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SentryRR 12th January 2019 08:03 PM

What are your go-to composing methods/tips?
 
Just thought I'd start a thread where we could discuss methods you use when composing.

======================================================

A few questions to get started.


You've wrote a melody, you now need to compliment it to fill out the song, what would you do to achieve this?
-
What cadences do you like to use that could be deemed unusual/rare?
-
On a more overall scale how would you interlock multiple songs to make them feel connected?
-
How would you explain the principle of Sonata form to a beginner?
-
What are your personal opinions on what makes certain types of music epic, glorious, joyous? (for example longer time signatures in combination with... etc)


Just came up with them questions randomly thought they would be good to get the thread started.

Thanks.

cwillms 14th January 2019 08:06 PM

methods and considerations-songwriting
 
Almost always I'm noodling a riff or a chord pattern on guitar when a melody presents itself via the voice. Often a phrase pops out that may or may not wind up in the song, but it's a starter. As well I will use the Phil Collins method of scatting gibberish to be converted to actual words later.

That's how I start.

When working the melody through the verse and choruses (bridges) I'll try to be cognizant of the 'sweet note' that melody frequently returns to.

The other thing I think is crucial when fleshing out the melody/lyrics is syllable count. I will literally use my fingers to count syllables as I prepare the verses. Nothing sounds clunkier than cramming extra syllables into a tight place. It almost always means re-wording an entire verse to make it flow with the previous verse.

Framework
If using a distinct intro I try to find a way to reintroduce it or part of it later in the song.

The order of the verse/chorus/bridge layout is up to the digression of the composer obviously and no 'rules' exist - but coherence is important for the listeners sake.

Anyway - that's my general method and considerations. I can provide examples (Soundcloud)if anyone wants.

lionaudio 15th January 2019 05:11 AM

You've wrote a melody, you now need to compliment it to fill out the song, what would you do to achieve this?

I find a different melody that compliments the original. If i start using instruments, I then hum vocal melodies over the top of them. If I start with a vocal melody, I start playing a rhythm melody underneath
-
What cadences do you like to use that could be deemed unusual/rare?

I really like odd **** like King Crimson, Rush, etc... where appropriate so I have no problem writing parts that are in 7, 9, 11, etc... Whatever makes the hairs on my arms stand up
-
On a more overall scale how would you interlock multiple songs to make them feel connected?

Using reoccurring melodies in the same way that a film score uses them. Certain melodies represent certain characters or moods. If I'm thinking of album sequencing, I may create ambient or spoken pieces that act as a segue from song to song
-
How would you explain the principle of Sonata form to a beginner?

I don't know what this is. I never took lessons except for saxophone for a few years. I play a ton of instruments but I'm basically self taught
-
What are your personal opinions on what makes certain types of music epic, glorious, joyous?

Tension. To me, the most epic music has a feeling of contracting and expanding. The longer it takes to get to the "payoff" the more effective it is. To me, Sigur Ros are masters of this as well as Slint, Godspeed you Black Emperor. There are also certain key changes that add to that feeling of being immensely "profound". A good example of this is Pachelbel's Canon in D. There is a certain shift in the melody that is just soul crushing

s wave 3rd February 2019 02:47 AM

To interconnect songs look no further than the Beatles. Go over their early albums... focus on what note or chord they ended a song... with how they intro ed the next. Short sweet and absolutely works.

SentryRR 23rd February 2019 08:06 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by cwillms (Post 13739343)
Almost always I'm noodling a riff or a chord pattern on guitar when a melody presents itself via the voice. Often a phrase pops out that may or may not wind up in the song, but it's a starter. As well I will use the Phil Collins method of scatting gibberish to be converted to actual words later.

That's how I start.

When working the melody through the verse and choruses (bridges) I'll try to be cognizant of the 'sweet note' that melody frequently returns to.

The other thing I think is crucial when fleshing out the melody/lyrics is syllable count. I will literally use my fingers to count syllables as I prepare the verses. Nothing sounds clunkier than cramming extra syllables into a tight place. It almost always means re-wording an entire verse to make it flow with the previous verse.

Framework
If using a distinct intro I try to find a way to reintroduce it or part of it later in the song.

The order of the verse/chorus/bridge layout is up to the digression of the composer obviously and no 'rules' exist - but coherence is important for the listeners sake.

Anyway - that's my general method and considerations. I can provide examples (Soundcloud)if anyone wants.

Good point with the 'sweet note' quite helpful in that that note could then be used to create an alternative melody with another instrument or the same one of course.

