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Thread: Songwriting

  1. #1
    Atomic Punk Dave's Dreidel's Avatar
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    Default Songwriting

    Just a question for you guys that are way advanced in comparison to my sorry ass.

    When you write a song, do you work out the harmony first, and then work on the melody?

    Very curious to see how some of you come up with your original song ideas.
    Taylor Swift is nice to look at. Adele can sing.

    Emperor Brett - "I can't believe you guys are analyzing song-by-song Van Halen III? What next, analyzing the script of Stroker Ace looking for some shred of Citizen Kane?"

    David Lee Roth did the impossible. He made Van Halen better. Deal with it!

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    Default

    I always have a melody before the harmony. I wouldn't even know how to do it the other way around.

  3. #3
    Little Dreamer euphoria5151's Avatar
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    Default

    DD,

    I have wrote alot of songs, (not sure if they are good or not) I have had some radio play, but really there isn't any rules. Sometimes a riff comes, sometimes a melody, sometimes a lyric, sometimes it's a drums/bass part then inspires the guitar. Not sure if that helps you, but I have found any songs that I have deep conviction over, I write better. Basically, if I'm emotional moved in some way (girl break up, friend that doesn't believe in a way I do, someone that pisses you off, etc.) you will write faster and better. Sometimes it just flows from somewhere...some where deep in your soul. You sort of put yourself into the song more.

    enjoy some of my music - let me know if I strike a nerve somewhere, or what you think
    http://www.reverbnation.com/russomusic
    http://www.reverbnation.com/euphoriarocks
    Last edited by euphoria5151; 02.09.15 at 08:24 PM.
    sitting around just gettin' high...

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    Whoa, this is heavy! Jedi McFly's Avatar
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    Default

    I think euphoria nailed it: there's no one right way to write.

    I personally suck at writing vocal melodies and lyrics. All of my tunes start as guitar or bass riffs, get fleshed out as a full instrumental demo in Logic, and then get handed off to somebody else to write vocals.

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    On Fire Pizza Man's Avatar
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    12.15.17 @ 06:32 PM
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    Default

    I agree, vocals is where I'm usually stuck. Mainly lyrics, I can't stand it when I'm not sold on my own words. Usually I'll get to the vocal track, and find myself with the earphones on, one hand on the record button and the other hand crossing out the lyrics with a pen.

    I used to make a big deal out of changing up the song origin; lyrics first, melody first, chords first, drum part first, whatever. Nowadays I basically just revise lyric ideas at a damn snail's pace and nothing ever gets finished.

    For me, I know what it'll take is just plugging in the amp and getting set up to record it. Once I do that I'll have a better chance at laying tracks and trying out some of these vocals. I have to remind myself to get interesting with melodies, but I'm generally okay with that end of it. Really it's just avoiding shitty lyrics. Or more accurately, identifying them & trashing 'em, cuz they're inevitable!
    Kevin

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    Usually the music comes first for me . Get some riffs/ideas to flow nicely . Once the parts are gelled up , I present it to the guys to jam on it and flesh out the parts together . Then our singer will do scat vocals . Sometimes it sticks , sometimes it doesn't . We normally record these types of sessions so the singer can take the rough tape home to work on vocal melodies and lines .

    I've gone the other way too - where a title or lyrics have inspired me to write music around that . On a few occasions I've written both the music and lyrics for certain songs . There's no set in stone pattern of formula . I've had luck doing it both ways . I've even recorded songs on our first independent cd that used both of these methods ...

    Thirdly , there are a couple of songs that literally came from creating 'on the spot' in a rehearsal . No rules . Whatever works .
    "There's too many people on this basketball that's floating around the sun, who are too afraid to allow themselves to FEEL" - Edward Van Halen
    "Van Halen was never about the singer..." - a very wise fan.
    "Embrace the past. Live in the moment but keep your eyes on the future, and keep on moving forward..." - Richie Sambora

  7. #7
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    Default

    It's usually a melody first for me. Harmony I tend to work out.
    there are weird times when I wake up in the middle of the night and I hear the whole arrangement fleshed out and playing in my head. Strange I know, and I don't know why it happens like that. Too much coffee before bed? Lol...no idea. I try to remember them in the morning. Sometimes I've hummed into a recorder or my phone to recall the tune If I'm not too comatose. Lol
    Last edited by we die young; 02.10.15 at 08:31 PM.

