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Li Shenron

Good reads for improving songwriting

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Do we have a list of books & other sources (articles, websites, magazines...) for songwriting?

 

Personally, on the topic I only ever read the Ron Miller's books "Modal jazz Composition and Harmony", which are really interesting but also quite heavy, and of course they are definitely jazz-oriented.

 

What would be your recommendations? They don't have to be necessarily full methods, or something to study deeply start-to-finish. They could very well be something to casually read while relaxing somewhere, and gain some good food for thoughts :)

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There are several magazines, countless books, and myriad self-appointed online experts. They're all easily Googled. But the only real ways to improve your writing are to (a) listen, (b) write, and © not fall in love with your writing.

 

The more you write, the better you'll get. It's as simple as that.

 

Assume that only 10% of what you write is any good. That doesn't mean the other 90% is wasted. You have to dig through dirt to hit paydirt.

Edited by Delmont

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There are several magazines, countless books, and myriad self-appointed online experts. They're all easily Googled. But the only real ways to improve your writing are to (a) listen, (b) write, and © not fall in love with your writing.

 

The more you write, the better you'll get. It's as simple as that.

 

Assume that only 10% of what you write is any good. That doesn't mean the other 90% is wasted. You have to dig through dirt to hit paydirt.

 

I have a bunch of books, you said it in a nutshell.

 

Just do it

Always think your next piece will be the one you might be happy with.

 

 

 

 

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Just to make it clear about the point of the thread.

 

I don't want casual advice on songwriting.

 

I want something to READ about songwriting, preferably printed books or magazines articles (I want TITLES). Something to delve into like you would read a novel while sitting in the garden on a Sunday afternoon, or in bed before sleep.

 

I am asking you to share something YOU have read and would recommend. If you have nothing to share it's ok, but comments like "just do it" or "browse the web" are not answering my question.

Edited by Li Shenron

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You wont find any books on how to compose a melody, because there are none and i mean there are none on the web no videos on you tube. no books in music colleges, theres nothing anywhere. 0 zilch numero zero.

 

Because no one knows how to come up with a melody. let me give you an example pupils first day in music academy.

pupil says to teacher i know you are telling me how to write songs that ive already wrote, better' and how to do harmony and how to be better at theory. BUT how do i come up with the actual melody

thats why there are no answers on this post to your question.

Edited by ted884

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I think most of improving songwriting comes from practice, but sometimes books can help point you in the right direction. For beginners, I would recommend Jason Blume's "6 Steps to Songwriting Success". For someone a bit more advanced I would recommend Pat Pattison's "Writing Better Lyrics". I own both books and I have learned a fair amount from them.

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You wont find any books on how to compose a melody, because there are none and i mean there are none on the web no videos on you tube. no books in music colleges, theres nothing anywhere. 0 zilch numero zero.

 

Because no one knows how to come up with a melody. let me give you an example pupils first day in music academy.

pupil says to teacher i know you are telling me how to write songs that ive already wrote, better' and how to do harmony and how to be better at theory. BUT how do i come up with the actual melody.

 

Teacher turns to pupil and says i wish i could just say to you,. pick up your guitar, sit there, do this and out will pop a melody.

But unfortunately there is no such thing as a magic formula.

 

thats why there are no answers on this post to your question.

 

In which world are you living in? There have ALWAYS been books about music composition, just like any other human activity. You say "zero" books, just Google for it:

 

https://www.google.fi/search?q=music+composition+books&oq=music+composition+books&aqs=chrome..69i57j0l5.4247j0j7&sourceid=chrome&ie=UTF-8

 

I asked this question pretty much because there is quite a range of books, and I wanted to hear from others which books they have read and enjoyed, even if they got only a little bit of usefulness out of them. I am pretty sure most of those books warns that there is no "magic formula", as you say, but on the contrary the act of composing music (or any other form of art) is not completely due to random genius.

 

If you wanted to say that there are zero books on music composition that you find of any value, that's a totally legitimate opinion.

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PS - Actually, what helps my writing most is just reading, period. Most writers will tell you the same thing. The more you read, the better your writing gets. Fiction, nonfiction, magazines, anything. If you read a lot, it will show in your writing. If you don't read a lot, that will show, too.

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Ok show me a book that tells me and everyone else how to just sit down with my guitar, do this and out will pop melody.

 

You will only find books that tell you how to find harmonies using scales etc.

you will only find books on how to make chord progressions. Chord progressions aren't melodies.

you'll find plenty of books on music theory.

