Online Undergraduate-Level Course
Lyric Writing: Writing From the Title
Authored by Pat Pattison
Course Code: OSONG-221
Lyric Writing: Writing From the Title will teach you how the professionals approach the construction of songs: by writing from a central idea (the title). Starting with a powerful and effective song title, you'll learn to build complete lyrics from that title, explore how to set the title to the appropriate rhythm and tempo, and to place that title in the song's different sections to create the most powerful impact. Through this approach, you will learn different ways to brainstorm ideas, work with a variety of lyric writing elements, and develop effective tools to create an emotional connection with your listeners.
By the end of this course, you will:
- Find and develop a title
- Understand what a title is and its function in the song
- Identify rhythm, pitch and tempo of a title
- Recognize and use different rhyming types
- Develop verses and understand the functions of various song sections
- Identify contrasting sections and rhythms
- Complete a polished lyric
Lesson 1: What Is a Title?
- Understanding the Use of Titles in Songs Versus Poems
- Understanding the Function of a Title in a Lyric
- Identifying Two Types of Song Titles
Lesson 2: Finding a Title
- Understanding the Title as the Central Concept of the Song
- Developing Strategies for Finding Titles
Lesson 3: Developing a Title
- Identifying Titles That Can Be Recolored by Repetition
- Sketching Out Possible Sectional Development for a Title
Lesson 4: Rhythm and Pitch of the Title
- Identifying the Stressed Syllables of a Title
- Identifying the Pitches of a Title
Lesson 5: Tempo as a Brainstorming Tool
- Preserving the Natural Shape of a Title
- Setting a Title Rhythmically Against a Pulse
- Extracting Various Meanings from the Same Title by Brainstorming Against Various Tempos
Lesson 6: Developing Your Title Motivically
- Deciding Where to Place a Title
- Developing a Title's Motive by Using Various Developmental Techniques
Lesson 7: Creating a Rhythmic Template
- Creating a Section Based on a Title's Rhythm
- Applying Developmental Techniques to Create Your Section
Lesson 8: Brainstorming with Rhyme
- Identifying and Finding the Various Rhyme Types
- Recognizing the Vowel Sounds of the Stressed Syllables in a Title
- Using Your Rhyming Dictionary as a Brainstorming Tool
Lesson 9: Verse Development Techniques
- Planning Your Verse Development
- Approaching Central Sections of Songs More Effectively
- Applying Your Recoloring Skills to One of Your Own Titles
Lesson 10: Song Forms
- Understanding the Functions of the Various Kinds of Song Sections
- Recognizing Basic Song Forms
- Sketching Lyric Outlines
Lesson 11: Contrasting Sections
- Rhyme Schemes as a Contrasting Device
- Number of Syllables/Notes as a Contrasting Device
- Line Length as a Contrasting Device
- Note Values as a Contrasting Device
- Position in the Bar as a Contrasting Device
- Variations or Pieces of a Motive as a Rhythmic Contrasting Device
Lesson 12: Putting It All Together
- Applying the Course's Techniques to Finish Your Lyric
- Improving Your Critical Skills by Helping Others to Polish Their Work
Prerequisites and Course-Specific Requirements
This course does not have any prerequisites.
- Writing Better Lyrics (2nd Edition) by Pat Pattison, Writer's Digest Books
- Songwriting: Essential Guide to Lyric Form and Structure by Pat Pattison, Berklee Press/Hal Leonard
- Songwriting: Essential Guide to Rhyming (2nd Edition) by Pat Pattison, Berklee Press/Hal Leonard
- The Complete Rhyming Dictionary by Clement Wood, Dell Publishing
A basic audio recording tool that will allow you to record yourself and save the recording in MP3 format. You will have a tool to use for this purpose inside the learning environment. Alternatively, you can use software like Audacity (PC) or GarageBand (Mac)
- A built-in microphone or an external microphone plugged directly into your computer (via built in ports or an external audio interface)
After enrolling, please check the Getting Started section of your course for potential deals on required materials. Our Student Deals page also features several discounts you can take advantage of as a current student. Please contact email@example.com for any questions.
General Course Requirements
Below are the minimum requirements to access the course environment and participate in Live Chats. Please make sure to also check the Prerequisites and Course-Specific Requirements section above, and ensure your computer meets or exceeds the minimum system requirements for all software needed for your course.
- Latest version of Google Chrome
- Zoom meeting software
- Speakers or headphones
- External or internal microphone
- Broadband Internet connection
Pat Pattison is a professor at Berklee College of Music, where he teaches lyric writing and poetry. In addition to his four books, Songwriting Without Boundaries (Penguin/Random House), Writing Better Lyrics, 2nd Edition (Penguin/Random House), The Essential Guide to Lyric Form and Structure (Hal Leonard), and The Essential Guide to Rhyming (Hal Leonard), Pat has developed several online courses for Berklee Online. He has written more than 50 articles for various blogs and magazines, including American Songwriter, and has chapters in both The Poetics of American Song Lyrics (University Press of Mississippi) and The Handbook on Creative Writing (Edinburgh University Press).
Pat continues to present songwriting clinics across the US, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, and Europe. His students include Grammy-winners, professional songwriters, and major recording artists, including Gillian Welch, John Mayer, Tom Hambridge, Joelle James, Karmin, American Authors, Ingrid Andress, Liz Longley, Charlie Worsham, Greg Becker, Justin Tranter, and many more.
For Berklee Online, Pat has authored the following courses: Lyric Writing: Writing From the Title, Lyric Writing: Writing Lyrics to Music, Lyric Writing: Tools and Strategies, Creative Writing: Poetry, and Creative Writing: Finding Your Voice. He also co-authored the graduate course Songwriting Tools and Techniques. Read Less
Andrea Stolpe is a multiplatinum songwriter, performing artist, and educator. She has worked as a staff writer for EMI, Almo-Irving, and Universal Music Publishing. Her songs have been recorded by artists including Faith Hill, Jimmy Wayne, Julianne Hough, and others. Andrea is the author and instructor of the course Commercial Songwriting Techniques, part of Berklee Online's songwriting program.
Her books, Popular Lyric Writing: 10 Steps to Effective Storytelling, and Beginning Songwriting, describe how to apply a unique process for uniting our artistic voice with the commercial market.
Andrea lives in Los Angeles, and continues to serve as a guest clinician for music organizations around the world. Read Less
Cassandra is a singer, educator, writer and performer based in Sydney, Australia. Having graduated Summa Cum Laude from Berklee College of Music with a Bachelor of Music in Songwriting and Music Production, she currently lectures in the Music Department at JMC Academy Sydney as well as mentoring artists and teaching voice. Cassandra is the vocalist and co-songwriter for an indie folk duo, sagas, and is currently writing a book on vocal technique.
As an educator, Cassandra is passionate about supporting students while they hone their craft, using tools and techniques to form strong emotional connections with their audiences through song, and amplify their artistry. She is keen to instill her love of creativity and songwriting in her students. Read Less
When taken for credit, Lyric Writing: Writing From the Title can be applied towards these associated programs:
Associated Certificate Programs
Associated Degree Majors
Contact our Academic Advisors by phone at 1-866-BERKLEE (U.S.), 1-617-747-2146 (INT'L), or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.