How Do I Start Writing Original Songs?

Discussion in 'Band Management [BG]' started by Bass_Nishi, Jul 19, 2013.

  1. Bass_Nishi


    Jul 14, 2013
    Hi I'm in a band that does a bunch of covers. Bands like Weezer, Green Day, Foo Fighters. That rock stuff. We are all determined to write original music but we can't seem to. Any tips guys? Thanks
  2. MatticusMania

    MatticusMania LANA! HE REMEMBERS ME!

    Sep 10, 2008
    Pomona, SoCal
    Ive written lots of songs but oddly enough I couldnt tell you how to go about it.

    Maybe start by writing a riff/chord progression and go from there. I'll start you off... E - A - D
  3. Floyd Eye

    Floyd Eye Inactive

    Feb 21, 2010
    St. Louis
    Yes. Riff first, then melody, then start looking for a hook.
  4. hrodbert696

    hrodbert696 Moderator Staff Member

    There's no one right way to do it. Maybe one person has an idea, writes some lyrics or a riff or something, comes in and everyone finds their parts around what they've written. Other times everyone just jams on a chord progression, trying out variations till it turns into something. There's been times with my group when we weren't trying to write yet, but the drummer started playing something just to warm up and I threw a bass line to lock in with his warmup and all of a sudden the guitarists were jumping in on it and we had the basics of a song.

    One major piece of advice: if you haven't already, learn your music theory. You'll save a lot of time if you already KNOW that the riff you're noodling around with is in G and which chords do - and don't - go with it.
  5. Signs


    Jan 11, 2011
    Muskegon, MI

    For me if I listen to a certain type of music, from many different artists, then come up with the lyrics, then I try singing the lyrics different ways, and when I think I like it, I play the chord roots on my bass. Then I have my guitar friend who is a professional musician help me with the sheet music. I have just started doing this, but, if I sing it into the voice recorder on my smart phone, then I have it, don't lose it, can tweek it, and play it back and play along with it.

    Hope this helps...
  6. MatticusMania

    MatticusMania LANA! HE REMEMBERS ME!

    Sep 10, 2008
    Pomona, SoCal
    This is my preferred method for writing.
  7. Bass_Nishi


    Jul 14, 2013
    Thanks guys! I'll let you know my progress
  8. hsech

    hsech Work hard. My Social Security needs a raise.

    Jun 27, 2012
    Central Iowa
    Plenty of books out there for helping with forming ideas and lyrics for songs. One book that has been a help for me is the "Pocket Rhyming Dictionary". I have no problem with coming up with the music. Much more difficult to come up with lyrics.
  9. tomnomnom91


    Dec 23, 2012
    My preferred method is to write a chorus progression first. Then work backwards, filling in the pre chorus, then verse, and more often than not use the chorus progression for the intro. Obviously this all depends on the song. But however I write, the bridge always comes last. I usually work chord progression - arrangement - structure - melody - lyrics. Or, on the rare occasion I write lyrics first, it's lyrics - structure - melody - chords - arrangement.

    One thing I will say, don't worry about ripping off chord progressions, even intentionally. Overused ones are overused for a reason. It's about what you do with it. And writing with other musicians is a fantastic learning experience. I write the vast majority of my music alone but I always, always learn something whenever I collaborate.

    I have very similar influences as you, so feel free to check out my soundcloud if you want to hear the results of the aforementioned techniques.
  10. NeverIsNow


    Jun 25, 2013
    If your home alone trying use MIDIs to make a cool drum beat just to get the rhythm down pat. Then put lyrics that fit the drum beat, build from there. I almost always go from rhythm to melody
  11. BryanM


    Dec 15, 2007
    Seattle, WA
    There are a thousand different ways to write a song, a lot of which have been posted here already. I could go on for days about this, but here's where I'd start:

    Listen to a lot of the music in the styles that you want to write in, but also try to listen to a lot of other music, get an idea how the vocal structures work for your particular genre and listen to see if you can hear similar chord progressions.

    Try playing around with those chord progressions you hear a lot, record a loop of a chord progression and try writing a story in time with the music, don't worry about rhyming, but have a recorder running, get an idea of what story the song is telling. You can go back and tweak lyrics and rhyming later. You can even just try listening to a song and singing different lyrics.

    If you hit a road block on a song and only have one verse and chorus done, don't hesitate to move on to something else as long as you've got it recorded. Keep the recordings on your phone and try keeping a small notepad with you at all times so that if you get an idea for some lyrics, you can write them down. Periodically sit down either alone or with bandmates to listen back to recordings, look over lyrics or whatever else. Anything previously written can be dissected and cannibalized for a new song, nothing is sacred. Bob Dylan's method was to write down anything he found interesting and put it in a song box, then when he wanted to write, he'd empty the box and look at what he had collected. This led to him doing a lot of plagiarizing, but also to writing a lot of phenomenal songs.

