How I Write A Song
What is plagiarism?
Dictionary.com offers two definitions:
anact or instance of using or closely imitating the language and thoughts of another author without authorization and the representation of that author's work as one's own, as by not crediting the original author; and apiece of writing or other work reflecting such unauthorized use or imitation.
I have to admit, I may have been a bit of a plagiarist.
I confess that most of my songs
But, there you have it. Not only have I been inspired by scripture, I have used it to write songs.
I did it
Let me explain.
First, I am not that clever. I don’t really think that I have anything worth adding to the scripture so I am not inclined to create a new sort of theology. It’s a good thing, by the way. The Bible alludes to some pretty dire consequences for those that feel like they should add their own personal brand of
So, I think that it would be best to get words, phrases and sentences from a book that delivers all of this, and more. David, Paul, the writers of the Epistles, et al said it best, as far as I am concerned. I figure that repeating what they said via song is a great way to get the message driven home. What better way to keep a thought alive then
My second thought comes from hindsight more than anything else.
I was approached by a friend after the release concert for one of my albums. What he said changed the way I think about writing songs. He told me that he felt like he knew the new songs even though he had never heard them before
I was amazed and I walked away from the conversation with a new perspective on song writing.
Here’s the thing. If someone thinks they know the song
Am I saying that someone can be familiar with something that they are unfamiliar with? In a manner of speaking, “Yes.
Here’s the caveat. You can move away from the “familiar" really quickly by writing melodies that are too complex or impossible to sing. The poetry and the melody have to work together if you want your audience to engage. And let’s face it, an engaged audience is far more likely to be impacted by the message of the song.
Simply said, I try to write songs that will seem familiar to people. That way, they will think, “Hey! I know this! I’m in!”
Getting back to my compelling title, “How I Write A Song”. Perhaps this advice is way too simplistic. Maybe I have not gone into enough detail. I am sure that
Here is an example of what I am talking about.
You Alone Are My Salvation (Psalm 3)
Terry W. Posthumus
Though the enemy surrounds me on every side
And they say that I am done
And I know the battle’s won
For I know the Lord will be a shield around me
My glory and the One who lifts my head
And I know that You alone are my salvation
I know that I am blessed
I lay down and sleep, I wake for You sustain me
I will not be afraid.
Though my enemies have set themselves against me
I know that I am safe
℗ 2003 Terry W. Posthumus/Turn About Media Productions, All Rights Reserved.
Note: About the only part of Psalm 3 that is not covered in this song is vs. 7. The song just seemed too gentle to include a verse about knocking out the teeth of our enemies. I may have have personalized this song and have employed some poetic license, but the message of Psalm 3 permeates the entire lyric. God alone is my salvation and it is He who protects and blesses me.
This song has played on radio and television. It has been covered by many other singers/bands both here and afar. I have been told by too many people to count how this song has been a blessing to them and even in a couple of cases, lifesaving.
And why not? It’s scripture. It’s timeless. It’s truth. These aren’t my words, although, I have claimed them as my own. They are an intrinsic part of my testimony and those who know me will tell you how the words of this Psalm/song have sustained and strengthened me.
Now it's your turn. Give it a go. You might be surprised with what you come up with.