How to Write More Instinctually According To Andrea Stolpe

I believe that every problem we feel occurring within our songs can be attributed to three principles of songwriting. Just three. When we use these principles, we can identify possible solutions for these problems based on their underlying principal. Let me explain.

In the insightful article “How to Write More Instinctually” by Andrea Stolpe, readers are introduced to the nuanced world of songwriting through a lens that emphasizes instinctual creativity and the foundational principles that can guide songwriters to more authentic and resonant work.

Stolpe, with her extensive experience in the field, shares her observations and insights into common challenges songwriters face, such as doubts about their song’s length, the effectiveness of their chorus, and the clarity of their message. These challenges, she suggests, stem from a deeper issue: a lack of trust in one’s instincts and the difficulty in articulating and addressing problems within one’s work.

The core of Stolpe’s argument revolves around three key principles of songwriting: Prosody, Momentum, and Restraint. Each principle serves as a lens through which songwriters can better understand and refine their craft.

  1. Prosody focuses on the harmony between lyrics and music, ensuring they complement and enhance each other to create a more impactful and cohesive song. Stolpe illustrates how prosody can be achieved through alignment of musical mood with lyrical content, thereby enriching the song’s emotional depth and resonance.
  2. Momentum refers to the forward energy of a song, the driving force that keeps the listener engaged from beginning to end. Stolpe discusses various techniques to build and maintain momentum, such as changing chord progressions, adjusting melody contours, and strategic arrangement decisions, all aimed at sustaining the song’s energy and direction.
  3. Restraint highlights the importance of simplicity and focus in songwriting. By stripping a song down to its essential elements, songwriters can avoid overwhelming the listener and ensure that the core message and emotion of the song shine through.

Stolpe encourages songwriters to embrace these principles not as rigid rules but as tools to enhance their natural instincts. She advocates for a writing process that is reflective, allowing songwriters to connect deeply with their artistry and instincts.

By focusing on these principles during both the writing and rewriting phases, songwriters can develop a more intuitive approach to their craft, ultimately leading to songs that are not only technically sound but also emotionally resonant and true to their artistic vision.

In essence, “How to Write More Instinctually” serves as a guide for songwriters to navigate the complexities of their craft with confidence and creativity. By trusting their instincts and applying these foundational principles, songwriters can unlock new levels of authenticity and expression in their work.

Source: How to Write More Instinctually — Andrea Stolpe

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