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Thread: The songwriting thread

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    The songwriting thread

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    I hear you. What the hell is he doing posting a songwriting thread in the MP3 clinic? Well, firstly, almost everyone here is a songwriter, and the Songwriting FORUM is filled with lyrics, rather than songs. So:

    Just a general thing, what is your method for songwriting? Do you write lyrics or music first? Do you concentrate on getting a good riff or chord pattern down first? Whats your method for getting over writers block?

    If you want me to delete this, please say.
    People these days wont take responsiblity for anything, but don't quote me on that.

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    Seems this is a slow time of year for homerecording.com and other sites like this. The summer really rocked here.

    As to your post, I think it's ok to get one of these every now and then, and it's not by any means spammish.

    So for the purposes of this thread I will use the song I currently have up as the model and give a general comment also.

    When I hear Scott Kern's music, (Skern), which was designed to have lyrics written into it, I instantly realized it had good structure for a song and saw that structure.

    Just like a short story or even more so, like a play, there are acts, scenes, soliloquy, and 'chorus' parts. So seeing the structure and breathing life, (a story), into that structure is important for me and my listener.

    I saw in Skern's form a structure that was like a relationship I had been in and the words came tumbling out easily, each verse was a different part in that relationship, each chorus the refrain of the idiot and fool that I was acting out.

    So here ... the music came first and the melody and vocal line and words came together as different phrases of words with meter that fit Skern's bed of music popped into my head ... images ... I then threw them up and down on my tongue as I bounced a melody around those words ... driven by the bed of music.

    Once I was actively into remembering the pain of this relationship, it just all came out easily. Got to know when to put the breaks on when that happens and remain focused on your songwriting intentions, as well as the techniques you want to use.

    Keep your story plain and well defined, keep the images real ... in this case at least.

    As to other songs, I have many folders with text files , some complete more or less, some just random snippets of lyrics that need music ... some with no melody at all in mind, some which can only be read by myself with exactly the same melody playing behind them ... and those will probably develop 'bed music' much more quickly.

    Sometimes I find a few phrases in one folder, that go with another few phrases ... and I have another folder and I'm maybe that much closer to another song.

    As to bed music for a song, that always happens for me either during the creation of the words and melody, or after I have a pretty good idea as to how I want the words metered and the melody they will be sung with.

    By nature, I am a melody maker ... playing with words ... and I write music to 'accompany' those melodies and prose.

    I have written bed music , like string quartets and the like ... but that's not what I'm into now.

    I'm into song writing and performance.
    Performing and recording with real violin, viola, and cello for bands and artists.

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    I almost alway write the lyrics first with a melody in my head of what is to accompany them.

    If I don't know what the chords are to be when I am writing down the words, I will put notes at the top of the page of other songs that have a similar drive or feel to them to remind me when it comes time to write the music.

    As for getting over writer's block, I never force it or conscience-ly try to get over it. When the mood hits, it hits and I wait patiently for the moments of clarity and act on them.

    Leading a life of frustration is also good fuel for writing songs. Being pissed about something is great for writing when you can't express your feeling any other way.

    Don't lead a boring life and the music will come to you.

    Cheers!

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    Talking Deja-vu........

    If I am writing lyrics first, I establish the mood by conjuring up the spirits of late and great songwriters.
    Once I have established contact with them, (Croce, Chapin, Morrison et al.) I draw blood from my left arm in order to have the appropriate shade of red while scribing (I am right handed.)
    This helps to cut-down on errors (I don't want to waste any....ya know?) Once "inspired" to write, I chose the appropriate substrate. For instance, a love song would be written on the inside of a label of a can of Hormel chili (makes absolute sense n'est pas?)


    For music, I start by bashing my head against a hard, rough textured surface to the desired beat I am looking for. This establishes what I call the "Throb "TM method. Once established, I have a constant beat to follow (I could buy a metronome....but, why bother.)

    Others on these boards have made reference to using illicit substances to augment the creative process.
    Can you believe it? Why? When there are simpler, more natural ways of establishing the mood.

    Oh well, to each his own. I suppose everyone is different.

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    It really is ... so nice ... to be ... as crazy as the rest of these folks around here !
    Performing and recording with real violin, viola, and cello for bands and artists.

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    I never write lyrics. Anything original I do is always instrumental. I wish I could but I don't know where to start.

    My stuff always starts with drums. When the mood grips me I'll record a groove, then chop bits out and loop them. This gives me something to jam with. When inspiration strikes I'll record a riff. Maybe a couple of weeks later I'll record another riff and some chord progressions. It's very unorganised and chaotic. Probably why I haven't achieved much to date.

    What I have done recently though is picked up some lyrics from artistcollaboration.com and built the beats, chords and riffs around them and so enforce some kind of structure to the song. So far it's coming together quite well, but the vocal melody completely eludes me

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    Bulls Hit :
    --------------

    Send me a link in IM to the thread at artistcollaboration.com , I'm in a very singy mood these days.

    If you want to hear me singing, there's a thread on the board right now here of one of my tunes.
    Performing and recording with real violin, viola, and cello for bands and artists.

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    I find inspiration strikes when playing with things. When I get stuck, I play with a new thing.

    A new acoustic tuning, a new electric guitar patch, a new reverb effect - anything to get me making noise.

    Out of the weirdness comes ideas - sometimes too fast to capture properly - I still haven't solved that one.

    Q.
    <insert something witty here>

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    Hmmm. I never write lyrics first. I'm totally a music man. Normally I'd get an original chord patter or something down, then the tune. Last night I finally got over my creative block and I have a new tune. Hooray
    People these days wont take responsiblity for anything, but don't quote me on that.

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    Usually, a song is born when I sit down with a guitar or keyboard and noodle around for a bit. When something strikes me, I grab the small tape recorder I keep handy and get it down.

    Often, I'll forget about the song until I finish the tape and listen to it on my stereo (usually about a month later). Sometimes I'll have refined the song in the interim, so the original version is interesting to listen to. If I have forgotten about it, if I like it, I'll often pick up the song and refine it from there.

    Lyrics sometimes come with the music, but not usually full lyrics... just the refrain most of the time. Most of the time I have the melody, and only write full lyrics to a song when I'm preparing to record the vocals.

    As far as writer's block goes, I will either watch something inspiring or just plain stop playing for a few days. Coming back to an instrument after 4 days or so really gets the juices flowing again.

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