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Books with general songwriting theory?

Discussion in 'General Instruction [BG]' started by muthagoose, Aug 17, 2019.

  1. muthagoose


    Jan 18, 2004
    I'd like to learn more about songwriting in general, in order to help me improve and vary my ideas and playing when writing bass tapping solo pieces.

    Do you guys know of any books that cover general songwriting theory that I can apply to my bass tapping?

  2. Malcolm35


    Aug 7, 2018
    As no one has jumped on this..... here are some books on the subject. I have not read them. Amazon.com: songwriting book

    Music is made of melody, harmony and rhythm. if you are starting from scratch and writing a song you take all three of those into account. However if you are just adding taping to your melody most of what you need is already given, i.e. the key has been established, the chord progression (harmony) has already been decided upon, same goes for the rhythm of the song that you are playing. IMO you need not go deep into songwriting, but, should instead focus on how to (improvise) tap melody notes or bass line notes that will augment the song being played, i.e. skip over key selection, how to build a chord progression, and how to decide on what rhythm will be used -- as someone has already done this for you.

    If you want to know how to do all of that the above links should get you started.

    Good luck.
    Last edited: Aug 17, 2019
  3. GastonD


    Nov 18, 2013
    Belgrade, Serbia
    David Berkman's Jazz harmony book is based on the compositional aspect. It is published by Sher Music, and by the end of the month they have 50% discount on PDF books, so that may be the right opportunity...
  4. BassChuck

    BassChuck Supporting Member

    Nov 15, 2005
    If you read a book, you'll write a song like everyone the author likes. Everyone with the book will do that.
    If you copy every song you like, you'll put the pieces together your way, and no one else in the world can do that.
  5. Bob_Ross

    Bob_Ross Gold Supporting Member

    Dec 29, 2012
    They’re not mutually exclusive.
  6. BassChuck

    BassChuck Supporting Member

    Nov 15, 2005
    Didn't say that. But one is better than the other.
  7. Bob_Ross

    Bob_Ross Gold Supporting Member

    Dec 29, 2012
    At the risk of being argumentative... that really depends a whole lot on how you define "better", no?

    First of all, it doesn't necessarily hold that "If you read a book, you'll write a song like everyone the author likes." Even if you are truly starting from square one and have absolutely no original ideas of your own, following the guidelines of someone's How To Write Songs book will only point you in a certain direction, it won't completely dictate every aspect of your song...because it can't. Not unless it isn't a How To Write Songs book but rather a How To Write This Song book.

    And secondly, if the choice is between reading a book such as, oh, say Paul Hindemith's The Craft Of Musical Composition or Reginald Smith Brindle's Musical Composition -- y'know, books by experienced and qualified educators who understand how to present potential materials without dictating exactly what note follows what note, so that the intrepid neophyte can craft music that reflects their influences -- versus "copy[ing] every song you like...put[ing] the pieces together your way" isn't it more likely that the latter method will result in music that sounds just like everyone you like...and only like that? How is that "better"?
    White Beard and Whousedtoplay like this.
  8. My favorite book to date is Arnie Berle's Theory and Harmony for the Contemporary Musician; It's short, simple, and to the point
    Whousedtoplay likes this.
  9. BassChuck

    BassChuck Supporting Member

    Nov 15, 2005
    Sorry to have upset you with my opinion.
  10. Malcolm35


    Aug 7, 2018
    Last edited: Aug 24, 2019
    Whousedtoplay likes this.
  11. I don't think he was upset. It's just a different point of view. I have to say, agree with him. If you copy songs, it's not as though you are "learning" songwriting, since you have no idea why they are put together the way they are. I can absolutely see using a book to analyze the songs you like to see what's going on. Then the book will likely give you alternatives, which, eventually could lead you to devise your own alternatives.
    Malcolm35 likes this.
  12. basseux


    Jan 10, 2010
    Hearing And Writting Music by Ron Gorow can be interesting to acquire some musical tools and skills.
  13. lowplaces

    lowplaces Got Punch ?

    Dec 20, 2015
    Louisville Kentucky

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