The Cardinal Rule of Songwriting
Featuring Paul Baloche Posted on January 16, 2010
This brings us to what we call the Cardinal Rule of Songwriting. Well— it’s not really a rule. Nothing we say here is a rule. But frankly, any song that doesn’t follow it, doesn’t do a very good job of communicating its message and probably won’t get far. It ‘s so important that it needs a billboard, or at least a panel of its own:
Make all the elements work together to enhance the feeling of the message.
Songwriting is an emotional medium, a vehicle for the expression of feelings. Think about it. If your message consists only of a series of facts and makes no emotional impact, you would do better to present it not as a song but as a list or paragraph. Try to match the mood of the music to the meaning of the message, so the listener can feel it. This way, the song becomes more than the mere transfer of data—it becomes an experience. Emotion is the soul of a song. That’s why computers can’t write songs. Even if they can be programmed to think, they still can’t feel.
The Very Idea!
When you get an idea for a song, the ﬁrst thing you should ask yourself is: Is this idea worth writing a song about?
• First, is it biblical? Because of the power of the music, the words are going deep into the hearts and minds of people who listen and sing. Nice, cozy thoughts and warm fuzzies about God are not enough. The Word of God, empowered by the Spirit, ministers life. That doesn’t mean that every song has to be based literally on the words of scripture. Many ﬁne worship songs express heartfelt devotion to the Lord without directly quoting scripture, but their concepts come out of the writer’s knowledge and love of the Word. Even being biblical alone is not enough. “An omer is the tenth part of an ephah,”( Exodus 16:36) is biblical, but it probably isn’t worth writing a song about.
• Second, is it touching, moving enough? Is it something other people will care about? Will they think, ‘I’ve experienced that, and this song says what I feel’? Not every idea can bear the weight of being set to music.
Matt Redman: God Centered Songs
Other Posts Featuring Paul Baloche
- How To Thrive This Christmas - Webinar with Paul Baloche
- For Unto Us A Child Is Born (Open the Eyes of My Heart) Tutorial with Paul Baloche
- How To Play "Hark The Herald" by Paul Baloche
- How To Play "Your Name (Christmas Version)" by Paul Baloche
- How To Play "What Can I Do (Christmas Version)" by Paul Baloche
- How To Play "This Is Love (with Come Thou Long Expected Jesus)" by Paul Baloche
- How To Play "Prepare Him Room" by Paul Baloche
- How To Play "O Come Emmanuel" by Paul Baloche