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    Any book recommendations on the process of songwriting?
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  • #2
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    • #3
      Jimmy Webb's Tunesmith is an overwrought, dogmatic treatise, but it's exhaustive and clear. So long as you remember that rules can be broken, I think it's the best I've read. Rikki Rooksby has much simpler, shorter books that I've also found helpful, if that's more up your alley.
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      <img src="images/misc/quote_icon.png" alt="Quote" /> Originally Posted by <strong>gennation</strong>
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      • #4
        Originally posted by Chicken Monkey
        Jimmy Webb's Tunesmith is an overwrought, dogmatic treatise, but it's exhaustive and clear. So long as you remember that rules can be broken, I think it's the best I've read. Rikki Rooksby has much simpler, shorter books that I've also found helpful, if that's more up your alley.


        any more like Webb?

        I love books full of rules, because following rules dogmatically can make the act of writing itself unnatural and self-conscious.

        I also recommend finding books with lots of exercises...even stupid exercises or poetry exercises can be helpful. Try writing a sestina. If it doesn't kill you, it'll teach you some new tricks.

        You can feed off any book really...or just thinking about ideas (concepts, ideas, and the associations contemplation can accomplish is often passed over as an instrument of songwriting as we tend to focus on making our daily lives or common experience the fodder for our songs.
        <div class="signaturecontainer">“Immortal” poets have bemoaned divine aggression against man’s puny shape. <br />
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        • #5
          Originally posted by Chicken Monkey
          Jimmy Webb's Tunesmith is an overwrought, dogmatic treatise, but it's exhaustive and clear. So long as you remember that rules can be broken, I think it's the best I've read.


          That's the only songwriting book I've attempted to read, based on a friend's recommendation. I got about halfway through and stopped. There are some good tips, I guess (and lots of "rules"), but I felt like he was talking about a different game that didn't really apply to me. I'm certainly not trying to pen the next Carly Simon hit...

          An aside: I saw him at an ASCAP event in Austin 2 or 3 years ago, speaking on a songwriting panel. He didn't seem to be as interested in answering questions as plugging his kid's band. Annoying.
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          • #6
            Webb's book is worth looking through, though it's not a straight read. Reference work, perhaps.

            I feel that a strong method for learning songwriting is to look through songbooks.

            Several years ago, I listened to a local country station that had a classic country night, playing good ole country music. I checked out a classic country songbook from the library.

            When a song came on, I flipped to the song and followed along (played, sang, or just read it). To be able to hear the music and read the lyrics as well as look at the structure of the tune taught me plenty. Some songs I'd earmark for later study.

            I did (and still do) the same method for jazz standards. Take a classic, "All of Me," which most songbooks will have, and read the words, listen to the chords and the melody, figure out the songform (usually AABA or verse-chorus or something similar). Try and understand for yourself how they all fit together. This can be done with any style of music. The Beatles, for example, are a wellspring of songwriting styles. If you are able, you can transcribe songs rather than get the songbook.

            Books about the songwriting process are just that: they are "about" it; they don't have much "process" at all. Rather than read a book about songwriting, study songs.

            And, of course, keep on writing. That's the time-tested true method.

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            • #7
              i have never ever read a single 'songwriting book' in my life.

              i think a better way to learn is thru mimetics. put together a song that is based (structurally) on one of your favorites. (although, i don' t think i've ever done this either.....done it for poetry...not songs). hmmmmm. aren't i helpful?
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              • #8
                There are a lot of ways to learn songwriting. I've used all of the methods suggested here, with varying levels of artistic success. The subject here, though, is books, and I stand by my recommendations.

                Bluesway, I'm a little suprised that someone who seems to have intentionally studied music theory would intentionally avoid reading songwriting theory. I hope I don't need to express my respect for you, and you can't argue with results, but that doesn't line up for me.
                <div class="signaturecontainer"><a href="http://jukejointhandmedowns.com" target="_blank">Jukejoint Handmedowns (my band)</a><br />
                <br />
                <a href="http://itunes.apple.com/us/album/everything-but-the-squeal/id517608194" target="_blank">Find our album on iTunes!</a><br />
                <br />
                <a href="http://idlehandsmusic.wordpress.com/" target="_blank">A Month of Songs </a> (Songwriting blog)<br />
                <br />
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                <div class="bbcode_quote_container"></div>

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                <img src="images/misc/quote_icon.png" alt="Quote" /> Originally Posted by <strong>gennation</strong>
                <a href="showthread.php?p=42081230#post42081230" rel="nofollow"><img class="inlineimg" src="images/buttons/viewpost-right.png" alt="View Post" /></a>
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