• ZephyrHillMusic

TRACK WRITING

Track writing is when the music is already done, and only the lyrics and topline melody have to be added.  There are producers who find it easy to create outstanding tracks, but really struggle to write words and fit interesting melodies to them.  Writing lyrics for tracks is a needed skill within the industry.  If you can extend that and provide a melody too (you don’t have to be able to sing, someone else can do that for you based on a rough guide vocal) then you will find yourself invaluable to some producers.


I’ve done this myself several times and either been paid to write a lyric or offered a % cut in the final version should it get used or released somewhere.


You’ve got to love the track

When you first receive the track, just listen.  Do you like it?  Do you love it?  If it’s a NO, then I would seriously consider not working with the track.  You will just struggle to get the best from it if you are not inspired.


Check the speed limit!

You should always ask for at least the BPM and the key of the track.


Knowing the BPM allows you to import it into your DAW (Digital Audio Workstation), which I find essential to mess about with ideas, and initially just understand the different sections of the track.  Once it's in the DAW, you can also cut pieces out or duplicate sections.  Sometimes a track needs that alteration to make it work.  One of the first tracks I worked on was only 90 seconds long, but there was enough material to cut it up, repeat parts and turn it into a 3:30 song. Never be afraid to suggest to the track writer to make improvements or alterations to make the song really stand out.


Knowing the Key is important because that might help you select the most suitable singer for the vocals who can utilise their range to the maximum.


Play Through


Start by just playing the song through and add a marker where you hear a new section of music start:


It will probably be very easy to imagine what of the sections are: Verses, Chorus, links etc. So once that is clear update the marker names:

Writing out the song structure helps to see what the song comprises and how much lyric is going to be needed.  From my real example above:


Verse 1 - 16 bars

Chorus - 8 bars

Verse 2 - 16 bars

Chorus - 8 bars

Chorus - 8 bars

Bridge - 8 bars

Chorus - 8 bars

Final Chorus - 8 bars


Finding the Vibe

How does the track make you feel?  Is it happy or sad, melancholic, dancy, epic, anthemic?


Imagine a film or a scene from a film with the track playing - what do you see? Write it down.  Taking those images, what words could be associated with it?


Test some Titles

Come up with a possible title that fits the mood of the track.  You might change it later but it's good to have a starting point. You can use the SongHouse method to create the lyrical idea or SongPlot.


Fitting the lyrics

This is a little harder for track writing, because you have the pace / metre already set.  For each section I count what feels like the number of stressed syllables, if you imagined someone singing over it.  Another trick is to imagine an established artist singing over it - how do they phrase things, what do they say.  This is also a good point to try mumble lyrics - thats when you literally mumble words or sounds just to get a feeling of a melody or how the words fall.


Finish it!

Now you have the stressed syllables and a SongPlot, try to put the two together as you would any other song, remembering to put important words on the stressed syllables.


Happy Track writing! 


Today I help singers and songwriters explore their own potential.  I encourage them to see new ways to view their creative chaos, working alongside to structure them into fully finished songs they are proud of.


Contact me and let’s begin that journey together…



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