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Song writing

Discussion in 'General Instruction [BG]' started by Icarus26, Sep 18, 2008.

  1. Hello there. i've been playing 6 months now. Barely a month with a full band. We've been working on covering songs, which i feel is a good start so we get used to each other, even though we're all good friends already.

    but my real question is, how exactly does a person go about writing a song? Haha i know it's up to my creativity, but i'd like an outline or guide to how to go about making a full song. Maybe i can show my bandmates a little something and they'll go along with it.
  2. Kuchar


    May 31, 2006
    I find it pretty hard to write songs on bass, but normally when I write a song it just kind of comes to me. I'll be playing my bass and then I'll play a really badass sounding riff (at least to me) and then I'll be like, "Hey, that was cool." Then I'll play it again and again and eventually ill break into something else that goes along with it. Then I write words. Bring in the rest of the band for ideas, we come up with a break, maybe a solo and walah. Song.
  3. lexxmexx


    Apr 7, 2008
    Songwriting is usually done via the following approaches. Composers usually won't stick to one approach, they can employ different approaches from time to time.

    1) write the melody first, then put in the chords and lyrics
    2) borrow or create chord progressions and then improv on the melody and lyrics
    3) write the lyrics, like poems, then fit in the melody and chords

    Song arrangements can be done by one person or as a band where everyone contributes their sound and style to the music.
  4. Traver


    Sep 25, 2007
    Honestly, there are a million (or at least a lot of) ways to go about writing music. What do you write first? The drum beat? The bassline? The melody? The chord progression? The lyrics? Different songwriters prefer different things.
    I think the way to get started with writing music is simply sitting down with the instrument of your choice and improvise on the instrument until you play something you think sounds good. Then write it down or record it and start building on top of that.
  5. Actually bass is a very easy and simply instrument to write songs on. You have root movement and when you sing there is melody. .... That's all you need. Now, if you can't sing, which is near impossible, you've got a problem, so you'd better start.
    Now starting to learn about writing music is a little different. Start with a standard 12-bar progression. It works well because there is only three cords (1,4,5) and one resolves (5), then it repeats. If you don't know what a 12-bar is you've got a lot of work to do before you start writing songs, or at least songs anyone will listen to. Another way is to take a song you already know and understand and rewrite the words and then change the melody. That's more of a workbook exercise.
    Don't give up, songs get better the more you write. But believe in yourself and be honest. The world doesn't need another crappy song writer.
    In the beginning, song writers wrote songs and singers sang them. The Beatles changed all that. Payola is still alive and well in the radio business. The cream does not flow to the top. Money floats the crap up from the bottom. Radio is in the business to sell tires and donuts not promote music. Music is sometime it plays in-between commercials. Don't write songs for the radio, but the time to write, record and promote you'll be 6-months too late.
    To thy own self be true.
  6. spiltmilk_2000


    Jul 14, 2008
    everyone has their own favourite starting blocks but here's my take on it...

    For me, songwriting is all (well 90%) about melody! I will generally hum melodies all the time until i stumble across something that sticks in my head. if i can still remember it when i get home from work etc then generally i think it must be catchy and progress it. I'll figure out which key its in and find a few chords to harmonise it. Generally once you have some chords and a melody you get a feel for the kind of song it'll become and lyrical ideas start to suggest themselves.

    by this time i'll generally have chords, a melody and perhaps a lyrical hook and for years thats where i'd dry up. Ive always been pretty critical about my own lyrics so id maybe scrape together 1 verse and chorus before running out of inspiration. However, now i will just brainstorm / do some word association excercises from my lyrical hook or title and ive found that normally gives me enough to scrape out a couple more verses and a bridge!

    the best piece of songwriting advice ive ever had was from a professional who has had numerous chart toppers all over the world. He said whatever you do always make sure you finish a song. even if you get mid way and decide it's sh!t you shuld still finish it before moving on to something new. Its the hardest part and like anything in music take lots of practice. Otherwise, if you're self critical like me, you'll end up with hundreds of little ideas or choruses etc but nothing finished which you can play to someone and proudly say 'I wrote this!'

    anyway, hope that gives you an approach to try! :)
  7. In my band it usually goes like this....the guitar player comes up with a chord progrssion, the drummer starts playing something, I figure out how to connect those two with a bass line, and lastly the singer comes up with a melody to go on top. Kind of backwards in a way, but it seems to work.
  8. mambo4


    Jun 9, 2006
    I used to approach it similar to what lonestarwings outlines:
    come up with a chord progression, and then improv lyrics over it until I get something I like.

    Now days, altho I write a lot less, I strive to come up with a melody first -away form any instrument - then I try to recreate it on bass or guitar. Once I know exactly what notes I'm using, I harmonize it. I guess I feel I can come up with a stronger melody that way, and am less constrained by instrumental habits.

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