When we use the term “songwriters” we think of someone who writes popular songs, but more precisely, songwriters write lyrics for songs, write the musical compositions and the melodies for songs, or do it all. In other words, songwriters can be both lyricists and composers.
Songwriters may perform the songs they write, or they may write and arrange songs for other performers. Those who sing their own songs are called “singer-songwriters,” and those who work as record producers are called “producer-songwriters.”
Many songwriters write music for others to perform, but they can also be members of the bands for whom they write lyrics. Songwriters can serve as their own publishers, though outside publishing is more common. They may work directly for music publishers, who provide lyrics to singers.
Copyrighted songs may be copied or performed publicly only with permission of the songwriters (or whomever holds the copyright to the material). Permissions to use copyrighted works may be bought, sold, or transferred only by the copyright owner, who is usually the author.
There are many approaches songwriters take to get to their creative center for writing their songs. Some begin with titles, some start with a phrase, some start with an idea, a tune, a sensation, or a simple feeling. Simply allowing emotions and thoughts to influence physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual awareness works for many composers. Writers often “feel” a song taking shape when they “hear” music or “feel” a beat or sense a rhythm. Meditative states can work wonders, as can strong emotional impulses of anger or frustration or joy. Successful songwriting often comes via lyrics and melodies that reflect the most honest of feelings on a subject.
Songwriters should be especially aware of constraints when submitting their creations to publishing and recording companies. Popular songs last about four minutes and are often restricted to a prescribed format, for instance: introduction, verse, chorus, verse, chorus, instrumentation, verse, and chorus, followed by another chorus. Depending on the style of the songwriter and/or the musician, a song may end with a flourish of sound or simply with a final repetition of the chorus. Constraints imposed on popular music have been created by commercial airplay venues. Other forms of music, classical and jazz particularly, have various other formats.
Before doing anything – submitting or performing the work – always copyright materials!! Songwriters can earn impressive royalties when songs are used by many different performers or if songs become “hits.” Savvy composers will make sure to copyright musical works before anyone sees or hears them to protect royalties and make sure they reach the bank account of the composer!
This article provides an overview of songwriters. If you would like to submit an article about songwriters, please feel free to do so here at Media Positive Radio.
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