How to Write a Song

An introduction to the art of writing words for music, an art at the core of almost every literary tradition from Homer through Beowulf to W.B Yeats and beyond. Composers and writers will have the opportunity to work in small songwriting teams to respond to such emotionally charged themes as Contempt, Gratitude, Revenge, Desire, Disgust, Joyousness, Remorse, Loneliness, Despair and Defiance. Assignments are based on study of a range of works in the popular song tradition. There will be several class visits from distinguished singers/songwriters. The final exercise will be a public showcase of work from the semester.

Each week students will write the words and music of a song, which will be discussed in the class. The assignments are based on the lyrics of popular songs from the 20th century, some of which will be made available electronically. The format of the class is somewhere between workshop and seminar.

Application required.


Paul Muldoon

Howard G.B. Clark '21 University Professor in the Humanities;
Director, Princeton Atelier; Professor of Creative Writing (on leave Fall 2023)



Tuesdays, 1:30 - 4:20 pm


Paul Muldoon