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Song writing tips?
Old 22nd April 2019
  #1
Lightbulb Song writing tips?

Hello there,

would appreciate some of your tips for songwriting, please!

1. what comes first music or words?
2. do you write words already on your language or first at "bird language" like "la-la-la-pi-pi"?
3. is your melody different from chorus to refrain?
4. do you consider writing a song for man or woman, or it is gonna be for both?

Thank you for sharing your experience!
Cheers
J
Old 23rd April 2019
  #2
Quote:
Originally Posted by Sonic_X View Post
Hello there,

would appreciate some of your tips for songwriting, please!

1. what comes first music or words?
2. do you write words already on your language or first at "bird language" like "la-la-la-pi-pi"?
3. is your melody different from chorus to refrain?
4. do you consider writing a song for man or woman, or it is gonna be for both?

Thank you for sharing your experience!
Cheers
J
1 - For me, it's usually a lyric phrase and a vibe or vague idea about what the song's about and maybe the musical vibe it will end up with (but the latter is definitely subject to change, as I often explore several ways of doing any given song -- and often keep experimenting with the music/arrangement as well over time).

2. I usually use words -- but, certainly, if there's a 'missing' phrase I haven't got appropriate words for, I'll la-la to fill the void until something comes.

3. Usually. Usually I write entirely different melodies and chord changes for different structural parts* -- but sometimes I have different (or somewhat different) melodies over more-or-less identical chords for different parts. And, for that matter, sometimes I do the same with 'verses' -- singing a somewhat different melody in verse 3 than I did in verses 1 & 2 (for instance).

* Whatever one calls them; different people can have different terms; to a jazzer, a 'chorus' often refers to each repeat of the song's main parts [verse, refrain, possibly bridge] while to a rock/pop person, a 'chorus' might refer simply to a repeated refrain; music terminology can get pretty squishy.

4. I usually start out from my own point of view or one I can imagine (though perhaps that may revolt me). I can't think of many songs that I, personally, have written in the first person from a woman's point of view -- though many of my songs could be probably be sung gracefully enough by a man or woman, regardless of sexual orientation. Some, on the other hand, are clearly 'from' a heterosexual male.

But one thing I DEFINITELY do is to shift point-of-view in the course of a song, a fairly common tactic in storytelling and pop balladry. For example, I have one song where the first few lines describe how the central male character 'should have seen' the breakup coming, though he never imagined it and the next few lines shift to demonstrate the mixed emotions of the central female character through action (she "laughed all the way to Austin / cried the rest of the way to New Orleans"). (I could have attempted to give inner readings of each character, trying to 'get inside their heads' and describe feelings -- but a LOT of times it seems to be better to SHOW people what's happening than to declare it happened or that a given party feels a certain way. We the listener don't so much want to hear someone say, "She is sad." Instead, we want the songwriter to show us how that sadness manifests in the character's life and actions.




• With regard to rules, guidelines, conventions: We often heard folks say, 'No rules!' But, in actuality, there are hundreds of 'rules,' best practices, conventions, tricks, tropes and cliches.

But maybe it's better to think of them as suggestions that can prove helpful -- but which can be kicked out of the way as needed.

Because there is no ONE way to write a song and, in the course of a songwriting life, it can be helpful -- not to mention intellectually and possibly artistically satisfying -- to explore as many as one desires.
Old 24th April 2019
  #3
Lives for gear
 

1. words and music come separately. i then improvise melodies over the instrumental ideas
2. yes to the first part
3. verse and chorus are different
4. 95% of the time it can be sung by both
Old 30th April 2019
  #4
Lives for gear
Quote:
Originally Posted by Sonic_X View Post
Hello there,

would appreciate some of your tips for songwriting, please!

1. what comes first music or words?
2. do you write words already on your language or first at "bird language" like "la-la-la-pi-pi"?
3. is your melody different from chorus to refrain?
4. do you consider writing a song for man or woman, or it is gonna be for both?

