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Thread: How do you decide what kind of music to write?

  1. #11
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    The first question, I hear stuff in my head in all genres which I think comes from my willingness to spend a lot of time listening to different genres. If you spend a lot of time listening to the type of thing you want to write, I think you'll start "hearing" that sort of thing when writing. Also, one song writing book I read(which goes with what's already been pointed out) that sometimes the song may be written in one genre but turn out to work better in another. So l spend time sometimes just trying different tempos for the same song, as in tempos that suggest a different genre, as sometimes it will sound better faster/slower with or without swing, etc.
    As far as sounding like ones influences, I sometimes find when listening to some music from my youth I will hear some obscure/forgotten tune that I realize I have internalized and has shown up in some style/tonality in stuff I have created, but I don't consciously try to emulate any one's style. As a player I have, of course , attempted to duplicate tones by players I admire. Not to copy, mind, just to learn.
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  3. #12
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    There have been several of my songs where the process led me to write something "just like so-and-so" did in their song's chorus or
    verse, and it fit really nicely and sounded great.. but it sounded too conventional - or canned. So I intentionally went around it and wrote
    something different. When I rehearse these songs I still feel the urge to play it the other way, and sometimes I do fiddle with them that way
    because I never know what else is going to pop out while I'm in there tinkering.
    Failure - - the path of least persistence
    And, uh, oh - hire a decorator to come in here quick, 'cause... DAMN.

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  5. #13
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    One trick: LEARN a bunch of songs in whatever genre interests you. Learn to do effective renditions of maybe some John Prine, Steve Earle, Lucinda Williams, Gillian Welch, Reckless Kelly, and so on. Or whichever singer/songwriters turn you on.

    By the time you're a year into covering the material you admire, the style WILL be coming naturally.
    Quote Originally Posted by Lucky99 View Post
    Do you guys try to write songs like your favorite artists
    Artists are magpies. Nothing's original. We all make our nests out of whatever we pick up around us. Whatever's in our heads came from somewhere. It's foolish to try to fight that.

    But it's just as foolish to try to be someone you're not.

    So I don't intentionally imitate anyone. Few things are sadder than Elvis impersonators. W all get our ideas from somewhere, but our voices can only be our own.
    Quote Originally Posted by Lucky99 View Post
    . . . or do you think maybe there is a certain style that you are better at creating?
    I don't worry about whether I'm good at a style or not.
    Quote Originally Posted by Lucky99 View Post
    . . . For me, I want to write more singer/songwriter kind of stuff, but riff rock just comes more natural to me. I prefer listening to singer/songwriter stuff, so I get frustrated and I am having a hard time writing right now.

    Anyone else have this issue?
    I do what comes naturally. And there's nothing wrong with riff rock! When you're ready to write "singer/songwriter kind of stuff," it WILL come naturally.

    Quote Originally Posted by Lucky99 View Post
    Do you just end up creating music that maybe isn't your favorite genre?
    No. I love lots of genres and don't have a favorite. I don't set out to write a blues, country, rock, jazz, R&B, or folk song. I just let songs take whatever forms they take.

    Some songs want a mandolin, some want humbuckers. Some want synchopation, some want a steady flow. Some want shouts, some want murmurs. I just let 'em go where they want. I'm not creating the song. I'm FINDING it.

    But if it seems like it wants to be, say, a cowboy song, I put on a cowboy hat and throw myself into a cowboy frame of mind.
    Last edited by Delmont; 09-30-2018 at 13:35.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Chili View Post
    This describes me somewhat. I seem to go all over the place. I can't keep focused on any one style though I wish I could. Unlike you, I don't let it frustrate me; I'm happy with whatever I can get out of the speakers.
    'Zackly!

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    Through choice, for myself, I like slow music - slow music of almost any genre. Trouble is, I get up in the morning go into the studio (I work from home) and my business partner will have sent me some files for one of the projects we have on the go. They're all very narrow. We don't do popular music for the masses. It could be for video, that's a nice solid income stream, but most of our work is for dance. Not nightclub dance, but real dance - so ballet, musical theatre - that kind of thing. We're currently writing a whole series for a publisher. So the brief reads duration 1:45 tempo 95bpm tigers in a jungle, or duration 2:20 tempo 140bpm walk, run and clap. Worse still 30sec rabbit falling down a hole - no ideas on that one yet. What happens is that we work to our strengths - my colleague is very strong on classical and I'm better at jazz and rock and roll, so I might have an idea, and I send it to him - we run identical (just about) Cubase systems, and he does things with it, and sends it back. I might then replace some awful sounds with better ones, replace some instruments with real ones - typically bass, guitar, saxes, woodwind and maybe a bit of brass. After a few too and fros, they're done. Some of it I truly hate. After doing three or four sessions, like today. I had to stop and record something for myself - and what came out was slow, sad and evolving synth pads. Mainly because I went through a loads of Korg patches and found a couple I'd not used - and these were what drove me. A few days back I got a new vocal sample package, and that impressed me - so I wrote something using some of the chopped up stock stuff with some pads. It's for no client, has no purpose but experience for me on the new VST.

