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> Developing Our Songwriting Skills, what was the last song you learned?
Ivan Milenkovic
post Sep 7 2011, 12:54 PM
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If we want to progress as songwriters we need to learn at least the basics of chords, harmony, even if it means that we have to come up with some of the rules that exist in formal theory on our own.

When writings songs, it's always good to see how great songs were written. What type of songs do we want to create, what is the structure of such a song, how many choruses, how many verses, do we have a bridge, how is energy distributed throughout the song etc. All these things, if analyzed from other famous songs, can help us boost some of our own ideas as well.

What do you think about this topic?

What was the last song you learned to play from beginning to an end?


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Daniel Realpe
post Sep 7 2011, 01:20 PM
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I'm currently learning Bastards of the machine by Symphony X, it's been a while since I learned a new song but this one is just too good for my taste,

and you are right, when I learn a song now I realise of the amazing songwriting skills of these musicians, every detail, arrangement is carefully chosen so that the listener enjoys the most out of the tune,



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Ivan Milenkovic
post Sep 7 2011, 05:12 PM
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Wow, that's a great song for learning man smile.gif


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Sinisa Cekic
post Sep 7 2011, 11:29 PM
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Prove it ! tongue.gif


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JamesT
post Sep 8 2011, 02:30 AM
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This is a great topic. I'd like to get more into song writing & arranging.
It's been a long long time since I learned a song by someone else. Probably about five years ago when I learned "Blue Collar Man" by Styx. I don't know why I wanted to learn that tune but I think it was cause I was learning keyboards at the time and it has a pretty easy keyboard part. I got it all down by ear including the guitar solo which is a pretty cool solo really. Before that, it was Def Leppards "Hysteria". I sequenced the entire song and had all the parts but couldn't hit the high notes vocally so I sort of quit working on it. That song has a lot of parts in it. Some of them are easy to play but everything just fits together nicely.

I agree that learning other songs, especially by ear, really gets you into thinking about their structure and how they were written. But even just listening to music a lot drives home something in your head about it's structure, what the bass & drums do, how things are mixed etc. It happens unconciously so believe it or not we all sort of have a built in ability to write after listening to lots of music all of our lives. Speaking of "driving home", while I was in my car on the way home from work today, I was listening to the radio and some tune came on that I really liked. I was thinking "I could write something like that" it would be easy. The specifics don't matter really, all you got to do is get something in your head and then go work it out. It's really a motivational thing for me rather than ability that I don't do more writing. I tend to just spend my time working on my chops. Funny, there are so many successful song writers and band members out there who aren't virtuoso players on their instrument. And I spend so much time trying to become a highly skilled player. It makes you think about how good is good enough?



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Ivan Milenkovic
post Sep 8 2011, 09:15 AM
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Well, it all depends on the goals really. Someones goal is to become a virtuoso, someones to become a composer. Check out Satriani for example. The guy is both virtuoso and great composer. What makes him a good composer are his great tunes. Yes you can find lots of flashy stuff in there, but they are very carefully composed and beside that there are so many memorable vocal-like guitar themes that make them almost popular music in some moments. Well, it is popular music, it's social music today, you can hear Satch's songs everywhere on the radio, as background music in TV shows etc..

I think every famous guitar player was famous because of the great compositions. Those compositions usually contain some type of simplified theme that can catch the ear of the mass. Next to that, there is always room for demonstrating the skills on the instrument.


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Ben Higgins
post Sep 8 2011, 09:44 AM
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QUOTE (Daniel Realpe @ Sep 7 2011, 01:20 PM) *
I'm currently learning Bastards of the machine by Symphony X


That's not a sentence you hear everyday ! biggrin.gif

For me, a lot of my attention goes to arrangement and mood setting. Without realising it, I pay a lot of attention to how songs are structured and find myself analysing new albums by my fave bands.

Mood setting - what I mean by this is if you're subject matter is serious and dark, then adding innapropriate sounding chords or melodies may detract from the effect of the song. When people do things badly out of context I can't take their song message seriously if they haven't.

I feel that way about Run To The Hills and Number Of The Beast by Maiden. You have these supposedly 'scary, wicked or bad' events in the lyrics but the music sounds too happy to me. So the tone doesn't match the lyrics and as a result I've never been able to take those songs seriously and get into them. People say they're meant to be light hearted and 'tounge in cheek' but it just doesn't work for me.


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