Songwriting Part 3

Songwriting Software: MasterWriter version and other resources

Songwriting Part 2 was my interview with Claire Lynch on the writing of her song “The Woods Of Sipsey.”
All the resources in this article have not been fully tested and therefore not fully sanctioned. The article is meant to be a guide to finding songwriting resources.

During an interview with Claire Lynch she mentioned songwriting software that she uses called MasterWriter.  I downloaded a trial copy and was so enamored of it I bought it for a “summer discount” of $199.00.

Here is what MasterWriter can do for the songwriter.

Word families:  A unique and revolutionary reference dictionary that will open up a new world of possibilities for descriptive words and ideas.

If the writer is looking for a different way to describe a hot sun, obvious choices might be blazing, blistering, fiery, or burning. Word Families will include all of those, but will take it to a more creative level by suggesting an angry sun, a punishing sun, a merciless or glaring sun. You will never get a phrase like the angry sun had no mercy from a Thesaurus. By way of another example, breathtaking or unforgettable, could be another way to say beautiful. Word Families is a unique reference dictionary that will introduce the songwriter to a new world of possibilities.

Parts of speech:
 A comprehensive list of descriptive words, with various filters including alliterations that allow the writer to be more specific.

Parts of Speech is a broad collection of descriptive words. You can select Moderate or Intense, Positive or Negative, and the part of speech you wish to search on. You can also use the Alliterations filter. For example, the writer can look specifically at positive intense adjectives that begin with the letter “M.”

Phrases:  A collection of over 33,000 phrases, sayings, idioms, and word combinations.

Rhymes:  The ultimate Rhyming Dictionary with over 100,000 entries, 36,000 Rhymed-Phrases, and the most comprehensive list of Close Rhymes ever created. Rhymes from the Pop-Culture Dictionary are also included.

Pop Culture:
  A Pop-Culture Dictionary with over 11,000 icons of American and World Culture.
Dictionary:  The Merriam-Webster Collegiate Dictionary with 165,000 entries, 225,000 definitions, and 10,000 new words.

Thesaurus:  The Merriam-Webster Collegiate Thesaurus with over 340,000 synonyms, antonyms, related and contrasted words, and idioms.

Songs:  A database that painlessly organizes all the information related to your songs. Also included is an Audio page and Songuard, an online date-of-creation song registration service. (One of the best features of this software.)

Notes:  You can save notes showing song ideas. These notes are dated and there is a search function to find songs in your database. The Notes feature has spell check and import/export text.

Sketches:  This is part of the Lyric section and allows you to record alternate lyric ideas. You can split this page and view lyrics at the same time.

You also have an Audio page module that allows you to record directly to MasterWriter. In addition you can import/export audio in MP3, WAV, MOV, AIFF or AU files. Audio can be in Stereo or Mono, 11025Hz to 44100Hz, 8 bit and 16 bit formats. The Audio page comes with 248 tempo adjustable drum loops. 
There is a “marker” option that allows you to work with sections of a song. You designate an “in” and “out” point. This can be saved and you can play just that section of the song as well as loop it.
The Audio page allows you to split the screen between the record/playback toolbar and your lyrics.

System Requirements


PowerPC G4 1.42 GHz or better or Intel Core 2 Duo 2.0 Ghz
OS X 10.4 or better
512 MB or more RAM, 1 GB recommended
Built-in or External Microphone
QuickTime 7.5.5 or better
(QuickTime Installer Included)

2.4 GHz or better Processor of Intel Pentium/Celeron Family or
AMD Athlon/Duron Family
Windows XP and Vista, XP recommended
512 MB or more RAM, 1 GB recommended
Built-in or External Microphone
QuickTime 7.5.5 or better
(QuickTime Installer Included)

Other Songwriting Resources
Compiled by Doug Mathewson
Here are some songwriting resources including software, books and internet sites.
For all the following software make sure your computer and operating system is compatible.

Finale: $49.95
Finale Songwriter lets you create and print professional-quality sheet music, create MP3 files, even e-mail your songs to band members, friends, and fans! Note: you will need some knowledge about reading and writing music. A midi keyboard would be handy for this application.

Songsmith: $29.95
Create your own songs, using just your voice! New from Microsoft Research — Songsmith helps you create songs using just your voice, by choosing musical accompaniments to match whatever you sing. Whether you’re a musical novice looking to send a jingle to a friend or an aspiring songwriter looking to give it a first try, Songsmith lets you start making music.

TrackNotes: $54.95
As a recording artist, you know how essential it is to manage your recordings, effects, EQ settings, virtual tracks, and everything else that goes on in your studio. Scribbling it all down on little pieces of paper just doesn’t cut it. Enter TrackNotes…because you can’t keep it all in your head!

Lyricist: $54.95

The songwriter’s best friend now includes Chord Charting, Online File Copyright, and support for the Nashville Number System! If you’re writing songs without using Lyricist, you’re doing it the hard way! No other songwriting software in its class matches the power of Lyricist!

Band-In-A-Box: $99
Just type in the chords for any song using standard chord symbols (like C, Fm7, or C13b9), choose the style you’d like, and Band-in-a-Box software does the rest, automatically generating a complete, professional-quality musical arrangement of piano, bass, drums, guitar, and strings or horns in a wide variety of popular styles. Live audio tracks can be created using the software’s RealDrums and RealTracks.

SongFrame Songwriter’s Toolkit: $179.99
“the most comprehensive songwriting application available for songwriters and recording musicians”.
SongFrame is designed to provide expert help in developing interesting chord progressions, melodies, lyrics, rhythm, and overall song structure.
Music Composition For Dummies by Scott Jarrett and Holly Day
The entire book is available online here.

Use the search term “music” and find other worthwhile reference books such as the complete “This Business Of Music” by M. William Krasilovsky, Sidney Schemel, John M. Gross The Definitive Guide to the Music Industry and The Complete Idiot’s Guide To Music Theory.
Berklee School of Music
Offers online songwriting course

Lots of resources and software information.

Doug Mathewson

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