Like most people, you might often feel ‘affected’ by a particular song or piece of composed music. For example, a song might make you feel happy, sad, loved, excited, empowered, or some other way that you may or may not be able to explain.
The truth is that music, in whatever form, affects people’s emotions in different ways, for different reasons. For some, it’s the beat or musical arrangement, for others, it’s the lyrics, or a combination of all the components.
Now, most if not all songwriters and music composers want to create songs that touch listeners in a particular way. While there is no specific formula for composing a song to evoke a specific emotion every time, it is safe to say that some music creators have mastered this aspect of making music. So, how can you do the same when there is no clear formula to follow? Obviously, it’s going to take time and practice, but there are a few things you can do to help your learning process of how to use notes and chords to cause an emotional response in at least some listeners.
- Study the Techniques of Great Songwriters
Many successful songwriters, such as Bob Dylan, Dolly Parton, David Bowie, Prince, and many others, have the reputation of connecting emotionally with their fans. Chances are, they didn’t have a formula to begin with, just raw talent. Along the way, they managed to learn how to use chord progression, lyrics, and the right notes in their songs to get in the heads of their listeners. You might already know how to put together a song, but studying the greats might help you pick up on subtle techniques that could help improve your own music.
- Examine the Songs That Appeal to Your Emotions
How do you feel when you listen to songs from your favorite artists? How about your favorite song? What is it that moves you and in what way does it move you? Is it a frisson chill that many people get when they hear certain types of music, or do you feel a particular emotion at some point? Is it the message that gets to you, the haunting melody, the dramatic instrumentals, or how the singer holds each note? These are among the things to consider when examining the songs that have an effect on you and then try to reproduce them in your own music.
It is a well-known fact that the best artists learn through experimentation. There’s no better teacher than trial and error, so you can try different things when writing your song or composing a piece of music. For instance, you may invert a particular chord, lengthen a note, use an irregular time signature, or change the tempo. You can also experiment with different versions of your songs and see how it goes, since some people are drawn to up-tempo beats and others to slower, more sensuous beats.
- Expand Your Musical Knowledge
Continuously learning about your craft will only make you better at what you do. There are many texts written about how music affects mood and emotions and, while everyone reacts to music differently, it is a fact that everyone does get affected in some way. So, the more you know about the topic, the better you will get at making songs that impact the emotions in some way, at some point, in a listener’s life.
At any time, someone can be touched in some way by your song due to his or her state of mind. It is impossible to create music that everyone will gravitate to emotionally, but continuous practice can help you become better at composing music that touches the soul more often than not.