But you will not be back to answer this post with a book title that shows me how to come up an actual vocal melody.

 

Or better still you must've read some these books. So, why dont you just tell me yourself how to just pick up my guitar do this, and out will pop a melody.

Remember the melody is the vocal melody not the chord progression its part of the song that you sing.

 

 

Because it's a well known fact that composing can't be taught.

Edited by ted884

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Ok show me a book that tells me and everyone else how to just sit down with my guitar, do this and out will pop melody.

 

You will only find books that tell you how to find harmonies using scales etc.

you will only find books on how to make chord progressions. Chord progressions aren't melodies.

you'll find plenty of books on music theory.

But you will not be back to answer this post with a book title that shows me how to come up an actual vocal melody.

 

Or better still you must've read some these books. So, why dont you just tell me yourself how to just pick up my guitar do this, and out will pop a melody.

Remember the melody is the vocal melody not the chord progression its part of the song that you sing.

 

 

Because it's a well known fact that composing can't be taught.

 

I think you're being naive.

 

Just to be clear, I didn't ask about melody composition specifically, you seem to have brought it up yourself, while I am just asking for music composition in general.

 

But then, even melody composition can be taught too. That doesn't mean "do this and out will pop melody", again you are making this all up by yourself, but nobody asked for that.

 

It is however naive to think that nothing can be taught about it, as if melody composition was something completely supernatural, which is not. That is part of the larger trend of thinking that all good artists must be geniuses, but it's just an excuse for those who aren't getting good enough results.

 

What is true, is that the reasons why some melodies work so well and others don't are something particularly elusive to understand in the first place, and therefore to teach others. But there is a vast range between "there is nothing you can do" and "do this and out will pop melody". Maybe I mislead everyone when I used the word method in my first post, it actually referred to a type of book [https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Method_(music)] but not to a step-by-step procedure to follow in order to achieve guaranteed results [https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Scientific_method], I wonder if this was the source of confusion...

 

If you read again the title of this thread, it is about improving songwriting (all of it, not just melody), not finding the holy grail of a method that guarantees success. There are a lot of places for casual advice (and even the extremely casual like "go hiking in the mountain" or "play with a puppy" or "party with your friends" can improve your songwriting, by giving you something new to say with your music), the point of the thread is instead to gather suggested readings specifically on the topic of songwriting. Once again, not in the attempt of figuring out the magic formula that turns you in a new Mozart, just in getting new food for thoughts for self-improvement.

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There are several magazines' date=' countless books, and myriad self-appointed online experts. They're all easily Googled. But the only real ways to improve your writing are to (a) listen, (b) write, and © not fall in love with your writing.[/quote']I more or less agree, but it's not that absolute. Reading about writing can improve one's writing as well (though I admit I'm not a fan of it myself), as is the case with most any topic.

 

The more you write, the better you'll get. It's as simple as that.
A good rule of thumb, but nah, not as simple as that. :) Some people could write 100 songs a day and not get any better. Talent matters too.

 

You have to dig through dirt to hit paydirt.
Wise words there. A key aspect to writing I had to learn and re-learn and keeping reminding myself of was that not everything I write will be great.

 

 

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You wont find any books on how to compose a melody, because there are none and i mean there are none on the web no videos on you tube. no books in music colleges, theres nothing anywhere. 0 zilch numero zero.

 

Because no one knows how to come up with a melody. let me give you an example pupils first day in music academy.

pupil says to teacher i know you are telling me how to write songs that ive already wrote, better' and how to do harmony and how to be better at theory. BUT how do i come up with the actual melody.

 

Teacher turns to pupil and says i wish i could just say to you,. pick up your guitar, sit there, do this and out will pop a melody.

But unfortunately there is no such thing as a magic formula.

 

thats why there are no answers on this post to your question.

Sorry, you are completely and utterly incorrect. Check out Jimmy Webb's "Tunesmith" for an example. There are in fact numerous ways to come up with a melody.

 

PS to the OP and oh btw getting back to the actual topic: I have mixed feelings on recommending Webb's book. I would suggest you look it up on Amazon and read the excerpts there and judge for yourself whether it seems like a book worth buying. Warning it can be quite technical and has a lot of info on the music "business" vs just songwriting, so again, mixed bag. Some interesting stuff though.

 

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Ok then youve all had your 2 pennys worth.

but none of you have actually posted a book title that will show me how to come up with a melody

 

Jimmy webbs book tells you nothing new other than whats already been said in countless other books.