    It's rubbish - but I'll share what I've done so far. I doubt it will get finished - but I wrote it just to experiment, and despite being slow and sad, it cheered me up.
    Attached Files Attached Files

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    Quote Originally Posted by Lucky99 View Post
    Do you guys try to write songs like your favorite artists
    I leave that to them. My job is to write like me.
    Quote Originally Posted by Lucky99 View Post
    or do you think maybe there is a certain style that you are better at creating?
    I don't think about whether I'm writing something good. I just write 'em and leave it to the rest of you to have opinions about whether they're any good.
    Quote Originally Posted by Lucky99 View Post
    For me, I want to write more singer/songwriter kind of stuff, but riff rock just comes more natural to me. I prefer listening to singer/songwriter stuff, so I get frustrated and I am having a hard time writing right now.
    Just relax. Let your brain go slack. When all the doors and windows are open, tunes will come in. The truth is, they love crashing the party!
    Quote Originally Posted by Lucky99 View Post
    Anyone else have this issue?
    I'm sure others do, but I don't. Sometimes having words running through my head is downright inconvenient.
    Quote Originally Posted by Lucky99 View Post
    Do you just end up creating music that maybe isn't your favorite genre?
    I don't have a favorite genre. There are genres I DON'T like - opera, metal, rap, techno, punk, bebop, disco, doo-wop, emo - but I like most roots American styles and a lot of international styles.

    I have words running through my head all the time. Sometimes I grab 'em and put 'em into verses. When I do, the genre they want to be usually is pretty obvious, whether it's blues, country, folk, or rock.

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    Quote Originally Posted by alterman View Post
    I follow inspiration i get. . . .
    SOOO different! If I waited for inspiration to strike, I'd hardly ever write anything. For me, it's a matter of sitting down and doing it. That's why I wish writing could be my nine-to-five job.

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    Appreciate the riff rock coming naturally. Some people have trouble riffing, and stick to chords. You're okay. If you listen to singer songwriters, eventually, it will come out in your playing. Just play your guitar without a song in mind. When something strikes you, build around that idea. I have never been able to write a song purposefully. I don't know how. Every song I've written happened while just playing. I know it may not be a popular approach, but that's my method. If someone told me to write a song, I couldn't do it. I do have a load of ideas, and just make songs out of the ideas. You will be okay. Everyone has their unique approach.

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    I end up writing good golden nuggets and then I get loopitis. I struggle to write within a genre, because I write what comes into my head. Then the possibilities of choosing which genre to structure it afterwards are too overwhelming and I just stop before I even get a chance to finish.

    Iíve heard itís good to try and steal like an artist and copy what you like, but there is this piece of me that feels weird about that. Anyway, Iím sure someone else would have good advice on this. I just relate to getting blocked and want you to know youíre not alone.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Christicake View Post
    I end up writing good golden nuggets and then I get loopitis. I struggle to write within a genre, because I write what comes into my head. Then the possibilities of choosing which genre to structure it afterwards are too overwhelming and I just stop before I even get a chance to finish.

    I’ve heard it’s good to try and steal like an artist and copy what you like, but there is this piece of me that feels weird about that. Anyway, I’m sure someone else would have good advice on this. I just relate to getting blocked and want you to know you’re not alone.
    Two thoughts:

    Genre:

    A song doesn't have to fit a genre. I'll bet you can think of a lot of songs that can't be pigeon-holed. What genre would you call Moody Blues or Rickie Lee Jones? Rock, maybe? Are you sure? Just let your songs speak for themselves.

    So let your songs write themselves, and let someone else tell you what genre they fit.

    Originality:

    You'll never be original. Neither will I. All artists are magpies. We steal liberally to create our nests. We're all standing on someone else's shoulders when we draw a picture, make up a song, or write a story. To think otherwise is hubris. Where would Dylan be without Guthrie? Where would Winton Marsalis be without Satchmo?

    That's what makes art a form of communication. It's a conversation - with other artists. with other art, with friends, with enemies, with family, with strangers.

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