Guiding yourself through the songwriting process can be a challenge, especially if you're just learning how to write a song . Thankfully, there is no shortage of songwriting software to help you compose music.
From helping you build chord progressions, teaching you music theory, or inspiring amazing song lyrics, these songwriting tools are here to help. Below, we'll share a complete list of digital tools to help you write songs from scratch. Let's take a look!
What Songwriting Tools Are Available?
So, what types of songwriting tools exist? Here's what you can expect to use throughout the songwriting process:
DAWs and Plugins
Music creation software like DAWs or digital audio workstations can be amazing for music composition. These standalone pieces of software can host a variety of plugins that can also help you conjure up song ideas, chord progressions, and much more.
Phone apps are excellent mobile songwriting tools that can assist you throughout the writing process. Whether it's a tuner or basic chord dictionary, songwriting apps are great resources to have literally at your fingertips.
Software and Websites
You can also find standalone songwriting software and in-browser tools to help you write songs. These tools are accessible to just about anyone with an internet connection.
Digital Audio Workstations (DAWs)
These stand-alone digital audio workstations will help you create full songs from start to finish. This songwriting software isn't as entry-level for those just starting out, but if you take the time to understand the inner and outer workings of a DAW you'll be able to create a radio-ready song from home. These are just DAWs that have free or lite versions , but any DAW makes an excellent songwriting tool.
This is the most condensed version of Ableton Live that comes for free with the purchase of popular Scarlett audio interfaces. Ableton Live has three different tiers in Lite, Standard, and Suite versions. Lite is the most price-friendly for beginners and includes 16 audio and MIDI tracks, 16 scenes, 2 send and return tracks, 8 mono audio input channels, and 8 mono audio output channels.
This gives you plenty of room to create backing tracks, record demos, and experience an introductory version of the music production software. Ableton Live is also uniquely positioned for live performance, so you'll be able to prepare for performances in the same suite.
Apple's GarageBand is a free digital audio workstation and songwriting tool that comes preloaded on Apple Mac products. You can load up to 255 tracks, choose from the software's built-in virtual instruments, and even enjoy embedded genre-based music lessons. It also syncs with a compatible IOS app, so that you continue writing songs while on the go. Songwriters who are interested in becoming producers should note that the transition from GarageBand to popular DAW Logic isn't all that complicated. However, with so many helpful features, this software is a music composition powerhouse of its own accord.
BandLab is an excellent entry-level DAW that's totally free and can be enjoyed via mobile app or desktop. It's fairly intuitive and has 10-tracks, so it's perfect for crafting demos. Notably, BandLab also has a built-in social network, so you can source songwriting feedback while you're crafting music.
The free DAW has surprisingly advanced features like over 200 MIDI instruments, embedded collaboration tools, and a vertical design that makes it super friendly to mobile app users. You can record live audio directly onto each track, or record sounds into the DAW's built-in sampler.
Cubasis provides a full-service DAW successfully across their mobile app and desktop songwriting software. Most notably, the mobile DAW doesn't have a track limit, so you can add as many backing tracks or audio files to your session as you need while you're writing music. This DAW is fairly easy to navigate and has a separate piano roll for easy chord programming and editing.
Waveform by Tracktion is an intuitive in-browser DAW that is highly customizable and offers an endless assortment of virtual instruments. Whether you enjoy songwriting to retro hardware synths or a choir of singers, Tracktion serves as an excellent songwriting tool. All music creators can try out Waveform Free and enjoy the intuitive interface.
This in-browser DAW is an awesome songwriting tool, providing users with live collaboration tools, an extensive sample library, drum machines, synthesizers, and effects to inspire your creativity. You can remix songs directly on the platform if you don't want to create a track from scratch and share songs directly to the Audio Tool community for feedback on your songwriting.
Plugins don't stand on their own and are usually operated within the context of a DAW. However, their user-friendly nature makes them songwriting software worth discussing, especially for musicians who are just learning how to write music. Here are just a few plugins that will make your life easier while writing a song:
Scale in Ableton
This free tool is perfect for any MIDI file in Ableton Live. The plugin allows you to select a set scale to write music in so that your instruments will stay perfectly in tune while writing great melodies or experimenting across different tools. This is a great songwriting tool that can help inspire songs' melodies with a couple of clicks.
The Scaler plugin can help you quickly write a song in any DAW. This plugin makes it easy for you to create chord progressions and will provide intelligent chord suggestions based on the selected key and scale of your song. This tool also serves as a standalone virtual instrument, providing access to over 30 built-in sounds. It also has a circle of fifths focused feature that will help you modulate to any chord, making this an awesome songwriting tool for key change enthusiasts.
