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GMC Forum _ PRACTICE ROOM _ Sharing Songwriting Ideas

Posted by: Eat-Sleep-andJam Feb 3 2009, 03:57 PM

I'm just curious to see how different people breakdown their songwriting process.

I often find it hard to write songs in a different way then my standard process.

I usually write my lyrics first and then the guitar part or parts and then I just sing a natural melody along with what I have written and played.

I would just like to hear some different ideas about approaching songwriting along in combination with lyrics and vocals.


Posted by: Toni Suominen Feb 3 2009, 05:25 PM

I haven't wrote many full songs yet, but I have loads of material (riffs, lyric ideas, structure) just waiting. And yeah, when I start making a song, I come up with a riff first and then continue from there, and along the way I eventually start thinking what drums and bass are going to do.

When thinking about the structure of the song, I just think which of my riffs would suit the best after the other riff and so on, and I always want the songs the be dynamic and not one-sided, so I try to keep that as my goal.

Posted by: Kaneda Feb 5 2009, 12:29 AM

Structure/form... In lots of musical contexts I find that it's rarely necessary to experiment -- for example, I tend to agree with Prokofiev that there's so many beautiful things yet to be said in C major (or A minor pentatonic if you will). But I must admit I'm a bit of a hypocrite when it comes to structure: I know there's just as much yet to be said in Verse/Chorus/Bridge form, but still I really like to get away from that every now and then. I'm especially a non-believer in the repeated chorus. Works for other people, doesn't work for me.

So, I mostly look at all kinds of non-(contemporary)-music stuff and find (sometimes vague, sometimes very literal) inspiration for structure there - the structure of a movie, a piece of literature, a classical piece of music, a painting, even the architecture of a building. Or the lyrics will end up dictating the structure, because they're a story. Nothing avantgarde or deep about it - most audiences probably wouldn't ever notice any difference when listening to it. It's mostly for my own sake - to keep the writing process fresh.

Although I often do the opposite, I tend to prefer writing the music first. Probably because I feel like I can "cheat" on grammar or leave out words to fit the music, or even write a non-sensical story just to have something go along with it (tried and true method for many a 70s rock band). But I can't bring myself to "cheat" on the music.

Mostly, the music will seem to lend itself to a story before I'm done writing it (after all, they probably sprung out of the same emotions and situations), but there are enough possible words to tell that story with when the music is done.

Also, having the music ready makes me aware of what "effects" I need when singing to it - what tone (of voice), pitch, rhythm etc. the words should support. Where to try and find a word with a specific vowel that's nicely singable; where to try and stuff in alliterations to emphasize a rhythm etc., where a rougher voice would be a nice effect, and thus the lyrics need to lend themselves to it too.

But I guess my preferred approach is mainly because the music part feels slightly more important to me (although I'm rarely satisfied unless both make a perfect pair - and work well on their own smile.gif)

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