The 10 Best Free Songwriting Tools for Musicians

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Writing songs is tough. Sometimes you don’t know where to start and other times you feel completely stuck.

But it doesn’t have to be depressing. There are more great tools out there to help with songwriting than ever before

Need to find the right chord progression for that bridge? Or maybe you need a simple drum pattern to play along to? Or maybe you want to remember those perfect lyrics you wrote to end that chorus?

Whatever you’re stuck on, this list of the top ten free songwriting apps and tools will help kickstart your inspiration.

1. Autochords

Autochords is a simple and easy-to-use chord generator which works in various moods and keys. The browser tool generates 4 different chord progressions and all of the chords in any given key.

Perfect for: anyone that’s developing their music theory and needs to generate ideas quickly.

2. The Method Behind The Music Dictionary

Method Behind the Music lists all the commonly used terms you’d find in a classical music score.

Don’t know your glissandi from your crescendi? No problem. Everything from a coda to a triad is described in glossary-like fashion, meaning you can read up on theory or learn about different musical concepts.

Don’t know your glissandi from your crescendi? No problem.

Perfect for: for brushing up on the music theory terms that will help you understand and communicate your musical ideas better.

3. LANDR Collaboration

LANDR’s collaboration tools allow you to share private links to your demo or mastered track.

Get feedback from your friends or collaborators to help improve your song. Use timestamps to refer to specific sections, like a bridge or chorus. Start a project and keep track of all your versions with critiques collected in one easy to access place.

Perfect for: collecting feedback and collaborating on a work in progress.

 4. Rhyme Zone

Rhyme Zone is a rhyming dictionary with additional features to find synonyms, antonyms, similar sounding words, and more.

It’s a songwriters dream for chasing down that last missing word in a lyric.

The rhyming section lists all possible rhymes with varying syllable counts and near rhymes.

You can even restrict words by meter or show the popularity of a word’s usage in English texts.

Perfect for: writing or revising lyrics to find that one absolutely perfect word.

5. Hook Theory Trends

Hook Theory Trends is a songwriting resource that shows the chord progressions of over 12,000 songs.

You can listen to clips and see which songs use the same chords. It gives you an in-depth breakdown of the chords used in different choruses, verses and bridges.

It’s an encyclopedia of chord progressions that will help you identify your favourites and learn how they work.

Hook Theory’s popular chord progressions tool also catalogues the most popular progressions in songs.

Hook Theory’s popular chord progressions tool also catalogues the most popular progressions in songs.

Perfect for: anyone looking for some chord progression inspiration in their songwriting.

6. HumOn

HumOn is an iOS and Android songwriting app that creates a song and score around a hummed melody.

It algorithmically generates different styles such as R&B, Classical, and more—taking a simple sung vocal and turning it into a full-fledged song. You can even share your songs on social media.

Perfect for: hammering out a simple melodic idea quickly, easily and anywhere.

7. iO808

The iO808 is a browser-based app of the classic TR-808 drum machine.

Believe it or not, the 808 was originally marketed as a studio assistant to play along to.

It can be useful for plotting out a rhythm. You can play along to it, or record it. iO808 even allows you to save a Javascript notation file, so that you can reload previously made rhythms.

Perfect for: injecting some classic drum machine compositions into your songwriting or putting together quick rhythms to play along to.

8. Bandlab

Bandlab is a free browser and app-based digital audio workstation. It’s a great alternative to other simple DAWs such as Garage Band or Audacity. Its portability allows you to record from your phone or demo on the go.

Perfect for: simple and easy to use demoing and multitracking.

9. Audiotool

Audiotool is a free full-scale production suite in your browser.

Drag a few virtual instruments and effects pedals onto the screen and you’re already on your way to making your next hip-hop or electronic track.

Audiotool emulates analog-style production, so you have to patch your instruments and pedals together with virtual input and output cables.

Audiotool emulates analog-style production, so you have to patch your instruments and pedals together with virtual input and output cables.

But it’s actually a helpful approach that can help you understand signal flow in your tracks. Audiotool allows you to save, record, and export your projects.

Perfect for: composing entire hip-hop or electronic tracks backing tracks to play along to.

10. Chordbot Lite

Chordbot is an iOS and Android app for creating and sampling different chord progressions in various keys and modes.

It’s similar to Autochords, but a bit more hands-on and detailed. It showcases different chord progressions and styles with different instruments (such as arpeggiated pianos, synths, and acoustic guitar) and effects.

Export songs as MIDI, WAV, or as Chordbot projects to collaborate with others.

Perfect for: putting together chord progressions and song ideas with different keys and instruments.

The write tool for the job

Technology keeps you organized and creative when you’ve hit a rut or need a little extra help with your songwriting.

These tools help expand on your capacity for creative expression—making the process easier, more collaborative and more fun.

Try these 10 songwriting tools the next time you’re stuck, or in need of some fresh inspiration!

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