The 3 Stages of Romance and Songwriting / by Sam Abelow

Watercolor and ink on paper, 2015 | see my portfolio here

Creating songs is a process of refinement and development. Starting from a rough idea or inspiration, all the way to a completed work. The stages of songwriting can be related to that of a romantic relationship.

Stage One

For the musical artist there is an initial inspiration, it can be a sound, melody, lyrical phrase or emotional experience, which sparks the imagination. A good artist is able to recognize when these stirrings arise and follow them towards the longer journey of a finished recording.

This is similar to the beginnings of a romantic interest, where you may see someone across the room at a party and they spark your curiosity. Sometimes, we feel like they fit the image of the “perfect lover” and this profound feeling encourages us to make an effort to get to know the other person.

My tune, "Song for Molly" expresses the largely physical stirring that leads to romance.

Stage Two

The same way that we follow the initial attraction, or inspiration in dating, to get to know each other, the songwriting must “get to know” the theme of the song. The artist must allow lyrics and melodies to unfold, receptively experiencing the emotions and formulating into a cohesive song.

As romantic relationships we get to know one another by having shared moments and relating our values — it’s a receptive and dynamic process.

Stage Three

Eventually there is a complete formation, for the artist it is the bringing together of the original inspiration — the emotional, melodic components — and the structure of a song, including the recording process. This can be seen as a pairing of opposites, similar to that of a long term relationship.

As two people spend more and more time together, they ideally discover their own issues and adjust in order to accommodate each other. The shared experiences intertwine the once separate individuals into a true “couple”.  


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