Mudcat Café message #1970445 The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #99099   Message #1970445
Posted By: Bernard
17-Feb-07 - 05:16 AM
Thread Name: What makes a person a good songwriter?
Subject: RE: What makes a person a good songwriter?
When singing a song in public, you have an obligation to your audience. When singing for your own enjoyment, or with a few friends, you can indulge your inner needs. If you can entertain your audience and satisfy your inner needs, then you've cracked it!

The ability to edit the output ruthlessly is most important, I reckon. Successful songwriters have often discarded more songs than they have used, certainly in the early years.

If a song isn't 'up to standard', then bin it... or keep it to one side and use bits of it to write a better one!

Whilst I agree people should be free to write songs without restrictions, I am also free to decide whether I like the results or not!

Keeping a song concise and to the point (okay, we know there are many good traditional songs with 147+ verses...!) is usually a good guideline. If a song is longer than around 4 minutes, the audience will start to get bored unless the song is exceptionally good. It will also influence whether you get 'air time' on a radio programme...!

An example is a song a friend of mine wrote some years ago with eight two line verses, and choruses in between that were twice the length of the verses! We were recording it for an album, and I suggested to him that the song would possibly be improved by running two verses together and shortening the chorus to two lines - which was how it appeared on the album. It gave the song more 'punch'.

I'm not a songwriter, couldn't write a song if my life depended on it! That doesn't necessarily mean I don't know a good song when I hear it!!