Songwriting: Writing the Lyrics

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Description

When you enroll for courses through Coursera you get to choose for a paid plan or for a free plan

  • Free plan: No certicification and/or audit only. You will have access to all course materials except graded items.
  • Paid plan: Commit to earning a Certificate—it's a trusted, shareable way to showcase your new skills.

About this course: There’s a songwriter lurking somewhere inside you, peeking around corners, wondering if it’s safe to come out. Now it is. This course is an invitation to let your inner songwriter step into the sunlight. All it takes is a simple “yes” and you’ll be climbing that windy hill, marveling at the view. If you haven’t written any or many songs, this course will show you an efficient, effective process for tailoring songs to express your ideas and emotions. If you have, you’ll look at your process differently, taking control of aspects of the process you may have not noticed. The course will start by examining the tools available to you, all revolving around the essential con…

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When you enroll for courses through Coursera you get to choose for a paid plan or for a free plan

  • Free plan: No certicification and/or audit only. You will have access to all course materials except graded items.
  • Paid plan: Commit to earning a Certificate—it's a trusted, shareable way to showcase your new skills.

About this course: There’s a songwriter lurking somewhere inside you, peeking around corners, wondering if it’s safe to come out. Now it is. This course is an invitation to let your inner songwriter step into the sunlight. All it takes is a simple “yes” and you’ll be climbing that windy hill, marveling at the view. If you haven’t written any or many songs, this course will show you an efficient, effective process for tailoring songs to express your ideas and emotions. If you have, you’ll look at your process differently, taking control of aspects of the process you may have not noticed. The course will start by examining the tools available to you, all revolving around the essential concept of prosody. You’ll learn to use your tools to enhance your message—to work compositionally at the same time you’re developing your ideas. You’ll be working both lyrically and musically, though musically it’s not necessary that you either read music or play an instrument. If you play, great, and you’ll be encouraged to play and record your musical responses to the assignments. If you don’t play, the course offers you a number of musical loops to work with. All you’ll have to do is sing your melodies over the loops. Assignments will ask you to post something for peer review—sometimes lyric lines or sections, sometimes melodies, sometimes both. None of it has to be polished. The course is about writing, not performing. Most important, you’ll have a lot of fun.

Created by:  Berklee
  • Taught by:  Pat Pattison, Professor

Level Beginner Commitment 7 weeks of study, 3-6 hours/week Language English, Subtitles: Spanish, Portuguese (Brazilian), Portuguese (European) How To Pass Pass all graded assignments to complete the course. User Ratings 4.9 stars Average User Rating 4.9See what learners said Coursework

Each course is like an interactive textbook, featuring pre-recorded videos, quizzes and projects.

Help from your peers

Connect with thousands of other learners and debate ideas, discuss course material, and get help mastering concepts.

Certificates

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Berklee Berklee College of Music was founded on the revolutionary principle that the best way to prepare students for careers in music is through the study and practice of contemporary music. For more than half a century, the college has evolved to reflect the state of the art of music and the music business. Berklee serves distance learners worldwide through its award-winning online extension school, Berklee Online.

Syllabus


WEEK 1


Welcome to Songwriting: Writing the Lyrics
Welcome to the course! Here we will cover all the details about the course and what you'll need to know to get the most out of your experience.


7 readings, 1 practice quiz expand


  1. Reading: A Note From Pat
  2. Reading: A Note From Your Teaching Assistant
  3. Reading: Connect on Facebook and Twitter
  4. Practice Quiz: What Are Your Goals?
  5. Reading: Suggested Readings
  6. Reading: Course Certificates
  7. Reading: Learner Support
  8. Reading: Plagiarism


The Journey of the Song



By the end of this lesson, you will see how to develop your song idea so it creates an interesting journey from start to finish. You’ll understand your options developing the point of view of your song and will be introduced to the songwriter’s six best friends.


4 videos, 2 readings expand


  1. Reading: Lesson 1 Suggested Reading
  2. Reading: Lesson 1 Song List
  3. Video: Point of View
  4. Video: Boxes: Your Development Engine
  5. Video: Six Best Friends
  6. Video: Song Form

Graded: Point of View and The Development Engine
Graded: Developing an Idea from the Title

WEEK 2


Stopping and Going



By the end of this lesson, you will understand the concept of prosody as it relates to the number of lines/musical phrases in a section and to line lengths/musical phrases. You’ll create both stable and unstable line/musical groupings, using an odd or even number of lines and musical phrases. Using these tools, you’ll write a verse and chorus.