 

Heres a few examples

fawm write a song every day for a month. Some of you on this post are recommending the same thing.

Write for 10000 hours.

persevere.

learn scales.

Find chord progressions. Nothing new about that either.

learn music theory. Nothing new there either.

speed write.

Is any of this starting to sound familiar. The obove examples are the extent of whats in all these songwriting books and you tube videos.

 

All these music books on the net and everywhere else all just tell you the same thing.

Theres not one proper book on melody or how to actually create them.

Why do you think there are so many lyricists who cant compose.

Dont you think if there were all these books on how to compose melodies lyricists would read them, and learn how to compose melodies for their lyrics.

 

OR maybe your next set of posts will say. Lyricists cant read or they cant play an instrument ?

 

Why is it that mozart wouldnt take on a pupil ?

Guess what' he was the one who originally said composing cannot be taught.

 

And hes never been proved wrong.

Maybe he's also naive and idiotic as well ?

 

So, as youve all decided to call me out on this. forget methods and formulas just show me a book that shows me how pick up my guitar and compose a melody.

 

Or why dont you just post a link of a video on you tube. Im sure you would all love to prove me wrong.

But guess what'' it's not going to happen.

 

if i ever come across such a book ill be the first to tell you.

but there isnt any. There have been thousands of posts on other forums asking the same question with lots arguing for and against. But the question that stops all of the threads is' when someone says show me the book.

 

And no one has ever posted that book title.

And then you will be saying if these books are no good why do people buy them.

 

Well why do people buy all these potions to cure their baldness. When they know they dont work either.

Edited by ted884

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Jimmy webbs book tells you nothing new other than whats already been said in countless other books.

 

Heres a few examples

fawm write a song every day for a month. Some of you on this post are recommending the same thing.

Write for 10000 hours.

persevere.

learn scales.

Find chord progressions. Nothing new about that either.

learn music theory. Nothing new there either.

speed write.

Is any of this starting to sound familiar. The obove examples are the extent of whats in all these songwriting books and you tube videos.

 

Yeah, those don't sound to me like a serious approach to the question, just the usual generic advice.

 

It's possible that nowadays most books are like that. After all, we've been living for at least 20 years solidly into an era of amateurism, where everyone is told that success is all about "keep trying", inborn talent or luck. Truth is, investing in marketing is more effective than investing in knowledge, when it comes to sell a book.

 

Perhaps the solution might be in looking for older books. There are several at my local library, so I'm going to have to check them out and keep you posted.

 

As I mentioned in the original post, the only books I've ever read are the two-volumes Modal Jazz Composition and Harmony by Ron Miller. There the author goes really into musical concepts to talk about composition. And yes, he also presents a list of generic suggestions for artistic inspirations, such as go kayaking on a river, or basically exposing yourself to anything new and exciting... that's however just a single-page list, the purpose of which is helping yourself find something to say with your music (or any art), but does not replace the idea that you can learn how to say it properly. For the latter, his books talk a lot about things such as how to create a progress of melodic variations on a theme to balance between the expected and unexpected, how to use rhythm in melody to achieve a wanted feel, how to use cadences and achieve resolutions or closures, how to vary the song structure if it gets monotonous... that's the kind of stuff I am after.

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Li -

 

You sound angry.

 

First of all, your original question wasn't about making up melodies, it was about songwriting, and melody is only one part of that.

 

Sorry, but I've just never seen a book on how to write a melody. If I knew of one, I'd tell you. If you want to learn music theory, there are plenty of books on that. Maybe that's really your question, and I just didn't get it.

 

I don't know any songwriting how-tos either.

 

I don't think anyone is trying to prove you wrong. I've simply never looked for a songwriting how-to book, so I can't name one. If Google can't help, you might be out of luck. But I'll bet you can come up with somthing.

Edited by Delmont

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. . . And yes' date=' he [i']also[/i] presents a list of generic suggestions for artistic inspirations, such as go kayaking on a river, or basically exposing yourself to anything new and exciting. . . .

That's just nonsense. Inspiration doesn't come from a kayak. It comes from your head.

 

Yes, you might think of something good while you're kayaking, but that's no easier than thinking of something good while you're eating breakfast or walking down the street or rolling up to a red light or overhearing people talking in a diner. I'll bet a pinkie that fifteen percent of the world's favorite songs were written at bus stops.

 

If Ron Miller wants to call thinking of something "inspiration," that's fine, but he's obviously at a loss (as I am) about how to teach people how to think of words or tunes.

