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An intersting take on songwriting.


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That was fantastic. Somehow, that interview made me feel like I just watched an hour long documentary, but it was only 5.5 minutes.

 

I'm not sure if it's part of a larger piece about him or not. I hope so, but I can't find anything. May just be a short promo type thing.

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That's cool. I think I understand his approach. Not that I've written anything really. I'm just too lazy to work at it. I think the thing you have to always watch out for is if you are unconciously playing somebody else's song or a part thereof. For instance, the thing he was playing sounded a lot like Dylan's Boots Of Spanish Leather or Girl From The North Country which are pretty much the same structure.

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That's cool. I think I understand his approach. Not that I've written anything really. I'm just too lazy to work at it. I think the thing you have to always watch out for is if you are unconciously playing somebody else's song or a part thereof. For instance, the thing he was playing sounded a lot like Dylan's Boots Of Spanish Leather or Girl From The North Country which are pretty much the same structure.

 

Perhaps, but I also wouldn't be surprised to learn that Bob also stole one or both of these songs. He has done that a lot during his career--and he still does it, as in Rollin' and Tumblin' from Modern Times, which is purportedly written by Dylan! :freak:

 

The point of songwriting is of course to be original, but it's easy to overstress originality. People like Dylan (and Woody before him) understood that songwriting can never be entirely original--we stand on the shoulders of giants. I sometimes write my best songs by self-consciously copying someone else's style, and occasionally even someone else's song. As long as you're honest in your writing you will inevitably end up being original.

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That's cool. I think I understand his approach. Not that I've written anything really. I'm just too lazy to work at it. I think the thing you have to always watch out for is if you are unconciously
playing somebody else's song or a part thereof
. For instance, the thing he was playing sounded a lot like Dylan's Boots Of Spanish Leather or Girl From The North Country which are pretty much the same structure.

 

Jimmy Page'd :cop:

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That's cool. I think I understand his approach. Not that I've written anything really. I'm just too lazy to work at it. I think the thing you have to always watch out for is if you are unconciously playing somebody else's song or a part thereof. For instance, the thing he was playing sounded a lot like Dylan's Boots Of Spanish Leather or Girl From The North Country which are pretty much the same structure.

 

It will ALWAYS sound like something else, so I say go ahead, let yourself go and sort later.

 

One of the most popular songs of mine amongst my band's few fans has a main guitar riff that turned out to be almost a carbon copy of an old metal song. Upon realizing that, instead of scrapping the song, I made a few small mods to the main riff which actually raised the song even higher. The regular syncopated rhytm was turned into something slightly assymetric, if that makes sense, which gave the song a unique feel.

 

I've read in an interview somewhere a long time ago that sometimes the easiest way to be original is to knowingly ripoff something, this way you can make a few key mods. While if you're trying to be unique, you'll often not realize that you are really ripping something off.

 

When doing this, I find that once I bring the idea to my band, with my drummer, my bassist and my singer, after we tweak it together, it sounds definitely like MY band.

 

But when you're one guy alone singing softly while fingerpicking like in the video, really how unique can you be? Plus going to a G from a D is a classic way of invoking motion in your story telling, and it's just lifted from the classic 12-bar blues.

 

Look at it this way: when your painting, you may not be the first to use a certain shade of blue, but you should be able to draw a unique picture with it.

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The point of songwriting is of course to be original, but it's easy to overstress originality. People like Dylan (and Woody before him) understood that songwriting can never be entirely original--we stand on the shoulders of giants. I sometimes write my best songs by self-consciously copying someone else's style, and occasionally even someone else's song. As long as you're honest in your writing you will inevitably end up being original.

 

Cool, so then it's not just me :wave:

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Perhaps, but I also wouldn't be surprised to learn that Bob also stole one or both of these songs. He has done that a lot during his career--and he still does it, as in
Rollin' and Tumblin'
from
Modern Times
, which is purportedly written by Dylan!
:freak:

The point of songwriting is of course to be original, but it's easy to overstress originality. People like Dylan (and Woody before him) understood that songwriting can never be entirely original--we stand on the shoulders of giants. I sometimes write my best songs by self-consciously copying someone else's style, and occasionally even someone else's song. As long as you're honest in your writing you will inevitably end up being original.

 

Oh, don't get me wrong. I really like the thing that Smither wrote there. It's different enough that I wouldn't say he just used the structure of those songs. And I realize that you can't write something where every little combination of notes or chords hasn't been done somewhere else. It just reminded me of those tunes in part of it's structure. And I thought that if I had done that I might, on reflection or in playing it back, have thought "Dang, that sounds like Girl Of The North Country." I might be so self-conscious about it that I'd {censored}can the song instead of just being cool with it. Sometimes you have to be accepting of what feels good creatively. It takes having confidence in just going for that.

 

No. No slight on Smither at all here. I actually dug the song, vid and his creative insights.

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You can't be entirely original. There are only so many notes and chords to go around. The trick is to arrange them in ways that sound familiar, yet new.


