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Books on songwriting / producing?


everlight44

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I agree wholeheartedly with this sentiment. Even those atists we collectively agree are on a higher plane had to hone their craft. And trying to judge an ability to be great prior to even learning a skill is a fools errand.


Regarding songwriting, I found this book on John Lennon's work to be infintely valuable.




The writing is dry and he relies on some technical language that will be difficult for a beginner to grasp, but it was an extremely useful read.


I have no books on mixing to offer, but you'll be surprised how much you'll notice once you get started. You'll do a few simple tricks like panning and effects and then you'll start to notice it more in the songs you listen to. You'll then realize where those impacts end and notice other things going on, which you'll try out in your own work. Like everything else in life, you won't be good right away but once the ball starts it will take you for a ride. Frankly, sometimes I wish I could go back to what it was like listening to music when I was completely ignorant to the process.

I think Lee's observation is a good one, too. But I think a good teacher can inspire someone to want to learn and then give that motivated pupil the tools with which to maximize whatever potential one has.

 

With regard to mixing... I can't think of much that beats personal experimentation.

 

Back in what us old-timers laughingly call the day, getting time to practice mixing on professional gear was usually extremely difficult and, consequently, many of us had to develop our skills over time, cadging whatever tips and tricks we could by watching others (when we even had the chance -- which was why so many people came up by way of de facto apprenticeship) or by listening to studio scuttlebutt.

 

Today, with recording gear cheap and much of the studio potentially virtualized, the barriers to such personal experimentation are almost trivial. Yet many seem oddly hesitant to experiment and built their expertise through experience, instead spending inordinate amounts of time asking advice of others on forums like this or Gearslutz.

 

There's nothing wrong with reading or even asking well-directed questions of those more experienced than oneself (at least after one has satisfied oneself that said question has not been asked and answered a thousand or more times before) but there is nothing like experience for learning complex and often contextually idiosyncratic skills like recording and mixing.

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I wasn't around back in "the day", B2B, but I agree with you. I've found expectations to be the biggest barriers. Something about the artistic qualities of songwriting makes people think they should be able to bypass the grind if they just read the right material or ask the right questions. Of course, the great paradox is that the grind is how you learn what questions to ask...

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Analogies be damned!
:lol:

:D

 

You sure know how to take the air out of (my) high dudgeonery. ;)

 

 

Of course, I would be among the last to suggest that desire and hard work alone can transport one to the pinnacles of one's chosen art form. I'm just saying that, with patience, hard work, and a passel of other gumption-based qualities, almost anyone can create some form of music. Not that it will necessarily satisfy anyone else -- or even oneself -- but satisfaction is so often about accommodating desire to reality.

 

But progress is also about aspiration transcending momentary satisfaction.

 

Just do it.

 

And keep doing it...

 

Allow yourself satisfaction as you move forward -- most of us need to pat ourselves on the back (and beware of others doing so)... but self-satisfaction can be as bad a trap as self-doubt.

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I apologize if I set off a firestorm. What I was hoping for was an avenue for learning to possibly study songwriting or "tips and tricks", but it sounds like I might just need to analyze songs I like. I have song books by Hendrix, Pantera, and Dokken (among others) so maybe I'll start examining the songs looking for patterns and what works for them.

 

With reaper / DAW's I probably just need to mess around with it for awhile to discover how it works. Starting off the program is somewhat... uhh... intimidating

 

I'll also check out the Lennon book, as that sounds like a good tip. Thanks for the replies

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I've got some books too admittedly. I buy 'em when I'm away on vacation somewhere and need something to read, and also can't do my music cause I don't have any equipment...so I want to do SOMETHING related to it...and I enjoy reading the books, and then when I get back home and can DO music again, the books lay dormant, on the shelf, never to be read again. lol

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Here's what's on the bookshelf in the studio/basement right now. Like most of my books, these are mainly out of date. Everything is an online PDF or on YouTube these days.

 

Reason 3 Guide

Dance Music Manual

Behind the Glass

The Mixing Engineer's Handbook

The Musician's Guide To Pro Tools

Pro Tools LE 6 Ignite

Ableton Live 6 Tips and Tricks

Ableton Live 5 Power

The FL Studio Bible

FL Studio In Use

Cakewalk Synthesizers

Rapture

Reason 3 Power

 

David Baker's Arranging and Composing

How To Write Songs on Keyboards

Teach Yourself Lead Guitar

Guitar Mode Encyclopedia

Guitar Technique Encyclopedia

Chord Progressions for Jazz and Popular Guitar

The Advancing Guitarist

How To Create and Play Great Guitar Riffs

Chord Master - How To Choose and Play the Right Guitar Chords

How To Write Songs on Guitar

 

