15 Apr Top Tools For Songwriting
Tools Every Songwriter Should Have & Use
Of course, the best tool for songwriting is between your ears, but there are some tools that can help you get your song ideas out of your head and into the world and help make your creations even better.
Sometimes a song seems to come to you almost ready to share, and other times you find yourself working harder than you feel like you should to make it happen. Songwriting tools can help the songwriting process, and keep you from sinking into a writer’s slump. Here are some of the top tools for songwriting, most of which are free or inexpensive.
For the Low-Tech Option: Pen and Paper
It may seem like stating the obvious, but once you decide to pursue songwriting, you should always have something to write with close by so you can capture any flashes of brilliance that come to you throughout the day. A small notebook which can easily fit in a pocket or tuck inside another book is ideal, so you can always keep it handy and all of your ideas in one place. Whether you think of an idea when you first wake up in the morning or while you are watching your niece’s baseball practice, you will be able to save everything for later. You can also look through your idea notebook whenever you want to get your creative juices flowing.
Thanks to technology today, you can co-write with someone next door or across the globe! There are other file sharing applications, but Google Docs is free to everyone and very flexible. Google Docs offers something pretty exciting for songwriters — you can share your work with others and work on it together in real time. You can upload pictures, like musical notes, and combine them with other formats. Best of all, you can access Google Docs from a computer, a tablet or even just a smartphone. You can help others and they can help you, no matter where you physically are.
Help With Rhyming (Rhyming/Schmyming)
It’s okay to get help finding words that fit your pattern and rhyme scheme. One of the best online tools is Rhymer.com, which lets you put in one word and then gives a list of words that rhyme. There are six different types of rhymes on Rhymer, depending on how many the place of the rhyming word in the phrase and how many syllables you want to rhyme. You can play with it to find some fun combinations, depending on your current project. If you like books, you can use a real rhyming dictionary, which you can also read in your spare time to get some great ideas.
A Voice Recorder
It can be hard to remember lyrics that come to you, but it’s even harder to remember an original tune. No problem. Just use your phone to record your new inspiration, whether it’s a phrase, a melody or a title. You may decide not to do anything with your new idea, but at least you’ve got it down! There’s nothing worse than trying to remember that awesome idea you had but now can’t think of it to save your life. You can get a decent enough recording if you turn your phone to airplane mode and use the app that’s already on your phone. There are some other free apps that people like, too. If you have an iOS, you can use the built-in Memos app to not only record a tune but send it as a file through AirDrop, text, or email, and you can even save it as a file to Google Drive or DropBox. There are also free versions of Rev, which has a paid transcription service, Voice Record Pro and Voice Recorder & Audio Editor. Many songwriters love Evernote, but the free plan doesn’t have some of the flexibility as far as editing and sending.
SKYPE is a great tool to help you co-write long distance. You might meet someone at a songwriting conference in L.A. (like the ASCAP Songwriter EXPO), but you live in Nebraska and they live in the Netherlands. No problem. Now you can co-write in real time. Warning…they can see you, too, so be forewarned!
Other Tools You Can Buy
- Crescendo Music Notation Software lets you write, save and print music compositions on your computer using real sheet music symbols and a free form layout. After you have your score you can listen to it using MIDI playback. A home version is free.
- Forte is another songwriting tool that lets you write, edit and arrange your own music with ease.
- Ludwig includes public domain songs that you can use when creating your own songs. This program is particularly useful if you work with children.
- Melody Miner lets you come up with a tune and then gives you variations in different tempos. This is only available in iOS.
Whatever songwriting tools you use, make sure to give your new song ideas a chance by getting them down and then carving out time to work on them! The challenge is to try to make some time every day to flesh out your new ideas and practice your songwriting. Whether you write for yourself or plan to enter a songwriting competition, you can use these songwriting tools to create music you will be proud to share.
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About us: Foxhedge Music is a management company and recording studio located in historic Leipers Fork. Our mission is to support and encourage songwriters. We believe they are the back-beat of Music City, while we continue to invest our time and resources in the Music City community. Through the Music City SongStar Songwriting Contest, we want to give songwriters a chance to have their music heard. We’re believers in creativity, chasing dreams and getting the chance to pursue your passion.