Page 1 of 2 1 2 LastLast
Results 1 to 10 of 19

Thread: When composing lyrics after the melody

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Apr 2016
    Posts
    3
    Thanks
    0
    Thanked 0 Times in 0 Posts
    Rep Power
    0

    Talking When composing lyrics after the melody

    Sign in to disable this ad
    As a newbie, I found it's hard to start lyrics after the melody. Does anyone have some good technique? please share thanks

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jun 2009
    Location
    Wales
    Posts
    4,160
    Thanks
    40
    Thanked 153 Times in 149 Posts
    Rep Power
    2369165
    Once I've recorded a track, I generally hum along what I think will be a good vocal melody then start to come up with some lyrics based on that.

    If the melody is anything more than completely basic and I think its a good one that I won't be able to remember, I'll work it out on the guitar and record it so I don't forget and can work on it late when I have some lyrics ready. I'm rarely in a position to start putting work into vocals at the same time as I think of something.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jan 2015
    Location
    Detroit, MI
    Posts
    4,092
    Thanks
    913
    Thanked 561 Times in 522 Posts
    Rep Power
    2826414
    I'm close to JDOD on this one. I work the melody over a chord progression first, but I listen/watch for key words in a hook. It might only be a phrase, but I wait for something to click and I'll build around it later. Then I'll record all the instruments, listening for words or phrases that come to mind, then I write the final lyrics before it's time to record vocals. At that point, the melody is already down, and some key phrases/the hook are there, but the rest I fill out on a whim before I hit record.

    Point is, I try to build "around" phrases which I find the most interesting. Honestly, it's usually one of the first words that pop in my mind. I'll hum along a melody and sing to myself, "blahblah ooo blah, one day you blah blah"....then if I like that "one day you...", I'll save it and try to think up a story/lyrics to build around it. I do that over and over. I just find it works better when it comes naturally like that, rather than writing everything down first and then trying to fit it into a song. But hey, lots of bands have done that method. My favorite have done the other though, coincidentally.
    "No healthy person waits in line with a slew of geriatrics on a Sunday morning for pancakes" - RFR https://soundcloud.com/andrushkiwt

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Dec 2014
    Location
    Chicago Suburbs
    Posts
    3,320
    Thanks
    814
    Thanked 600 Times in 577 Posts
    Rep Power
    4927291
    Same process, more or less. I'll record the progression on guitar and/or bass and then set the DAW to loop over it. Then I will stand in front of the mic and make an absolute fool of myself, humming, screeching, singing scat, whatever, the point being to find a melody that works. If nothing works, I'll abandon the song. If something does, then I'll go through those takes and comp together the best bits. Somewhere in that process, words and phrases will have appeared miraculously. Not complete lyrics, but key parts. If not, I abandon the song and move on, returning to it maybe later, maybe never. Then comes the hard part: finishing it. To do that I need to ask myself what the lyric is going to be about: perspective, situation, mood, story line, etc. With a melody and a theme, I can finish it, but it may take a long time. The melody may evolve as the lyrics develop. When I have finished lyrics, the song is done.

    It helps to avoid getting too invested in unfinished songs. I'm always working on many songs at once. Like most songwriters, I've got dozens, maybe hundreds in various stages of completion. Some of those will be finished, most never will. Some may become a chorus, verse or bridge for some other song. Only when a song is pretty close to finished will I give it my undivided attention.

    If you want to try this method, set aside a few hours a week to jam on your preferred instrument, preferably over a drum loop. Have your studio set up already so that you can record the promising parts, and set up a file system where you can find them easily later. My unfinished songs are titled as a date: 4_19_2016, and they are saved in a folder with the same title within a directory called Unfinished_2016, which in turn sits in a directory with folders of unfinished tracks from years gone by. Any particularly promising hooks in the song will get rendered to audio and saved the same folder, so I can give them a quick listen at a later date.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    May 2009
    Location
    Wisconsin
    Posts
    465
    Thanks
    0
    Thanked 8 Times in 7 Posts
    Rep Power
    1317706
    I almost always write lyrics last. I first come up with the chord progression and general feel of the song (harmony & rhythm). I then start to "scat sing" to create the basic melody line over the chord progression.

    As I'm "scatting" some words or even phrases will develop - this is often a reaction to the melody and the feel of the song (major chords vs. minor, riff driven vs. ballad, etc.)

    Eventually the words or phases start to develop into a "story". Once I have an idea what the story will be about (heartbreak, party at the beach, crusin' in a pick-up truck, etc.) - I can then start to create the story line - and the lyrical "hooks' - which tie into the melodic hooks that hopefully the scatting have already developed.

    Then it is simply a matter of adjusting the melody to accommodate the lyrics - and lastly, a few "re-writes" to tweak and improve the song.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jan 2015
    Location
    Detroit, MI
    Posts
    4,092
    Thanks
    913
    Thanked 561 Times in 522 Posts
    Rep Power
    2826414
    Quote Originally Posted by Xdrummer View Post
    I almost always write lyrics last. I first come up with the chord progression and general feel of the song (harmony & rhythm). I then start to "scat sing" to create the basic melody line over the chord progression.

