There is a lot of mystery surrounding what makes a chart-topping song. Sometimes it seems like it’s just luck, but there are actual steps you can take to make your music more appealing. In this article, we’ll go over nine songwriting tips for composing a chart-topping song that will help you reach the next level!
Table of Contents
Compose a catchy melody
The melody is the backbone of any song. It’s the part that sticks in your head and defines it, whether you like to admit it or not! Composing a catchy melody is crucial if you want your listeners coming back for more each time they hear you on their radios.
You can use different instruments to make the melody sound more interesting. For example, if you want your song’s chorus sung back by a crowd of people at your concert, acoustic guitar or piano usually do the trick! A good melody is unforgettable, so make it your top priority!
Use basic chords
Basic chords are the chord tones found in any key (the most fundamental root, third and fifth). If melody lines have some great harmonies behind them, the song will sound more fun to listen to or sing along regularly!
It’s worth taking this approach since there aren’t many other ways around learning how music works than just trying things out. It’s important to keep experimenting with new and different methods because you never know what kind of sound combinations will make your song stick in someone’s head.
This article’s key takeaway lesson is that simple chords can create an excellent foundation for melodies, harmonies, or any other musical idea you want to explore!
Create irresistible rhythm
The rhythm of a song can make it infectious. It is created by tempo, meter and groove, which we have in all popular music today. Across cultures worldwide, people enjoy listening to rhythmically compelling tunes more than those without them. So when writing your next hit tune, try not only what sounds good but what feels good.
It’s worth noting that pop music has been around since the 1940s and is a staple of today’s popular culture, so it might not be surprising how high on this list “Rhythm” comes in at first place when trying to compose a hit!
Build your song around a riff
A riff is a repeated chord progression or refrain in music. It can be a guitar lick, or it could just as easily come from an organ or any instrument.
Riffs create a sense of familiarity and rhythm; using one in your song will create the rhythmic foundation necessary for any hit. Riffs often repeat throughout songs, which forms an instant groove or pulse to help listeners know what beat they’re supposed to dance to!
Experiment with different song structures
Every great story has a beginning, middle and end. Your song structure should work the same way. You should experiment with different configurations to see what works best for the experience you are trying to create.
Most songs start with a captivating intro that hooks the listener immediately. It’s important to remember to keep it short and concise. I must point out that people have very short attention spans nowadays, and with on-demand streaming platforms like Spotify, it only takes 8 seconds for people to decide whether they want to continue to listen to your song or skip to the next.
If you’re looking to make an epic song structure even better, try incorporating bridges into it by adding new lyrics or melodies.
Traditional “verse-chorus” songs that appear on radio stations tend to repeat this pattern three or four times before moving into another section like an interlude, bridge (as mentioned above), verse/bridge combo.
You can expand in this type of structure by introducing solo sections from instruments such as guitar, which may go back towards repetition again but switch up lyric patterns gradually while still sticking within their respective areas alongside vocals.
This type of structure is prevalent in genres like pop, country and even rap. These structures can also include an intro or outro section where there are no vocals before moving into another part – sometimes, these parts will have singing mixed more quietly underneath them during certain verses.
The Intro is usually quieter and more relaxed with less of a full band backing. It may also have some non-vocal instruments playing or sound effects before the song starts up again for listeners to get into their desired mood.
This technique is also used in experimental music to create a sense of unpredictability or tension for listeners through an unexpected break from melodic singing.
You can improve your verses by adding new words and phrases to make the song different each time a verse repeats. Unlike other parts of songs, like choruses, where you often hear repeated lines during playtime, this section includes entirely new lyrics with every iteration so that listeners never get bored hearing similar lines twice within one chorus or through an entire song.
Emphasising key syllables, adding pauses between sentences (for dramatic effect), breaking up any monotony and not being afraid to use the same note pitch for a single duration will all make good verses sound better.
You can also use various poetic devices and techniques to animate your verse and bring it to life. Check out this article on poetic devices for a little bit of insight.
The bridge is a crucial part of your song because it is the transition point between sections. You can also use bridges to start a new segment without ending an old one and vice versa (a bridge that ends).
It’ll take time figuring out which branches will work best on any given occasion, though, once you’ve gotten into writing down all these parts separately first.
Bridges are an excellent way not only to start or end sections within songs (like ridings), but they also offer a chance to change perspective. The bridge can be any kind of section like for example, the end may sound more melancholy with a muted acoustic guitar, so it sounds soft and delicate.
Choose the right tempo.
The tempo of your song should be following the mood you’re trying to convey. When you want to feel excited, try 120-140 bpm. When your tune is calm and tender, use something like 80 or 90bmp for an appropriately slow pace that brings out those feelings well with low brass chords backing up vocal lines.
