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

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    How do you decide what kind of music to write?

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    Do you guys try to write songs like your favorite artists or do you think maybe there is a certain style that you are better at creating? 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? Do you just end up creating music that maybe isn't your favorite genre?

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    Hey,
    It's all in the presentation. A lot of genres are just the same shit in a different bucket or, at least, the core material is transferable.
    Think how many unplugged sessions there have been where the original material was hard rock or grunge or whatever.
    I love AIC, for example, but I love hearing them unplugged even more.

    Anyway...All I'm saying is don't be put off that you've written 'riff rock'. It might only be riff rock because you've decided that it is.
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    Only once have I set out to deliberately write something like a favorite artist's - Nick Lowe's Cruel to be Kind. It's got a downward scale progression that I wanted but I didn't copy the rest of the tune. I began with that progression in the key I could comfortably sing in and then wrote the rest of the song's instrument parts off that. Somewhere in the middle a short lyric phrase popped into my head and I built the rest out of that.

    Turned out to be a country tune about love and line dancing, but I had no idea what it was going to be when I started.

    I frequently think about All Along the Watchtower - Dylan & Hendrix versions. So if you have a good song, it can be presented many ways.
    Last edited by spantini; 06-24-2018 at 19:56. Reason: spelling
    Failure - - the path of least persistence
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    Unless we are proffessional songwriters that write songs for other artists, we will lean towards what is in our comfort zone. (Talent wise ) One thing I've found to expand musically and get out of that self induced comfort zone, or you could call it rut, is to try to record an accurate cover of a song outside of your zone.

    This does a couple of things. For one, you are de-constructing another artists song and thereby seeing how that song is constructed.
    For another, you're playing stuff you normally don't do.
    It will make you better.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Lucky99 View Post
    I want to write more singer/songwriter kind of stuff, but riff rock just comes more natural to me.
    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.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Lucky99 View Post
    I want to write more singer/songwriter kind of stuff, but riff rock just comes more natural to me.
    So then write some singer/songwriter kind of stuff (what exactly is that, anyway, I mean there are all kinds of music styles that can be singer/songwriter)...but do it in a riff rock style.

    You can take a slow strum-along ballad, and turn it into an up-tempo Pop or Rock tune...or vice-versa. There's really a lot of ways to work a song, but if you simply enjoy a particular style, then go with that.

    I don't really think about it all that much. Often I'll just hear some bit of music in my head, at the oddest moments, and then try to flush that out, and I just let it go which ever way it wants to...then other times I'll have a more broader idea, with maybe a specific style, and I'll go with that...and even that sometimes ends up a lot different in the end from what I expected.

    I don't try to copy/sound like anyone in particular. I think there usually already too many other people trying to sound like ______ ...so why add to that mess.
    I do get the reason people do that...it's about instant appreciation, kinda like being in a cover band doing crowd pleasers...but I prefer to try and keep things as original as possible, even if they are not crowd pleasers. Then again, it's hard NOT to sound like "someone"...considering that much of music today is like the 4th-5th rehash of stuff that's already been done.

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    I guess what I am trying to find out is, how much do you guys think your music sounds like you influences? Do you just start playing whatever comes to mind at first, or do you sit down with a plan first?

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    My music sounds nothing like my influences. My concious and subconcious mind is always working on music - it's on autopilot. Only twice have I actually sat myself down to specifically write a song. No plans.

    At least once a week, I take my acoustic and run through all of my originals as well as about 8 covers, then I'll take a break from those to learn a new chord formation - which often leads to a new 3 or 4 chord phrase and a lot of experimentation. A handful of those have resulted in complete new songs.

    I used to drive a lot - on the road most of the day. Listening to FM stations, I'd hear a classic song I'd heard thousands of times before, but this time, due to a different frame of mind, my autopilot latches onto a lyric phrase or chord progression and tweaks it just a bit and my concious mind takes off on it and the next thing I know I'm running a new song in my head. Several times I've written complete new tunes this way in as little as 10 minutes.. or less. Just sitting at a traffic light zoning out.
    Failure - - the path of least persistence
    And, uh, oh - hire a decorator to come in here quick, 'cause... DAMN.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Lucky99 View Post
    I guess what I am trying to find out is, how much do you guys think your music sounds like you influences? Do you just start playing whatever comes to mind at first, or do you sit down with a plan first?
    Not sure if or why it might be important to measure your results against your influences. Itís not a determination of much unless you are specifically setting out to copy or somehow reflect them in your work.....and if you are thatís fine. On the other hand.....it is fun when people who hear your work mention that they hear a similarity to your favorite band.

    Born in 1952.......the Beatles are still one of my favs and a strong influence. I once did a cover of Hey Bulldog and got pretty much zero comments on it sounding like the Beatles. I did an original tune and had a number of people tell me it had a Beatles like sound.......and for the life of me.......I donít hear that myself.......so I have no idea what I did to bring out that influence.

    Just rambling here.....I know........
    Just A Song Writer..........

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    I can identify with this question a lot. I don't know if it's for the same exact reason as the OP's, but I struggle with "genre identity" big time. My issue is that I'm highly influenced by a lot of different styles, and I feel as though I try to serve too many masters. I'll become enamored with Radiohead one month and will want to sound like that, but then I'll hear a good ol' Stones tune or a Black Crowes song and think "Yeah! That just kicks ass!" And I'll want to write like that. And the Beatles always come back around as the old standby. And then I'll get in a Tom Petty mood, or I'll go down the Wilco rabbit hole, etc., etc. And then I'll be drawn back to my love of instrumental music and listen to a Jean Luc Ponty album or Dave Brubeck or Miles or Bill Evans, etc., and think, "I really need to get my jazz chops more together and write/record some cool instrumentals." Lately, I've been really digging some Midlake, etc.

    Needless to say, I have a hard time really determining what "my" sound/style is, and I feel that I'm spread too thin trying to do too much.

    I'm trying to put together a project in which I give myself parameters in hopes of establishing a bit more of a unified direction. I'm trying to record an album with all electronic sounds using my analog synths/drum machines and maybe some electric guitar. And I'm trying to get all the lyrics written before even working on the music at all, because lyrics are always my sticking point. So I'm hoping to take that out of the equation by just writing them all first and trying to be less critical in the process. I'm trying to remember, "This is just an exercise or experiment, so it doesn't have to be your best songs ever."

    Anyway, needless to say, I struggle with the notion of "deciding what kind of music to write" a lot!
    famous beagle

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