 

But - okay. Here's a writing tip from a master: Warren Zevon said that once you have a title, the song writes itself. It's true. Yesterday I was sitting on the porch gabbing with my wife about the mess in Puerto Rico, and the title "Blue Tarp Blues" entered my head.

 

So after dinner, I sat down here a the computer and typed out three verses and a chorus. An easy idea (inspiration?), fifteen minutes of typing, and the words were done. Next time I have a guitar in my lap I'll make up some music. (Right now, I'm thinking it'll be a simple talking blues. We'll see.)

 

I'm in four bands, and at least one, the jug band, will want to play it.

 

Anyhow, I didn't need to wait until I was splashing around in a kayak to find inspiration. Whatever that is!

Edited by Delmont

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Not angry.

 

That's just nonsense. Inspiration doesn't come from a kayak. It comes from your head.

 

Yes, you might think of something good while you're kayaking, but that's no easier than thinking of something good while you're eating breakfast or walking down the street or rolling up to a red light or overhearing people talking in a diner. I'll bet a pinkie that fifteen percent of the world's favorite songs were written at bus stops.

 

If Ron Miller wants to call thinking of something "inspiration," that's fine, but he's obviously at a loss (as I am) about how to teach people how to think of words or tunes.

 

As I wrote previously, the kayaking is just one example from a single-page list of activities that Ron Miller is casually mentioning as stuff you could try in your life to get an artistic inspiration. It is ONE page in a 2-volumes book of many hundreds of pages, and it is the only less-than-serious page. I don't think Miller has necessarily tried kayaking himself, he was just thinking of a bunch of examples of activities or experiences that probably most people have never tried out. The whole point of that page is just the message that, while you can study compositional techniques to help you turn what you want to say into music, such thing (what you want to say) comes from life, and if you need an inspiration on the what, you can try doing something new, or at least you can try doing something usual but more mindfully, and maybe that'll give you something new to say.

 

It is understandable that for some people this may seem nonsense. Perhaps you don't need to have anything to say at all, you could just craft music itself: if that's a musician's view, he'd just look for good-sounding notes, no meaning is necessary (for example, you could sit on a piano and play 3 random notes, then build from them -> crafting without an external inspirational idea). However, when you say that a title is all you need, to me it sounds you are not really doing it differently, you start from a subject (a few words... you could even just open a dictionary on a random page) and try to express it with music. It doesn't make less or more sense than doing something, looking at something, smelling something, tasting something etc. and trying to turn your feelings or sensations into music.

 

All these are valid ideas but only for finding what to say with your music (or painting, or poetry...), then learning how to say it musically is the subject of the books I am talking about.

 

BTW music theory is another thing, albeit related. It is more about the description of music, not about the creation of it, and in fact it is generally assumed well-known in composition books.

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Not angry.

 

Good! Maybe disappointed that there are no books or that we can't name one?

 

. . . As I wrote previously' date=' the kayaking is just one example . . . .[/quote']

 

Yes, I know. You made that clear.

 

. . . from a single-page list of activities that Ron Miller is casually mentioning as stuff you could try in your life to get an artistic inspiration. It is ONE page in a 2-volumes book of many hundreds of pages' date=' and it is the only less-than-serious page. . . .[/quote']

 

Yes, I assumed that from what you said.

 

. . . I don't think Miller has necessarily tried kayaking himself' date=' he was just thinking of a bunch of [i']examples[/i] of activities or experiences that probably most people have never tried out. The whole point of that page is just the message that, while you can study compositional techniques to help you turn what you want to say into music, such thing (what you want to say) comes from life, and if you need an inspiration on the what, you can try doing something new, or at least you can try doing something usual but more mindfully, and maybe that'll give you something new to say. . . .

 

Yes. I got it. But it's not true. You don't have to do something out of the ordinary to have an idea worth expressing. Franz Kafka wrote after working all day in an insurance office. Raymond Carver wrote in laundromats. Emily Dickenson wrote in her bedroom and back yard.

 

It is understandable that for some people this may seem nonsense. Perhaps you don't need to have anything to say at all . . . .

 

We all have something to say. It's not a matter of need. Humans are wired to say things.

 

. . . you could just craft music itself . . . .

 

The music, yes. The words, no. Most people have both words and music in our heads all the time. The work is getting it out of our heads and into the world. So you're looking for an instruction manual on how to do that.

