For some people it can take months to write a song. For others it may only take a few hours! I designed the FretDeck to assist guitarist with the songwriting process. Songwriting is a very rewarding musical experience. You can write about any topic,experience or feelings. You can create instrumental songs as well. If you have never tried writing a song,you should try it! Songwriting is a great way to understand the basic structures of music theory.
Step 1: select your key
Choosing a key is very important because, you are selecting a group of tones that will determine the sound of your song. Some tones will have a lower pitch and some will have a higher pitch. If you are a vocalist, this is important because you will want to match the key with your vocal range.
There are a total of 12 keys. So you have a lot of options to choose from. On the FretDeck you can use the key index card to see all of the keys in music. On the index card I color coded each key so the key note(Tonic) is indicated in blue and the minor(relative minor) is indicated in red. So basically, you can use the index card to play Major Scales and natural minor scales.
Step 2: select your chords
This next step is extremely important because you will be selecting the individual chords for your song. In every single key there will be 3 major chords to use and 3 minor chords to choose from. Giving you a total of 6 chords to choose from in every single key.
Major chords will have a uplifting,positive tone. Minor chords will have a sad, negative tone. You can use these types of chords to direct the mood of your song. Use different chords to express your emotions within your song! This is how professional musicians get you to relate with their songs. It is a combination of the mood of the music and the lyrics of the song.
Step 3: select a scale
Once you have an underlining chord structure you can use scales to create melodies, riffs and guitar solos. This is my favorite part of songwriting. With simple melodies and riffs you can make your songs come to life! When selecting a certain scale in your song make sure you are using the scale in the correct key. For example, if you are writing a song in the key of C Major you would select a scale in that key, C Major pentatonic scale would work in the key of C Major. The FretDeck organizes all of this for you. There are many types of scales that you can play from major scales to pentatonic scales. Use scales to indicate the mood of your song.
Songwriting is a very creative and personal process. Have fun with it! Make sure that you have the main functions in your song, keys,chords and scales. I always tell my students that “Chords plus Scales equals a song.” It is all about how you organize the tones that you are given. Keep practicing and learning music theory concepts. Music theory will only open the doors to songwriting.