Compose and Arrange a Song from Scratch (Part 1)

Ever wonder how to compose or do a song arrangement from scratch?? You’ve come to the right place. In this series of posts, I will show you:
1) How to compose a song, the melody and chords
2) How to do a complete song arrangement from scratch

I’ve just received a nice lyric without any melody or chords to go with it yet. And I will show you step by step how I compose a song base on this lyric. On top of that, I will show you how I arrange the song, including basic structuring, assigning instrument parts, etc.

Let’s start off by composing and arranging an intro for this song.

Before writing this post, I’ve already a rough idea of how this song should sound. Thus giving me some quidelines and basic idea for my song intro:
1) Not too fast. Its a sentimental pop song, and its a sad song. So basically I wouldn’t want something too uptempo
2) Drums? To create some layer in the music, I want to leave the drum out way until the second verse.
3) Start the intro Soft. Start off with some light piano playing in the high register, to contrast the later part of the intro.
4) Build up intro in middle. Build up with a sudden change in key,piano playing lower register, increase note density, and strenghten with some strings in the background.
5) End intro “mystically”. End the intro with another change in key, a #11 chord to add that “mystic” feel, strings quiet down to just one long note in the high register, and chimes to help create that “dreamy” ending.

This is what I came up with.


Would be glad to hear your comments. Any questions would be very welcome too.

Stay tune for part 2. Have fun and Enjoy…… 🙂

You might also want to check out these posts:

Sex and Lyrics

How to get inspiration for songwriting? Try these crazy ideas

Top 10 Melody Writing Method

How to complete full pop song music arrangement in 60 minutes


  • richterscale

    Reply Reply January 22, 2009

    Where is the next part of this or when do you make it? 🙁

  • Lou

    Reply Reply February 1, 2009

    I really liked it ,great harmony. I have very solid foundations on it but not quite to your level yet. I took 9 years to study the basics on my own….too long. I am thinking to enroll in a music school….would you say that it’s a lot better than studying as self-taught?
    Please keep your lessons coming….you can obviously make music! Thanks

    • KCLau

      Reply Reply February 2, 2009


      There are different paths a musician can choose.
      If you are interested and passionate enough, you can be very skilful just learning by self-taught.
      I learn a lot of theory from transcription and also actually making the music.

  • Zarak Kahn

    Reply Reply May 7, 2009

    That song just gave me a boner

  • dave allan

    Reply Reply September 27, 2009

    well done a real pro at the top of his game but where is part 2 ?

  • kitcha

    Reply Reply November 19, 2009

    Keep it coming sir. great piece of article and lovely playing.

  • jah rastafar

    Reply Reply February 6, 2010

    i dont know how to compose a sung

  • george

    Reply Reply May 31, 2011

    nice but i think persony, the strings sound a bit harsh to begin with and could be diminished slightly ? apart from that its great. Maybe im just fussy. I compose/write also.

  • Rui Bagina

    Reply Reply July 20, 2011

    I wrote a poem and i would like to make a song of it. I also love to sing. I would like to sing the poem to you in my own way. My own melody. Of course I need help. I don’t know music. I leave in Camden for about three weeks. I wish I could have the musical arrangement for my poem before I go back to St. Martin in the 11 of August.

    Best Regards

    Rui Bagina Phone no. 856 283 6510

    • KCLau

      Reply Reply July 22, 2011

      Hi Rui,

      We do provide music arrangement service.
      Please send email to telling us more about the music you require.

  • jimbataking

    Reply Reply August 13, 2013 can i simply do that in a simple way bro..its amazing how u started n end it..

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