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Li Shenron

Good reads for improving songwriting

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Steve Reich - Writings on Music 1965-2000.

 

Charles Mingus - Beneath The Underdog

 

Leonard Bernstein - The Joy of Music

 

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

Melody - How To write Great Tunes

Melody Writing and Analysis

 

Have you already read these books yourselves? As per the original purpose of this thread it would be great to compile a list even if small, but we should prefer books that some of us have at least read through, although not necessarily studied in depth.

 

I have checked out a two-tomes book from the local library and it looks promising. It starts maybe a bit too simple (to the point of feeling dumb) but I have browsed through it and noticed how it gets progressively into more and more complex concepts. But I'll have to read all of it at least before sharing a valid opinion. Ideally, I'd actually have to use it and see if I can earn some improvement from it, but that could take years.

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I've not read the books I listed. My impression is that your are looking for a solution all tied up in a package - in this case a book. I'd say the things one needs to do to improve their song writing are study and work. You mentioned (above earlier) being dissatisfied with "keep trying". I will submit that "keep trying" translates into "keep honing your craft".

 

Many things are simple to say - not so easy to do. Like, exercise regularly and eat a plant based diet. OK, simple, the chore is in the doing it.

 

Most importantly, to my mind, if you want to be a really good songwriter - work on your ears. As I said about about transcribing Burt Bacharach. Learn Beatles songs. Learn to play some of them by ear. I have a "Beatles Fake Book" - only the melodies and chord symbols - you have to figure out the chord voicings (you do know about chord voicings right ?) with your ears. Listen to how the bass line works with the guitar parts - learn the bass parts by ear. Analyze the vocal harmonies by singing along with various harmony parts. Notice how the various elements work together. The Beatles learned by trial and error, struggling to come up with something interesting. Take things apart and observe how they work. Can you hear chord progressions, root movement, chord inversions ? Have you studied the nuts and bolts of how harmonic movement works ?

 

If you don't like the Beatles, choose some examples by other artists that you really really admire.

 

I did study a book in counterpoint about 40 years ago: Preliminary Exercises In Counterpoint by Arnold Schoenberg. Although I recommend it highly (it's a method with writing exercises - you learn by doing) I don't think it would help you with songwriting.

Edited by davd_indigo

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I forgot to mention that on Amazon there are a couple of books: Songwriters on songwriting. Easily searched.

 

And I'll point out the obvious - there is the music and there are the words. Two different disciplines to learn about.

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I did study a book in counterpoint about 40 years ago: Preliminary Exercises In Counterpoint by Arnold Schoenberg. Although I recommend it highly (it's a method with writing exercises - you learn by doing) I don't think it would help you with songwriting.

 

Here it is... an answer to the actual question. Thank you! Perhaps the book is not presented as a songwriting book, but from the title, to me it appears it is definitely relevant.

 

The other 3 books you mention might also be good suggestion, but I rather wanted to hear what other people have actually read, and their own opinions on such books. Because if I just wanted dry titles, I know how to use Amazon or Google myself.

 

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The counterpoint book is for developing musicality. IIRC Schoenberg said he wrote the counterpoint book to help students (he was teaching at USC in California) develop their ears. Developed ears will help your overall musicality, which in turn should help songwriting.

 

You sparked my curiosity, and I pulled Jimmy Webb's "Tunesmith" off the bookshelf. I have the book but never read it. The book is loaded with ideas. Also interesting anecdotes.

 

If you decide to buy Schoenberg's book, Sheet Music Plus seems to have it in stock ($20). For some reason Amazon doesn't seem to have it (except for a few used overpriced copies).

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You sparked my curiosity, and I pulled Jimmy Webb's "Tunesmith" off the bookshelf. I have the book but never read it. The book is loaded with ideas. Also interesting anecdotes.

 

If you decide to buy Schoenberg's book, Sheet Music Plus seems to have it in stock ($20). For some reason Amazon doesn't seem to have it (except for a few used overpriced copies).

 

Thanks. Both books are available in our local library.

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Sometimes, the best education is coming in with a rough idea/ melodies/ riffs and hashing it out with a drummer, bassist and another guitarist. Rythumic changes, key changes and Dynamics can make a song come to life. 

That's what I love is getting more input, suggestions or spontaneous inspiration can really make a difference between a good song to become an even better song. No book can teach that.

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ok time to eat my words I said about a year ago there are no books about melody and that you would never find any books about how to compose a melody etc.or learn how to compose. I will say though when I said this there wasn't any lol

Well' heres a book going around social media and I think its free from tomorrow.

This Interactive ebook will be available for FREE between November 10th and November 14th. 
See book trailer to see just how easy it is to compose hit vocal melodies with the backing chords at the same time. Please leave a review on amazon after reading the book.

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Songwriting-Magic.../dp/B07JBWK1YC
Edit or delete this
 

 

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