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> Songwriting 101, From conception to final rendering.
Kyle Logue
post Feb 8 2008, 11:41 PM
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I thought it would be cool to share my own methods for songwriting, as well as show those who have trouble writing songs my strange approach.

I'm not claiming that this song is going to be great, but who knows what could happen. At the time of starting this post, I have 0 ideas on what style or what lyrics to use and no idea whatsoever as the the guitar riffs.

This post will continually be updated and edited with uploads of current progress which will include guitar riffs(tabs), lyrics, vocal melodies, and drum sequences (both real and synthetic) until the song is completed.

You're ideas and contributions are welcomed, but feedback is welcomed more! If you do come up with something great please tell me, but keep in mind this is not really a collaboration. The current status of the song will be changed daily and is meant to present itself in a "LIVE" sort of way.


Progress (updated daily):

Feb 8 - Brainstorming on guitar for ideas! --- kind of in the mood for a rock/r&b/techno mixup, good ideas will be recorded for reference
A good question was asked by Nemanja... he asked:
QUOTE (Nemanja @ Feb 8 2008, 04:54 PM) *
yeah..man...great idea...but can you give feedback on how You got to the idea for this, at the moment non-existing, song..what I mean...what was the inspiration...for the riff...beat...arr....melodies...did you sing the song in your head first..or just grab guitar and play some chords....maybe it is a stupid question but I am intertested....thanks

This is't a dumb question at all. There's several approaches to "inspiration." You can start with any instrument....your voice, drums, guitar, or whatever. You just have to start somewhere. Now I'm both a guitarist and a drummer so I usually just pick up a guitar and start playing something that I know would be fun to solo and drum to without even thinking about vocals or lyrics yet. It starts off with just a series of power chords for me so i can get something that sounds good going. A long time ago a purchased an FX board called a Digitech GNX3. This isn't as good as a POD...I know that, but it has something that the POD doesn't have...an onboard recorder that allows you to record guitar riffs by pressing record and stop with your feet. It then loops the riff over and over. Not 10 minutes ago I came up with a riff that is as follows:

CODE
Drop-D Tuning

E ---------------------
B ---------------------
G -------3-------------
D ---0---3---3----5----
A ---0---1---3----5----
D ---0-------3----5----


I then play it in a rhythmic way where I can solo to it and also drum to it... It's not fancy in any way, but it's a starting point.



Feb 9 - Still creating some guitar riffs. I'm using the riff tabbed above for the rhythm and working on some lead parts for fillers. See Attachments labeled "1 -" Here is how to play the parts...


CODE
Lead 1
Drop-D Tuning

E -------------------
B -------------------
G ---2---3---2---3---
D ---0---0---3---2---
A -------------------
D -------------------

Lead 2
Drop-D Tuning

E --------------------------------------------------------------------
B --------------------------------------------------------------------
G -------10------9-----7----5---5-------5-----3---3--------2-----2----
D ----7--------7-----7-----5---5------3-----3------------0------0-----
A --5--------5-----5-----5---5------3-----3-----3-----0------0--------
D --------------------------------------------------------------------



I'm now working on bass and drum parts and starting to think about the vocal melody and arrangement of this song. I've recorded each of these tracks and cut the beginning and end in a way where they can be looped and repeated indefinitely. This will allow me to layer the tracks or solo the tracks at any given time and then bring in the other tracks when I need them. Each track was repeated 4 times within Sony Acid Pro(the program I use for recording) as you can see from the attached picture labeled "1 - Layered Tracks."



Feb 10 - After listening to the recording I made, I decided that the rhythm that I was playing the riffs with wasn't going to work for what I wanted to write. My original thought was to make a song that was a mix of techno/r&b/rock. That riff was all rock basically. I reworked the riffs a little bit and used the program Fruity Loops Producer Edition 6.0 to create a techno/dance club beat. The "Lead 2" part sounds cool but didn't leave a lot of room for vocals, so i decided to leave it off for now. I recorded the "Lead 1" and "Rhythm" parts again to reflect the changes and then made sure they looped better than they did in the previous recordings. I then recorded the lead and rhythm parts again with an additional flanger sound to my guitar...this is also called track doubling(re-recording a track and mixing it in). This makes the track sound louder and richer. After I did all that, I wanted to add bass....however, I don't have a bass guitar. Luckily my Digitech GNX3 has a preset that drops my guitar an octave and equalizes it so that is sounds close to a bass guitar. I still wanted the bass to reflect a techno-ish sound.