    Lastly, remember what John Lennon said. "A song is never finished, you just eventually have to release it."

    Feel free to PM me if you want to discuss ideas further, I love to write and I'd love to hear others' takes on what methods work.
  12. Jeff Bonny

    Jeff Bonny Inactive

    Nov 20, 2000
    Harrison Mills
    Get a notebook and carry it with you EVERYWHERE. When a line comes to you or someone says something quotable write it down immediately.
    A rhyming dictionary is $10 well spent.
    Don't be scared to write bad songs either because for every good one you'll probably write several stinkers. You just gotta make it part of your daily life and work at it....songs don't come to you as much as you gotta go get them.
  13. I see an irony in the thread title.

  14. Ukiah Bass

    Ukiah Bass

    May 10, 2006
    Sometimes the lyrics, especially the song's "story" will directly impact the feeling of the music (major or minor key, slow, fast, quiet, in your face, etc.). For example, Elton John reportedly was handed lyrics by his music partner and he wrote his songs around those. I just read how Paul McCartney "nicked" the bassline to The Beatles' "I Saw Her Standing There" lock stock and barrel from Chuck Berry's "I'm Talking About You." "I played exactly the same notes as he did and it fitted our number perfectly," he said in an interview in 1964. Lots of ways to go about songwriting.
  15. Step 1. Get WAY high

    Step 2. wait I forgot
  16. How To Write A Song From Start To Completion....

    Well this is how I do it...if it helps anybody....

    1. Figure out what I'm trying to express

    2. Decide whether it will be an instrumental or contain lyrics.

    3. If it's instrumental only I'll noodle on the keyboard with rhythms and riffs and types of instruments and also the time signature and beat.

    4. If it's got lyrics or a song or poetry converted to a song:- I will often write the song using a guitar and then adapt the song to keyboard. Sometimes "guitar to keyboard " works better than just creating on a keyboard for some reason

    5. If it's an already-written song or adapting poetry........edit,edit,edit,edit, and edit some more. Chop or change lyrics around, add "hook" choruses, add "hook" instrument riffs......anything is possible to achieve the desired final outcome.

    6. What to write about for a song?.......anything at all you can think of.......

    7. When I write lyrics I first decide the beat of the song.....because you have to fit the lyrics as smooth as you can to the rhythm.

    8. When I write I have all sorts of reference books around like rhyming dictionaries, Thesaurus, and all types of books on idioms ,jargon and slang. Many songs sound better using popular slang in them because the slang is "catchy".

    9. Songs are often better when you write from the heart rather than trying to "play to the masses" or think that it has to be a boring "formula" song or so "correct" that it's fluffier than a marshmallow.

    10. There's lyrical "hooks" and there are musical "hooks" (like the opening of "Smoke On The Water" for example.
    Sometimes the "hook" is the heart and soul of the song.
    Because people have to remember it......if they don't remember anything "catchy" about's collecting dust in no time.

    11. Stop worrying about what everybody else is writing....

    As soon as a hit comes out.....the sheeple are out there making clones galore............usually the clones are never as good as the original works. Although you could call it a form of "inspiration".

    12. Some people are afraid to write what they feel....and they don't want anybody else seeing it because they feel exposed and vulnerable if they do. So they don't write what they actually feel.......they launder the whole thing into a bland non-descript mess which nobody will bother
    reading or listening to again after they've heard it once.

    13. Once you've finished writing a song...."put it by" for a couple of weeks and then go back and look at it again.
    You'll always notice things you didn't see before....and there's a good chance you'll have something to add to the song that you didn't think of before as well.

    14. Most of the stuff I write is to impress me personally.....but I'm heavy on self I want it as good as I can possibly get it for me.......

    15. Just about everything on this earth has been written about at one time or another........but coming up with new ways to say things never gets old.....

    16. Some writers will say:- "but nobody wants to hear a song about what I feel...I've got to write something that appeals to the general public (or target audience)"
    But you have to remember that whatever you write is actually a reflection of a person living in this current time and age (unless it's intentionally historical).

    Peter Frampton's "Do You Feel Like We Do?" song is IMO a tongue-in-cheek-reference to this isolational effect......and it was a solid hit.
  17. DannyBob


    Aug 28, 2013

    If it works for literally EVERY SONG ON THE FACE OF THE EARTH then it must be good
  18. Lownote38


    Aug 8, 2013
    Nashville, TN
    Ummmm. Just start playing and something will come out. Then, you make it into a song.
  19. or you could just get WAY HIGH