mainstream, there is also music that is completely instrumental.

      After all, the Picasso quote, which I knew from a different context (design), provides a motivating suggestion.

      Thanks for that!

  • Sib 12 Mar 2010 11:39 pm Answers

    1a! :-)

  • Jeff Saima Mar 14, 2010 2:30 p.m. Answers

    Dear Carlos,

    first of all a praise for this great site. I put this in my favs right away.

    But on the subject of "songwriting" tips and tricks, I had to smile a little at some points. I assert myself as a professional songwriter and I can speak from my own experience.

    Songwriting is not a profession that can be learned through an apprenticeship. Songwriting is and will always be a matter of talent.

    And that brings us to the next point: point 6.
    If you have no talent for songwriting, the tips listed will not help you to write good songs. And also the tip to use templates and change them from time to time, SORRY, whoever needs that will never become a good songwriter. Rather, he is and remains dependent on people who are songwriters. Point !
    I find this point very discriminatory and offensive to me. I avoid finished music, because I think, on the contrary, it adversely affects my own flow. So nothing under point 6, “That's how the others do it too”. I distance myself from that.

    Anyone who has a talent for songwriting should not only learn an instrument well, but also study introductory harmony and practice and learn to improvise. This point is very important and, in my opinion, it should be important in the first few sections. That would be professional.

    Most of my songs are created through improvisation !!! A real songwriter doesn't just improvise, he also composes in his head. Songs come while walking and in the night dreams, whispered melodies or even entire song parts can no longer let go in your head. This can also be other circumstances such as gardening…. The main thing is quiet, alone, no rumbling music.

    A recording device or other aids help to take notes, because such inspirations are usually short-lived. Something like that is always ready in my room. If I compose outside and I cannot hold onto the ideas, I repeat them for hours at intervals in my head and hope to consolidate them at the next opportunity. Foreign music (radio, CD’s, parties) is generally poison for me and I hardly listen to it at all in my free time!

    If you want to compose good melodies, you first have to invent yourself as an artist. If you can't or can't do that and are dependent on fellow human beings, you should leave the songwriting behind. Music is not for everyone. That’s a fact. To be clear: What use is the best brush and the most expensive oil paint when I stand in front of a white canvas, puzzling? Should I then copy from Picasso?

    So my tip for aspiring songwriting: Stay away from copying and changing other ideas and prefer to invent yourself, develop your own style. Right from the start. It is your music and your melody. Anyone who has talent already has everything a songwriter needs. The rest is practice and experience. The further development comes with the years. Under point 6 you only lie and cheat your own perception, a good songwriter does not need that and it even harms further development. So it's a shame about the talent.

    I hope to have added something useful with my contribution. If you want to be a stable and good songwriter in the long run, you need not only a lot of talent, but also more "years of experience".

    Jeff Saima

    “A melody arises out of nowhere. It cannot be analyzed or explained. It is not forever either. It's just a fleeting thought, a coincidence. "

  • Paul Tunyogi-Csapo (delamar) Mar 15, 2010 8:43 pm

    Hi jeff,
    I read your contribution with great interest, and I agree with you in certain things that you have to learn to define yourself as a songwriter or artist. Just how do you go about it? Talent, or a knack for it, is obvious. But if you never listen to music, or if you don't let music influence you, you can't get anything of your own. It is part of the normal training of composers to copy other great composers with their styles in order to find your own way afterwards, which you should definitely do early on.
    In the production or commercial area you have to learn which sounds or instruments go together. Whoever masters this has created the freedom to put his own stamp on his music or production. In order to learn how something is created, copying is essential. The lone fighter may have his own style, just
    Often one hears that this takes place far from what can perhaps be sold. Of course, everyone has the right to say that they don't want to be involved. Then you are not there, but then you are not there either. A good songwriter or composer simply needs to be able to deal confidently with rules and restrictions. That can only be done through experience and knowledge of what has been produced in which way so far, and hits are the most strictly written pieces. No note or measure too many. Therefore, for me, point 6 is completely legitimate and in order, and definitely a must. Just know when to jump off and find yourself.

