The song is written using the spoken words of someone's personal story.
The melody and words can be sung by people without musical training.
The song expresses a shared exploration of ideas and suggestions from its Storyteller and Teaching Artist.
HOW IS A DocSong made?
The seven steps of the Documentary Songwriting Method
Documentary songwriting is a unique step-by-step method of collaborative songwriting that builds empathy, connection, and a shared sense of humanity. The Documentary Songwriting Method breaks down the creative process to allow anyone, regardless of their musical background, to transform a personal story into an enduring song.
Draw forth a story
Distill into a free verse poem
Shape into lyrics
Design a melody for one verse and a refrain
Edit the remaining verses to fit the melody
Make a live recording
WHAT DO DocSongs do?
Documentary Songwriting increases empathy and connection between people, reduces loneliness, and creates more resilient and supportive communities.
It has been used to enhance understanding between Turkish and Greek Cypriots, to tell the stories of refugees from the Middle East seeking asylum in the Netherlands, and to share women’s #MeToo stories. Our projects have been featured on TEDx and on NPR’s Morning Edition. Our Teaching Artists bring the world’s stories to us and share the stories of our communities with the world through song.
WHO ARE DocSongs for?
Documentary songs are for everybody. They are meant for musicians, storytellers, and listeners who want to hear real stories told by real people. Documentary songs can celebrate moments of joy and pride, provide space to process experiences of grief and trauma, or uplift the seemingly small things that make us who we are.
You need no musical experience to write a documentary song. Teaching artists guide participants through each step of the songwriting process, from generating lyrics to building melody to adding chord structures and arranging the song. The creative partnership between the storyteller and teaching artists culminates in the creation of an unforgettable song that reminds us all of what it means to be human.