Ok pause for just a second...I want you to understand what I'm visualizing for this song... In order for it to be a mix of techno/r&b/rock I have to decide which parts were going to sound like those styles or genres. I decided that the guitar tracks(not the bass guitar) were going to be all rock in the way they sound. The backing beat as well as the bass guitar were going to be all techno in the way they sound. And the vocals were going to be r&b on the verses and rock/techno on the chorus. Complicated...I know. But you'll soon understand what I mean.

Ok so back to how I made the bass guitar sound like it sounds. First I recorded my guitar with the GNX3 preset with a galloping picking approach. Then I used Fruity Loops to create 2 additional tracks with 2 synthesized bass sounds. I then brought them over into Sony Acid Pro and mixed them with the other tracks and applied a flanger to 1 of them. Combined with the techno beat, this sounded pretty cool to me.

To understand this further as well as hear what I'm talking about, look at the 2nd picture labeled "2 - Layered Tracks part 2" and listen to "2 - All together part 2.mp3." Be sure to take note of how I panned each track. You can tell what they are in the picture by their label name.



Feb 11 - So today I'm going to start thinking about lyrics and vocal melodies. I've decided that the verse is going to be sort of a rap...the prechorus a rap/rock...and the chorus - rock. Before I get into lyrics though I want to answer some questions that I recieved:

QUOTE (Paul Coutts @ Feb 10 2008, 11:11 PM) *
I really enjoyed reading this, very helpful and actually inspiring for me to sit and WORK on songs instead of waiting for them to come.
Thanks for this!
Are you going to post a completely finished track at any point?


Yes! I plan to post everything for this song...completed tracks...uncompleted tracks...everything that I record or write will be here.


QUOTE (Bogdan @ Feb 10 2008, 06:06 PM) *
I like the all together.mp3 better wink.gif
Sounded very good with the licks and everything
This tehno version sounds little "cheaper" to me wink.gif Don't get me wrong my friend wink.gif
Just trying to get you to reconsider the two versions/ideas wink.gif hehehehe


I don't hate Bogdan for making this comment. When it comes down to writing songs...it's about personal preference. I can understand that the previous version might sound better to Bogdan, but it's important that you write songs in a way that is fun for you. Personally, I think the newest version of the recording is more fun. People will always have their opinions of your music....when 1 person doesn't like it....3 more will. It's important to take criticism of your work with an open mind and not take it as an insult. Thanks for your feedback Bogdan!


QUOTE (jammer91 @ Feb 11 2008, 06:40 AM) *
Hi Kyle,
When writing the guitar bits (lead and rhythm) do you think in terms of scales or modes or just play what sounds good? Because my scalar knowledge is int vast and i feel i limit my self when thinking of scales. But the problem hits me when trying to fill in a solo because i dont know what key im on.


I play by ear and I've never thought in terms of scales or modes. Really the only scales I know are the simple ones like the pentatonic scales. Skill-wise I can be beat...but my best skill comes from creativity. Don't be afraid to hit a wrong note. Sometimes wrong notes turn into amazing songs. Use randomness to find structure!


Ok...so moving on to lyrics. As I stated before...I want the first part of the song to have a Linkin Park/Rap feel to it...so I started by just singing random "Da da da da's" stuff until i found a vocal melody that fit the guitar riffs. As heard in the recording...the first 2 bars will be the verse....second 2 the pre-chorus...and the last 2 the chorus. After I sang my "Da da da's" I worked on replacing the random words with words that make sense. Here's what I came up with off of the top of my head. I may not stick with these...but they are a possibility:

VERSE:
as i lay i cry these tears
dreading what lies beyond these midnight fears
kissing still images of your face
my heart panics and begins to race
at the thought of your warm embrace
and the way your berry lip gloss tastes


Not a whole lot yet, but these sound good to me so far. It's important for you to not be afraid of completely throwing out things that don't work for your song even if they sound good. For example, I threw out a bunch of lyrics that just didn't work for the song even though they were good...I also threw out the "Lead 2" guitar riff if you can remember.

I may post some recordings later on today if I get the chance.