  8. #8
    Atomic Punk Dave's Dreidel's Avatar
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    Default

    I asked everyone because I feel like I am in a rut because I do it the same way every time.

    I always start out with a lyrical idea, then I work out the harmony on the piano while singing to it and come up with my chord changes, then I work out any other melodies, rhythms, etc.

    I keep the bass pretty boring, as I am not very good at singing and playing at the same time (hey shoot me, I'm an amateur!), so for me the bass lines usually just help with the rhythm and follow the chord changes, if I want to show off I save it for somewhere in the tune in which I don't have to worry about singing.

    And a bit of honesty, for melody and chord changes I usually start with a song I have heard recently that I put in the memory banks (currently End of the Innocence by Don Henley for the vocal melody, though I have totally changed the chord progressions). And then I change it as I add my lyrics and mold the changes to fit what I have written in the lyrics, and then I try my best to put some variation in the chord changes to make it interesting.

    All that being said, I would like emphasize the word TRY. All my original pieces sound great in my head, but so far I am just having a hard time making them sound good on paper and the final product. I can make a cover song sound half decent, and I honestly believe I get more than courtesy applause when we play live, so while I know I am not and never will be great at it, I am not going to be falsely modest and say I can't sing.

    So I am currently trying the Johnny Cash model. Singer, acoustic guitar, and a little bass. I am thinking that I should start simpler, we'll see how it goes.
    Taylor Swift is nice to look at. Adele can sing.

    Emperor Brett - "I can't believe you guys are analyzing song-by-song Van Halen III? What next, analyzing the script of Stroker Ace looking for some shred of Citizen Kane?"

    David Lee Roth did the impossible. He made Van Halen better. Deal with it!

    Preferred pronouns: he/him/his

    Hurricane Halen - Let's all gingery touch our sword tips!!!

    DONATE TO THE LINKS YA CHEAP BASTARDS!!!!

  9. #9
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    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Dave's Dreidel View Post
    I asked everyone because I feel like I am in a rut because I do it the same way every time.

    I always start out with a lyrical idea, then I work out the harmony on the piano while singing to it and come up with my chord changes, then I work out any other melodies, rhythms, etc.

    I keep the bass pretty boring, as I am not very good at singing and playing at the same time (hey shoot me, I'm an amateur!), so for me the bass lines usually just help with the rhythm and follow the chord changes, if I want to show off I save it for somewhere in the tune in which I don't have to worry about singing.

    And a bit of honesty, for melody and chord changes I usually start with a song I have heard recently that I put in the memory banks (currently End of the Innocence by Don Henley for the vocal melody, though I have totally changed the chord progressions). And then I change it as I add my lyrics and mold the changes to fit what I have written in the lyrics, and then I try my best to put some variation in the chord changes to make it interesting.

    All that being said, I would like emphasize the word TRY. All my original pieces sound great in my head, but so far I am just having a hard time making them sound good on paper and the final product. I can make a cover song sound half decent, and I honestly believe I get more than courtesy applause when we play live, so while I know I am not and never will be great at it, I am not going to be falsely modest and say I can't sing.

    So I am currently trying the Johnny Cash model. Singer, acoustic guitar, and a little bass. I am thinking that I should start simpler, we'll see how it goes.
    It's always good to get multiple opinions. That's what makes these forums great!

    As far as the Cash model....Damn good one to follow.
    And of course he was also known for breaking the rules, and staying true to his vision despite what others thought.

