Songwriters: Create a great song title in 15 minutes with Microsoft ExcelBy Don • Category: Inspiration, Songwriting Advice, Songwriting Articles, Songwriting Software, Songwriting Tips, Songwriting Tools
Many songwriters say that once they have a good song title the “song practically writes itself”. If you are one of these people, then this tip is for you. If you are not one of these people, perhaps this exercise will help spur on creativity.
This songwriting exercise is built off of an older, existing songwriting exercise – but with a technological twist. Microsoft Excel is not required. Any spreadsheet software will do – even Google’s new free online spreadsheet application will work.
For the sake of example I have used Microsoft Excel in my screenshots below.
The Object of This Exercise
The object of the exercise is to get you – the writer – to pair unlikely words together for unique song titles. So here is what we do:
Step 1: In Column A, list 10 adjectives.
You can actually list more if you want to, but for the sake of this article we’ll keep it short at 10 adjectives – or descriptive words.
Admittedly, I didn’t use much imagination in thinking up these adjectives, but you get the idea. Using a thesaurus or dictionary will help you come up with much more exciting words.
Step 2: Add another column of nouns.
But don’t add the nouns right next to column A! Instead, scroll over to column Z (so you can’t even see the words in column A) and start writing your list of ten nouns. The point is to not even remember what adjectives you put in column A. If you remember a couple of them, that is fine. We will take care of that in a moment.
Got your 10 nouns? Great. Let’s move on.
Step 3: Cut and paste column Z over to column B.
Cool! Now you have a column of adjectives, as well as a column of nouns right next to it:
Step 4: Scan the new set of columns for possible song titles.
In a real songwriting scenario, I would write those new phrases down in my notebook.
So far, none of the phrases really jump out at me. “Urgent Market” is a possiblity, just because it rolls off my tongue in a cool way. So does the phrase “Unbreakable Auto”. But really, none of these grab my attention.
So we’re gonna try something different. Re-sorting columns.
Step 5: Sort columns for new possibilities.
First, let’s sort column A ascending, by highlighting column A and selecting SORT from the DATA menu as shown below:
Depending on the version of Excel you are using, you might receive a “Sort Warning”. If so, just click “Continue with Selection” and press the “Sort” button.
Then you will get a screen that asks if you want to sort Ascending or Descending. Let’s choose Ascending for now:
Voila! You have sorted column A. Now a new set of song titles appear. Scan the list to see if there is anything that would make a possible song title.
I found a few I liked, and circled them:
But it doesn’t end there. Let’s try a descending sort:
So we have sorted a lot on column A. Let’s mix things up more and sort column B ascending:
And we have a few more song title possibilities:
So, know we have at least a half-dozen possible good song titles. As I mentioned earlier, you will most likely come up with more creative words to pair together.
Variations on This Exercise
You aren’t limited to just adjective/noun combinations. You can try this exercise with other pairings:
noun/adjective (inverted from our exercise above)
You can also add another column. So instead of just “sad flowers” as shown above. Imagine if you had a verb column in column C. You might have ended up with something like, “sad flowers blooming” or something like that.
Realistically, the possibilities are endless. Remember, this exercise is designed to spur on creativity – to get your mind to go places it hasn’t gone with unlikely word pairings.
If you have any cool/quirky/funny song titles you came up with, let us know in the comments below.
Try it out! I guarantee you’ll be surprised.