On the topic of Framework I guess you would bring say chords that fall more into line with the melody to bring it back right? Just thought I'd clarify as I love all the discussion.

Yeah I think rules and strict guidelines can be a very good help. Sometimes giving yourself to much freedom can lead yourself to become swamped and you never progress. Not to say freedom is a bad thing of course not. Especially when in a rut guidelines can really help.

Examples would be cool yeah.

SentryRR 23rd February 2019 08:12 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by lionaudio (Post 13740080)
You've wrote a melody, you now need to compliment it to fill out the song, what would you do to achieve this?

I find a different melody that compliments the original. If i start using instruments, I then hum vocal melodies over the top of them. If I start with a vocal melody, I start playing a rhythm melody underneath
-
What cadences do you like to use that could be deemed unusual/rare?

I really like odd **** like King Crimson, Rush, etc... where appropriate so I have no problem writing parts that are in 7, 9, 11, etc... Whatever makes the hairs on my arms stand up
-
On a more overall scale how would you interlock multiple songs to make them feel connected?

Using reoccurring melodies in the same way that a film score uses them. Certain melodies represent certain characters or moods. If I'm thinking of album sequencing, I may create ambient or spoken pieces that act as a segue from song to song
-
How would you explain the principle of Sonata form to a beginner?

I don't know what this is. I never took lessons except for saxophone for a few years. I play a ton of instruments but I'm basically self taught
-
What are your personal opinions on what makes certain types of music epic, glorious, joyous?

Tension. To me, the most epic music has a feeling of contracting and expanding. The longer it takes to get to the "payoff" the more effective it is. To me, Sigur Ros are masters of this as well as Slint, Godspeed you Black Emperor. There are also certain key changes that add to that feeling of being immensely "profound". A good example of this is Pachelbel's Canon in D. There is a certain shift in the melody that is just soul crushing

Very good point with tension. And yeah modulation into another key even as simple as going from Cm to CMaj and so on can be very impactful. Along with odd time signatures tempo is another thing to mix with that. 9/8 at say 40bpm could create quite a "epic" foreboding feeling.

Quote:

Originally Posted by s wave (Post 13786840)
To interconnect songs look no further than the Beatles. Go over their early albums... focus on what note or chord they ended a song... with how they intro ed the next. Short sweet and absolutely works.

Sure definitely they were good at such a thing.

Sorry for not replying to these messages earlier, had a busy few weeks.

cwillms 25th February 2019 08:48 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by SentryRR (Post 13829150)
Good point with the 'sweet note' quite helpful in that that note could then be used to create an alternative melody with another instrument or the same one of course.

On the topic of Framework I guess you would bring say chords that fall more into line with the melody to bring it back right? Just thought I'd clarify as I love all the discussion.

Yeah I think rules and strict guidelines can be a very good help. Sometimes giving yourself to much freedom can lead yourself to become swamped and you never progress. Not to say freedom is a bad thing of course not. Especially when in a rut guidelines can really help.

Examples would be cool yeah.

Examples, OK...
I've put these up a number of times in different threads, but with these three I was really proud as a songwriter, as complete thoughts... If that makes sense??






Delmarva 1st March 2019 03:48 AM

With the ambient music I make I usually just mess around with chords and melodies and layer everything and sometimes take away. I'm not a songwriter, really a just tone blender because I like hearing all the interesting keyboard tones. cooge But maybe that approach will help people composing songs

I do enjoy reading a lot about artists. Songwriters especially. I am always fascinated by how people generate their ideas, no matter what style they do

Carnalia Barcus 4th March 2019 03:09 PM

In my opinion the most important tips are:

(1) Write regularly, preferably on a schedule (to ensure that you're doing it regularly). It doesn't have to be every day, it doesn't have to be five days per week, it doesn't have to be eight hours per day. If you can only set aside four hours per week to write--maybe an hour per day for four days or whatever, that's fine. But create a schedule and stick to it. Don't wait for inspiration to strike. Write because it's your scheduled time to write. And when it's the scheduled time, don't just sit there with writer's block. Write something, anything, without critiquing it if you have to in order to produce something.

(2) Keep learning via (i) listening and analyzing, and (ii) reading stuff focused on technique and theory. It doesn't have to be something like a theory textbook. You can just read sources similar to Guitar Player magazine, Keyboard player, etc.

(3) Don't approach your writing as if there are rules. Anything you can imagine is in-bounds. Part of what you should be doing during your writing sessions is experimenting. Trying things that you never tried before, even if you think they seem nutty or stupid--you might continue to think that, but it could lead to useful ideas, too. Try pushing what you can imagine. And apply some of what you learned via listening and reading.