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Writing to Your Full Potential
Old 16th June 2017
  #1
Writing to Your Full Potential

I've been looking around for exercises or some sort of path to writing lyrics in a more open and honest way. I feel as though my lyrics are restricted by the melody, and overall structure of the song, as well as the concept I am writing about. Much focus gets placed on the concept but I am not necessarily satisfied with the overall expression - even after fleshing out the lyrics I still feel it is impersonal and lacks the intimacy that I enjoy in other people's writing.

In a lot of the music I have been listening to, the variation in the melody keeps my attention, and songwriters are even able to create parts of the song based around the melodic direction - changes happen to "highlight" a lyrical moment, and there is enough variation from verse to verse to differentiate what part of the song you're in. It feels more open, and free flowing - as opposed to something that feels like it's within this box. Am I just too afraid to change up the song?

Examples (Albums)
- The Swell Season "Strict Joy"
- Nick Cave "Push The Sky Away" & "Skeleton Tree"
- The National "Boxer"
- Ani Difranco "Puddle Dive" & "Dilate"
- Daniel Johns "Talk"
- Fiona Apple "When The Pawn"
- The Smashing Pumpkins "Mellon Collie"
- Bjork "Vespertine"

All these albums have a flow to them - they almost feel conversational.

Are there any tips and tricks you might have that keeps things into perspective when writing? Was there any "ah ha!" moments throughout your journey that you can attribute to a certain practice? Looking for any kind of advice in active ways to get better. I have read "writing better lyrics", by what's his face, but I have never really been into his country song way of writing, or the focus he places on the listener - I'm not trying to be the next Jason Mraz. I definitely place more of a focus on songwriting as an art rather than craft - not to say that Mraz is not an artist, but let's be real - there is a difference between writing a song and writing a single.

How did you learn to write to your full potential?
Old 8th July 2017
  #2
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I actually hope that I'm not yet in my full potential, as I think and feel I've still a lot to learn, heh.

This might sound little bit weird but one thing that has made me a better writer has been studying the language I'm writing with. I've mostly written my lyrics in Finnish as it is my native language and I've read alot texts in old Finnish dialect and old poetric meters (Kalevala meter for example). This is propably the most important factor that has made me a better writer; to know and understand your language. Wider the vocabulary, better the writer I think. I've also done this with English but I still have alot more work to do compared to Finnish.

Secondly; try to "taste" the words and phrases you are using. Speak them out, sing them, try to feel the words inside your heart and mind. If your own text can not make you feel, how could they make anybody else feel?

And as a third tip try this; when you are writing lyrics, try not to write lyrics. This is something I've been training and experimenting on for a year or so. When I'm writing I make myself thinking that I'm writing a poem, a letter or just a piece of diary. When you are able to get out of the mind set of writing lyrics, I'm sure the outcome will be more than satisfactory.

I hope my answer will give you even some help or new ideas to work with. Cheers!
Old 29th July 2017
  #3
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Bob Ross's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by justinheronmusic View Post
Was there any "ah ha!" moments throughout your journey that you can attribute to a certain practice? Looking for any kind of advice in active ways to get better.
I think the "ah-ha!" moment for me came when I recognized that lyrics don't need to make strict grammatical or even syntactical sense, so long as they convey the ideas or feelings you're striving for. And so if the prosody isn't sitting quite right I may rearrange the order of words -- something you would never do when having a conversation, but a tactic that lends itself to the poetic license songwriters can take advantage of.
Old 25th November 2018
  #4
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writing university just for me

Quote:
Originally Posted by Bob Ross View Post
I think the "ah-ha!" moment for me came when I recognized that lyrics don't need to make strict grammatical or even syntactical sense, so long as they convey the ideas or feelings you're striving for. And so if the prosody isn't sitting quite right I may rearrange the order of words -- something you would never do when having a conversation, but a tactic that lends itself to the poetic license songwriters can take advantage of.
I was a student, I had the same thoughts ... The main idea was “high-performance test”. I believed in my charisma and thought about the benefits of the great practice. If I write 5-8 thousand sheets of lyrics, I will become a good writer. I have had 2 years of collaboration with writingcreek. It was hard very often. And my butt has become big and assiduous. As a result, I started to write lyrics much better.
Maybe, it is a writing university not for all, but just for me?

Last edited by JohnMoore; 24th December 2018 at 02:32 PM.. Reason: Some mistakes, as for me.
Old 13th December 2018
  #5
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s wave's Avatar
A real nice trick for flow can be taken from screen writing. For a smooth yet interesting process try just writing dialogue between 2 people. Any 2 characters it doesn't matter. Just get a working title. Then have one person make a comment. Don' worry about time signature or any thing. Then just write down a reply to the first comment etc etc.

When you get a nice theme or motive or statement and more defined characters you might be amazed. gl tc
Old 24th December 2018
  #6
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You mightn't believe me... One more thanks!

Quote:
Originally Posted by s wave View Post
A real nice trick for flow can be taken from screen writing. For a smooth yet interesting process try just writing dialogue between 2 people. Any 2 characters it doesn't matter. Just get a working title. Then have one person make a comment. Don' worry about time signature or any thing. Then just write down a reply to the first comment etc etc.

When you get a nice theme or motive or statement and more defined characters you might be amazed. gl tc
Dear S WAVE!
I'm a newcomer here! It was my the first comments really and I'm very thankful to You for Your warm words to my post (and to myself). I will learn the new science for me. You mightn't believe me, but it the truth really! One more thanks!
Old 25th December 2018
  #7
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s wave's Avatar
Yu deserve it. It the holidaze. Love bantering like you brainstorming and keeping the good vibe always going. Yes .... where are we going today boys?.... TO THE TOP!
Old 6th May 2019
  #8
I see this post was a while ago but I wanted to contribute anyway as I can relate to being tied to the melody. My advice is, if you can’t say what you want to say in the melody, break from that melody to say what you want to say. It will break up repetition and grab the listeners attention. It also frees you up lyrically. Don’t be afraid to stray from it. You can always return to it.
Old 6th May 2019
  #9
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s wave's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by musicianof1 View Post
I see this post was a while ago but I wanted to contribute anyway as I can relate to being tied to the melody. My advice is, if you can’t say what you want to say in the melody, break from that melody to say what you want to say. It will break up repetition and grab the listeners attention. It also frees you up lyrically. Don’t be afraid to stray from it. You can always return to it.
Good advice... I am turning to a glitch song to glitch hop for that very reason... A lot of songs long ago used to break from rhythm and melody and go completely bare except for a talking voice to lay down content. I like on the old songs and now it is back in a big way... good tip.
Old 11th August 2019
  #10
Quote:
Originally Posted by s wave View Post
Yu deserve it. It the holidaze. Love bantering like you brainstorming and keeping the good vibe always going. Yes .... where are we going today boys?.... TO THE TOP!
What top? ... TO THE TOPPERMOST OF THE POPPERMOST!!
Old 12th August 2019
  #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 9xSound View Post
What top? ... TO THE TOPPERMOST OF THE POPPERMOST!!
Yes - absolutely if that is higher than the tippiest tippy top-most!
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