 

. . . if that's a musician's view' date=' he'd just look for good-sounding notes, no meaning is necessary (for example, you could sit on a piano and play 3 random notes, then build from them -> crafting without an external inspirational idea). However, when you say that a [i']title[/i] is all you need, to me it sounds you are not really doing it differently . . . .

 

What I meant was that if you want advice on how to get started on a song, Warren Zevon, who wrote a lot of successful songs, had that one suggestion. Like kayaking, it was an example. There are countless ways to do it.

 

. . . you start from a subject (a few words... you could even just open a dictionary on a random page) and try to express it with music. It doesn't make less or more sense than doing something' date=' [i']looking [/i]at something, smelling something, tasting something etc. and trying to turn your feelings or sensations into music.

 

All these are valid ideas but only for finding what to say with your music (or painting, or poetry...), then learning how to say it musically is the subject of the books I am talking about. . . .

 

Exactly. Zevon was offering a concrete how-to, and I was passing it on to you. Again, there are lots of ways to do it.

 

BTW music theory is another thing' date=' albeit related. It is more about the [i']description[/i] of music, not about the creation of it, and in fact it is generally assumed well-known in composition books.

Thanks for clarifying. It helped.

 

And so - on with your quest! Let us know what you come up with.

Edited by Delmont

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PS - It occurs to me that a lot of how-to books on creative writing have exercises that can just as well be used by any artist, including song writers. If you Google creative writing books, you'll find a bunch of them.

 

They all have different approaches, of course, so there might be something that fits your style.

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Good! Maybe disappointed that there are no books or that we can't name one?

 

But there are! :) I've already found many listed in our local library. I'll grab a couple during the summer and I will come back to this thread to share my opinions after I've read them.

 

Rather than by lack of suggestions, I was disappointed by the kind of answers that just want to prove that the question is wrong, at the same time pretending the question was something else than what I actually asked for. But you know, the web is full of questions "how do I do this?" that only get responses "why do you want to?" or "you just can't". They are a waste of time.

 

Yes. I got it. But it's not true. You don't have to do something out of the ordinary to have an idea worth expressing. Franz Kafka wrote after working all day in an insurance office. Raymond Carver wrote in laundromats. Emily Dickenson wrote in her bedroom and back yard.

 

What do we know about what they were thinking? :) Boredom is sometimes a very favorable condition to wander with your mind into creative ideas! Maybe Kafka was daydreaming of kayaking all the time :D

 

We all have something to say. It's not a matter of need. Humans are wired to say things.

 

The music, yes. The words, no. Most people have both words and music in our heads all the time. The work is getting it out of our heads and into the world. So you're looking for an instruction manual on how to do that.

 

Sure we all have something to say, but as you say, it's not easy to get it out into the world. But again, in thread I am not looking for "instructions" or suggestions on that part of the work (as in creative writing books). I am instead looking for the second part of the work i.e. the more technical side of the writing process. To attempt a (risky) comparison to writing a novel, I am not looking on how to make up the story, but rather on how to use words, sentences, rhetorical figures, structure etc. to achieve a certain feel or make it more effective.

 

Practical example, as if I were to write a detective mystery story: not looking at the side of how to figure out an awesome and original mystery, but rather how to present it in the form of a book once I already have it, for example how and when to reveal parts of the solution.

 

Professionals do this all the time, in music as well in other fields. For example in television: first there is the task of finding a subject for a new series; then there is the process of turning the subject into a whole tv series using characters, plots, screenplay etc. It is still very much a creative process, nobody follows a strict "formula", but neither they just do it randomly, inspired by some elusive "genius".

 

 

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But there are! :) I've already found many listed in our local library. I'll grab a couple during the summer and I will come back to this thread to share my opinions after I've read them.

 

Rather than by lack of suggestions, I was disappointed by the kind of answers that just want to prove that the question is wrong, at the same time pretending the question was something else than what I actually asked for.

 

Aha! Now I get it.

 

 

But you know' date=' the web is full of questions "how do I do this?" that only get responses "why do you want to?" or "you just can't". They are a waste of time.[/quote']

 

Ouch! Painfully true!

 

What do we know about what they were thinking? :)

 

We can only guess. That's why I focus on what I'm thinking. What anyone else is thinking is a mystery.

 

Boredom is sometimes a very favorable condition to wander with your mind into creative ideas! Maybe Kafka was daydreaming of kayaking all the time :D

 

I think he was daydreaming of cockroaches and cruel punishments.

