Here's a fun exercise! You will learn how to make a song using the format of another.
This is a beginners exercise in composition, you are simply “warming up” by getting used to writing music, so don’t expect anything to be perfect at once.
We’ll use Beatles “Norwegian Wood” as a template for our exercise, as it is such a small and simple song, but still such a classic that almost everyone knows.
Follow the steps below as you will first learn how the piece is made and then how to make a song yourself:
So. Looking at the actual musical material, we see that this song has only two small melodic phrases, repeated with different lyrics and combined in a pattern that made the song a hit, and a classic! Here is a link to the lyrics and chords if you like.
Now it’s your turn to learn how to make a song! You will make your own version of this piece by using the same form.
You only need to compose two tiny melodic phrases. One for the verse, and one for the chorus.
No lyrics are needed in this exercise. Let's get started!
Verse: Use as a model the first melodic phrase from the verse in "Norwegian Wood". It has three short parts. This is the Verse:
As you can see, the three parts of the melody a), b) and c) share the same rhythm and a melody that moves mostly down. b) and c) have an interval of a third and a fifth skipping up.
Chorus: This is the Chorus:
The chorus is simply a longer phrase moving in steps and repeated notes. After a skip of a fifth, the melody moves gradually downwards.
Now re-write the phrase from the chorus. You can use anything that sounds good as long as it fits in the same length of the phrase. If you like you could even use the same rhythm.
Finally, let’s combine these two parts, the verse and the chorus, and build your “own” song (sing on a syllable or whatever, since we are using no lyrics.)
Following the format of "Norwegian Wood", here is how you combine your parts in your score:
Write your music, and play and sing it!
How did it sound? Fun wasn't it!
Try it again with other sounds or melodies. Make sure to practice how to make a song with other songs as well. Let me know how it went in the comments below!