Linkin Park - Minutes To Midnight

Beatlemania I

Beatlemania II

Appetite For Destruction

Paul Simon Complete

The Real Book I

The Real Book II

Van Morrison Anthology

Led Zeppelin Complete

Carole King Tapestry

Really Rosie

David Bowie Anthology

Chopin - An Introduction

Schubert - 24 Favorite Songs

Bob Dylan Lyrics 1962-1985

Best Of Steely Dan

Charles Mingus - More Than A Fake Book

Herbie Hancock

60 Of the Funkiest Keyboard Riffs

The Very Best of Elvis Costello

The Best R&B Songs Ever

Nirvana - The Albums

Police - 20 Hits

Frank Zappa - Hot Rats

The Wizard Of Oz

The Who Anthology

The Rolling Stones - Some Girls

Scott Joplin Ragtimes

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I'm continually amazed by people who think that having the "gift" is enough. To use the overdone sports analogy; only few have the gift to be able play at the NBA level. But if you never played a game through your life of, high school, college, etc that potential will NEVER be realized. By studying and honing your craft you increase your skill level so you have the best chance to achieve your full potential. If you're not willing to do the work to hone your craft, you're destined for mediocrity; no matter how much natural talent you have.

 

There are many ways to study songwriting. Reading books on the subject is one way. It's not the only way, by any stretch. But it's a good solid way to gain some understanding of what has gone into great songs before you. No man (artist) is an island. All of art and culture builds on the art and culture(s) that preceed it.

 

If you hone your creative skills in a vacuum, then that's the venue your art will be best suited for.

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I still think natural talent is a big part of it...more for the uniqueness as opposed to any technical skill.

Natural talent = a sort of pre-existing inclination towards making really good creative songs and/or the obsession to make an average song amazing, without it feeling as much like hard work to do so.

Absence of natural talent combined with major learning = it takes longer, you don't have a big existing base to build upon, and may not have as much uniqueness to your creations...

But certainly someone with no natural talent can make great songs, and someone with bucket loads of natural talent can either make crappy songs or NO songs at all. (and of course, these are just the 2 total extremes. Most people are somewhere along the spectrum of natural talent & learning)

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I apologize if I set off a firestorm. What I was hoping for was an avenue for learning to possibly study songwriting or "tips and tricks", but it sounds like I might just need to analyze songs I like. I have song books by Hendrix, Pantera, and Dokken (among others) so maybe I'll start examining the songs looking for patterns and what works for them.


With reaper / DAW's I probably just need to mess around with it for awhile to discover how it works. Starting off the program is somewhat... uhh...
intimidating


I'll also check out the Lennon book, as that sounds like a good tip. Thanks for the replies

Relax... we're songwriters... we're naturally a contentious, restless lot. ;)

 

 

With regard to Reaper and other DAW's, to be sure, a DAW can be intimidating. It's a virtualized workstation, and, along with integrated as well as plug in effects and virtual instruments, it potentially replaces tape machines or other recorders, racks of hardware effects, as well as racks of synthesizers or other instruments.

 

Hopefully others have offered some good suggestions with regard to sources of tutorials and other information.

 

I'm not a reaper guy, but I tend to know my way around computer recording pretty well, so if you get stumped on a particular issue, feel free to drop me a PM (personal message), and I'll try to do the best I can at answering your question or pointing you to some worthwhile info.

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everlight44, I want you to know that I'm holding you PERSONALLY responsible for my mental anguish which is "considerable..."

crying-girl.jpg

 

"I'm not a reaper guy, but I tend to know my way around computer recording pretty well, so if you get stumped on a particular issue, feel free to drop me a PM (personal message), and I'll try to do the best I can at answering your question or pointing you to some worthwhile info."

 

Don't fear the reaper Blew... I'm a Sonar guy? It took a while to learn... But now? I really like it :-) And I'm starting to get better and the whole mixing and mastering thingie :-)

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Excellent, thank you. I'll probably look for some basic tutorials... I'm pretty computer savvy so I should be able to learn at a decent pace.

 

For what it is worth - and on a slight tangent here - I actually took a psychology of creativity class a few years ago in college. While it is hard to actually qualify what is "creative", the reading we did and some of the studies we looked at suggested that even creative individuals benefit from training and nurture, as you all have said. However, defining "creativity", at least I determined, became a rather slippery slope. What traits make something creative? Is creativity merely in the eye of the beholder? What separates creativity from innovation (using old things in new ways). I wrote my final paper on how it is impossible to solidly nail down what it is and test it. This made my teacher rather unhappy but he gave me an A anyways.

 

Anywho, I try to stay out of philosophical and psychological arguments because there rarely are any clear winners. Thanks for all the recommendations, I really do appreciate it.

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I apologize if I set off a firestorm. What I was hoping for was an avenue for learning to possibly study songwriting or "tips and tricks", but it sounds like I might just need to analyze songs I like. I have song books by Hendrix, Pantera, and Dokken (among others) so maybe I'll start examining the songs looking for patterns and what works for them.


With reaper / DAW's I probably just need to mess around with it for awhile to discover how it works. Starting off the program is somewhat... uhh...
intimidating


I'll also check out the Lennon book, as that sounds like a good tip. Thanks for the replies

 

 

Check out "Tunesmith" by Jimmy Webb. Really great insight into the mind of one of the most successful songwriters of all time.

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