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You've got to change your "Composition ways"...

Discussion in 'Band Management [BG]' started by Aussiephoenix, Dec 16, 2005.

  1. I'd like to get something off my chest... maybe get you guys to share some of your experiences as well...

    I've been with this band for about a year now, It's gone through 2 Drummers and 3 Singers. Obviously this sets the band back, and we endup scrapping some songs, others we keep but need to rework.
    Either way, we havent really got much to show for the year we've been together, 2 completed songs and a bunch of semi-finished-sick-of-playing-it songs.

    We've been getting frustrated, and it shows when we are composing. we'll finish fixing up the latest riff only to be dumbstruck as to what to play next... and everyone goes in their own directions as to what to play...

    So, the last few jams have not only been pointless but extremely frustrating.

    Last night we had another, but at the start of it, we had a long talk explaining how we're all getting frustrated but we dont want to quit the band. after that we played NOTHING that we had ever played before,

    just complete freedom of movement... the drummer setup a simple beggining rhythm, I started laying a loose groove down, the guitarrist started doing his thing... but the thing was, we had decided to not play that "Safety-riff"... if we went crazy and screwed it up, stuff it. just do it.
    and I tell you...

    it felt Gooooood...

    For the first time, I was relaxed playing with them, we were enjoying it to the max, I was trying things that I would never have attempted before in fear of screwing up.

    I wasnt even physically "aware" of what the other guys were playing. just felt it and it flowed...

    At the end of it I started analysing it, and I realised, I felt that good cause I wasnt being constricted to a certain Idea or riff type. I was free to play however I wanted... we always stuck around the same soundtype, no sudden changes, but always hanging the dynamics of it, and changing riffs freely, but keeping them within melody context.

    Now, in doing this, we have a BASE for a song... and we might not need to make up TOO much more to consider that song finished... but for that bit that we need to make a diferent change like for a chorus or something like that, how would you guys go about FINDING that missing riff?

    I fear that we will go into that trial and error thing and grow frustrated with yet another song...

    How do you guys go about composing?
    What works best for you?
  2. chaosMK


    May 26, 2005
    Albuquerque, NM
    Hi-fi into an old tube amp
    We just try and keep it fun and feeding off of each other's groove. If no one has great energy for composing, or we arent feeling it, we take a break. If everyone is feeling smart, I'll try and bust out some of my odd-time stuff.
  3. Close your eyes, hear it in your head, play it. Works for me (most of the time anyway :D)

  4. Yeah, that usually works for me too...

    The problem is that the rest of my band have a diferent method... they try to rationalise it and throw up a riff to see if it sticks... and if it doesnt, then we'll put a bridge somewhere in the middle there...

    what we end up with are some pretty cool riffs that dont really flow (in my opinion) as a song should... :(
  5. Tingly


    Jul 16, 2005
    Yonkers, NY
    You may have already discovered a good way to compose. Do the same thing again, but change ONE thing at a time, tempo, chords, key, solo. When something works AND fits the "base song" - that's your chorus, or "missing riff," as you called it.
  6. jwl


    Jan 25, 2005
    i left my last band for this very reason. the band leader was a great idea man but did not know when to call a song a song and move on. i have been composing in my studio by myself for the last five years and could not be happier. when i compose, i start with either a bass line or a rythym guitar line. i have one rule: that when the song is done, i should be able to strip away all the parts except the original part, and still hear the song. once the original part is tracked, i do not force my agenda on the song. i let the other parts develope naturally and i let the song write itself. this approach is working very well for me. peace, jeff
  7. Hey guys, thanks for taking the time to read through my rant...

    well, we had another terrible jam yesterday, nobody could agree with each other, and Im frankly getting sick of it...
  8. Dkerwood


    Aug 5, 2005
    Geez... that's why I don't usually write with people. Free jamming is fun, but usually it doesn't go beyond the first chord progression.

    Usually what I'll do is write a basic song with chords, lyrics and a basic form on my own. Then I'll bring that to the band and we'll flesh it out from there.

    Occasionally, I'll jam with the band when I've got a cool riff that I don't know what to do with. Then we'll play for a while and keep changing a few things until I find something that inspires me to continue. But to do that for an entire song? Man, I can't even imagine working like that.

    You might try having everybody write a bit on their own (probably within a specified key) and see if you can't stick the pieces together. I've found many a cool riff just because my drummer started playing in half time when I had been thinking about it in 4 the whole time.
  9. When I am composing alone I just put on the drum machine and improvise until I play a cool lick. I write it down, then keep going. Every once in a while I speed up/slow down the drums and/or change the drum beat, then improv over that.

    My whole band takes this approach. We all bring our new riffs, and pick one to start with. We each write an easy part that goes with it, then improv around it, and improve on it while we take turns soloing over everyone to spice it up. After a while, we have a righteous groove ready to be an arranged song.

    Plus, a large %age of our gigs are improvised like this, so figuring out solos is important, too.

    Improv is the best way to compose IMO
  10. McHaven


    Mar 1, 2005
    I've recently had an experience like this. I used to be a "oh well i can't find a tab, so let's not play it" kind of guy. My guitarist started up a song I know of, but I don't know the part, mainly because I can't remember passing tones and whatnot 100%. But I decided screw it, I'll make it up as I go. Now it sounds great. I've loosened up and just jammed now and its awesome