Some days I like the calming effect of a classical track from Chopin or Beethoven. Other days I would get lost in nostalgia over a Sinatra or Nat King Cole hit. The tempo of a song can mean a lot or, in some cases, be completely meaningless.
Determining the proper tempo starts may start with a) what emotion needs to be communicated, or b) a preferred type of genre.
Tempo is beat. The beat sometimes piques interest, more so in hip-hop and rhythm-and-blues genres. Your basic four-count appears in most pop and rock songs, as well as country, ballads and other sub-genres of pop. Three-count beats are also used in popular music. Also, jazz standards, though a bit complicated, still work within a standard frame of (two or) three or four (or six) count beat. Combined with catchy or thought-provoking lyrics and good melody, tempo can make or break a song.
How often has it happened that when you sing and would have to adjust your singing ‘coz the note was way too high? Don’t you wish the song was written to fit your vocal range?
Songwriting allows you to be that flexible. When composing music it’s good to consider the vocal range of men and women.
For basic information on vocal ranges, click on these links:
Male Vocal Range
Female Vocal Range
The use of capo not only allows melody some room to breathe, but also to help the composer widen the choices for the song. It becomes the breathing room for vocal ranges.
Use the capo wisely. It is a great tool, and just like any tool has its advantages and disadvantages. There’s no substitute for ease of singing, flowing naturally in worship.
Don’t you hate it when you thought of an idea and you forget it as fast as you conceived of it?
Songs are like that. They’re ideas attached with a tune. They need to be recorded for posterity.
Get a good recorder, or use any sound/audio device you have (phone or tablet or PC) to take a snapshot of your idea. It will be easy to scrap later. Or better yet, you have a foundation to build on. What’s important is that you captured the beginnings of a possibility. No one knows where that tune or lyric goes, but that doesn’t matter right now. Be in the now, the moment, the present… lest you plan on composing songs about loss and regret.
Should I first find a tune? Or should I start writing lyrics down first?
This is one of the first questions I asked myself when I began (attempting) to write a song years ago.
I have experienced the advantages of starting with either music or lyrics. A melody or tune drives the emotions of the song, and becomes the basic framework of chords. Beginning with this allows words to fit. Lyrics, on the other hand, create thought and organization. This is the content and message which makes the song not only unique but relevant.
In composing, it is important to allow both options. Inspiration cannot be rushed. And neither should the way it comes.
Let it happen. You’ll be happier having given yourself, (and the song) a chance.