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How do you go about writing music?

Discussion in 'General Instruction [BG]' started by grahambo420, Sep 23, 2003.


  1. So basically, I'm a writer. I write song lyrics all the time, and lately, I've had the obsession with trying to write music to go along with the melodies that I already have in my head. I just wanted to know how those of you who write music go about it. I play enough guitar to get by, but I've been having problems with my rythmns changing when I start with guitar. And when i try to start with bass I have problems because in order to sing the songs, I need to keep the bass line simple, and I somehow always manage to overcomplicate it. Suggestions, experiences, anything you've got to share is welcome, thanks.
     
  2. Josh Ryan

    Josh Ryan - that dog won't hunt, Monsignor. Staff Member Supporting Member

    Mar 24, 2001
    I rip off Barry Manilow ever chance I get.


    I write the songs that make the whole world sing
    I write the songs of love and special things
    I write the songs that make the young girls cry
    I write the songs, I write the songs.

    Thanks Barry.
     
  3. P. Aaron

    P. Aaron Supporting Member

    Like most people, if it's new whether it's your own composition or someone else's, there's coordination involved. Repetition y'know, and over time, you'll(should) get better at it.
    Take lessons if necessary.
     
  4. Bruce Lindfield

    Bruce Lindfield Unprofessional TalkBass Contributor Gold Supporting Member

    Get a metronome and start with that!
     
  5. jazzbo

    jazzbo

    Aug 25, 2000
    San Francisco, CA
    First thing I do is start a thread in General Instruction.
     
  6. How about:

    I'm too sexy for my keyboard,
    too sexy for my keyboard,
    'cause I'm too sexy.

    I'm too sexy for my mousepad,
    too sexy for my mousepad,
    'cause I'm way too sexy.

    :):)

    ed
     
  7. shon

    shon

    Nov 27, 2002
    Healdsburg, CA!!
    The post above me is about as dorky as they come...harhar


    Try to create relavant chord changes. Just play for a really long time...burn some midnight oil. Spend a day or two.
     
  8. How do you go about writing music?

    I usually will hear a phrase in my head, I write down what I am hearing..usually bits and pieces.
    When I get home, I play or tinker with what I've heard, and manipulate any number of ways.
    I do not trust my memory enough to keep the tune past two days in my head.
    I'm almost always carrying a small notepad..I've been struck at all kinds moments...dorky, yes..but it does get these bits and pieces on paper..till I can think and score it out better later on.
     
  9. Garry Goodman

    Garry Goodman

    Feb 26, 2003
    a format many composers use for commercial writing , sort of being a 'short order cook ' in order to get music written quickly is to think of the form first ,such as AABA, verse/chorus. Then the section lengths are decided like the A section is 8 bars ,they repeat A ,the B section is eight bars,then back to eight bars of A.
    If you have a melody in your head,determine the type of phrase it is.It could be two, four bar primary phrases(the one that endsonbeat one of bar four) for example . If there is no melody ,many write chord changes in first so the have a harmonic frame work. The determine a style,like a ballad ,or funk or what ever. Then with the form,style,chords ,they play around with the melody until they get that "right one"

    I wasn't sure if you also meant writing the notation correctly ,but as you know the 17th fret on the bass guitars G string sounds the same as middle C on the piano (first ledger line below treble clef) Most commercial sheet music places the vocals in that octave and into the octave above it for female vocals.

    Once you have determined the style ,you can write a bass line appropriate to the style ,and orchestrat the other parts in terms of instrument funtion,like beats 2 and 4 are guitar chords and bass is on beat 1 and 3.

    Just some thoughts.
     
  10. Ninestring, I've just started taking Piano Classes at school.
    I work strictly with music now....the analogy of the short order cook was excellent.
    I write down the chords that I hear...get home and run them down on the piano.
    I'll bring my score to work on mentally bang out what I think over and over--the process almost never seems to stop, it even invades the dream world at times.

    It's only sometime later when I'm mostly satisfied
    with the tune that I will work on a bass line.
    It's a slow process, but it's working for me.
    It's not unusual to change things from day to day in/on the tune....
    Composing is very new to me, I've had a longing to give it a go for quite some time...but only recently have given it a try.






    Registered: Feb 2003
    Location: Vista,CA

    a format many composers use for commercial writing , sort of being a 'short order cook ' in order to get music written quickly is to think of the form first ,such as AABA, verse/chorus. Then the section lengths are decided like the A section is 8 bars ,they repeat A ,the B section is eight bars,then back to eight bars of A.
    If you have a melody in your head,determine the type of phrase it is.It could be two, four bar primary phrases(the one that endsonbeat one of bar four) for example . If there is no melody ,many write chord changes in first so the have a harmonic frame work. The determine a style,like a ballad ,or funk or what ever. Then with the form,style,chords ,they play around with the melody until they get that "right one"

    I wasn't sure if you also meant writing the notation correctly ,but as you know the 17th fret on the bass guitars G string sounds the same as middle C on the piano (first ledger line below treble clef) Most commercial sheet music places the vocals in that octave and into the octave above it for female vocals.

    Once you have determined the style ,you can write a bass line appropriate to the style ,and orchestrat the other parts in terms of instrument funtion,like beats 2 and 4 are guitar chords and bass is on beat 1 and 3.

    Just some thoughts.
     
  11. I usually prefer to start with the chords and a rhythm section groove first. After that, the melody comes on top. I find that helps, since what the rhythm section is doing inspires a melody (at least in my case). If it's a jazz tune though, I just come up with a good melody, find the key centres and dress it up with II-V's
     
  12. Garry Goodman

    Garry Goodman

    Feb 26, 2003
    it is exciting when you get the "fire burning ". It sounds like you are right on track. it's great to read about it and that you share your process.

    I try to keep in mind that a number of great composer/educators have taken the time to outline the essential elements so the process has some "street signs" to stay on track with . The idea of established song form ,phrases , three chord funtions ,119 chord progressions , nine chord families and about twenty scale source are good guidlines to help finalize a finished product. All of which mean nothing if you don't have a strong desire to write. You sound like you have no problem with that!