Jump to content

Songwriting methods.


Recommended Posts

  • Members

hehehe. i'll let you know when i find it. each tune i've written has been individual in its evolution. i think my personal favorites, though, have followed this pattern roughly:

 

1 - a catchy idea comes to me away from my instrument. a cool hook melody or groove that i just wind up unconsciously humming/nonsensically singing in the shower usually has more musical merit than what i sit down to write...for me, anyway. (it's a good idea to get into the habit of unconsciously humming or singing or beatboxing - or everything - while you work, shower, whatever......it MAY earn you the reputation of being the neighborhood lunatic, though. :lol: it has for me. )

 

2 - i take that idea and record it in its organic form....exactly how im' singing it goes on tape.

 

3 - i then take out the guitar and harmonize it, but im' careful to maintain the 'spirit' of the original idea. NOTHING kills vibe and spirit better than trying to harmonize something and losing sight of the original idea.

 

4 - once i harmonize, i decide what the {censored} it is. lol....it's true. could be a secondary hook, could be a vocal hook in the chorus, could be a cool pre chorus idea. one of my personal favorite tunes i've ever written came about with the prechorus first. (plug, plug, it's called gone....home recording HERE!!!) the secondary instrumental hook (lead guitar in beginning) came about a few weeks later....don't think quickly here....think quality.

 

5 - and i guess you could say the last step of this whole mess falls in line with the production side....HOW i want the song to lay out as far as form; what genre-related character i want it to have, etc.

 

there you have it: that's how i feel i've written my personal faves.....well, a good part of them......well, a few.......well, a couple. :) (refer to the first comment i made: each process was unique.)

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • Members

For me, most songs typically start out with some germ of an idea, a phrase, a feeling, occasionaly a bit of music, but more often lyrically driven. (I'm in a roots mode these days; 5 or 10 years ago I was doing a lot of experimenting with mixing posmodern production/downtempo/electronica with roots song formats, and in those days, a bit of music or a sense of the texture might come first... sometimes I would generate a whole new song; sometimes I would fit the new music together with existing lyrics and or chords/melody.

 

 

There is no one way, for me, but I have to say that it helps if I pick up a guitar first... I've had a few songs come to me while I was otherwise engaged (one time a whole song, three verses, came to me while I was riding my motorcycle home for lunch... I barely had time to write them down, play it through once, make a cheese sandwich and jump back on the freeway).

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • Members

Lyrics, melody and structure are all conceived away from an instrument. usually, in the shower, driving, or mowing the lawn. Also, 9/10 of the time, in the morning. Nothing kills my creativity more than playing an instrument in the initial writing stages. I just fall into the same tired boring patterns and changes. I'd rather let my imagination run wild than be grounded by my limited abilities on an instrument.

 

I'm fairly limited in my instrumental prowess (I'm really a drummer). Also, at the core, a lot of my songs are simple and learning that I was using a typical I-iv-V progression at the onset, would probably result in some kind of lack of faith in the song. However, if I hear what I think is a really great song in my head, memorize it, and only when it's done, go to a piano or guitar and learn that its the same old chords everybody else uses, I don't mind because I've already got the song.

 

Musical ideas or riffs that come while playing can always be (and are)worked into songs after the fact. I find it better to find a good song to put a good riff or chord progression into, rather than having a riff or progression and trying to make a song out of it.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • Members

For me, I try to be ready for ideas to come from any direction and in any form. Whether it's a piece of melody, a chord progression, a concept, or a phrase. I usually start with one little thing and try to build a song around it. Sometimes it works beautifully, other ideas seem to be harder to build a song around. Sometimes I just can't find a good word that rhymes with the opening phrase I've come up with, or something like that.

 

Oftentimes, too, the finished product contains little that resembles the original idea.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • Members

I do it a bunch of different ways, but here's always a way I tend to get myself going:

 

I find some lyrics on the internet, of a song that I know I've never heard before. I then put those lyrics to music. I then write lyrics for the music I wrote. It's kinda weird, but it's always worked for me!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • Members

I find that one or two line lyrical phrases, usually accompanied with melody and sometimes harmony just pop into my head. It took a lot of practice to realize when it was happening, but when I grab one it almost always has a fully developed song idea behind it. It really feels like I'm pulling them out of my subconscious. That's where my more poppy and melody driven music comes from. I also like to just sit down with a guitar and arrange a long, musically thought out song with careful modulations and harmonies. Those don't usually turn into songs I would perform but they lend themselves well to bridges, solos, and intros. The best advice for songwriting (in my opinion of course) is that inspiration comes from action. If you sit around with your guitar all day, chances are you're going to play the same old stuff. Call some friends and live a little. You'll feel inspiration like a fire in the back of your head. If you don't feed it with new experiences and ideas (READ AND LISTEN ALL THE TIME!) it will go out. Cliche, but I think it's pretty true.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • Members

Lyrics, melody and structure are all conceived away from an instrument. usually, in the shower, driving, or mowing the lawn. Also, 9/10 of the time, in the morning. Nothing kills my creativity more than playing an instrument in the initial writing stages. I just fall into the same tired boring patterns and changes. I'd rather let my imagination run wild than be grounded by my limited abilities on an instrument.

 

I've toyed with the idea of recording ideas with singing/humming/beat boxing into my mp3 player which can record voice, but here's the thing...my voice is so terrible I'm afraid I'll lose exactly what it is in my head, or at least the attitude and demeanor of the melody won't translate well. Truth is..I hear music in my head ALL the time(especially in the morning after a cup of coffee :) ) that sounds WAY better than what I come up with when sitting there with my guitar. In other words, I'm afraid of being thrown off by my own douchebaggery. I can come up with a whole song in this way, and it just FEELS RIGHT...the music just flows naturally, very unlike the songs I come up with when just at my guitar, which is more like random riffs thrown together with no rhyme or reason. I think it's because my state of mind is set of free expression and not of "crap, I'm sitting here with a guitar and nothing good is coming out of it, besides what notes my fingers are conditioned to move to."

 

Anyone gone through anything like this?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • Members

i wake up

have sex with my girlfriend

go rollerblading/play some tennis

do some homework

then pull a masterpiece outta my butt

 

(i mean you gotta just have the most fun you can (but don't forget responsibilities), and then when you get some downtime, you'll squeeze genius out)

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • Members

I almost always start with the music first. I work midnight shift and nine times out of ten I'll be working away during the middle of the night and all of a sudden a chord progression or riff will just hit me. I'll play it over and over in my head till I know that I'll remember it. Doesn't always work though. :mad:

 

Then when I get home I'll pick up the guitar and find it. Usually the chord progression will end up being the chorus of the song. If that's the case then I'll try to come up with a chord progression that will work as a verse. Once I get that straightened out, then I'll play it through a few times and I'll start hearing a melody in my head. Once I get the melody nailed then I'll start writing lyrics that fit the melody. Once I'm confident in that I'll present it to the rest of the band.

 

Sometimes I'll have the song completed in about 10-15 minutes. Other times I'll get a riff or chord progression and be stuck. That happened last summer. One night I came up with a nice Zeppelinesque riff, got home, found it on the guitar and couldn't do anything else with it. About 6 months later I woke up and had the whole song playing in my head, lyrics and all.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • Members

A big thing for me is that I need drums to be present to finish a song. I get ideas to start songs randomly in the shower or while goofing around with my guitar while watching tv but I don't bother even trying to finish a song without a drummer present.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Archived

This topic is now archived and is closed to further replies.

×
×
  • Create New...