BBC HomeExplore the BBC
This page has been archived and is no longer updated. Find out more about page archiving.

Accessibility help
Text only
BBC Homepage
BBC Music
Sold on Song. Classic songs, covers, songwriting and more. Listen Live.

 Full Schedule

Contact Us

Like this page?
Send it to a friend!

Songwriting Guides > Writing a song
Songwriting Guides
Writing a song
Steve HillierSteve Hillier, formerly of Dubstar, has produced a comprehensive guide to writing a song. If you want help with Ideas or are struggling with the Middle 8 you'll find the answers here.
Songwriters are free to write in whatever genre interests them but often choose one or two in which to specialise.

Song structure can give the listener a natural sense of light and shade between the verse and chorus.

Make sure that your verses draw the listener into your song.

Traditionally, this is where everyone joins in with the performers and sings along.

An audience probably won't bother listening to your song if the melody is weak.

Most popular songs have four beats in a bar with a clear 'left right left right' feel.

Don't be afraid to use a famous chord sequence as the basis for your song.

If you usually 'la la la' along to a strummed guitar, improvising words or vowel sounds can be very helpful.

First impressions last and are an indication of whether it's worth paying attention.

You need to make a musically satisfying impact at the end of your songs.

How is it that artists can move us to tears with the simplest of lines?

Rhyming words help the listener to guess which word is coming next and to understand the lyrical message.

Middle 8
A great mid-section will keep your audience interested in the song, like a subtle twist in the plot of a novel or movie.

It's these that a prospective publisher or record company will be looking for when you play them your songs.

Songwriting Guides Writing a Song Genre Structure Verse Chorus Melody Tempo / Rhythm Harmony Lyrics Beginnings Endings Ideas Rhyme Middle 8 Hooks Performing Working with Other Writers In the Studio Publishers Record Companies Management Staying on Track
 The Songwriting Game
Songwriting Game Pick a chord
Play with chords and find out what kind of songwriter you are with the Songwriting Game.

Doves Doves
Special guests on Dermot's show this week

About the BBC | Help | Terms of Use | Privacy & Cookies Policy