The best types of songs are those that come from a place of pain and sorrow. There's nothing like a sad song to get you through a tough time and release pent-up emotion.
If you're considering writing an original sad song yourself, take some of these ideas into consideration to try and make your song as touching and authentic as possible.
Some sad songs offer hope in certain sections. Some sad songs are completely bleak, with no positive points to be found. Some sad songs are in the form of a story told about the writer or someone they know.
Some really interesting sad tracks have upbeat and bright energy from the instrumentation while delivering the most depressing lyrics ever.
What approach will you take with your sad song? What will it be about? Or who?
Will this sadness be a type of sadness that we all share, something to do with the entire world? Or is it a type of very personal sadness that we all can relate to?
Related Post: How To Write A Song About Someone Else
Now it’s time to get in the right mental place to start writing this sad song straight from the heart. This will be tricky, as you will begin to spiral into a dark place.
Be careful with the process. If you are someone who has trouble with depression already, you may want to tread lightly with inducing this mental state on purpose.
A good option for this is to wait until a somber mood naturally comes to you. This may be hard to do depending on your song approach style, especially if you’ll be writing a sad song about someone else’s experience and not your own.
If you are writing about your own sadness or sadness that you can authentically relate to, the best time is to start writing right when the emotions are most present. This will also help you release that negative energy while writing therapeutically.
Sad songs that are written in the form of poetry can really help bring out authenticity and emotional depth in the lyrics.
Too often, we as songwriters will hear some sad pop chords played and work their way from the music, defaulting to common sad phrases heard in several thousand songs with only slight variation.
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When starting with only lyrics, you will find that you have more creativity and range to think outside of the box and really get your somber point across to resonate deeply with the listener.
Many people today will hear songs without paying much attention to the lyrics.
Writing your lyrics first can help you break through that barrier since you’ve made it more of a focus than any melody line or instrument by putting it at the forefront of your creative process.
The first step to creating your sad song melody will be deciding if you want to do the song in a major or minor key. Most sad songs are sung in minor, but there are a few instances where a major key would work in a sad song.
If you want to build up a sense of irony or humorous sadness in your song, putting your song in a major key is a good idea. If you want to focus on the positive aspects of a sad story in your song, a major key will also work here.
Now is the time to play with melodic phrases that will match your dark, deep, unique lyrical content. You may want to cycle through many melody ideas before deciding on which phrases to keep and what to discard.
During this process, you will naturally get a good feel for what tempo you want your sad song to be. Most sad songs are slow, of course, but the speed is really up to you.
Or you could make it a song that works at several different tempos, leaving it up to the singer to perform many different interpretations.
Once you have your melodies, you can begin to create a structure for your song that will decide how many verses you want, if you want an intro and outro, etc.
The possibilities are endless when it comes to creating your song structure. You can even end a dark, minor and depressing song on a positive note with a method called the picardy third.
When you write with passion and truth, you are bound to be tapping into an emotion that someone else out there can also relate to. The more relatable your song topic is, the more likely it is that your country song will turn into a hit song.
Some of the relatable emotions that people tap into for sad songs include love, hate, grief, comedy, and patriotism.
Tell a story or send a message in your lyrics that will really resonate with a large group of people that are going through something just like you.
The most important melody, lyric, and chord progression will be the ones you choose for the hook, also known as the chorus section of your song. This is the best part of your creation that will leave the biggest impression on whoever hears it.
The height of your creativity should be encompassed in this part of your track, and it could serve as the climax in some cases, depending on how you want to do the bridge section of your song (and if you even want to add a bridge section to your song).
What name will fit the mood of the song best? What name will stand out and catch the attention of your potential fans?
What name is unique enough to make you feel like this is truly your own song that couldn't have been made by anyone else?
Some of the most positively outlandish song titles come with the best songs. There is no right or wrong answer when it comes to finding a good name, but these are some things to consider when trying to choose.
Try to catch a person's attention with your title by being relatable and catchy at the same time about what's got you so down.
In conclusion, writing a sad song can be a cathartic experience that allows you to express your emotions and connect with listeners who are going through similar experiences.
When writing this type of music, it is important to choose your approach to sadness and find the right mood to write from the heart. Starting with lyrics can help you break through writer's block and create an emotional depth that resonates deeply with the listener.
When writing the melody, deciding whether to use a major or minor key can impact the mood of the song, and it is important to make your hook stand out. Lastly, choosing a standout title can help set your song apart and catch the attention of potential fans.
Remember that authenticity and relatability are key to making a successful sad song that truly speaks to listeners. So, don't be afraid to be vulnerable and share your story through your music.
As a session singer, writer, and producer that has worked with over 200 clients to provide high-quality jingles, singles, and features, Yona spends her time creating and marketing new music and helpful resources for creators. Her recent collaborations include work with PBS Sound Field, Tribe of Noise, and the National Black Chamber of Commerce. Check out Yona’s latest releases on her Spotify, her Youtube and share if you like it!
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