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Thread: New way for me, possibly not for you.

  1. #1
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    New way for me, possibly not for you.

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    A few months ago I began weeding out my collection of original songs.
    I had 323 songs.
    Now I have 36.

    There were several reasons why I dumped most of my songs.
    1. Some were terrible.
    2. I found around thirty songs that sounded alike.
    3. Repitition in lyrics or melody, or structure, etc.
    4. I knew they sucked.

    I've been writing songs over forty years and playing music longer than songwriting, and only in the past two and a half years have I come to take the task of songwriting serious enough to begin to 'care'.

    I made notes about each and every song I discarded to see if I could find why my songs sounded like shit.
    Just one event within all the songs I trashed is what I want to talk about here.
    And that is, a lot of them were in the same progression. The keys, tempo, arrangement and structure changed in most of them, but the progression was still the same old comfortable progression I always fell back on. Thus most of the songs I dumped sounded like the same old bluesy tune as all the rest, with some difference of course.

    A shit slapping 64% of the songs I trashed had the same progression. I recorded 45 minutes of them on a cassette tape. (no, you do not want to hear it) I listed the songs so the tempo and keys would varey from one song to the next.
    Not bad, but I felt a bit bored. Simular to playing a 45 minute set in the same key. But not as bad as fast.

    I think I'm about half way through recording (less mix & mastering) my first CD. This is another reason for the weeding out of the crap I've saved since I was fourteen.

    I was kinda suprised that so many of my songs were in the same old progression and I was totally unaware of it. This caused me to pick songs from my list of 36 that didn't have the same progression. (It's my CD and this is what I want on it. I know a duplicate progression can be used. But I am what I am. Fanatical) I had thirteen that I wanted on this CD out of the 36, but that left a lot of blank space on the CD. So I picked one cover, a hit back in 1869, and wrote five new songs in the past two months.

    Five songs in two months is nothing new for me. But five songs in a row, that I like? Unheard of.
    When ever I would write a song it would be as such;
    Strumming my guitar or keyboard with some drums, finding some chords that fit my mood, adding a melody, then the lyrics. It'd work almost every time. Cripes, I had over three hundred tunes to prove it worked.

    After I started getting serious and down to business with my songwriting, I came to realize that it sounded 'like it' worked almost every time, too.
    I was in a songwriting rut, and the muse was tired of pulling me out of the hole I dug for myself.
    I started something different in my way of writing songs, for two reasons.
    One to better my own understanding of what the hell I was aiming at, and two, to collab with a good friend of mine.

    Without his knowing it, Joro kicked my ass in gear and got me thinking about a new way to build a song. It didn't fall into place though until I found out I was in a progression rut.

    What I did was figure out five new progressions. Then I built those five new songs around the progressions.

    With what Joro said to me one day, and what I saw in my own writings, I came up with this progression first instead of some haphazard chord configuration and the melody and lyrics.

    So, sometime when your up against the wall, the muse seems to of forgotten you exist, you want try a new way to write a song, what ever the reason you can come up with, try this.

    Create a progression you don't usually use.
    Play it through over and over, using various tempos and keys. Get comfortable with it.
    Build the song around the progression.
    Keep the building of your song flexible though so you are not confined within ridged guidlines.
    And have fun.

    Here is the list of songs, less the cover, and the progressions I'm using. Damn if I don't feel like I'm getting a grip on something besides the same old way I have been writing songs for years.
    I hope it helps someone see things in a new light like I have.

    l, lllm, llm, V ------------------------------------- It's What I've Become
    l, lllm7, lV9, Vl7sus, Vl -------------------- Winter Tree
    l, lllm, Vlm, lV ----------------------------------- Beyond The Dawn
    ladd9, lV6/sus4, 1m, Vlm, Vll, V5 -------- Soft Southern Breeze
    l, lV, V, Vlm, ------------------------------------ Another Bitter Tear
    l, V6, llm7, C ------------------------------------ Eyes Filled With Tears
    l7, V7, Vl7 ------------------------------------- Feeling Good
    l, Vlm, llm, V ----------------------------------- Woolton Church
    l, Vlm, lV, V. ------------------------------------- Whatever You Say.
    lm, l9m7, lVm, lll ------------------------------ Shotgun Me
    lm, lm/add9, lVsus2, Vl7 -------------------- Only In My Dreams
    lm7, lV9, lV, Vllm7, Vm7, lll, #ll9 ----------- Say, Shaylata
    lm, lVm, Vm -------------------------------------- Wash Away My Blues
    lm, Vm, Vlm, -------------------------------------- Better Now Than Later
    lm, Vl, V, lll, -------------------------------------- Every Move I Make,
    lm, bVl, bVll -------------------------------------- Make It Last Forever
    lm, bVl, blll, bVll5 -------------------------------- Don't Be Sad
    lm, bVll -------------------------------------------- Sleep Talk


    And what did Joro say to me that tripped my trigger some months ago?
    "Have fun writing songs."

    I had made my whole life around music. When asked what I did for a living, I'd reply, "Musician." What I didn't say was; "I'm a serious, narrow minded, stuck in a rut, fucking musican, confined within my own strick code for making a living at it, and after so many years of coveting it, I can see no other way, other than my own."

    "Fun?" you ask.
    "Yeah, when I wrote my last five songs, I had fun doing it." I say, "And it felt good."
    Funny and ironic, in a strange sorta way.
    Instruments that change shapes when played frighten me.