If your songwriting process kicks off with drum tracks, you'll want to check out the Rhythmiq plugin. The plugin helps you create several rhythm patterns in major DAWs like Ableton Live or Logic. You can generate unique beat patterns with samples embedded in the plugin, or source from your own sample library. It's easy to arrange and the selected rhythm automatically loops making this an awesome resource for lyric writing or improvisation.
Mobile apps can make excellent songwriting tools that help you build demo recordings, write chord progressions, and tune your sound, you name it. Another benefit is that songwriting apps are highly portable, so you can take advantage of these tools whether you're on tour or creating at the studio:
If you're looking to build magic chord progressions, Suggester is your friend. This app helps you find chords that work together, showcasing what sorts of chords work before and after your current chord. You can check out the app's built-in chord sheets for a more generalized view of chord creation, or build custom chords and scales to your liking. This is one of the best mobile chord dictionaries that's totally free to use.
This mobile songwriting suite provides chords that are designed to gel with one another so that you can take the guesswork out of music. Within the app, you can record song ideas, examine chord progressions, and help identify the key of a song for inspiration.
Rhyme Genie is a well-loved pocked rhyming dictionary. Type in a word, or record it directly into the audio capturing interface, and the app will autogenerate true rhyme and near-rhyming words.
This songwriting software is available on ios and desktops for maximum flexibility. The software generates rhymes, phrases, word families, and definitions upon a single keyphrase to spark your creativity. You can store lyric ideas directly in the interface to keep your music organized.
This iOS app is a free songwriting companion that allows you to write lyrics, record voice memos, and organize your recordings on your phone. With autosaved ideas and a library of backing tracks to spark inspiration, this free app is certainly worth trying out.
This iOS app is a recording studio in your pocket. Write lyrics, notate chords, and record voice memos all in a single, organized app. There's also a built-in tuner which is an essential tool for any songwriter singing acapella.
Songwriting Software and Websites
These songwriting tools can be accessed by anyone with a browser and internet connection. Who knew awesome song melodies and built-in music theory was just a couple of clicks away?
Though simple, this online rhyming dictionary is an excellent resource for songwriters. Simply type in a word, and the website will generate a list of rhyming words for writing lyrics, all separated out by syllable numbers.
There are few things more inspiring than a strong rhythm. Luckily, this site is modeled after one of the most famous rhythm-based sound instruments, the TR-808. This online drum machine operates in the same way as the physical instrument and can be used to create a strong drum loop for writing songs.
For songwriters and producers, SoundGym is an amazing songwriting and ear training resource. The site helps you train your ears to have a stronger sense of pitch for crafting harmonious melodies.
Guitar Pro is the perfect tool for guitarists and bassists to notate their music. You can write in guitar tablature alongside the classic sheet music notation. The songwriting software is well-equipped with a lyric editor and embedded tuner giving you everything you need to notate your song catalog.
Are you ever writing a melody and you can't seem to come up with the right chord voicings for your song? This tool is a major help. All you have to do is input the notes used in the context of your song and the online engine will generate appropriate chord suggestions. This songwriting tool is particularly friendly to guitarists with its fret-style layout.
This online rhyming dictionary may be simple, but it certainly is effective! Simply type in a lyric of choice, and the website will generate a list of rhyming words, perfect for efficient lyric writing.
Hook Theory is the ultimate songwriting factory and online tool for making music from scratch. This software allows you to drag and drop desired chords into your musical timeline so that you can pilot various song possibilities in seconds. The smart software is designed to help you build chord progressions and melodies, but they also offer a mobile app to help you identify chords on your own.
This interactive circle of fifths is an excellent music theory reference, providing songwriters with a magic chord cheat sheet. Each selected key is accompanied by chord symbols set by the tonic of the scale and mode. In addition to serving as a chord palette, this online resource makes building solos and scale melodies a breeze.
Are you finding it challenging to land on a song topic? Luckily, you can utilize a song topic generator to give you a helping hand. When in doubt, you can also reference our comprehensive list of over 200 songwriting prompts to get your creative juices flowing.
This online songwriting software is built for writing in real-time with your favorite collaborators. Enjoy seamless lyric writing, chord notation, and tabs all built into the notation software. With a built-in tuner, rhyming dictionary, voice memo integration, and magic chord sheet, you'll have no trouble building a strong song within a matter of minutes.
This online music notation software makes it easy to build simple and complex scores out of original compositions. You can also use the Noteflight learning suite to help you read sheet music and create variations in your music. If you're looking for a songwriting tool that makes whipping up sheet music a breeze, this is an excellent choice.
As you can see, there are plenty of songwriting software tools to help you write amazing songs throughout your music career. From plugins to mobile apps, there's something for everyone. Enjoy writing songs with these powerful tools.