Thank you for sharing your experience!
Cheers
J
1. For me, mostly words. But of course it varies for everyone
2. Words.
3. um - what? I assume you mean different from verse to chorus/refrain. For me it's usually and I wish it was always different, as I have never been a fan of an "A-A-A" type of setup where it all sounds the same.
4. Never a consideration.
Old 30th April 2019
  #5
Gear Nut
 
CupcakeKitten's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Sonic_X View Post
Hello there,

would appreciate some of your tips for songwriting, please!

1. what comes first music or words?
2. do you write words already on your language or first at "bird language" like "la-la-la-pi-pi"?
3. is your melody different from chorus to refrain?
4. do you consider writing a song for man or woman, or it is gonna be for both?

Thank you for sharing your experience!
Cheers
J
Hi there ^^.

1 - I always write the music and lyrics separately. Often one can inspire the other, but it's in no particular order. I'm aware that I can get easily trapped in thinking "does it fit?" rather than "is it good?", so I personally prefer to work them together and integrate them a bit later down the line, seeing which scratches and skeletons really gel and which don't. It keeps both music and lyrics strong on their own terms without one having to carry the other!

2 - When writing melodies I totally do this ^^. When i've got a good skeleton text in place that I feel really clicks with the music i'll start trying to merge them, but until then melodies consist of a lot of humming (usually translated into some sort of 'keyboard' sound playing the melody along on the skeleton track) and whatever other nonsense I happen to be thinking about at the time .

3 - I don't think it's always necessary to have some super dramatic boyband-key-change, but yes, I like to have a bit of variation in the melodies ^^.

4 - Unless a particular story is calling for a particular perspective, I actually think that it's not super important. I think the thing that binds listeners to songs are rooted in a shared overall human experience. I mentioned this in another thread a while back, but the root themes that have been repeated over and over have been shared by people for thousands of years and in every culture - it's always coming down to something like fear, love, frustration, betrayal, mystery, grief, anger, feeling alienated, euphoria, loneliness, success, struggles etc - the list goes on, and all the nuances that come with those experiences. Say for example, someone could write a fierce feminist song, where gender and perspective plays a major role in the writing, it's (for example) the anger or euphoria that drives the song. Nearly everyone can relate to being angry or euphoric, even if they don't relate to the story itself. Even really specific stories will tap into one of these feelings (even in a really dark song, or if the story is being told through an abstract or warped perspective), and being male or female isn't necessarily what i'm thinking about when writing, and not necessarily where my priorities are!

Just my thoughts anyhow, best of luck with all the songwriting ^^
Old 1st May 2019
  #6
Gear Maniac
 

1. what comes first music or words? instrumental musical phrase
2. do you write words already on your language or first at "bird language" like "la-la-la-pi-pi"? both, usually unconscious drivel springs forth combined with 'Sussudio' gibberish...
3. is your melody different from chorus to refrain? usually yes, occasionally the chorus will be a different melody sung over the same chords
4. do you consider writing a song for man or woman, or it is gonna be for both? almost always for a man from a man's point of view, but I have had female singers record songs, lyrics adjusted if needed.
Old 2nd May 2019
  #7
yep
Gear Nut
 

1. Can be either, but at some point there has to be something *good*, either musical or lyrical. It doesn’t really matter which comes first.

2. Singing nonsense lyrics is a tried and true method for everyone from Mike Jackson to Sting. It helps to have a great instrumental bed to start with.

3. OTOH, a “lyric first” approach has worked out okay for sir Elton and a ton of rappers and R&B vocalists going back to Motown.

Most of the best music ever made comes from a mix of raw talent/imagination, plus an experienced musical technician.
Old 18th June 2019
  #8
Here for the gear
 

1 > Music and words come at once, but words are always a tiny bit prior to music, in my opinion.
2 > I write words in my language, bird singing is hard to tranform into normal speech. I mean, you could do that but why create more obstacles for yourself?
3 > I feel like it should be different otherwise what's the point in chorus/refrain?
4 > I don't divide songs into "man-oriented" and "woman-oriented". It should be suitable for both genders
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Old 18th June 2019
  #9
Lives for gear
There is no absolute answer to this, but. Some composers work holistically with the words music and everything coming at the same time. I kind of work like this. And then spend the effort trying to get it recorded the way I imagine it in my head.

What i don't do is
make a nice beat, then make up a bass line for it then see if some chords fit then write some melody and then write some words then try and bolt them all together.
Personally I don't think that this works too well, or not as well as a holistic approach


For me its the words that really inform the melody first. Try writing the lead vocal lines first with NO other instrumentation. As soon as you know what words you want to sing try singing them immediately, get the idea down there and then with just your voice. This way you will get the most emotional impact and naturalness to the writing. This method is almost cheating.

OK bear with me on this next one. ah hem,
Another technique I use is to try as hard as I can to come up with the most dumb nonsense possible in a kind of nursery rhyme demented simpleton way as though I had the brain of a earth worm on crystal meth. In a dark room I drive myself into a schizophrenic trance like state and freeform nonsense with the intention of making something really stupid. What invariably happens is the exact opposite. My best stuff comes to me like this!
Old 22nd June 2019
  #10
Lives for gear
 

For me, the most important step forward I made was having no method.

I have taught myself to free up my mind, a song can come from anywhere, a riff, a lyric, a melody, a chord profession, a sound, a rhythm .... anything can be the catalyst.

Also don't be precious about your idea.

Sometimes an idea may only be a container for another idea to develop in.

I always keep my rough, its so much fun to finish a great song, perfectly arranged and recorded and then listen back the very first kernel for the idea.

The finished song often sounds absolutely nothing like the original idea .... it's feels like a magical process to me.
Old 26th June 2019
  #11
Gear Nut
 
Garage Rodeo's Avatar
 

Answer to all the questions: sometimes.

Write a page of notes on the subject, different lines, sayings, choose your favorites and make em rhyme and or fit. Set a timer for 5 mins, write constantly on that song's subject

If music is first record it, listen to it while driving around. If anything sing melodies, write words to match melody.

Or... write lyrics with a cadence in mind. Write music to match.

Or come up with a crazy subject, challenge yourself to write song on said subject.

...and keep doing it
Old 27th June 2019
  #12
Deleted df98c51
Guest
The vocoder is great tool for making melodies.

It is effortless. Beautiful when analog and subtle.
Old 28th June 2019
  #13
Lives for gear
 

Just to add..I never write a song from
a man or woman’s point of view unless it’s
a “story” about a man or woman.

If you write personal songs about yourself,
then chances are 50% of your audience
(those that are not the same gender as you)
can’t relate to them.

Sheryl Crow is one of my favorite songwriters
for this reason. She almost never writes
gender-specific lyrics. So you can relate to
her songs whether you are a man or a
woman.
Old 28th June 2019
  #14
Deleted df98c51
Guest
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dave Polich View Post
n.

If you write personal songs about yourself,
then chances are 50% of your audience
(those that are not the same gender as you)
can’t relate to them.

.
What? Thats not true.
Old 28th June 2019
  #15
1. what comes first music or words?
We've done it both ways. We've written songs where the lyrics came first and I put a melody to them. We've also written songs where my lyricist (Mrs. Deep Water) put lyrics to a melody I had previously written.

2. do you write words already on your language or first at "bird language" like "la-la-la-pi-pi"?
It is often a little of both. We'll have a hook or main concept with true words, but some spots that we don't have a lyric for, and then we'll add the la-la-la's to fill in the blanks until we can polish the lyrics.

3. is your melody different from chorus to refrain?
Always different. I like a song to be a journey. You don't have a feeling of "going somewhere" in the song if the melody is the same for every part of the song.

4. do you consider writing a song for man or woman, or it is gonna be for both?
We specifically write worship songs for church, so the lyrics are always universal so the whole congregation can join in.

Thanks,

Scott
Old 4th July 2019
  #16
Lives for gear
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Deleted df98c51 View Post
What? Thats not true.
Suppose you write a song about being
pregnant. How can male listeners relate
to that? Suppose you write a song about
growing a beard? I dont know too many
women who will vibe with that.
Old 4th July 2019
  #17
Lives for gear
Great comments. Knowing if what you have is good can be difficult. Here is my check list for that.

Does it make you move?
Is it interesting? Is the listener wonering what the next line, or can they predict the next line with exceitement?
Is it catchy. Like if a person hears it for the first time. They are humming it or singing it an hour later.
Does it work with any set of sounds? Will a muzac/elevator version work as well as the Metailica version?

These are details about the song. Nothing to do with the recording or musicianship.
Old 4th July 2019
  #18
Gear Addict
 

Songwriting old skool style means you want something to say about yourself, your perspective or some other personal thing.
Some will say something with words and if that's the case just sing what you want to say and find some chords with it.
Some will talk with their instrument; instrumentalists and soloists.
They translate their feelings into chords and notes.

For myself it can be about a subject, a situation or a person but I always start with some words or some sentences.

is your melody different from chorus to refrain? It all depends about the song.
do you consider writing a song for man or woman, or it is gonna be for both?
A song can be about anything; a man, woman or some subject or situation.
Old 1st April 2020
  #19
Gear Addict
 

Everyone has their own method. My method is I typically come up with song ideas while i'm driving. i then sing the melody, sometimes with certain lyrics, into the memo recorder on my phone. Then I begin the basic instrumentation in the studio, burn that to a cd and then listen to it while I drive and sing random lyrics until I have something that I like. Then I type those lyrics into my notes on my phone. Once I have all of the lyrics written, I go back and layer the rest of my instruments and then record the vocals. This is how I've written the vast majority of my songs.
Sometimes I will pick up an instrument, play and sing and write an entire song on the spot in the studio.

Sometimes i will write an entire song of just words and then create music to the words.

Sometimes I will write out notation (not sheet music notation, I have a weird way of writing my own tablature) and then play it later.

I find the way that I write my best music is to not have a method. I was born with the ability/ curse to always hear music that doesn't exist yet in my head. Whatever is the most efficient way of getting that music out of my head at that particular time is what works best for me.
Old 1st April 2020
  #20
Quote:
Originally Posted by Sonic_X View Post

1. what comes first music or words?
2. do you write words already on your language or first at "bird language" like "la-la-la-pi-pi"?
3. is your melody different from chorus to refrain?
4. do you consider writing a song for man or woman, or it is gonna be for both?
1. Could be either
2. Could be either way
3. Yeah usually, I think
4. I never think about that

Old 1st April 2020
  #21
Lives for gear
There are actually quite a few interviews on YouTube where this or that composer talks about how their tunes came about. I was watching one not long ago with Paul McCartney that I would recommend. . .




I wish YouTube had been around to channel interviews with Ludwig van Beethoven, George Gershwin, Duke Ellington, and a couple thousand of my other favorite composers!


Ray H.

. . .haven't actually counted, but it seems like I'm a huge fan of a couple thousand composers?
Old 4th April 2020
  #22
Gear Maniac
 
Ed Driscoll's Avatar
1. what comes first music or words? It depends. I've written songs where I've thought of a catchphrase, turned on a drum loop, picked up a guitar, moved the tempo around until it fit the phrase, and then found the chords to underpin the phrase, and then worked backwards to flesh the rest out.

I've also written loads of stuff from the middle out. I've stumbled over an interesting guitar riff, chord progression, or synth texture, and then written a guide melody to fit over that material, and then wrote lyrics to fit the guide melody.

Occasionally, I've heard an awesome sounding Acid drum loop or a patch in Superior Drummer 3 and wrote from the bottom up.

2. do you write words already on your language or first at "bird language" like "la-la-la-pi-pi"? I do occasionally use la-las until I have the lyrics worked out. Incidentally, whenever I read an interesting phrase, or one pops in my head, I store it in the Notes section of Microsoft Outlook, which I can raid when I'm stuck for a line or title. (Lately I've been using the audio memo app on my iPad as a musical scratch pad, as ideas can often appear out of nowhere while you're, say, playing guitar while casually watching TV, than in the clinical atmosphere of the project studio.)

3. is your melody different from chorus to refrain? I'm not sure if I understand your question, but as the chorus comes back around, I'll often introduce new backup elements, repeat the chorus at the end, or just the catchphrase on the last chorus, etc.

4. do you consider writing a song for man or woman, or it is gonna be for both? Most of my songs I have written have been for me, so it's from the male perspective, but I agree with the other writers here that it shouldn't be that hard to switch the gender on a song. Lots of hits such as Carly Simon's "You Belong To me," Joan Jett's "I Love Rock & Roll," or Pat Benatar's version of "I Need a Lover" were originally written and sung by men and sounded great when covered by a woman.
Old 6th April 2020
  #23
Quote:
Originally Posted by RayHeath View Post
There are actually quite a few interviews on YouTube where this or that composer talks about how their tunes came about. I was watching one not long ago with Paul McCartney that I would recommend. . .




I wish YouTube had been around to channel interviews with Ludwig van Beethoven, George Gershwin, Duke Ellington, and a couple thousand of my other favorite composers!


Ray H.

. . .haven't actually counted, but it seems like I'm a huge fan of a couple thousand composers?
That's a great interview with Sir Paul! Thanks for sharing that, Ray.
Old 8th April 2020
  #24
Gear Addict
 

Sometimes I watch Rick Beato's channel, it's about all kinds of aspects of music.
And one of his series is what makes this song great?
In that serie his dives into a famous song of an artist and breakes it down.
He explains the different aspects, the chords, the vocals and much more.
Really great to get some more insight to the songstructure and why a peticular song is that good.
From Steely Dan to Boston, from Elton John to Stevie Wonder and so on.

Old 13th April 2020
  #25
Short answer for me, a lot of my melodies come to me while I'm whistling aimlessly. Then the tune just begins to develop. Others are playing in my head when I wake up in the morning, kinda like when a song gets stuck in your head. Those are usually the best ones.
Old 13th April 2020
  #26
Lives for gear
Quote:
Originally Posted by Sonic_X View Post
Hello there,

would appreciate some of your tips for songwriting, please!

1. what comes first music or words?
2. do you write words already on your language or first at "bird language" like "la-la-la-pi-pi"?
3. is your melody different from chorus to refrain?
4. do you consider writing a song for man or woman, or it is gonna be for both?

Thank you for sharing your experience!
Cheers
J
As some who has written more songs than I can count and had professional success. (At one point, it was my only job, and even today, my PRO checks are my bread and butter. Of all the things I've done "Songwriting" (and composing) are the reason, I'm not outside your place asking for a quarter every time you go out.) I can offer you a couple of things:

1. The best songs you write will be GIVEN to you. At points in your life, you will have a complete song inside you that comes into being faster than you can write it down or demo it. When it happens you look at what has come into being and say "Holy sh!t" where did that come from!!?! Next, you will say "This song is AWESOME!"

You are correct, it is awesome, be grateful and humbled that you were the one to receive it. If you are, you are more likely to get more.

2. Don't make the mistake of chasing this experience. You can't, it comes and goes as it pleases. If you say "This or nothing" And cop a "Good is the enemy of great" type of attitude towards it...Well, you most likely won't get far. I suggest that "NOTHING is the enemy of ANYTHING." is a far more lucrative motto for songwriters to live by.

3. Any and all of what you suggested should be tried. Do it all. If you get into a groove with one process, eventually you'll get bored and want to try another, do it all, then think of some new approaches and do them too. You never know when "IT" is going to pay you a visit...or where.

The keys to songwriting are SHOWING UP, SHUTTING UP, FINISHING UP, and DRESSING UP that pig in the prettiest dress you can find.

SHOW UP: You need to DO IT and do it REGULARLY. And yes, that means lots of crap songs, doesn't matter, somedays they WON'T be crap, but if you didn't show up, you would have missed the connection. Fear of suck is the single greatest obstacle a songwriter's faces, or taking that a step further, your ego is your enemy. If you can batter that thing into submission you will write better songs more often because you won't be getting in the way of the song, as you gain experience, you'll see what I mean.

SHUTTING UP: Well, I should have saved the ego part for this heading because that's what it is about. The less you can think of the song as an appendage of yourself and more as a living breathing thing that you are helping to come into being, the more fluid and productive you will be. Do NOT ask your own opinion until AFTER the song is written.

FINISHING UP: Don't be a lazy sack of sh!t. Write that Goddamn bridge, write a third verse, have MORE than you need NOT LESS...and do it NOW! No, you CAN'T figure out all that other stuff later (lyrics) sit down shut up and finish the first draft NOW. If that's the best you can do now, fine, as long as it's a SONG. A chord progression and some mumbling are not a song (Unless that IS the song, but I doubt it, so quit looking for outs) Are you a songwriter? Then nut up, fancy pants! Give em' a tug and FINISH THAT SONG IN ONE SESSION. When you come back to it, you can edit something that actually EXISTS! Do not get in the habit of having musical scrap heaps filled with disembodied song "parts"

DRESSING UP: Once you have something. (And you'll know when you do, you'll still like the song in a week.) RECORD IT...PROPERLY...BROADCAST QUALITY...DO IT...YES, YOU! Because then and ONLY THEN do you have something you can actually make MONEY WITH. Music supervisors who are thrilled when you tell them you have just the song they are looking for, will kick you out of their office and permanently ban you if at the meeting you pull out your phone, start mumbling over some loops and say "See!? I know it's kinda rough, but...perfect right??!!!"

In closing, I will add this, I believe humility to be the steroid of songwriting, and songwriters to be it's greatest foe. Now GO FORTH, let your quest begin, return to me with the interpretation of this saying, and I will watch as you pull the sword from the stone and know the prophecy has been fulfilled.., Then you can bang my Sister, while I play KISS's "Music from the Elder" on 8-track.
Old 13th April 2020
  #27
Gear Maniac
 
Ed Driscoll's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by terrible.dee View Post
Then you can bang my Sister, while I play KISS's "Music from the Elder" on 8-track.
Great post, but like many a song, I wasn't expecting the twist it took in the coda!
Old 13th April 2020
  #28
Lives for gear
Quote:
Originally Posted by Carl Freeland View Post

What i don't do is
make a nice beat, then make up a bass line for it then see if some chords fit then write some melody and then write some words then try and bolt them all together.
Personally I don't think that this works too well, or not as well as a holistic approach
Though I was never a fan of the technique, 9 out of 10 songs on my last serious record (On Metropolis Recs. in 2016) were written using this method.

I found the key to making it work, in my case, was to come up with a heavily thematic 4-8 bar cadence, before writing the lyrics. By that I mean if a theme was creepy it was OBVIOUSLY creepy if something was Pompous it was BLATANTLY so if something was heroic...you get the idea. Doing it this way was fun (And different, and it's important to shake up everything, the creative process too.) Instead of being restricted by a pre-existing musical theme, the theme functioned as a lyrical PROMPT. That was fun because I began to write from a different place, I was asking myself to take my talents as a "topliner" and aim them in directions I normally would not have. It all came about from composing 1000's of TV cues, and one day having it hit me "Why has it never occurred to me to try toplining any of my cues?" My Artist and Composer worlds were so separate I never considered that one could supply the other.

But I too was always of the opinion that, although in the best songs they come at the same time, I would always prioritize lyrics and melody over...ha, it's almost comical when you say it CHORD PROGRESSIONS. I would always laugh if I was working with some guitar player and he'd say "Yeah, I just wrote this song" I'd say, "Oh? Let's hear it" and then he'd play me some combination of the stock progressions we all use and I'd say. "OK, but can I hear THE SONG?" He'd be "That IS the song" and I'd think "OK..."

The truth is, lyrics and melody ARE the song (Hip-hop too) And to use a Wrestling cliche' I was of the opinion that you booked a stadium because you had a main event that would fill one, you don't book a stadium then try and figure out a main event that would fill it. But, once again, I prove to myself that ALL rules will need to be broken eventually, as my last record proved to me. (Doesn't mean I'll do the next one that way.)


[/QUOTE]For me its the words that really inform the melody first. Try writing the lead vocal lines first with NO other instrumentation. As soon as you know what words you want to sing try singing them immediately, get the idea down there and then with just your voice. This way you will get the most emotional impact and naturalness to the writing. This method is almost cheating.

[/QUOTE]

Which is really the point new writers would do well to internalize, it's not poetry, it's not progressions and beats and melodies...it's a SONG, and it's about everything being part of a whole,

[/QUOTE]OK bear with me on this next one. ah hem,
Another technique I use is to try as hard as I can to come up with the most dumb nonsense possible in a kind of nursery rhyme demented simpleton way as though I had the brain of a earth worm on crystal meth. In a dark room I drive myself into a schizophrenic trance like state and freeform nonsense with the intention of making something really stupid. What invariably happens is the exact opposite. My best stuff comes to me like this!

[/QUOTE]

This is FANTASTIC! I'm reading this and I ALREADY know it works...This is brilliant, once again.....why didn't I think of this? It's so OBVIOUS!

You are employing a principle that is central to submission grappling. I've trained and competed in Judo for a number of years, the main principle in Judo, whether standing or on the ground is the "Minimum effort, maximum result" principal. Judo's founder Jigoro Kano, in an attempt to save Japanese Jujitsu from being declared a feudal/samurai fossil that had no place in a modernized Japan, scoured all the 1000's of documented techniques for what he considered to be the most practical. Ones that could be introduced to the police and military, but also to Universities and High Schools. Upon compiling his list, he found the common theme to be using an opponent's energy against them. In this way, Jigoro who was a very small man was able to demonstrate his proposal to the Emporer by kicking the a$$ of Imperial security agents many times his size. (Had he not been able too, there would be no UFC or MMA..if anyone cares.) He prescribed this approach for all things in life, not just unarmed combat or sport, submission grappling. Anything that took advantage of the principal, Jigoro would call "Judo"

Your method is PURE Judo, a songwriter using the art/craft's greatest enemy's energy against it. I LOVE IT!

Jigoro Kano would be proud,
Old 13th April 2020
  #29
Lives for gear
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ed Driscoll View Post
Great post, but like many a song, I wasn't expecting the twist it took in the coda!
Kind of like The Knack, and that pointless jam at the end of "My Sharona?'

I STILL can't believe, not a single person, A&R, Manager, Producer, President, Front-of-house-guy.....Stepped in and said. "OK guys, here's the thing...This song is a HIT! It's awesome! We love it, everybody loves it...But...That thing at the end....THAT'S PART OF A DIFFERENT SONG!". ( I was friendly with Doug Fieger in the 12 years or so before he died...I ALWAYS wanted to ask. But after we had an argument where I maintained Johnny Thunders was a better lead guitarist than Jimi Hendrix, and he actually got hot enough to the point where I was seriously thinking "Is he going to take a poke at me?" I thought I had better just leave it alone.)

That reminds me of a piece of songwriting advice I got from a guy with some significant tunes in his catalog. "Don't use up too many ideas in a single song, ONE idea per song. If you've got something else to say, WRITE ANOTHER SONG."
Old 13th April 2020
  #30
Quote:
Originally Posted by terrible.dee View Post
As some who has written more songs than I can count and had professional success. (At one point, it was my only job, and even today, my PRO checks are my bread and butter. Of all the things I've done "Songwriting" (and composing) are the reason, I'm not outside your place asking for a quarter every time you go out.) I can offer you a couple of things:

1. The best songs you write will be GIVEN to you. At points in your life, you will have a complete song inside you that comes into being faster than you can write it down or demo it. When it happens you look at what has come into being and say "Holy sh!t" where did that come from!!?! Next, you will say "This song is AWESOME!"

You are correct, it is awesome, be grateful and humbled that you were the one to receive it. If you are, you are more likely to get more.

2. Don't make the mistake of chasing this experience. You can't, it comes and goes as it pleases. If you say "This or nothing" And cop a "Good is the enemy of great" type of attitude towards it...Well, you most likely won't get far. I suggest that "NOTHING is the enemy of ANYTHING." is a far more lucrative motto for songwriters to live by.

3. Any and all of what you suggested should be tried. Do it all. If you get into a groove with one process, eventually you'll get bored and want to try another, do it all, then think of some new approaches and do them too. You never know when "IT" is going to pay you a visit...or where.

The keys to songwriting are SHOWING UP, SHUTTING UP, FINISHING UP, and DRESSING UP that pig in the prettiest dress you can find.

SHOW UP: You need to DO IT and do it REGULARLY. And yes, that means lots of crap songs, doesn't matter, somedays they WON'T be crap, but if you didn't show up, you would have missed the connection. Fear of suck is the single greatest obstacle a songwriter's faces, or taking that a step further, your ego is your enemy. If you can batter that thing into submission you will write better songs more often because you won't be getting in the way of the song, as you gain experience, you'll see what I mean.

SHUTTING UP: Well, I should have saved the ego part for this heading because that's what it is about. The less you can think of the song as an appendage of yourself and more as a living breathing thing that you are helping to come into being, the more fluid and productive you will be. Do NOT ask your own opinion until AFTER the song is written.

FINISHING UP: Don't be a lazy sack of sh!t. Write that Goddamn bridge, write a third verse, have MORE than you need NOT LESS...and do it NOW! No, you CAN'T figure out all that other stuff later (lyrics) sit down shut up and finish the first draft NOW. If that's the best you can do now, fine, as long as it's a SONG. A chord progression and some mumbling are not a song (Unless that IS the song, but I doubt it, so quit looking for outs) Are you a songwriter? Then nut up, fancy pants! Give em' a tug and FINISH THAT SONG IN ONE SESSION. When you come back to it, you can edit something that actually EXISTS! Do not get in the habit of having musical scrap heaps filled with disembodied song "parts"

DRESSING UP: Once you have something. (And you'll know when you do, you'll still like the song in a week.) RECORD IT...PROPERLY...BROADCAST QUALITY...DO IT...YES, YOU! Because then and ONLY THEN do you have something you can actually make MONEY WITH. Music supervisors who are thrilled when you tell them you have just the song they are looking for, will kick you out of their office and permanently ban you if at the meeting you pull out your phone, start mumbling over some loops and say "See!? I know it's kinda rough, but...perfect right??!!!"

In closing, I will add this, I believe humility to be the steroid of songwriting, and songwriters to be it's greatest foe. Now GO FORTH, let your quest begin, return to me with the interpretation of this saying, and I will watch as you pull the sword from the stone and know the prophecy has been fulfilled.., Then you can bang my Sister, while I play KISS's "Music from the Elder" on 8-track.
This is a frickin' GREAT post! I've read it twice. Lots of substantive observations and advice that songwriters can actually use. Thank you, Dee. Good stuff. I have to remember your expression, "fear of suck." Lol. It's funny, but man, it is so true!
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