6 videos, 2 readings expand


  1. Reading: Lesson 2 Suggested Reading
  2. Reading: Lesson 2 Song List
  3. Video: Prosody
  4. Video: Practice: Stable or Unstable?
  5. Video: Five Compositional Elements
  6. Video: Effects of Number of Lines
  7. Video: Length of Lines
  8. Video: Effects of Length of Lines
  9. Discussion Prompt: Lesson Discussion

Graded: Stopping and Going
Graded: Unstable To Stable

WEEK 3


Sonic GPS—Mapping Your Song with Rhyme



By the end of this lesson, you will understand the relationship of rhyme schemes to prosody. You’ll create both stable and unstable sections, using various rhyme schemes to show your ear the way to go home. Using these tools, you’ll write a new verse and chorus.


8 videos, 2 readings expand


  1. Reading: Lesson 3 Suggested Reading
  2. Reading: Lesson 3 Song List
  3. Video: Rhyme Scheme, Part 1
  4. Video: Rhyme Scheme, Part 2
  5. Video: Perfect Rhyme
  6. Video: Family Rhyme
  7. Video: Finding Family Rhymes
  8. Video: Additive and Subtractive Rhyme
  9. Video: Assonance Rhyme
  10. Video: Consonance Rhyme

Graded: Sonic GPS—Mapping Your Song with Rhyme
Graded: Stable To Unstable

WEEK 4


Making It Move



By the end of this lesson, you will understand language rhythms—the difference between stressed and unstressed syllables and how to put rhythm in your lines, preparing them to join into the dance with musical rhythm. Using these tools, you’ll put last week’s verse and chorus to music.


8 videos, 1 reading expand


  1. Reading: Lesson 4 Suggested Reading
  2. Video: Multi-Syllable Words
  3. Video: One-Syllable Words
  4. Video: Stressed vs. Unstressed Syllables
  5. Video: Rhythm
  6. Video: Master Class: Melodic Rhythm and Lyric Rhythm, Part 1
  7. Video: Master Class: Melodic Rhythm and Lyric Rhythm, Part 2
  8. Video: Master Class: Melodic Rhythm and Lyric Rhythm, Part 3
  9. Video: Master Class: Melodic Rhythm and Lyric Rhythm, Part 4

Graded: Stressed and Unstressed
Graded: Making It Move

WEEK 5


Writing the Song



In this lesson, you’ll select a new song title and create a worksheet to help develop your ideas. You’ll write your lyric and set it to music, matching your lyric rhythms to melodic rhythms. You’ll create a melody, using stable and unstable notes to support your ideas.


14 videos, 1 reading expand


  1. Reading: Lesson 5 Suggested Reading
  2. Video: Developing an Idea
  3. Video: Boxes and Worksheets
  4. Video: Developing the Worksheet, Part 1
  5. Video: Developing the Worksheet, Part 2
  6. Video: Writing the Lines, Part 1
  7. Video: Writing the Lines, Part 2
  8. Video: Writing the Lines, Part 3
  9. Video: Melodic Rhythm
  10. Video: Stable and Unstable Tones, Part 1
  11. Video: Stable and Unstable Tones, Part 2
  12. Video: Melody
  13. Video: Rhyme Options
  14. Video: Setting Adjustment
  15. Video: The Bridge
  16. Discussion Prompt: Lesson Discussion

Graded: Writing the Song
Graded: Writing the Song

WEEK 6


Crossing the Finished Line



By the end of this lesson, you will understand the role of phrasing to create the body language of your song, using the relationship of your phrases to musical downbeats to create stability or instability. Then you’ll put the finishing touches on your song from lesson 5.


8 videos, 1 reading expand


  1. Video: Body Language
  2. Video: "Pieces," Part 1
  3. Video: "Pieces," Part 2
  4. Video: "Pieces," Part 3
  5. Video: "Pieces," Part 4
  6. Video: Phrasing
  7. Video: Harmonic Function of Speech
  8. Video: Singing Together
  9. Discussion Prompt: Lesson Discussion
  10. Reading: Course Evaluation

Graded: Crossing the Finished Line
Graded: Crossing The Finished Line
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