  • aLf 19 Mar 2010 10:44 p.m. Answers

    A great book on this topic:

    "Write lyrics
    Craft and dramaturgy "

    by Masen Abou-Dakn

    Read through and write your next hits :-)

  • Gerhard Steirer May 19, 2010 4:27 p.m. Answers

    Jeff Saima
    Paul Tunyogi-Csapo (Delamar)

    Hello everybody,
    have read your reports with great interest. I agree with both opinions to the extent that a talent is not only desirable but required. My very personal experience with songwriting is as follows: First of all, I like to call myself a song maker. That's because I never had the opportunity to study music (or was too lazy * grin *). To learn musical instruments (guitar, piano) I only had the option of looking / replaying and reading notes ..... nope, I don't feel like it anymore (after almost 20 years).
    Languages ​​are my passion and a certain Mr. Heinz Erhardt ... To get to the point in a nutshell ---- young band, great groove, no singer, no song structure, just a lot of heart and balls ... if I like that here may say. I wake up in the night and hear a melody ... with the entire band in the background ...
    And that's what stayed with me. We then researched where I actually got this song from (?) From all the influences and experiences that I absorbed. Ie a talent or gift is also part of it. Without these attributes, songwriting becomes the technical processing of possible and impossible sequences of tones and noises. That's why it always turns my hair on end when, with the help of technology, songs are concealed into the perfect song heaven. The ultimate song, the super song, all just buzzwords from the music industry, writing songs is heart, brain and a feeling for the essentials. Admittedly, you can learn a lot, I think it's ok to give tips on composing / somgwriting, I can't give you any except: if you decide to create your own songs --- stay away from copied, stolen material !!! Leaning on the existing is ok, we can hardly reinvent the music.
    So I stay
    Gerhard from Styria

  • Jonathan May 21, 2010 4:34 pm

    Hello everybody,

    So now I would like to say something about point 6:

    In my experience, if you try to copy something (or try to do something similar to another song), you are more likely to be blocked than taken forward. At least for me this leads to an unsatisfactory result. I have often had the experience that I have a certain position / a certain assignment / etc. found one song so great that I then tried to write a song myself in which I include a similar passage. As I said, something like that blocks me and I usually drop this idea after a while. So I try not to include any ideas / effects / etc. to "steal", because if the origin of an idea comes from myself, experience has shown that I am more likely to achieve a satisfactory result.

    However, one must never forget that each of us "steals" the ideas of others, at least unconsciously, as we all develop our own style from the music we hear.

    Masen Abou-Dakn (the author of the book recommended by "aLf" (2 articles about me)) once said the following to me and with it m.M.n. very aptly formulated:
    "Creativity does not mean inventing something new, but rather connecting what is already there with one another".

  • Murc May 29, 2010 4:31 pm

    Interesting discussion .. I've been thinking of songs for ages, but only a few years ago I seriously started to capture the ideas and show them to friends and discuss them with songwriters I know. There were often heated discussions about how much you can copy, steal or learn from other songs.
    Just like here, I find most of the opinions just too extreme. Melodies and song ideas are not tangible, they simply arise, whether you come across a great melody while jamming, think of something completely different and suddenly have a complete part in your head or sit down on an incomplete part and deliberately think about it. We are certainly influenced by music that we like to hear, but consciously copying and changing an existing part would also be too dependent for me.
    For example, I once thought of a guitar part that in retrospect sounds a bit like a Van Halen intro. As an inspiration, that's nothing to be ashamed of. :) But if I had tried to change such an intro myself I would have failed. In order for me to like a song, it has to be coherent, and I don't want to have to forcefully change such a basis.
    But I also don't think it's right to isolate yourself and not listen to music in private. The musical ear grows and is trained when listening to works of art by other composers. You get to know the characteristics of the various instruments and playing techniques - so far you should orientate yourself to existing ones, of course it's great if you can still bring in your own way of playing or even bring in your own sounds or instruments.

    And I find this quote from Masen Abou-Dakn completely wrong. Unfortunately, you hear something like that more often in a similar form, and quotes are an important stylistic device in any art form, of course. A composition has to meet expectations at least to a certain extent, and if a melody sounds familiar right away, it doesn't have to be wrong. But it's not that simple, every really interesting piece also has a good piece of its own character - songwriting is not a patchwork of recycled LPs.

  • Carlos (delamar) Jun 02, 2010 3:57 pm Reply

    Masen is right with his statement. With twelve notes, of which only eight match, it becomes difficult to compose something that has not already been there.

    Your own style arises from the fact that the existing pieces are reassembled in a very personal way. Then that's style ...

  • Murc Jun 03, 2010 1:22 PM Answers

    Sure, you're somehow right, you can interpret it one way or another.
    If you look at the notes as "what is available", of course every composer only combines and nobody invents anything new. Even if you convulsively use unprecedented one hundred and thirty-seven-step scales, you don't create new tones but fall back on frequencies that already exist.

    I'm not even saying that the quote is wrong. Only that I find it wrong. :)
    It is formulated in a depressing way and it can also be used to underline statements such as "Just copy song structures, they will naturally adapt to your own compositions". : P

    The quote is initially based on a very general level (we almost all use the same set of notes) and then it is applied again to a specific one to justify it (just copy song structures, because you can't invent anything new anyway) - that's a difference. On one level the quote cannot be doubted, on the other it is used here. And my comment also referred to the latter.

    If I can think of a melody in a key that I have never heard or learned myself before, I would not say that I am actively using something that is already there (such as when I listen to unusual pieces by other artists and see which keys I like especially liked), but that I derive it myself, regardless of whether someone else has already used it.

  • Jasmin V. Sep 01, 2010 2:07 pm Answers

    Hello everyone, interesting discussion and a website that was newly discovered for me - a big compliment for that.

    I think the following about songwriting: It makes a difference whether the "pressure" for expression comes from outside or inside. By "from the outside" I mean professional songwriters who simply have to deliver in a certain time, who have to do commissioned work, as a Haydn did. The pressure from within is what I know myself, feels like an emotional eruption, an outbreak and you can be happy if you have mastered the necessary craft (playing an instrument, dealing with language, singing, etc.) - or was simply gifted with talent. Having a talent is luck, a gift and, last but not least, a task: You have to take care of it, practice, work, stick with it, keep fragility, expose yourself to emotions and much more

    I can no longer write songs without damaging my inner life - sounds pathetic - but it is not meant arrogantly but only summarized my experience of the last few years.

    As far as the "copying" is concerned, I think purely factual it is of course the case that no melody is completely reinvented - there will always be a little musical quote at some point - that's okay too - I think every musician or every artist at all actually knows exactly if he is honest with himself, whether he has mercilessly copied and then has to be accused of such bad taste or whether the copy is an intention that must then be explained and thus an expression of creativity (intentional quote) or whether just a little quote just happens, unintentionally and then mostly unnoticed by you.

    Those who are honest with themselves know whether they are creative or a puzzle player - it is clear.

    Friendly greetings to everyone
    Jasmine V.

  • eli Oct 30, 2010 5:08 pm

    thank you these are very good tips !!!!

  • Serafin Sep 21, 2012 6:53 PM

    I think that if you come up with the idea for the song by listening to another song, that is totally OK, but if you "copy" everything or 2 lines it is a bit much and unimaginative. Well, a few chord progressions are usually the same anyway, but please don't copy the lyrics, and especially not if it's a well-known song, because that can be quite noticeable, that would be very stupid.

  • My Six String Rescue Nov 24, 2012 8:03 PM

    just today i wrote a guitar song based on a rhythm i heard from a musician on tv this morning.

    this song is for itself and independent, only the almost identical rhythm has remained. I don’t know what’s wrong.

    i have been writing songs with my guitar since i was 10 years old (today 37) and a lot of my ability, my technique, is based on things that i heard and thought to myself: very cool !!! I want to be able to do that too! I have taken over almost all of the chord progressions, but composed a completely different vocal line. I still enjoy playing this song today ...

    this also provides the necessary intrinsic motivation to practice with a lot of diligence and discipline.
    this process never ends, at all times in my musical life i had practiced something different, learned new techniques.

    the talent has to be there, BUT: i once had a guitar student who came to my class with a slight spastic disability. he was also fairly lacking in talent, but highly motivated. today he plays quite well. with that I want to say that fleiss can save a lot.

  • Opportunity Apr 10, 2013 10:19 PM Reply

    Should you first think about the text or the melody, rhythm and chords. And if you come to a well-known song all the time because you have a catchy tune, what can you do to make it a new song and not exactly the same. Because when I want to write the music I always think of the text of a song that already exists, but when I first search for the text, I don't know how to get in?

