There’s no question that during challenging times, people often turn to music to be uplifted. In my dealings with particular music publishers and agents recently, there certainly has been a spike in demand for songs with an uplifting theme. Now, positive music doesn’t necessarily mean strictly happy-go-lucky music with a simplistic theme. Music can be uplifting as a result of the messages of hope and a desire to seek better times. This can be represented in a number of ways and today I’d like to share a few tips to help you write more positive uplifting music.
First and foremost, lyrics are the most dominant aspect of a song that captures people’s attention. So it’s important to spend some time having a think about what message it is that you wish to convey? And what are you actually trying to say? Once you’ve decided on your theme, then you can start brainstorming words and phrases that resonate. Think about what kind of words inspire feelings of positivity and give you an uplifting feeling, and try to incorporate that into your writing.
STRUCTURE & MELODY
It’s important for song structure to be accessible to listeners. What that means, is that your audience must be able to follow and relate to the flow of the song and almost subconsciously predict which direction it’s going to go. A familiar song structure with a traditional intro/verse/chorus/verse/bridge etc, has been proven over many years to be a winning formula irrespective of the genre. Melody is closely connected to song structure and along with the lyrical content, will likely be the difference between someone listening to your song or flicking through to the next track.
Major chords are a simple way to quickly get in the mode of positive, up-beat music. In my experience as a musician and songwriter, I would always internally refer to chords in a way that describes their emotional content. For example, a simple Emajor chord immediately has a happier sound than an Eminor chord. To create contrast in an uplifting type of song, you can blend in minor chords (or “sad” chords, as I call them) and further accentuate that major chord happier feel.
TONES & SOUND
The type of sounds and tones you choose can also play a big role in how your song is perceived. For example, using a heavily detuned 7 string baritone guitar with a heavy metal distortion combined with a stack of dissonant chords is unlikely to come across as uplifting to the average listener (unless of course you are a hugely devoted heavy metal fan, in that case you may find this sound particularly pleasing to the ear!). Take a look at the category of sleep music, for example. Everyone these days has some sort of sleep playlist on their Spotify. You will find that most tracks in this genre have especially soothing sounds to help lull the listener to sleep. It’s no different when writing or recording an uplifting type of song, you want to choose sounds that invoke positivity by being pleasing to the ear.
TEMPO & SONG LENGTH
Finally, the speed and length of your song should be an important consideration during the songwriting process. Whilst there are no hard and fast rules around this, you may achieve a more desirable result if you aim for a quicker tempo and keep the song under 3.30mins approximately. Remember, you need to capture the listeners attention within seconds and if you’re song doesn’t ‘get to the point’ quickly, you will have likely lost that person just as quickly.
Until next time,