Raise Your Own Voice And Sing To The World With 5 Exceptionally Best Songwriting Books

Let’s get back to the musical world! Last time, we did discuss the best books on music theory. In this article, I will explore another field: songwriting, and bring you a list of 5 best songwriting books.

Songwriting is NEVER a simple job. There’re plenty of things to work on when composing a song: song structure, melody, chords, lyrics… Beginners and more experienced songwriters alike would want to find advice, instructions, or even inspiration to find their own voices and sing it out loud.

Trust me! You would find them (and many more) in 5 stunning best books on songwriting below. 

Quick Comparison On 5 Best Songwriting Books

My Rating

My Rating

My Rating

My Rating

My Rating

Author

Robin A Frederick

Author

Jimmy Webb

Author

Jack Perricone

Author

Pat Pattison

Author

Paul Zollo

A book for starters

An insight by one of the greatest songwriter

A book for melody

A book for lyrics

A collection of wisdom from best songwriters

Deeper Considerations on Best Songwriting Books


The first of the 5 best books on songwriting is a book suited to starters. Written by Robin A Frederick - the author of around 500 songs and 5 top-selling songwriting books, “Shortcut to Hit Songwriting” delivers 126 proven shortcuts to make catchy songs that SELL!

​The book contains techniques on lyrics, melody, chords, and song’s structure. It brings out ultimate guidance for anyone who is struggling in vain to find a starting point on writing songs.

​Short, straight, but rich in information! People even call this book a GPS for songwriters at all levels! There are techniques, and there are exercises going with each technique to help learners instantly apply their new knowledge.

​But, of course, like all quick how-to books, this is not the book you go for if you need deeper information or understanding of songwriting theory.


Jimmy Webb has written songs for more than 25 years. He is one of the hottest songwriters with plenty of hits and is the only artist that receives Grammy Awards for music, lyrics, and orchestration. Surely you would find this book of him informative and inspiring.

This is a wonderful how-to book. It has instructions in all aspects of the songs composing process, including chords, melody, rhythm, lyrics… Jimmy Webb writes down every technique he has used to craft a compelling song.

Besides, the theory stuff is softened by the author’s anecdotes. With a hilarious tone of writing, Jimmy shares his stories, his experience, and most of all, his love for music. He passionately gives his advice on coping with writer’s block, or moving past struggles.

Last but not least, Jimmy brings out facts on the music industry. With its insight into the business, this book can be counted as a door for people to glance at the professional music world. It even shows songwriters how to self-promote their products!

What an ideal in-depth guide for any songwriters!


This is not an easy read. You’ve been warned! You may find this book a bit dry and hard to swallow. BUT DON’T QUIT! Digest it slowly and carefully. It’s worth the try.

“Melody in Songwriting” is for an intermediate songwriter who has certain understandings on music theory. It is full of valuable technical analysis about melody, harmony, and rhythm. How to craft gripping melody? How to make harmony progress? What’s the connection between melody and harmony?

Delivered in a clear format, these tools and techniques remove the secret veil covering those popular songs in the market. The book gives examples of a bunch of great songs by Diane Warren, Lennon and McCartney, Robert Palmer, and many others.

This book could serve as a great self-study tool, for the lessons accompanied by many exercises. But it could also be an additional textbook to any music class (In fact, the book is used in classes of songwriting at Berklee College of Music).



“Writing Better Lyrics” has been in the list of best songwriting books for nearly 2 decades. It offers techniques from basic to advanced, therefore, it is suitable for any new or experienced songwriters.

However, like the case of “Melody in Songwriting”, this book may require your patience and concentration, too. Its content is detailedly composed of instructions on using repetition, matching lyrics with melody, making effective titles, etc… and advice on how to co-work with other artists.

Besides these techniques, the book provides readers with amazing tips and tools on triggering ideas and getting a thorough understanding on the form and function of a song, to finally twine beautiful lyrics.

There are various exercises and examples in the book.



There is nothing theoretical or technical in this book. Not at all! In the length of 752 pages, this book is a massive collection of WISDOM!

Containing interviews with around 70 greatest songwriters, including Bob Dylan, Brian Wilson, Patti Smith, and many more, “Songwriters on Songwriting” makes the list of best songwriting books a whole by offering readers only one thing: inspiration.

The questions asked by Paul Zollo, the author - a singer-songwriter himself, differs from each interviewee. But the latter is not less pointed than the first. With that straightforward discussing style, the book slowly draws the curtain to the songwriter's thoughts, feelings, and musical life.

To me, the best thing about this book is that it touches every genre of popular music in a pretty long range of time. Readers would find all famous names they could wish for, listen to their stories, and then ponder on their advice.

This is a long read. But it’s worth it, for both artist and non-artist.



best anatomy books - Detail Comparison table

Name

Image

My Rating

Author

Robin A Frederick

Jimmy Webb

Jack Perricone

Pat Pattison

Paul Zollo

Type

A book for starters

An insight by one of the greatest songwriter

A book for melody

A book for lyrics

A collection of wisdom from best songwriters

Technical/Theoretical advice

✔

✔

✔

✔


Exercises

✔


✔

✔


Require basic understanding on music theory



✔

✔


Available

Let’s Wrap These Best Songwriting Books Up

If you want a “quick how-to”, go for “Shortcut to Hit Songwriting”. It can be your first guide to step into the songwriting world. It offers tips and tools in a comprehensive manner that surely help starters map their road to composing songs.

If you want to hear instructions and advice from a leading songwriter, “Tunesmith: Inside the Art of Songwriting” could be your choice. The famous Jimmy Webb has everything in his book from theoretical knowledge, and technical advice, to remarkable experience, funny stories, and inside secrets of the music industry.

best songwriting books

“Melody in Songwriting” and “Writing Better Lyrics” are harder and require a strong will in reading. They are in-depth analysis into melody and lyrics respectively. They require readers' solid understanding of music theory.

And, check out the last book on the list to listen to a huge number of the greatest names on songwriting history! Stories, experience, opinions, inner’s thoughts and feelings of songwriters, the book has it all.

What I Say When I Say about Best Books on Songwriting

I like “Shortcut to Hit Songwriting”. It’s compact, instructive, and effective. There’s no other better guide for starters like this one. 

And you know what? With this list of Best Books on Songwriting, I want to emphasize that even when songwriting is hard, it is a skill that can be learned and handled, if you invest enough time, effort and passion on it.

Okay. That’s my recommendation. What about you? Which would you recommend to me as the best songwriting books? Please, share with us!

  • So, have you chosen the best songwriting books for you yet? Do you suggest any others? Share with us!
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