  2. #2
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    Very cool BG,


    I am looking forward to hearing them man.
    Joe

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    Well amen to that.

    In the last eight years I've written about 80 songs... (not to mention the countless chord structures with mumbled lyrics and half-melodies that I never bothered to go back and finish.)

    And whenever I go back to "review" what I've created over the course of time, it never ceases to amaze me how much of it is the same old crap.

    Same chord progressions, same lyircs, same topics, same melodies.


    But what I wan to know is... how did you find "new" progressions. I mean, when I sit down with my guitar, my hand invariably falls on the same chord that it's fallen on for the last 7 or so years. And when I start to play through chords, I invariably make the same changes in pattern that I always have.


    So where did you find your "new" ideas for progressions? Did you just roll 4 or 5 dice and play whatever pattern came up? Did you read a book on some other guitar stlye? Did you just sit and try to "think outside the box"?


    (btw, I say "new" in quotes because it's not like we're gonna find a truly "new" pattern... but to us it may be new. Heck, the pattern you've been playing for 40 years might be totally new to my library of chord patterns... and vice versa.)


    WATYF

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    Joro2.
    Sure, you can here them when I'm done.

    Ummm, are you Joro also or are you someone else?
    Joro is Joe, too.



    WATYF

    Where to find progressions?
    Hmmm. Good Question.

    Actually, it's probably easier than we think. This is a new way of songwriting for me and I have so many pokers in the fire right now I'm stalling on this topic till I get some of the older projects out of the way.

    I made up two of the five progressions I used just by randomly picking the postions, or numbers. No dice or anything like that, just picked them before I even played them.

    Since there are 7 notes,
    l, ll, lll, lV, V, Vl, Vll,
    they can be arranged in any squence, as long at 'l' is the first one, as it is the first chord in your progression.
    Example.

    l, lV, Vl.
    l, Vl, ll.
    l, V, Vll, lll, lV.
    etc.

    But, lets not forget the minors, dim, 7ths, # & b, etc.

    lm, Vl7, lll, #ll.

    I'm sure every concievable arrangement has been used already, as you mentioned.

    The other three I snatched from other's music.
    I don't even know the names of the songs because I didn't look at the titles or the artists.
    By changing the tempo & key, maybe from 4/4 to 3/4 time, etc, a totally new sound developes.

    Other sources is books on chord progressions and/or theory, online theory sites and an online search may produce something.

    I have one flimsey pamplette on theory. It does give mention to progressions, but only in the sense of using something like the Aeolian and Mixolydian chords in the same progression. The example is,
    l, blll, lV, V, bVll.

    (((((I went and found my flimsey little pamplette, actually it's a copy of some text from a theory site (see below) I use to frequent.

    This 'l, blll, lV, V, bVll', progression is from a song by Queen, 'Crazy Little Thing Called Love. The example shown is,

    l lV bVll lV l blll
    D, Dsus4, D, Dsus4, D, Dsus4, D, G, C, G, D, Dsus4, D, F)))))

    I use to hang out on a site called, I Breath Music. I think the addy is,
    ibreathmusic.com or maybe .net It's been a while and I have no record of the addy.
    But probably any theory site would offer some advice.

    For me, I'm just going to randomly pick a few more to mess with, then later, I'll build a progression with an aim, or direction, with an idea I have in mind for which I want a song to follow.
    Instruments that change shapes when played frighten me.

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    Check out this site for a chord map. www.members.aol.com/chordmaps/genmap.htm

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    Originally posted by badgas
    Joro2.
    Sure, you can here them when I'm done.

    Ummm, are you Joro also or are you someone else?
    Joro is Joe, too.




    Ummm......




    I dunno.....let me check......














































    yup...it's me Dann...

    Joe (aka joro - aka joro2 - aka banned assclown )

  7. #7
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    grinder.
    Very interesting map.
    Wonderful possibilitys.
    What do the arrows mean though? Like 'Home l' for example.
    Are the arrows pointing into 'Home' what is possible to use, or the one arrow going out, to the next chord?

    I'm sure the arrows pointing into the 'Home' mean those are the ones that can be used in order, but I just want to make sure.
    It's little things like this that I make into mountains. Sorry for the dumb question.






    Joro!!!!!
    I read you were banned in the cave. There has to be a mistake.
    I'm going on a music strike till this is recified.
    No more music for me.

    Gonna be tough, but I'll stand by ya, Joe.
    Guess I better leave now, since this board is music related.
    Anything I can do lemme know. I have some friends that,,,,
    ~ whispers in your ear ~
    Pssst, psssst. Psst, Pssssst, Slackmaster psst, psssssssst, psst.

    Ok?
    Instruments that change shapes when played frighten me.

  8. #8
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    Not a dumb question, the map is a little confusing at first.Starting on I, go to the next chord of your choice and follow the arrows by any possible path to get back to I.Or start on the chord of your choice and follow the arrows back to I.The progression doesn't have to start on the I chord, it can end on I and still work.

  9. #9
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    Originally posted by badgas
    I'm going on a music strike till this is recified.

    Ok?

    NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!


    write....
    record....
    track on.....
    track off....


    do

  10. #10
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    seems what you've hit on is that creativity is not *just* about 'flow' or instinct. A big part of producing good stuff is an intellectual or analytical overview of what you are doing. It helps to make progresss if you take a 'high-level' view of your creative endeavours. I think that is the best way to see our weakensses. You analyze it, you find something that needs work, and you ... attack the problem. If we all went on instinct all the time, we'd all miss something

    LN

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