How To Finish Your Song's Music

Sep 04, 2021

Have you ever been stuck in your songwriting?

Maybe you wrote your entire chorus, but you still don’t have a verse melody.

Maybe you have a melody you love, but can’t figure out a matching chord progression you like.

Maybe you have your whole song written except for the music and melody of your bridge. 

Whatever the situation, we all get stuck in our songwriting. In this post, we’re going to tackle finishing a song when you’re stuck musically. In the next post, we’re going to tackle being stuck lyrically and psychologically.

 

Borrow A Chord Progression With A Twist

Do you already have a chord progression for part of your song?

Maybe you have a chorus fully written and need to write your bridge. Why not just borrow the chord progression from the chorus and come up with an alternate melody?

Record the chorus chord progression on your computer or on your phone and then hit play. 

Now, simply improvise new melodies over your chord progression.

After some improvisation, you might come up with a great bridge! It isn’t uncommon to have a bridge with the exact same chord progression as the chorus. 

In fact, many songs use the same chord progression for the entire song. 

I’m not saying that’s a good thing or a bad thing. The point is that the melody, lyrics, and instrumentation are much more important than G chords and C chords. 

Your listeners are focusing on the lyrics, melody, bass line, guitar riffs, piano parts or drum beat. 

Your listeners aren’t going to love or hate a song because of a chord progression.

Another thing you could do is take a chord progression you already have and reverse it. Maybe your chorus progression is vi-IV-V-I and you need to write your verse. Why not reverse it and try I-V-IV-vi? 

Maybe you’ll love it, maybe you won’t, but it’s worth a shot. 

 

Change The Energy

One of the main “levers” you can pull to keep the listener interested is changing the energy of the song. There are many ways to do this, from adding and removing instruments to changing the way different instruments are played.

One great way to help yourself finish a song is to change the energy of the song by utilizing half-time or double-time. 

Basically, half-time is utilizing the same tempo, but changing the rhythm so that it sounds like half the tempo. It makes a measure in 4/4 sound like one in 2/2. 

Double-time is the exact opposite. 

This is a fantastic way to alter the feel of a song and inspire yourself to write the rest of the music differently. 

If you don’t know what your chorus should sound like, try utilizing the music you already have, but change to half or double time. 

That alone could spark your creativity to finish your song. You may want to also change your chord progression from there, or maybe you can utilize the same chord progression you already had.

 

Go Back To The Drawing Board

Instead of trying to write the “next” part of your song, just write something else entirely in the same key. 

If you break yourself from the pressure of writing the next part of your song, you free yourself creatively.

And, honestly, you’ll be shocked how often the part you write will end up fitting with your song marvelously.

I’ve written a bunch of my favorite songs by actually combining 2 entirely different parts I wrote. Sometimes they were already in the same key and sometimes I had to change the key of one part to fit into the other, but this can be a great way to finish songs.

Especially if you’re someone who struggles to write an entire song instead of parts of songs, this concept can get you out of the creative mud.

Your different parts may fit together much better than you think!

Another way to go back to the drawing board is to try switching instruments.

The piano inspires me differently than the acoustic guitar. It just does. And, honestly, trying different sounds on an electric guitar can result in totally different inspiration. 

So try switching up the instrument. Who cares if the main instrument of your verse was the piano? That doesn’t mean you can’t write bass first for the chorus. 

Something else that can be very helpful is taking a step back and looking at the journey of your song.

Where is it going? Where do you want it to go? Do you want it to end with a climactic finale? Do you want it to end on a pensive verse?

Ask yourself what kind of musical journey you want to take your listener on. Do you want the music to grow constantly until it hits a massive climax? Do you want the song to end smaller than it began?

So take a step back and think about these questions.

They can give you clarity on what the next step of your song’s musical journey needs to be.

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