Using reference songs as a songwriter

Reference songs everybody! I’m sure you must’ve read about using reference songs as a songwriter many times. And I’m gonna tell you how you can use them to ease out some things during the process of writing a song.

1. Using the song structure as a reference

The song structure in today’s popular music is usually the same thing, i.e., verse-chorus-verse-chorus-bridge-chorus. So there’s no point in using a reference song. But if you want to try some variations in the song structure, then the easiest way to do it is to find songs which don’t follow the above mentioned structure and then use the same in your song.

2. Using the rhyming scheme

Rhyming scheme, as I’ve experienced, usually comes naturally. But it might not be true many times and you need to decide the rhyming scheme before hand. In such cases, you can just refer to some songs, and use the scheme you like, either for the whole song, or a part of it. One thing to keep in mind here is the length of your song. Let us take your song’s verse for example. Before choosing a rhyming scheme, make sure you’ve figured out what you’re going to write in your first verse, so that you can make assumptions about it’s length and choose the reference accordingly.

3. The chord progression

Has it ever happened that you liked a song so much, that you want to write a song which sounds similar to it, or the melody gives a similar feel? It can be done with using the chord progression as a reference. It is also helpful when you are not able to find new progressions for your song, or if you feel like you are repeating the same progression in all your songs. Pick a song with an interesting progression, and use it for writing your next song. Again, you can either use the whole song, or a part of it. And while writing the melody, if you feel a certain chord doesn’t sound good, try altering it till you’re satisfied.

Using references from multiple songs to write one song

When using reference songs as a songwriter, it’s obviously not necessary to use just one reference or just one song. You can always mix it up. Take the rhyming scheme of the verse from one song, for the chorus from another. Take the structure from one song, or merge the structures of two songs. Take the progression for the verse and chorus from different songs. Or even half the verse’s progression can be taken from one and other half’s progression can be taken from another song. Use a single song, or ten different songs; it’s all up to you. Experiment as much as you want! Just make sure you don’t overdo things; and write the song from your heart, not a technical point of view.

Check out: Ways to find inspiration for your next song

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