EG

 

Exactly. Most popular songs are just I IV and V and maybe a vi. It's how its put together with the lyrics and instrumentation that makes all the difference. It IS tricky though.

 

For instance the song in my sig. I wrote that ages ago and didn't really model it after anything but so many people tell me, alarmingly so, that the chord progression reminds them of radioheads creep. Never crossed my mind till then. :facepalm:

 

Pretty much these days if you can think of it, chances are it's already been done.

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For instance the song in my sig. I wrote that ages ago and didn't really model it after anything but so many people tell me, alarmingly so, that the chord progression reminds them of radioheads creep. Never crossed my mind till then.
:facepalm:

 

[YOUTUBE]7duPNQCp-w4[/YOUTUBE]

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I would say I might have at least TEN totally different techniques I use for writing music depending on what inspires me, or the situation.

 

The method that I use at least 50% of the time, is just like this video.

 

Ill monkey around with a guitar, strum a few chords, develop a chord progression, or "riff" etc, and then once the basic arrangement, or at least all the parts are created, I will start humming a vocal melody line on top of it, and develop all the rythm, notes and phrasing of the melody line.

 

The next step is that vowel sounds start to develop at certain parts, and then I might put the whole thing on a shelf for awhile until at some later point, I might hear a phrase, or think of one, and a light bulb will go off and I will think, hey, that would fit right in perfectly with that song I was working on.

 

Alot of times, the phrase happens on the spot with the development of the vocal rythym and vowell sounds. This is alot of words to describe basically what the dude in the video is doing.

 

This is my most common method of writing songs with lyrics and melody lines.

 

I DO have a bunch of other methods, some similar, and some completely different. Just depends on how the inspiration occurs.

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I would say I might have at least TEN totally different techniques I use for writing music depending on what inspires me, or the situation.


The method that I use at least 50% of the time, is just like this video.


Ill monkey around with a guitar, strum a few chords, develop a chord progression, or "riff" etc, and then once the basic arrangement, or at least all the parts are created, I will start humming a vocal melody line on top of it, and develop all the rythm, notes and phrasing of the melody line.


The next step is that vowel sounds start to develop at certain parts, and then I might put the whole thing on a shelf for awhile until at some later point, I might hear a phrase, or think of one, and a light bulb will go off and I will think, hey, that would fit right in perfectly with that song I was working on.


Alot of times, the phrase happens on the spot with the development of the vocal rythym and vowell sounds. This is alot of words to describe basically what the dude in the video is doing.


This is my most common method of writing songs with lyrics and melody lines.


I DO have a bunch of other methods, some similar, and some completely different. Just depends on how the inspiration occurs.

 

Same here. Inspiration is key. A lot of songwriting for me is waiting for inspiration to strike, or even better, creating situations in which I can give myself over to the process and allow inspiration to strike.

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Same here. Inspiration is key. A lot of songwriting for me is waiting for inspiration to strike, or even better, creating situations in which I can give myself over to the process and allow inspiration to strike.

 

Gene Simmons once said "Inspiration is a lazy man's excuse."

 

I once heard Jerry Seinfeld say something similar in his movie "Comedian" which is EXCELLENT by the way.

 

He said that he couldn't write any more and that it wasn't fun or interesting, and he was looking out the window of his air conditioned luxury apartment and some construction workers sweating in the heat....and heading back to work after lunch and he had an epiphany about what it means to WORK at something. He said if those guys can "go back to work" out there in this heat, then I can surely buckle down and work on some material.

 

And although I understand not wanting to create unless "inspired" I agree with both of them- I have to. I have a "creative" job and I am required to create all the time on the spot writing copy, designing things, directing, editing, etc...

 

 

I've adopted the motto (below) "Creativity is a Work Ethic" and I think that sums it up. We spend too much time "waiting for inspiration" instead of "engaging in the process" and really, that's where inspiration happens. You have to court the muse by engaging in the process...she will show up...or not, but you will have SOMETHING. And eventually she will see that you can get the work done on your own and she will show up, jealous as a woman can be and put her finishing touches on it. :thu:

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I've adopted the motto (below) "Creativity is a Work Ethic" and I think that sums it up.
We spend too much time "waiting for inspiration" instead of "engaging in the process" and really, that's where inspiration happens.
You have to court the muse by engaging in the process...she will show up...or not, but you will have SOMETHING. And eventually she will see that you can get the work done on your own and she will show up, jealous as a woman can be and put her finishing touches on it.
:thu:

 

That's exactly what I failed to say. The inspired bits are what you actively wait for--or rather, work towards. I like to give inspiration or the muse credit, but that's misleading. It's not about sitting on your ass waiting for a song to be beamed into you. It is work.

 

I was an English major at college--:facepalm:--and had this amazing professor that told me "if you work well with words, words will work well with you." I think the same goes for any creative endeavour. You have to engage yourself with whatever medium you work with if you want to get results.

 

I tend to see my own songwriting process as one of collecting and editing. I get as much as I can down and let the pieces tell me where to put them.

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