The chorus should always be at least two times as fast as any other section – this will make it seem more triumphant sounding! Most good listeners who aren’t musicians can usually tell if something doesn’t sound right in a song. Make sure you have everything on beat correctly.
Play along with a metronome and experiment with different speeds until you find one that sounds right. If you can’t find a tempo that suits your song’s needs, then it might be time to rethink the melody.
Digital vs physical production
The style of production you choose will directly impact the sound of your song. If you want a clean, modern-sounding production, then digital is the way to go (it’s also much easier than it used to be).
However, if that sound doesn’t fit with what kind of mood or genre and aesthetic you’re going for – such as rock music-digital might not work best because there will likely always seem like something missing in your tracks, live sounds natural when played through speakers instead), pedals make drums less electronic looking) all these things can add up over time leading us towards physical productions methods!
The rise of technology has made it accessible for everyone with a computer to record themselves and distribute their music digitally. As a result, many artists are now opting to produce entire albums on computer programs like Ableton Live or Logic Pro with little to make no use of analog equipment in the process.
However, digital technology is still something about physical production that can’t be replicated, from experiencing your work through tactile means to having a physical product to show for your efforts.
Making an album on analog equipment will take more time and money than digital production, but the result is worth all of those hours in mastering alone!
New research has found that analog equipment can help create organic, crisp sounds and maintain a sharp mix. Despite this finding, many modern recordings now use digital technology, making an unappealing artificial sound to the music. For listeners to enjoy records today, they need high-quality speakers with a decent bass response because otherwise, it doesn’t feel like you’re listening live.
Modern-day recording techniques create more complicated mixes than what was needed generations ago, but even then, there was no perfect way to capture everything going on without having some kind of interference affecting its sonic
We’re finding analog production methods to be more popular among all music genres, and we suggest testing out both options before making a decision!
Compose timeless lyrics
If your song will be a hit, then it needs great, catchy verses with clever hooks while still being meaningful in some way or another – this will lead people on an emotional roller coaster ride where they can’t help but sing along!
You might have seen something like “lyrics before beats”, which means composing more of your introspective thoughts into lyrical form first, so everything flows better during production time (if anything).
Different types of music elicit varying emotions from listeners. Describing lyrics in specific detail can help the listener know what to do and how they should feel when listening, so try strengthening your message by adding some specifics for readers/listeners who want something concrete that makes them want more or understand it better.
It doesn’t matter if you write the lyrics first or build the melody first, as long as you can create a cohesive work of art that speaks to your listeners.
Try to use words that are catchy, memorable and authentic to you.
And once in a while, it can be helpful (especially for introspective lyrics) when songwriters try using more concrete nouns instead of abstract concepts or ideas because listeners may not understand the meaning behind your lyrics without an explanation create confusion on their end. So use them sparingly if this is something they’re used to!
Create a playlist of reference songs
Reference songs are a great way to get inspiration from the music you already love. If songwriters use them as a starting point, it doesn’t hurt, and if they’re used more extensively (to complement or oppose), that’s even better!
Writing with reference songs can help create cohesion between sections of your piece because there will be these minor points where listeners recognise what is familiar, which helps keep their focus on listening.
Do you like the bass in that one song? How about comparing your output to it. There’s only so much difference a chorus can make when other effects are going on around it, but often this is what makes songs catchy and memorable. Try referencing some of these great tracks when analysing yours for accuracy! Try to use reference songs when you need them, not as a crutch.
Music producers use reference songs during the mixing and mastering phase to optimise their composition’s sound levels. Reference songs can also be helpful when you’re writing lyrics. Some people find that it helps to reference a song for themselves or another person not familiar with your work (e.g., producer) to understand what they want from listening qualities.
However, this is usually done as an addition rather than exclusively because relying only on one style will make things feel unoriginal! So use references sparingly – ideally just during introspective verses! And keep in mind audience reactions, so if most listeners are unfamiliar, try something else instead.
Music has always been a part of human culture and society, with some people using it as an escape from reality. Music can have therapeutic effects on the mind, body, and soul by using different instruments, melodies, rhythms, or lyrics.
I hope you found these suggestions helpful. Just like everything else, composing gets easier with practice. Remember, whether you’re feeling sad or happy, your music can directly affect someone’s day or life. Now go out there and make some magic!
For more poetry conversation; here’s how to tell the difference between poetry and prose. alternatively, check out how to write an SEO friendly article for your website or blog
About The Author
Webster is the founder and managing director at Pick Me Up Poetry. His creative journey began at an early age as an aspiring musician, and by 2013, he was the arts & culture facilitator for the University of Johannesburg. He is currently pursuing a Business Management degree with The University of South Africa and aspires to make PMUP a household name by 2025.