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Discussion in 'Miscellaneous [BG]' started by bassbully, Nov 1, 2010.

  1. bassbully

    bassbully Endorsed by The PHALEX CORN BASS..mmm...corn!

    Sep 7, 2006
    Blimp City USA
    Anyone around here do any songwriting? It doesnt have to be for a band or bass for that matter. I enjoy writing songs on acoustic guitar and hopefully plan to record and perform them when I feel I am ready.

    What influences your writing? Who do you look up to as songwriters,style,type etc. I thought I would throw this out and see if there was anything to share.
  2. http://www.google.com/search?source...q=Kacey+Musgraves&spell=1&fp=110378f8f03be8cc

    Kacie Musgraves grew up here and is now working as a songwriter in Nashville. I had a chance to ask Kacie a few questions last week. I was interested in how she starts the process, i.e. Story or melody - which comes first. She answered; "Both ways, sometime it's the story and then other times a melody is looking for a story".

    She writes four days a week, and on Friday takes her new songs around Nashville.

    For what it is worth I start with the story, with out the story no need for the song.
    • Story first. Lyrics - a rough draft of what I want to say in the first verse, then what is going to be said in the second verse, chorus and last verse. Then all that gets put into a .......
    • Verse structure. Four line verse, some rhyme some do not.
    • Cookie cutter chord progression next. I'm Country so I IV V I or I IV I V I work for a first draft. Complete progression in the first two lines of the verse - repeated in the 3rd and 4th. Remember it's a first draft.
    • When the lyrics, verse and chord progression flow .......
    • Time for the melody. Keyboard works best for me.
    • Melody notes come from the chord's pentatonic. Having the chords first and using the chords pentatonic notes - harmonizing the melody line and the chord line becomes a piece of cake. One melody note per lyric word - which pentatonic note sounds best with this word and does it flow with what has been said and will be said next?
    • Once I get the first verse I'll use that same format for the other verses. The chorus probably will follow this same format. The chorus is the hook.
    • That gets a lead sheet first draft. And that is normally as far as my songs go.
    Now that and $1.37 will get you a cup of coffee in East Texas.

    Spell check not working right now - sorry.
  3. bassbully

    bassbully Endorsed by The PHALEX CORN BASS..mmm...corn!

    Sep 7, 2006
    Blimp City USA
    Nice! Thanks, do you add a bridge to your songs? Some? What about keeping away from using the same old chord progressions or falling into that trap...the ones where the "voice" fits the best :meh:
  4. Well like I said mine normally do not see the light of day. No I do not add a bridge, or an intro, - our band does not use intros, we just start, won't get into that being right or wrong. The lead break will normally come after the first chorus and before the third verse. After the break we play the 3rd verse repeat the chorus and close by repeating the last line of the chorus. Just basic stuff.

    As far as running out of melody by using the same chord progression - has not been a problem. I IV V has written thousands of Country songs. I normally just use the pentatonic which gives three chord tones and two safe passing notes, that seems to be enough. Now nothing keeping you from using all seven notes of the scale and then adding the harmonizing note into your existing chord as an extension or modify it to a sus chord. Remember you've got more than just roots for the melody.

    Course understand I'm Country and I IV V contain every note in the tonic scale, thus those three chords, sooner or later, are really all we need to harmonize a melody as long as the melody stays in the tonic scale.

    Here is a chart than can be used to harmonize a specific melody note and may help add some color.
    If you are trying to harmonize the ........
    1 degree of the scale try I, IV, vi or ii7 chords of that key, 
    as they will have the 1st degree note in their makeup.
    2 degree of the scale try V, ii7, iii7 chords of that key.
    3 degree of the scale try I, vi, iii chords of that key.
    4 degree of the scale try IV, ii, v7 chords of that key.
    5 degree of the scale try V, I, iii chords of that key.
    6 degree of the scale try IV, ii, vi chords of that key.
    7 degree of the scale try V7, iii, Imaj7 chords of that key. 
    Be careful that the chord being inserted does not wreck your rest, tension, 
    climax, resolution and return to rest journey you've built with the I IV V I.
    Of curse IMHO. Have fun.
  5. Stumbo

    Stumbo Wherever you go, there you are. Supporting Member Commercial User

    Feb 11, 2008
    Song Surgeon slow downer. https://tinyurl.com/y5dcuqjg
    Beatles, Eagles, Dylan, Flogging Molly. I also listen to a lot of blues (acoustic/electric) and have fun creating my own lyrics.

    I picked up a couple of books on Songwriting:

    Shortcuts to Hit Songwriting: 126 Proven Techniques for Writing Songs That Sell and Songwriting for Dummies

    Some useful info on structure and idea generation.

    Also, for some variations on voicing/progressions:



    The P/I book has some useful chord progressions/voicings in many keys and a useful chart of each key and its related chords.

    I also want to pick up a couple of books that have the chords and analysis of hit songs. A Beatles song book would be handy too.

    For writing songs, I usually come up with the chords (on acoustic guitar) and most times I'll play with the rhythm/tempo/voicings. Then I'll work out the melody vocally, singing lyrics that may or may not fit. Then I'll work on the lyrics more seriously.

    Sometimes the chords don't work themselves into a song, more like a chord exercise. Maybe they come up again later and work themselves with another chord exercise that becomes part of a song's structure. For me, it's not necessarily a linear method.

    I use those sheets of printed guitar fretboards to make note of the chords I come up and any lyric ideas that I have. Maybe a song name as well. For me, having a song title seems to help. Sometimes the songs morph themselves from one topic to another as the song evolves.

    I also have a whole bunch lyrics/poems written quite awhile ago that were never put to music. Maybe I'll suss them out and put them to use. I done a lot of paper writing in general and it definitely helps with the lyrics.

    I definitely need to improve my standard notation skills. +1 for all the bassists that have put in the time to sight read and use S/N to write music.

    I don't usually finish one song at a time. I play without worrying about a "song". I might have several chord exercises in progress that may or may not turn into songs. I've been doing some very basic home recordings using the free (and decent to use) Krystal Audio Engine that I found a link to on TB.

    Even though I've played rhythm guitar forever, I'm still a novice at all of this but having a great time doing it! Good luck with your recordings.
  6. bassbully

    bassbully Endorsed by The PHALEX CORN BASS..mmm...corn!

    Sep 7, 2006
    Blimp City USA
    Thanks for the information. I write all my songs off life experiences good or bad but most are bad...dont know why. I didnt start out wanting to write dark songs like say Townes Van Zandt although I love his music and writing.
    Most of the time I get a lyric Idea from something I am going thru or someone else is in my life and go with it. I cant turn off my brain sometimes. I then chart it out and pick up my guitar and pick out the chords and melody to work with it.
    I try to stay simple in my playing, chord wise to allow the words of the song to come thru which it important since to me each song is a personal story. If I wanted to play just guitar, I could. I do fingerpick allot so I can add accents to notes and make the song fuller or lay back and make it sparse.

    Allot of my music is in the line of Townes Van Zandt, Steve Earle, John Prine, Wille Nelson, Kris Kristofferson some of the songwritters I look up to and follow. I find If I follow my heart my head will do the rest. Peace.

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