4 Songwriting Techniques for Writing a Series of Related Songs

Developing a series of related songs that flows naturally together can be a challenge for a songwriter.   Series Songs

Most singer-songwriters can and do write songs in a variety of different styles.  Simply releasing ten of the latest songs that you’ve written will most likely produce a fragmented listener experience….a bit like selecting shuffle all on your iPod.  Fortunately, there are some techniques that you can use to create relationships between your songs that will enhance the overall emotional tone of your album.

A Concept Album?

So what are we talking about here….concept albums?  Well…not exactly.  Lots of artists do concept albums.  The Beach Boys, The Beatles, The Who, Pink Floyd, Kiss, Green Day…even Woodie Gutherie have all done concept albums.  But a concept album is nothing more than a series of related songs.  The point is that you can use any, all, or some of these songwriting techniques to help you produce a series of related songs that belong together on an album. 

The listener will pick up on the emotional content and tone even if you don’t represent the project as “a concept album”.  An album’s overall vibe will go a long way in keeping the listener engaged for longer periods of time if it’s done well.  And there’s a lot you can do to shape that vibe. 

Below are 4 techniques that I frequently use to relate songs when writing in a series. 

  1. Develop Common Threads For the Project
  2. Create Variations of Your Songs (The Reprise)
  3. Interlink the Lyrical Content of your Songs
  4. Create Interest Using Segues

A Fertile Framework

You’ll find that working through these techniques will spark ideas for other songs that can be added to your series.  The more you do this the faster those spin-off songs will come.  The reason this will happen is because you will have already constructed a fertile framework in which these songs can germinate and grow.  That framework will move you through your writing process more quickly and with greater focus. 

Ultimately, the more cohesive your project, the more effective you’re going to be at getting your emotional content across to the listener.

Hopefully some of these ideas will help you in your creative effort.  This is by no means a complete list so if you have some suggestions for me, please be sure to leave a comment.  I’d love to hear what you’re doing.  Maybe you have something that I can add to my bag of tricks.

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