No matter the circumstance, whether it’s a painful breakup, grief over someone’s passing or simply feeling lonely, we all need songs to help us cope with our feelings.
Writing a song that is personal and reflective of your experiences can be therapeutic when dealing with sadness. Listeners tend to respond more favorably to music based on people’s lives, so take a chance and write in the first person and tell a story about yourself.
1. Opt for a Slower Tempo
A slower tempo will enhance your lyrics, giving them room to express the emotions you wish to convey. This also creates an atmosphere of sadness and pain for listeners.
Sheet music typically features tempo markings to indicate how quickly or slowly songs should be sung. These markings are usually in beats per minute (BPM) and may include symbols, Italian words, or even simple phrases like “slowly, tenderly.”
If you’re unsure about what this phrase means, listen to some classic sad songs and pay close attention to the tempos they use. From there, practice playing them on an instrument to find which works best for your voice and style.
You can then incorporate some of these same musical elements in your own song to help elicit similar emotions from listeners. For instance, some songwriters opt for minor chords in order to convey a feeling of sadness.
This can be an effective technique, but one that may take some practice to master. Therefore, it is recommended that you listen to several songs that incorporate minor thirds before attempting to compose one yourself.
Additionally, you can select a key that evokes a more melancholy feeling. This can be beneficial, though it’s important to remember that some people may not react favorably to songs sounding sad.
Interpreting a song is subjective and differs between individuals and cultures. Therefore, it’s essential to focus on the emotion you wish to elicit rather than simply on its musical content.
2. Write in the First Person
First person writing has a lot of negative connotations, but it can actually be an effective tool for writers to employ. Readers get to feel as if they’re confiding in the character, which often draws them into the story and sparks interest in what’s happening.
First person narration offers readers a unique perspective into the mind of a character, which can be especially valuable in stories that are deeply personal and deeply moving.
It can also be an effective tool for building intrigue and suspense. Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s Sherlock Holmes mysteries, written in the first person with Watson narrating his own adventures, serve as a prime example.
Another advantage of first person narration is its capacity for creating strong empathy between readers and characters. This technique is especially helpful in romance novels, since it permits the writer to become intimate with the main characters and their motivations.
Additionally, the narrator’s voice can differ significantly from your own, helping to distinguish the story and add some realism. While implementing a distinctive narrator into your story can be challenging, the results can be highly rewarding when done correctly.
Making your narrator more realistic requires taking note of her emotions and what she would say about specific events in their life. While this can be challenging to do, it will ultimately improve your writing.
3. Use Descriptive Words
Writing without sad song lyrics is possible, and there are a few steps you can take to make your music stand out. First and foremost, choose words that express the emotion you wish your listeners to experience through descriptive language as well as poetic devices. These will help ensure that listeners engage with what you have created.
You should also consider the connotation of your lyrics, which is a second meaning attached to words in addition to their literal significance. Doing this helps you steer clear of technical terms or expressions that might be difficult for non-technical listeners to comprehend.
In addition to selecting words carefully, remember to write your lyrics in the first person. This can be an effective way to express your emotions more intimately – perfect for songs about heartbreak, loss or regret.
However, it’s essential to note that this method should only be employed when feeling especially vulnerable and wanting your audience to understand your story. You can switch to third person when ready for more direct lyrics, or combine both techniques.
For instance, Pulp’s ‘Common People’ begins as a straightforward first-person narrative. But as the song progresses, Jarvis Cocker shifts into dramatic mode and addresses the girl directly as “you,” promising her that she “won’t ever live like common people.”
Similar to Modest Mouse’s ‘Stay With Me,’ Modest Mouse begins as a straightforward song about an unraveling relationship. It is both beautiful and poignant at the same time; ultimately serving as a stark reminder that happiness doesn’t come easy and having everything can actually cause more harm than good.
4. Create an Atmosphere of Sadness
Sad music can be therapeutic for some people, especially when written in the right key and accompanied by honest lyrics. Unfortunately, writing a sad song can be daunting as you must express your emotions through words which may be more vulnerable than other types of songs.
Thankfully, there are several techniques you can use to enhance the impact of your sad song. These include musical elements, storytelling techniques and how you structure the lyrics.
Atmosphere is an essential element in literature and film, as well as other forms of media. It can help you connect with your audience by conjuring up feelings of unease, hope and despair.
One of the most effective methods for creating atmosphere in a story is through figures of speech. Illustrative and evocative techniques like hyperbole, metaphor, idioms and allusions can all be utilized to achieve this effect.
When used correctly, energetic elements can add a powerful punch to a story without taking up too much room. These components work best when coupled with an engaging emotional storyline.
Tim Burton’s film adaptation of Edward Scissorhands is the prime example. This movie creates an atmospheric aesthetic that is tense, melancholy and ominous, making it all the more powerful in its tragic ending.
Another way to create an atmosphere is through visual effects. This could include distortion, shadows or gothic iconography.
It’s beneficial to incorporate sound, touch and smell into your writing in order to elicit an emotion. This technique is commonly used in music but it can also be incredibly effective when crafting a sad song.
5. Be Honest
If you want to write without using sad songs that elicit emotion, try writing about your own experiences. Doing this allows for authenticity and expresses what’s inside you rather than worrying about what others might think about the situation. Furthermore, remember that feeling sad at times is completely normal and shouldn’t be avoided.
Another effective way to write about sadness is with poetry. This form of writing tends to be more descriptive and emotional than simple prose, giving your lyrics greater depth and creating a more intense atmosphere of sorrow.
Poetry offers the unique advantage of using metaphors, evocative words and other tools to express your emotions. This gives your song more substance and depth which in turn makes it more likely to resonate with listeners.
For sad songs that involve someone experiencing loss or another difficult event, this technique can be particularly effective. Additionally, it creates a sense of intimacy and connection with your listeners.
One of the best examples of a song that captures this theme is “Honesty,” written by Billy Joel in 1978 and featured on his album 52nd Street. This piano-based ballad features Joel’s powerful vocals accompanied by an emotional string section.
Ultimately, “Honesty” is an uplifting and emotive song that emphasizes the value of honesty and integrity in relationships. It’s a timeless classic that displays Joel’s incredible talents as both singer and songwriter.
Francesca Battistelli’s song “If We’re Honest” is an excellent example of a song that promotes truth and honesty. This catchy pop-rock track features an upbeat chorus as well as catchy instrumentation. The lyrics explore themes such as self-discovery, forgiveness, and the importance of being truthful with yourself and others.