 

Sure we all have something to say' date=' but as you say, it's not easy to get it out into the world. But again, in thread I am not looking for "instructions" or suggestions on that part of the work (as in creative writing books). I am instead looking for the [i']second[/i] part of the work i.e. the more technical side of the writing process. To attempt a (risky) comparison to writing a novel, I am not looking on how to make up the story, but rather on how to use words, sentences, rhetorical figures, structure etc. to achieve a certain feel or make it more effective.

 

E.g. rhyme, meter, assonance, symmetry, correspondences, alliteration, and the volta.

 

Practical example' date=' as if I were to write a detective mystery story: not looking at the side of how to figure out an awesome and original mystery, but rather how to present it in the form of a book once I already have it, for example how and when to reveal parts of the solution.[/quote']

 

Yup. In the book publishing industry, that's called a tip sheet. Some are highly specific.

 

Professionals do this all the time' date=' in music as well in other fields. For example in television: first there is the task of finding a [i']subject[/i] for a new series; then there is the process of turning the subject into a whole tv series using characters, plots, screenplay etc. It is still very much a creative process, nobody follows a strict "formula",

 

Actually, they do. I took a screenwriting class once, and the entire semester was on the formula for structuring a screenplay. Pure how-to.

 

That was years ago, and I still can't watch a movie without barking "Set-up!" (the first seven minutes, approximately, in which the main elements of the movie are alluded to or hinted at) "Plot point!" (separating the three acts of the comedy or drama) "Pathetic fallacy!" (it almost always rains at movie funerals, and thunder means someone just said something portentious) "Montage!" (that musical sequence of short clips strung together to signify the passage of time), and "Tracking shot!" (in which the camera follows the characters a long distance in a single take.

 

Robert Altman even made a movie that followed the formula to make fun of it: The Player.

 

but neither they just do it randomly, inspired by some elusive "genius".

 

Thanks for spelling that out. It makes a lot more sense now. Looking forward to seeing your list.

Edited by Delmont
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Wow, a long thread in the Songwriting Forum where folks actually really get into a topic and write long entries that are actually read! Applause!!

 

Part of the problem, seems to me, finding books along the lines of what Li has suggested, is only the rarest of pop songwriters who has the vocabulary and the literary background to write about their craft. It's different in the classical world. I turn to classical types and the occasional jazz type when looking for stuff to just read and soak up this and that.

 

Some actual suggestions for reading (I'm sure all easily found on Amazon):

 

Steve Reich - Writings on Music 1965-2000.

 

Charles Mingus - Beneath The Underdog

 

Leonard Bernstein - The Joy of Music

 

And here's a suggestion specifically about melody - pick up a decent text on counterpoint. Someone in this thread was mentioning the lack of books on how to write a melody - well, that's pretty much what Counterpoint is all about. It's rules, rules, and more rules - lead the voices this way, not that way. Not "inspiring", but makes for great exercises and above all, teaches your ear to hear what you're really doing in melodic movement. One of the less-unloved Counterpoint texts is the one by Walter Piston simply titled "Counterpoint".

 

About melody, or any other kind of writing - there is a sort of black box moment in the creative process when your brain is somehow coming up with an "idea". And there's other parts of the brain and maybe nervous system that can feel it when an idea has legs, has potential. This is mysterious stuff and I kind of hope they never figure out how the human brain does this. Not everyone seems to be able to do this. And no one can do it all the time on demand. And there's the occasional melodic genius to baffle and amaze the rest of us. Go watch Amadeus again for a refresher on this notion.

 

On the other hand, in times when I've been totally uninspired, I've just loaded up Sonar, put up a staff view, and randomly poked eighth notes up and down the staff. That becomes my melody and then I figure out how to harmonize it. Usually, no matter how uninspired I started, I get something usable by the time I've messed around with the random notes and made some sort of sense out of that raw material.

 

nat

Edited by nat whilk II
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I have to confess I did not read all the posts here. I did scroll down, and saw no actual books listed. I just did an Amazon.com search and got only a handful of titles. But, there are some resources in print.

 

Something else that may have already been mentioned would be to study songs by specific songwriters. A couple of years back I did this with Burt Bacharach. I transcribed several of his songs - "Alfie" and "Promises Promises" among them. Using your ears to figure out how a given song works can help to absorb what is going on in a song.

 

3 titles from an Amazon search:

 

Melody in Songwriting:Tools and Techniques for Writing Hit Songs (Berklee)

Melody - How To write Great Tunes

Melody Writing and Analysis

 

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