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Post the way your band writes songs!

Discussion in 'Band Management [BG]' started by StrudelBass, Jan 14, 2003.

  1. StrudelBass


    Jul 6, 2002
    Basically, tell how your band operates in song development. What instrument comes first? last? Do you like the way your band creates songs? Etc. etc.

    I'm thinking this might be some help to people just starting out. (Who knows if this will actually be helpful.)
  2. all that happens at my bands jam sessions, is if someone has a riff made up, they play it. then, if it is good, all is added in, structure devoloped, then some lyrics are wrote. thats how most our songs are made...
  3. Bruce Lindfield

    Bruce Lindfield Unprofessional TalkBass Contributor Gold Supporting Member

    My band was making too much money ;) ,so we commissioned writers to write and arrange songs for the band - as there are 13 -14 people in the band, arrangments are the big thing and hardest to get right.

    So we paid Alex Wilson, who won the BBC best Jazz newcomer award and who leads his own Latin band as well as playing with big bands in the UK, to write us a couple of songs and come to Brighton to explain them and lead some workshops.

    So - a lot of Latin American music is based on the percussion and Alex featured things like the "caballero" rhythm for congas - he also wrote us a Merengue song which he titled "La Playa " as we are based on the Sussex Coast! ;)

    We also comissioned a Brazilian songwriter Iffe Tolueno, to write us a big-band Samba with vocals.
    Parts of this are again built on percussion - so it starts with the Brazilian Pandeiro and has a batucada break where everybody play percussion - although Iffe suggested I play a Surdo "impression" on bass!!

    We also have three or four writers/arrangers in the band, who bring written parts along - usually they have parts printed out from software like Sibelius, for each member of the band.
  4. Im in a ska band with four horns (trumpet trombone 2sax)
    songs normally come in from one persons idea and at different levels
    our guitarist likes to write almost the whole song, horn lines and hrmonies, chord progressions etc.
    the rest of us mainly bring in a couple of riffs for the horns and a chord progression
    these then get worked on, added to, twisted in various different ways with input from everybody until the song is done
    we then all sit around and write the lyrics as a group

    im a big fan of everything being done as a group
    there may be nore arguments but the songs turn out better and more fun for everyone cos everyone has sumthing of there own in there
  5. TxBass


    Jul 3, 2002
    Frisco, Texas
    we've done the "rif thing", where the song is built from a basic progression and we've also had songs brought in from each member (with words/chords already written). This has worked well too because none of us has issue with changes being made to our stuff---besides that's what gives the whole group ownership of it. We've even got a drummer who writes stuff!;)
  6. moley


    Sep 5, 2002
    Hampshire, UK
    Damnit, Bruce, that's cheating!! :D

    BTW, Mr Lindfield, this is exactly the sort of thread that would be suitable for you-know-what... :D
  7. Bruce Lindfield

    Bruce Lindfield Unprofessional TalkBass Contributor Gold Supporting Member

    You mean the Music Theory that Alex Wilson and Iffe Tolueno explained to us in their workshops? ;)

    Actually, the way the question is worded, fits perfectly under band management!
  8. moley


    Sep 5, 2002
    Hampshire, UK
    No! The question was:

    This isn't theory! But I'm not getting into another ****ing argument, so there the matter ends. This is not a theory thread.

    You will now be returned to your scheduled thread on approaches to songwriting, folks...
  9. Bruce Lindfield

    Bruce Lindfield Unprofessional TalkBass Contributor Gold Supporting Member

    Well if you know the theory behind arranging songs the you can get it right first time - otherwise you can do it by trial and error as this suggests, but take longer, make mistakes etc.

    Theory - just helps you explain how it's done and is a way of documenting what works and what doesn't - so you don't have to start from scratch every time!
  10. usually, i come up with a bunch of riffs and chord progressions and play them for our drummer to find a beat for each section, then i explain the song to the guitarist and give him chords, then we play through as a band and decide on structure of the songs.
  11. my guitarist or myself comes up with a part, we see what the other guy is doing, and jam on it. our singer goes into his notebook to find something that fits, and we just let our drummer do his thing and figure it out for himself (we don't really talk to him:D ). usually if my guitarist writes the verses, and we need a chorus part, i'll make it. we just take what the other person has and try to complement it; that's what it's all about.
  12. recently i have been stting in front of my computer and making up my compositions in midi
  13. Im trying to be succesful with a recently-created band. We are three "musicians": two guitars and me, the bass player. Two of us write all lyrics...now about 3...lolz, and after reading all this topic maybe we have to change our minds.
    we are spanish and write lyrics before music. Now we are trapped in the way we could introduce music to our lyrics...its not an easy thing for us, novicers, but we´ll do it someday i hope.
    Any comments or advices plz...here
  14. slam