    Thanks for answers,

  • Opportunity Apr 11, 2013 12:35 p.m. Reply

    Another question about the HTML of this page, how did you do it, so that what you entered appears in the comment above and with the e-mail that it has to be a real one? Because I want to add something like that to write comments on my site, but I can't find anything useful in Google about it


    of opportunity

  • Magdalena Apr 27, 2013 6:14 pm Answers

    Terrible article ... the 3rd point alone makes my hair stand on end ... "Already with the first few words give the listener the feeling of being a special, interesting or exciting person - and thus bind his attention." '
    Who do you write the songs for, for others (commercial music) or for yourself (artistic expression)? Music has to come from within, only in this way can personal expression develop, and only in this way can it create something new and unique. Those who pretend have no chance to draw on their potential, let alone process and express feelings.

    • Skellington Apr 27, 2013 9:16 pm Answers

      Magdalena - I basically agree with you that you first have to feel good yourself with what you have created. But surely you also write for people who will listen to it afterwards, don't you?

      Finding the right balance between "artistic expression" and "commercial music" is, in my opinion, a difficult but central task. You can probably not calculate either of the two.

  • Mark Apr 17, 2014 11:12 am

    Interesting approaches to the topic.
    My approach is always different and I think that's what makes a songwriter.
    I get inspiration from books, films etc. and of course from existing music.
    At some point it will be there ... the brilliant idea for a text or a melody comes from practicing pentatonic scales. Then mostly everything goes very quickly and a new song is ready.

    I can give you an example of how my song "DER LETZTE OUTLAW", which I wrote about Gunter Gabriel, came about.

    By chance I got my hands on his book "Whoever sat deep in the basement". After reading it, almost all of the lyrics for a song about him were in my head.

    So I wrote the text down and tweaked it here and there until I (and above all myself) liked it and sounded coherent.
    Then I started to find the melody
    Sure, it had to be a country-style song (to match the sung about) somehow.

    So I heard a few country songs, tried to put my lyrics in there and came across an independent melody that fits my lyrics.

    You can listen to the result under the following link


    Of course, this is not THE HIT that the WORLD WANTED.
    But at least something of his own, creative and at least even the Mr. Gabriel, who is sung about in it, likes it.

    Some of my lyrics and melodies were created like this or something like that ... and more and more

  • I am Jul 30, 2014 7:38 pm Answers

    Killed my interest completely when I heard "just steal". Certainly there are only a finite number of possible combinations. But that doesn't mean you don't have to make an effort yourself. Because then pop comes out. And nobody wants that who knows about music.
    I've written numerous songs in full and I was hoping for some tips, but this is mostly nonsense.

  • Klingeling Jan 18, 2016 11:24 PM Answers

    First a comment on point 6 discussion:
    You all miss the actual core sentence:
    "In the end, the song structure will CHANGE in a very natural way and fit into your song."
    And that's exactly what it looks like.
    When I hear a great riff or a favorite hookline, I play it. And while I TRY to play it, I already found my own part / riff. The re-enactment is therefore for inspiration, and especially - and I think that the article point should basically amount to this - to understand what the "role model" has just done in order to learn and grow from it.
    I just call it evolution ...
    It was certainly not about a call to all blind copiers.

    But my topic on which I am definitely burning, which is why I just signed up here, is point 7:

    Music (or art as a whole) must surprise!
    At least me.
    Of course: the commercial route is: just don't overwhelm the audience. What is meant are dark evenings and beer-souls shooting parties ... of course, nobody wants to change the clock, otherwise they all fall off the bench ^^
    And if you want to sing along with hit songs out loud, you don't want to be disturbed by breaks.
    But as far as the creative listener is concerned: they want to be surprised.
    He wants to be offered something. And I know it from myself: predictability leads me to click further immediately.
    But just a single unexpected note, a sudden change of rhythm, an interesting sound effect, an unexpected syncope maybe ... and I'm immediately hooked :)

    I no longer know where I picked up the quote, but it spoke completely from my soul when he summed it up in 3 words, which was always clear to me inside:
    Music has to surprise!

  • Philipp Sep 20, 2019 10:03 PM

    I would like to look for inspiration for the lyrics of my songs. What I could write about.

    • Carlos San Segundo (delamar) Sep 22, 2019 7:54 pm

      Hello Phillip.

      Maybe the tips from this will help you:

      Best regards