TIP 5: Write Your Song in a Genre

by Robin Frederick    Check out  Robin’s books at Amazon.com.

arrow-pointLike ice cream, songs come in different flavors: strawberry, chocolate, peach, and rocky road. And, like ice cream flavors, there are very real differences between the four mainstream music genres – Country, Pop, Rock, and Urban – and each one appeals to a different audience.

Choose a genre and get familiar with it!
Spend some time listening to current hits in the genre you want to write in. If you like Country music, listen to the top 20 current Country hits and study the chords, melodies, and lyrics to see what they have in common. What is it that Country audiences are excited about right now?

If you’re interested in Rock, Pop, R&B/Soul or Hip-Hop, check out the current radio airplay charts to see which songs are getting the most play. These are the ones that listeners are eating up!You can find up-to-date Radio Airplay Charts at BDSradio.com. Click on “Select Chart Here” and check out the ones you’re interested in. If you don’t know which charts you’re interested in, check out a few. This is essential research for songwriters!

Once you’ve found a genre you like and a couple of songs, listen to them carefully and study your genre. Look for the general, broad characteristics of your genre by asking the following questions as you listen.

What themes are featured?
What kind of language is used?
What sorts of characters turn up in these songs?

How much contrast is being used between sections?
Are the melodies complicated or simple?
How much repetition is used, how much variation in the melody line?

Do you hear basic three-note chords primarily?
What other kinds of chords are being played?
How frequently are the chords changing?

These are just a few of the questions that will help you study your genre. No one wants to sound exactly like everyone else but you do want your song to incorporate enough of a genre’s characteristic sound so that it will fit into a radio format. Blend it with your own style to make sure YOU still sound like YOU but give it an extra push toward radio.

DO IT NOW – Go to BDSradio.com and look at some of the radio airplay charts. Pick one or two songs that sound interesting and listen to them on Spotify, Rhapsody, Rdio, or buy them on iTunes. While you listen, go through the list of questions  above and see how many you can answer. Try listening to songs in a range of genres and compare them to hear the differences.

Want even more? Click here for three MORE hot songwriting tips!