    slam Guest

    Mar 22, 2000
    I am playing with a new band for the past few months. The music we play is hard to describe, kind of like reggae-acid jazz-hiphop fusion. About ten pieces more or less, depending on who shows up. Players range in age from 19 to 60.

    We get together and just jam and improvise and tape everything. The singer has a bunch of lyrics he has written and he will match our grooves with his lyrics. We listen to the tapes after the session and pick out the good parts and build songs around them, adding intros and bridges.

    This method is working really well for us. I like to call it organic music.

    It has been interesting gigging with this band. The first few gigs we had absolutely no material. We just got up and jammed and made up songs live. Scary but fun. The last gig we did we had a couple of songs kind of tight but still a lot of improvised material. People seem to like what we do so we must be doing something right.
  15. Our singer writes all our songs (chord progressions and lyrics)...but we still play our own riffs, or change the rhythm/tempo, etc., plus sometimes we'll change the way a chorus/verse/bridge is played entirely (incl. chords if necessary) if we have a better idea. We also suggest ideas to each other too...our lead guitarist will tell me to try playing certain things at times and vice versa.

    We've tried writing songs without our singer, and we can jam on instrumental stuff sometimes, but we've pretty much accepted that our singer is the songwriter in the group, and that's cool with us...his songs are really good...except for the "I love spaghetti" song he played yesterday. :rolleyes:
  16. I have so far only been in three bands that played original material in its set lists, out of the many bands that I have been in.

    First band, an amateur high school outfit I played lead guitar in, both myself and the singer/rhythm guitar player wrote songs. We'd bring in songs already written, with the lyrics and chord sequences written out on notebook paper not unlike how some cats post chord tabs on the internet now, and play them in front of the rest of the band to give an idea of how they should go.

    Second band, my first pro outfit, the lead guitarist brought in a song of his own to try out, and he did the same thing.

    Third band that used original material, a lot of it came out of jamming, sometimes a couple of us would write a song on the spot and the whole band would arrange it. One song of ours came out of jamming a parody of a riff similar to "Love Removal Machine", only with a different feel in the rest of the head arrangement. Then all four of us wrote the lyrics on the spot, stuck a blank tape in a boom box, and recorded a couple of rehearsals and a couple of straight complete takes of the song for the "demo".

    Any future project of mine will probably come out of some rather anal-retentive demos done at home using hard-disk recording (Acid Pro 4.0).

    Moral of the story: Whatever works!
  17. Don't knock it just yet... one band I was in once jammed out a ska song called "Little Rice Krispies" during a practice... thank god the tape was running at the time. It came out pretty good and funny. We even did it live a couple of times!
  18. my band, sometimes its a riff someone brings to practice. occassionally somone will write all the parts, but usually that ends up with people getting mad 'cause they don't like their part.
    hopefully we have the old reel-to-reel recorder running to pick up stuff that we play so we dont forget it. Most likely one of us will bring one riff, then we will make the rest of the riffs for the song on the spot, using the original riff as the style guide. I don't even try to do drums, the drummer can figure that out on his own.
  19. Ok, thx you all for your advices...now the guitar player is writing some riffs that sound well so we´ll put it on lyris soon. I have one last qestion...Is it using the root note to support the guitar chord with the bass the most effective way to make a simple bass line? ciao
  20. thrash_jazz


    Jan 11, 2002
    Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
    Artist: JAF Basses, Circle K Strings
    This question would be better answered in General Instruction, and it has been covered many times - try a search.

    It really depends on what style of music you're playing. In rock, for example, there are a lot of bass lines that stick with the root, whereas a jazz bass line that stuck with pedal points the whole song would probably not go over too well.

    On the whole, I think that it is, in most cases, possible to come up with a line that doesn't stick to root notes, yet flows, serves the song and doesn't step on any toes.