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    On Fire Pizza Man's Avatar
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    Personally, I think the secret to songwriting is to write a lot of songs. If you can write twenty and shelf the worst ten or fifteen, and be okay with the whole bit where you have to identify more than half of your work as basically crap, you can accomplish a handful of good tunes.

    My problem has been that I've slowed to a crawl with output ... and I end up working the same ideas over and over, without usually even getting to the rough demo stage. But I suspect if I just worked on writing for at least a few hours a week, I'd get better results. I should impose deadlines on myself, like this tune's got til 11pm and then I'm moving on ... something like that.

    I expect that our heroes' writing starts going to shit as soon as its priority level drops, in their lives ... families, success, expensive drugs ... songwriting loses its luster as a priority I figure. I know I used to be able to make it a priority, but now just about everything else in my life has to come first.
    Kevin

  11. #11
    Atomic Punk Dave's Dreidel's Avatar
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    Default

    Just thought I would share something with you guys that I thought was interesting.

    Have been reading music theory books, songwriting books, etc. trying to learn more, and
    also just trying to record and mix simple cover songs to get better at both.

    That being said, I heard “White Rabbit” on the radio and thought “wow, that sounds simple, I should do that.”

    It is simple, but I just thought I would point out the weird chord progression she uses that you will
    NEVER EVER see in a book, and it works great (Notice no chorus, which in of itself is rare for a popular song.)

    Intro – vii – I

    Verses

    -vii – I – vii – I
    -ii – IV – V – ii

    Bridge #1

    -vi – ii – vi – ii – vii

    Bridge #2

    -vii – I – vii – I

    Outro

    -vi – ii – vi – ii
    Taylor Swift is nice to look at. Adele can sing.

    Emperor Brett - "I can't believe you guys are analyzing song-by-song Van Halen III? What next, analyzing the script of Stroker Ace looking for some shred of Citizen Kane?"

    David Lee Roth did the impossible. He made Van Halen better. Deal with it!

    Preferred pronouns: he/him/his

    Hurricane Halen - Let's all gingery touch our sword tips!!!

    DONATE TO THE LINKS YA CHEAP BASTARDS!!!!

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    Atomic Punk lovemachine97(Version 2)'s Avatar
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    You guys should check out how Dean DeLeo actually plays a bunch of STP songs. They use jazz and bossa nova to write rock songs. This song, for example because we all know it, was written as a bossa nova.

    The verse to Interstate Love Song:




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  13. #13
    Atomic Punk Dave's Dreidel's Avatar
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    I know it's me, but I am not quite understanding what you are trying to say.

    You can find a guitar pro tab for almost any rock song, what makes STP's different? I could put up Panama in the same format.


    What am I missing?
    Taylor Swift is nice to look at. Adele can sing.

    Emperor Brett - "I can't believe you guys are analyzing song-by-song Van Halen III? What next, analyzing the script of Stroker Ace looking for some shred of Citizen Kane?"

    David Lee Roth did the impossible. He made Van Halen better. Deal with it!

    Preferred pronouns: he/him/his

    Hurricane Halen - Let's all gingery touch our sword tips!!!

    DONATE TO THE LINKS YA CHEAP BASTARDS!!!!

  14. #14
    Emperor of VHLinks.com Brett's Avatar
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    Default Songwriting

    He plays a lot of songs with weird chords. They're not hard at all. Trust me I know we cover 10 of their songs. Not sure what the big deal is.
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  15. #15
    Atomic Punk Dave's Dreidel's Avatar
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    Default

    Oh, duh, I get what he was saying now.
    Taylor Swift is nice to look at. Adele can sing.

    Emperor Brett - "I can't believe you guys are analyzing song-by-song Van Halen III? What next, analyzing the script of Stroker Ace looking for some shred of Citizen Kane?"

    David Lee Roth did the impossible. He made Van Halen better. Deal with it!

    Preferred pronouns: he/him/his

    Hurricane Halen - Let's all gingery touch our sword tips!!!

    DONATE TO THE LINKS YA CHEAP BASTARDS!!!!

 

 

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