12 Great Songwriting Tools (Online Tools, Apps, Software)
There are plenty of great songwriting tools available that make it far more convenient create songs. They can greatly assist in your creativity and offer some assistance so that you can stay in the zone while making music.
As a songwriter, you need a large arsenal of tools ranging from DAWs to recording software. Fortunately, there are countless great songwriting tools that you can use.
Here we present 12 helpful songwriting tools you might not have heard about before. Our list includes software, apps, and completely online-hosted tools you can access even with your smartphone.
1. Hooktheory Hookpad
Go to website: Hooktheory Hookpad
Hookpad from Hooktheory is a handy online tool when you have an idea, and would like to know what it sounds like. Just visit the site and put it in. You can add notes by pressing keys 1 to 7 and set the duration of each note by pressing H, J, K, and L on your keyboard.
Besides the quick adding of notes, you can also choose the key, tempo, instruments, and create a simple song with several tracks in a matter of minutes. Record the song you created and export it so you can listen to it later. With Hookpad, you never miss an idea. You can just “write” it down and then export the melody.
2. Circle of Fifths
Go to website: Circle of Fifths
The Circle of Fifths is an interactive online tool by Rand Scullard that was created to help you figure out a song’s key, transpose music in different keys, compose new songs, and understand modes, scales, and key signatures.
All you have to do is write down the progression of the notes of a song and use Circle of Fifths to adapt it or figure out what key the song is written in. The tool uses different modes like Lydan and Locrian with all tonics and can even be used offline. To do so, just use the “Save As” feature of your browser. Then, when you want to use the tool, simply double-click the page you saved.
3. Suggestor (iOS)
Get it on: App Store (Apple)
Suggester is an iOS tool that helps you create chord progressions and even songs. It lets you find chords that work really well together in a highly interactive and intuitive way. Suggestor is capable of helping you build complex musical phrases.
When you use the app, you can perform easy editing, like changing the tempo, scales, and picking a set from an included catalog. Enter your chords, select a scale, and the app recommends scales that work well with your input. If there are chords that you want to use and are not present in the Suggestor catalog, they can be added manually.
Go to website: RhymeZone
RhymeZone is fully available online and the most basic use of it is to easily find words that rhyme with what you’ve already got. There are also advanced features you can take advantage of. For instance, RhymeZone lets you find definitions, antonyms, synonyms, and even similar-sounding words. By using it, your lyrics will always be fresh, and you can easily get out of a situation when your brain just isn’t cooperating with you.
5. Ableton Live
Go to website: Ableton Live
Ableton Live is the most popular songwriter tool on this list. It’s practically an all-in-one tool for performing live music and composing, with a focus on electronic tunes. For many musicians, this is a tool used during every single stage performance.
Ableton Live has a unique approach to arrangement and composition. It’s different from the traditional DAW, but it was created to be fast and very easy to use. The clip-based approach used is very intuitive and can help you quickly build music tracks. You can use it for both music composition and live performances.
6. Guitar Pro
Go to website: Guitar Pro
Guitar Pro is a very useful notation/tablature program. It allows you to both create and download music transcriptions. Several features are available, but most guitarists will use the application for three tasks.
The first one is writing music for guitar (although writing for other instruments is possible). The second one is jamming with the transcriptions, and the third one is learning parts of songs or full songs with included tools like Looper and Speed Trainer.
With Guitar Pro, you can download transcriptions in both standard and TAB notations from well-known industry websites, like ultimate-guitar.com. You can also write music and find backing tracks.
7. Reverse Chord Finder
Go to website: Reverse Chord Finder
Simply put, Reverse Chord Finder (also known as Chord Identifier) is very useful when there is a melody with notes in your hand, and you want to find the appropriate chord names. It finds the chords for your notes, together with related chords.
Reverse Chord Finder identifies all major chord types, including major, minor, diminished, augmented, 7th chords, eleventh chords, and suspended chords. If you want to match chords to the appropriate scales, you can consider the Ultimate Chord Finder, and if you prefer the piano, use the Piano Chord Finder.
8. Scaler 2
Go to website: Scaler 2
If you use a DAW, Scaler 2 is a plugin that you should consider because it empowers your melodies, expressions, and ideas. It is very good at detecting both audio and MIDI, which lets you discover ways to improve a melody.
Countless benefits associated with Scaler 2 can be mentioned, including discovering music keys, alternative scales, browsing chord sets from over 200 artists, identifying and browsing chord variations, using strum or arpeggio, and discovering possible chord substitutions. With Scaler 2, you can control your synth and enhance your entire composition.
Go to website: RhymeBrain
RhymeBrain is a straightforward online text-based tool that helps you with poetry and song lyrics. It works in a very intuitive way—you write down your lyrics, and you instantly get suggestions for rhymes. You are also told about things that are related to the last word in a line. This can help you improve your lyrics and find creative ways to rhyme when you are stuck.
Since the RhymeBrain editor is available on a website, you can access it with any device capable of browsing the internet. It is designed for beginners but can also be very useful for experienced songwriters.
Go to website: Songcraft
Songcraft is a unique, all-in-one online platform created for songwriters. It is available for free and lets you efficiently collaborate with other songwriters to improve the songs you work on. Use a device of your choice to write tabs, chords, or lyrics. Then, upload or record audio files to organize songs into collections.
The collaboration aspect helps since it is possible to work on songs in real-time, using comments, chat, and even video. Songcraft also includes several integrated tools to help songwriters, like a syllable counter, metronome, tuner, and music dictionaries. People that compose music together but cannot be in the same studio now have access to all the tools they need to keep working on their songs.
Get it on: App Store (Apple)
GarageBand is basically your recording studio on the go. When it comes to the songwriting process, you never know when inspiration will hit, so you will need something close and handy to record your thoughts, lyrics, basic rhythms, etc.
You can build songs from the ground up with it and add drums, guitars, synths, and basses to them. It’s a tried-and-true method for artists who travel frequently.
While there is no definite way to approach the songwriting process, this app is a great addition to have in your arsenal, as a way of capturing your thoughts at the moment and bringing them to the studio afterward.
12. Simple Songwriter
Get it on: App Store (Apple)
Another fantastic iOS app is the Simple Songwriter, which allows you to safely record your thoughts. The app features a bunch of helpful stuff like generating song ideas, recording, finding good chords and chord progressions that complement each other, identifying and changing keys, and examining existing songs.
The program’s user interface provides the appropriate atmosphere for fast and simple song idea production, as well as recording it for later study.
Not only is this app incredibly useful, but it’s also a good approach to the whole songwriting process. When inspiration hits, just pull out your phone and start recording for later use when you bring it to the studio.
The songwriting process is a very personal experience for artists. Every songwriter works differently, and it is important to discover what approaches work best for you. Undoubtedly, technology has affected this craft and made it easier than ever before to write songs.
Take your time and do not rush into things—start with simple tools that require little investment and expand once you get the hang of things.
Use the songwriting process as another way to improve your lyrics and embrace collaboration with other artists. Experiment and find what works for you and what does not, so you can keep it in mind for later use.
The main takeaway is having fun and exploring new methods like the ones mentioned in this article, that can help you become a better songwriter!