    As I'm "scatting" some words or even phrases will develop - this is often a reaction to the melody and the feel of the song (major chords vs. minor, riff driven vs. ballad, etc.)

    Eventually the words or phases start to develop into a "story". Once I have an idea what the story will be about (heartbreak, party at the beach, crusin' in a pick-up truck, etc.) - I can then start to create the story line - and the lyrical "hooks' - which tie into the melodic hooks that hopefully the scatting have already developed.

    Then it is simply a matter of adjusting the melody to accommodate the lyrics - and lastly, a few "re-writes" to tweak and improve the song.
    just about my exact method.
    "No healthy person waits in line with a slew of geriatrics on a Sunday morning for pancakes" - RFR https://soundcloud.com/andrushkiwt

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jul 2009
    Location
    Trending
    Posts
    18,651
    Thanks
    298
    Thanked 860 Times in 750 Posts
    Rep Power
    21470743
    Quote Originally Posted by ispeck View Post
    As a newbie, I found it's hard to start lyrics after the melody. Does anyone have some good technique? please share thanks
    As you can see, everyone has a similar technique of "working" the song until something develops....chords, melody...and then focusing on the lyrics. I'm sure your asking "how?" does one come up with lyrics after all the other stuff.

    If a few words or phrases don't pop into your head while you are doing the chords/melody thing...think about a story.
    Is there a theme you had in mind...if not, play the chords/melody over and over until you can think of a theme you want to write about. Then try and find one line, one sentence that says something about that theme.

    After that...you build on it, and it can take a lot of work if theme ideas don't come flowing out on their own.
    Don't try and write with full lyric structure from the first word (beat and rhyme)...unless it comes on it's own.
    Instead....write ANYTHING that pops into your head about that theme.
    At some point, things will start to form...and then you can go back and pick through the "scraps" you wrote down to form additional, complete lines.

    A thesaurus and a rhyming dictionary makes life easier....

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jan 2015
    Location
    Detroit, MI
    Posts
    4,092
    Thanks
    913
    Thanked 561 Times in 522 Posts
    Rep Power
    2826414
    Quote Originally Posted by miroslav View Post
    A thesaurus and a rhyming dictionary makes life easier....
    I used one two days ago. Last resort, but found something that worked. Some of them have multiple syllables too, like "thorn" will have "you were born" for 3 syllables, then 4, etc... kinda cool. And it had me rethinking that line so I could move things a little and end up adding an extra syllable.
    "No healthy person waits in line with a slew of geriatrics on a Sunday morning for pancakes" - RFR https://soundcloud.com/andrushkiwt

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jul 2009
    Location
    Trending
    Posts
    18,651
    Thanks
    298
    Thanked 860 Times in 750 Posts
    Rep Power
    21470743
    In the past, I use to avoid the thesaurus and rhyming dictionary until I was stuck, and as a last resort...
    ...but over the years, I found that using them from the start, instantly gave me a much wider selection of words, and also brought new ideas as I scanned through the pages looking for replacement words and rhymes.

    I mean...it's not like I sit down with them from the first word, since I usually come up with a few lines while writing the song...but when I do sit down to specifically work on lyrics, the thesaurus and rhyming dictionary are there from the start.

    Just this winter I picked up large hardcopies of each. Before that, I had some paperback, pocked-size...but the type was so crazy small, it gave me a headache.
    The hardcopies are nice, big books, with large type...so scanning through them is much easier for the eyes to lock in on words that could work.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Apr 2005
    Location
    Lowell Street Studio, New England
    Posts
    12,135
    Thanks
    19
    Thanked 569 Times in 541 Posts
    Rep Power
    18632360
    One of the Pat Pattison (Berklee professor/songwriter/producer) methods is to write on a piece of paper all the key words, then under each key word, write rhyming words. That way when you are looking for further ideas past your first lines, you can look at it for inspiration.
    Mike B My new album on CD Baby: Fact and Fiction
    My Bandcamp site: http://mikebirchmusic.bandcamp.com

Thread Information

Users Browsing this Thread

There are currently 1 users browsing this thread. (0 members and 1 guests)

Similar Threads

  1. Composing (I guess)
    By thebigcheese in forum Vocal Technique & Processing
    Replies: 15
    Last Post: 11-17-2009, 03:32
  2. Melody/Lyrics to Music
    By Purpleb in forum Song Writing & Composition
    Replies: 7
    Last Post: 03-25-2009, 12:29
  3. Melody/Counter Melody - Does It Work?
    By rayc in forum MP3 Mixing Clinic
    Replies: 7
    Last Post: 02-13-2006, 02:51
  4. composing
    By cpc in forum Newbies
    Replies: 1
    Last Post: 01-12-2006, 07:15
  5. 'These Old Roads', Lyrics awaiting melody
    By Cosmic in forum Vocal Technique & Processing
    Replies: 0
    Last Post: 08-22-2005, 06:41

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •