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> My Approach To Instrumental Song Writing For Beginners, In 14 steps.
enforcer
post Dec 23 2008, 02:33 AM
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Hi there good old GMC fellows, Here you'll find my way of approaching to guitar oriented instrumental song writing, I hope I can be usefull in my first SI lesson.

Well at first I must say, composing something new may be a challenge, there is no guarantee on making a masterpiece, and there are a multitude of ways to do that. Well my way of doing it is more like painting on fretboard rather than musicianship.Also my approach can be called inside-out, because I compose the choruses first and than the verses and in the end the bridge parts if there are any. Well here it is.


1-I try to concentrate on what I want to tell with this. I mean, what is the purpose of making this new song, what It'll gonna tell.

2-I simplify the story to be remembered later to a few words in my mind. And I pull out the main feeling as "regret", "glory", "pain", "spoiled girly wishing a new toy" etc. smile.gif

3-I choose a scale pattern. That means It can be a minor or major or any mode available that I like, and gives me the feel of that particular feeling, the theme... And I learn that particular pattern and visualize on the fretboard.

4-I choose a root. Generally I start from a place that suits me half random half on purpose to make an easier placement of the pattern choosen in 3. That, with the pattern I chose earlier gives me the particular scale of the song.

5-I start to play. While playing I try to paint shapes in my mind on the fretboard restricting myself to the pattern. Ear is always active in this process, guiding me, sometimes driving me off the pattern but not so far. Well what I want to do here is to form a seqence of a few notes, easily remembered, developping in repetetive patterns. Generally my melodies are of a-b-a-c type. At this point I dont restrict myself with technique and "shreddermanship" I try to find the easiest way of explaining my theme feeling. That usually gives me the tempo too. I try this until I am really satisfied.

6-Now I have the tempo and chorus melody, I focus on forming the chords that will emphasize the melody, I look for available chords for the scale I used. Generally I look for strong feeling notes on my melody, the apogees and edges, and I try to match these notes from my melody with the chords that are related to the scale, that contains that particular note in the chord(1st 3rd or 5th are generally ok). I record the chord sequence, listen to it, play the melody with it, see the goods and bads, and I change as I please. And I try to remember the main feeling, see if it changes with the chords. When I am satisfied it means its ok.

7-Now is where the technique kicks in. I have all the techniques of guitar play at my disposal. I enrich the melody. Using thrills, sweeps, bends, tapping, alternate picking, legatos etc. Maybe some harmonisation will be even better. I remember that the feel is always the most important thing. I dont want to showcase my skills or form a gregorian chant, I want the melody sound good. So I dont sacrifice the melody for some bunch of speedy tricks. I always remember the technique used for the same note or sequence always change the feeling. So a B major sweep from B to B sounds always full, happier, and more complicated than the whole B note. Or bending an E to F# is always different than hammering F# after E. So I try to do the best. The keyword for the chorus I believe is "simple is better"

8-Now that I got the chorus, I try to remember the story or the say that led me to the theme feeling. I always thougt that the choruses are the title of the story and the verses with bridge are the paragraphs. So playing the chorus is just like yelling the title or the subject of a story, while verses are actually the tell of the story. Therefore it is harder to compose the verses than the choruses, because it is the actual story. And I belive most of the people who decides to write a song are having trouble because of this, when they try to compose the verses before the choruses, cos that actually means they are trying to write a story without a subject or theme. Well as I have the chorus now, I know what I am talking about and thats a lot easier. We will try to divide the story to small chunks and then compose the verses.

9-What I do here is mainly based on chords. I write down a list of chords available to me related to the scale that I used for the chorus. I play them along with the tempo, and try to understand how they feel. Are they suitable for that part of the tell? Is the emotion right? Then I form many sequences suiting my needs. I arrange them to form a complete story. Then I record them with the tempo.

10-I try to find new melodies over the chord sequences, still painting in my mind on the scale related notes on the fretboard. If I want to go further, I might use different scales suiting the main scale and chord foundation to express myself. I usually record all the stuff I try. I listen what I recorded lately, take the lovely parts, trash the unwanted ones. Verses can have their own little chorus like parts, they have ups and downs, they are not just a bunch of similar notes coming one after other.

11-I do what I did with the chorus, I use technique, this time more freely, to enrich, to emphasize, or maybe to showcase my skills too. Here I have more freedom to do that.

12-This is the part where the notion of the bridge comes to use. Generally I use them as a stepladder to link the chorus where there is a strong outlined feeling and idea, to the verses which are more loose and dispersed; maybe to prepare the listener for the upcomming apogee, or just to stop the train of thoughts of the verses, or just to take a little breath before the it rains "the feeling"... This time too, I start with chords, not as shinny or as concentrated like chorus but inbetween the verse and chorus feel somewhat. The melody of the bridge is more subtile. Remember our hero here is the chorus, not the bridge which can only be the second man.

13-When everything is over, I listen and re-listen, trying to arrange the verses, comparing the bridge(s) and chorus(es), looking if bridges can be better choruses than the actual ones. I see if everything fits nicely, If not, I make more verses or bridges to create new links or thrash the problem part. When everything is ok with the final work, I record it nicely, have a good day or take a nap, than after a few hours I listen to it again. If it sounds ok, it is ok.

14-Make others listen to it. Ask their opinions. Their reaction is crucial. They can see weak points that you couldnt see, and if they like it you'll feel very good indeed.


Well that is it. Hope I could be of assistance. If you have questions feel free to ask me. Good luck and have a creative time!


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incoming spoiler read it at your own risk!


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Vigier G.V Wood HH
American Stratocaster Maple Standart with X2N bridge pickups
Samwick Artist custom modified Baswood Lespaul with S.Duncan JB and N56 pickups
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Floor Pod 2.0 Amp Simulation System
Pod Xt Pro Rack Amp Simulation System
Digitech TSR 12 Rack Effect and Studio Reverb
Behringer Composer Rack Compressor Expander
Morley Bad Horsie Wah Pedal
Behringer FB1010 Floor Board



it, surely, spoiled me!!!


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Pedja Simovic
post Dec 23 2008, 05:01 PM
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Very nice approach Enforcer smile.gif

A lot of interesting points in there. I think students who read this will get some very nice idea how to get started or to unlock the parts they are stuck on.
Keep up the good work man !


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bladzerok
post Dec 23 2008, 05:20 PM
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thanks for this lesson man!
i tried once to write an instrumental song, but i started ou with the verse so i had lots of trouble laugh.gif
i think i am gonne try once more and start by the chorus as ou said


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Toroso
post Dec 23 2008, 05:43 PM
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Cool cool.gif


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Canis
post Dec 23 2008, 06:12 PM
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Thanks a million, enforcer biggrin.gif
It's really gonna help me a lot =)


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Ivan Milenkovic
post Dec 23 2008, 07:40 PM
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Awesome post enforcer, many thanks for sharing, this can be a valuable referencing info. smile.gif


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enforcer
post Dec 24 2008, 03:33 AM
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Thank you all for your support man, It really means a lot to me as this is my first S.I lesson. And I am glad if it is helpfull to you. biggrin.gif


--------------------


incoming spoiler read it at your own risk!


Spoiler:


Vigier G.V Wood HH
American Stratocaster Maple Standart with X2N bridge pickups
Samwick Artist custom modified Baswood Lespaul with S.Duncan JB and N56 pickups
Self made Fretless Strat type made of Rosewood/Maple with self wound Neck and Ibanez V8 Bridge Pickups
Floor Pod 2.0 Amp Simulation System
Pod Xt Pro Rack Amp Simulation System
Digitech TSR 12 Rack Effect and Studio Reverb
Behringer Composer Rack Compressor Expander
Morley Bad Horsie Wah Pedal
Behringer FB1010 Floor Board



it, surely, spoiled me!!!


and may the force be with you :)
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Jad Diab
post Dec 25 2008, 10:37 PM
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Thanks for all those tips.


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Velvet Roger
post Dec 27 2008, 01:16 AM
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Thanks enforcer for this very valuable listing. Am currently in the process of composing several instrumental songs together with my band members (we do not have a singer at the moment tongue.gif), so it is most certainly useful!


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enforcer
post Dec 27 2008, 10:14 AM
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QUOTE (Velvet Roger @ Dec 27 2008, 02:16 AM) *
Thanks enforcer for this very valuable listing. Am currently in the process of composing several instrumental songs together with my band members (we do not have a singer at the moment tongue.gif), so it is most certainly useful!



Glad to hear that mate! biggrin.gif


--------------------


incoming spoiler read it at your own risk!


Spoiler:


Vigier G.V Wood HH
American Stratocaster Maple Standart with X2N bridge pickups
Samwick Artist custom modified Baswood Lespaul with S.Duncan JB and N56 pickups
Self made Fretless Strat type made of Rosewood/Maple with self wound Neck and Ibanez V8 Bridge Pickups
Floor Pod 2.0 Amp Simulation System
Pod Xt Pro Rack Amp Simulation System
Digitech TSR 12 Rack Effect and Studio Reverb
Behringer Composer Rack Compressor Expander
Morley Bad Horsie Wah Pedal
Behringer FB1010 Floor Board



it, surely, spoiled me!!!


and may the force be with you :)
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audiopaal
post Dec 27 2008, 02:31 PM
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I write quite a few instrumental tracks, but I don't have an approach at all tongue.gif
But I'll be reading this if I get stuck sometime as I believe it could help me get unstuck smile.gif
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kjutte
post Dec 29 2008, 04:08 PM
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Great thoughts, enf!
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29a
post Jan 1 2009, 05:49 PM
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I was looking for something like this for quite a while now. Thank you.


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enforcer
post Jan 1 2009, 08:34 PM
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QUOTE (audiopaal @ Dec 27 2008, 03:31 PM) *
I write quite a few instrumental tracks, but I don't have an approach at all tongue.gif
But I'll be reading this if I get stuck sometime as I believe it could help me get unstuck smile.gif


Thank you man.

QUOTE (kjutte @ Dec 29 2008, 05:08 PM) *
Great thoughts, enf!


Thank you buddy, greatness is yours biggrin.gif


QUOTE (29a @ Jan 1 2009, 06:49 PM) *
I was looking for something like this for quite a while now. Thank you.


I am glad If I am usefull.

This post has been edited by enforcer: Jan 1 2009, 08:35 PM


--------------------


incoming spoiler read it at your own risk!


Spoiler:


Vigier G.V Wood HH
American Stratocaster Maple Standart with X2N bridge pickups
Samwick Artist custom modified Baswood Lespaul with S.Duncan JB and N56 pickups
Self made Fretless Strat type made of Rosewood/Maple with self wound Neck and Ibanez V8 Bridge Pickups
Floor Pod 2.0 Amp Simulation System
Pod Xt Pro Rack Amp Simulation System
Digitech TSR 12 Rack Effect and Studio Reverb
Behringer Composer Rack Compressor Expander
Morley Bad Horsie Wah Pedal
Behringer FB1010 Floor Board



it, surely, spoiled me!!!


and may the force be with you :)
Go to the top of the page
 
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berko
post Jan 1 2009, 09:08 PM
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I loved this lesson enforcer! I guess it is a crucial point when you have a break after the whole process to regain you "fresh ears" and see what you've made in a slightly different context, so to speak: to become a bit alienated from yourself as the person who was writing the song.

I might be wrong but you seem to be kinda "visual" guy when you say you approach patterns as patterns "painted" on the fretboard. The interesting stuff is that on the guitar (with marked frets) this does seem to work. I'm still experimenting with this on the basis of creating some handy licks for impros. As if there was a relationship between the motion of the hand (and it's journey on the fretboard) and the music it creates. Well, this can be due to the tuning characteristics of the guitar as well.

So, well done. But I've read your posts about sound-proofing a room and so... these posts as well could be subject to further SI lessons cool.gif


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enforcer
post Jan 5 2009, 04:10 AM
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QUOTE (berko @ Jan 1 2009, 10:08 PM) *
I loved this lesson enforcer! I guess it is a crucial point when you have a break after the whole process to regain you "fresh ears" and see what you've made in a slightly different context, so to speak: to become a bit alienated from yourself as the person who was writing the song.

I might be wrong but you seem to be kinda "visual" guy when you say you approach patterns as patterns "painted" on the fretboard. The interesting stuff is that on the guitar (with marked frets) this does seem to work. I'm still experimenting with this on the basis of creating some handy licks for impros. As if there was a relationship between the motion of the hand (and it's journey on the fretboard) and the music it creates. Well, this can be due to the tuning characteristics of the guitar as well.

So, well done. But I've read your posts about sound-proofing a room and so... these posts as well could be subject to further SI lessons cool.gif


Thanks man biggrin.gif


--------------------


incoming spoiler read it at your own risk!


Spoiler:


Vigier G.V Wood HH
American Stratocaster Maple Standart with X2N bridge pickups
Samwick Artist custom modified Baswood Lespaul with S.Duncan JB and N56 pickups
Self made Fretless Strat type made of Rosewood/Maple with self wound Neck and Ibanez V8 Bridge Pickups
Floor Pod 2.0 Amp Simulation System
Pod Xt Pro Rack Amp Simulation System
Digitech TSR 12 Rack Effect and Studio Reverb
Behringer Composer Rack Compressor Expander
Morley Bad Horsie Wah Pedal
Behringer FB1010 Floor Board



it, surely, spoiled me!!!


and may the force be with you :)
Go to the top of the page
 
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Rain
post Sep 8 2009, 01:36 AM
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I would also like to extendx my thanks for the advice here. I'll definitely see if I can use this while composing.


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enforcer
post Sep 8 2009, 02:04 AM
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QUOTE (Rain @ Sep 8 2009, 03:36 AM) *
I would also like to extendx my thanks for the advice here. I'll definitely see if I can use this while composing.



Hey thank you mate! I am glad you found it useful...


--------------------


incoming spoiler read it at your own risk!


Spoiler:


Vigier G.V Wood HH
American Stratocaster Maple Standart with X2N bridge pickups
Samwick Artist custom modified Baswood Lespaul with S.Duncan JB and N56 pickups
Self made Fretless Strat type made of Rosewood/Maple with self wound Neck and Ibanez V8 Bridge Pickups
Floor Pod 2.0 Amp Simulation System
Pod Xt Pro Rack Amp Simulation System
Digitech TSR 12 Rack Effect and Studio Reverb
Behringer Composer Rack Compressor Expander
Morley Bad Horsie Wah Pedal
Behringer FB1010 Floor Board



it, surely, spoiled me!!!


and may the force be with you :)
Go to the top of the page
 
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Emir Hot
post Sep 8 2009, 11:22 AM
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Great stuff man. I remember when you did a huge post like this for the student lesson and then you dissapeared from website for a while. Cool to see that you're back to shape with music ideas smile.gif


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Daniel Realpe
post Nov 29 2009, 04:22 AM
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Great ideas to get started! thanks for sharing this! smile.gif


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