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Song Writing

Discussion in 'Miscellaneous [BG]' started by ARA punk, Jun 2, 2003.

  1. ARA punk

    ARA punk

    Jul 11, 2001
    USA, Shelby, NC
    My friend Cameron and i have finally started writing material. We've been talking about it for a long time and we finally got to it. Does anyone have any advice? How do you go about writing songs? I'm sure this is asked all the time but do you write music first, then words? Same time? I'm just curious how everyone else goes about this.
  2. I either start jamming out music, or I have stuff shooting through my head. Or I think of different topics, or stories that I might want to write about and add music in my head while I write the lyrics and vocal melody. Or I just pick up anouther instrument all together or beat box(Not proficiant at all) something to get it out of my head. I've found that changing your perception on things can help you write. Like playing something on a keyboard, or on the dreaded G word.

    Oh yea, humming can help out alot as well along with improving vocal melodies/harmonies
  3. I try to write lyrics first, but I don't know if there's a set state of mind on how to write songs. I just grab my notepad and write down lyircs that come into my head, and try and piece some of them together to make a song. But sometimes, my band will write some music and tell me to put lyrics to them.
  4. moley


    Sep 5, 2002
    Hampshire, UK
    I'm a music-first man, myself.
  5. ARA punk

    ARA punk

    Jul 11, 2001
    USA, Shelby, NC
    we've gotten one song about halfway finished... and i just sat down w/ my guitar and started playing a nifty little riff and played it over and over again until a line came to my head. And we just worked from there. Man, I cant imagine how tough it would be to compose something elaborate as JT's music etc.
  6. I think there is no set way to write music regarding music or lyrics first. In my own experience I usually let some rhythm riff suggest the number of syllables I need and it goes from there.

    In general though, the best piece of advice I can give you is to write about something that means something to you - write from the heart. If you don't, you sully your music and your art.

    Also, don't fall into the trap of forcing your will upon a song. Songs just happen. The best example I can give you is that of the carvings of Inuit Indians. They will turn a piece of bone or tusk over in their hands until a form suggests itself. They NEVER start out saying that they are going to carve a fish or an elk. This doesn't mean you don't have to WORK at it - it just means that songs reveal themselves - sometimes over time. I have spent as much as 20 years working on a song - or as little as a couple of hours.
  7. AltIII


    Sep 3, 2002
    now if you guys could recommend a way of continuing a song. I've written halfs, thirds and quarters of song, but very rarely do I finish one. I just have a good idea, but sometimes I don't know how to flesh it out into more than one verse. I just constatly run into barriers like that and the songs never get finished. even if I try to finish them a couple days later, I forget what the original idea was.

    I think it is helpful to put ideas into categories; verse, chorus, beginning, transition, middle 8, ending, ect. Also, if you can't remember an idea the next day, it's probably not worth remembering. Good ideas stay with you.

    Right now I am writing lyrics - slowly - to an idea that is either verse or chorus - it could work as either. But whole sections of the song are incomplete. I don't have another section, a middle 8 or a transition. I am still waiting for those sections to reveal themselves. But the basic idea - this melody and the lyrics - I have already turned over in my brain a thousand times trying to make the RIGHT words to an idea fit. This is just my process, mileage may vary.

    Finally, and I am a BIG believer in this personally: I don't trust writing my basic ideas in my head, they always come to me from playing guitar. I firmly believe that the truest creative process is a joint endeavor between the hands and the brain...JMHO.......or as Jackson Pollock said, "I deny the accident."
  9. This may or may not help, but I do two things in general:

    1) Write the bassline first, then lyrics. Then I mentally "hear" how I want the guitar and drums to sound, and write the guitar to match.

    2) Go backwards. Sometimes I'll be screwing around and come up with a riff I think is great for the middle of a song, and I'll work in reverse.

    As for getting stuck, maybe write lyrics to what you have done, and figure out the "flavor" of the song from that point. For instance, if you're writing something emotional and you get to a point in the lyrics where it builds up to angriness, it'll naturally go into a big chorus or something, depending on your tastes.
  10. Update: I have a middle 8 for the new song...that is if I want to use traditional song format. I may add another variation and just make it a rondo. The song could work either way.

    I'll live with it for a while longer..but its closer to being completed and all I did was think about it and stay out of my own way.
  11. int


    Jan 21, 2002
    Phoenix, AZ
    I just try to go with the flow and remember to stop before the song gets too repetitive.

    My problem is over-analyzing - I would write 50 parts and 14 key and time changes if I had my way. But alas, I have other musicians to deal with.

    That and I play punk/hardcore.

    Yip, all those jazz lessons payed off.

    Just pay attention and you'll figure it out.
  12. Eric Cioe

    Eric Cioe

    Jun 4, 2001
    Missoula, MT
    Piece by piece. You start layering parts, and they keep coming until you are done. Some classical music is written like this too. You can tell with Gustav Holst's the planets. It's just layered, until it won't layer no mo.

  13. I wrote a song about that actually - the chorus was:

    "Just layer until you can't layer no more.."

    or something like that....;) :D
  14. Eric Cioe

    Eric Cioe

    Jun 4, 2001
    Missoula, MT
    See? Works for the Big O, should work for you!:D