Feb 12 - Had a pretty busy day today so I didn't get to do a lot of work on the song, but I've listened to the riff I've recorded so much that I don't really need it to write lyrics. Writing lyrics for songs is definitely (in my opinion) the hardest part for me. I've got a million riffs floating around that I've never found a use for. Usually inspiration for the lyrics comes from experiences that I'm currently dealing with in life. I've added some more to the lyrics since last time, but they are still not complete. It's really important that you don't rush through the lyrics. They have to be good...just like the guitar riffs and drum beats. Here is what I've got so far:

as i lay i cry these tears
dreading what lies beyond these midnight fears
kissing still images of your face
my heart panics and begins to race
the thought of your warm embrace
and the way your berry lip gloss tastes
heightens my senses and fills my veins
warming this heart with love unchanged

I can't always promise to be perfect
even though I know you deserve it
but the distance is gone and I'm right here
there's no time to be scared, so shake the fear

Where do you get inspiration for lyrics?...Do you just write down words that sound good or what?
These lyrics are coming from my love life actually. Inspired by my Girlfriend of 1 year. I've been working for the past 6 months out of Dallas TX(4 hours away from home) and I've just gotten the chance to move back home...to the same town as her. So now I don't have to do the long distance relationship anymore. The anticipation up until the actual move was killer. Now that we're back in the same town, we're trying to get used to it again. So now you can see that lyrics are nothing more than a story of what you're going through. If you write lyrics that are meaningless and just full of cliches, then your song won't mean a lot to many people. When you write about real life experiences, you'll find that a lot of people can relate.

Almost halfway through with the lyrics for the song...As the song approaches completion, this topic will become a lot more interesting and I'll have more things to upload and let you listen to including some of my mess-ups with recording vocals. I'll keep you updated wink.gif

This is as far as I've gotten so far.

This post has been edited by Kyle Logue: Feb 13 2008, 06:56 AM
Attached image(s)
Attached Image Attached Image
 

Attached File(s)
Attached File  1___Rhythm.mp3 ( 1.03MB ) Number of downloads: 138
Attached File  1___Lead_2.mp3 ( 1.03MB ) Number of downloads: 144
Attached File  1___Lead_1.mp3 ( 1.03MB ) Number of downloads: 137
Attached File  1___All_Together.mp3 ( 1.03MB ) Number of downloads: 213
Attached File  2___All_together_part_2.mp3 ( 1.26MB ) Number of downloads: 211
 
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Iluha
post Feb 8 2008, 11:43 PM
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Great idea Kyle, this is really the best way to teach songwriting!
I'll be keeping track of you'r progress and will help if I'll see I can smile.gif


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Kyle Logue
post Feb 8 2008, 11:46 PM
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QUOTE (Iluha @ Feb 8 2008, 04:43 PM) *
Great idea Kyle, this is really the best way to teach songwriting!
I'll be keeping track of you'r progress and will help if I'll see I can smile.gif


thanks for the support wink.gif
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Nemanja Filipovi...
post Feb 8 2008, 11:54 PM
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yeah..man...great idea...but can you feedback on how U got to the idea for at the moment non existing song..what I mean...what was the inspiration...for riff...beat...arr....melodys...did you sing song in your head first..or just grab guitar and play some chords while idea donot come around....maybe it is a stupid question but I am intertested....thanks


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UncleSkillet
post Feb 9 2008, 12:04 AM
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This is a great idea Kyle. Thanks for taken this on as a lesson project.


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"Think of a guitar solo as a paragraph. You need a clear beginning, a middle, and an end. Look at musical phrases like sentences, and make sure you break them up using punctuation—or space. You pause naturally when conversing, right? If you don't, you'll bore the listener. The same thing will happen with your audience if your solo is one dimensional. You'll wear them out and lose their attention." —Tom Principato
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Kyle Logue
post Feb 9 2008, 12:41 AM
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QUOTE (Nemanja @ Feb 8 2008, 04:54 PM) *
yeah..man...great idea...but can you feedback on how U got to the idea for at the moment non existing song..what I mean...what was the inspiration...for riff...beat...arr....melodys...did you sing song in your head first..or just grab guitar and play some chords while idea donot come around....maybe it is a stupid question but I am intertested....thanks

hope i answered your question in the edit
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Nemanja Filipovi...
post Feb 9 2008, 12:48 AM
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yes man you did...thanks..smile.gif


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coffeeman
post Feb 9 2008, 01:00 AM
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Hey Kyle,

This is a great Idea, Im working really hard on writing mine own stuff so I will follow this thread every day, and I hope maybe I can help you out with something.

You are doing a great job Kyle.

Thanks a lot.


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Kyle Logue
post Feb 9 2008, 01:02 AM
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QUOTE (coffeeman @ Feb 8 2008, 06:00 PM) *
Hey Kyle,

This is a great Idea, Im working really hard on writing mine own stuff so I will follow this thread every day, and I hope maybe I can help you out with something.

You are doing a great job Kyle.

Thanks a lot.


Wow...I really appreciate it. Thanks!

Be sure to post some of your songs within the Upload forum so we can have a listen to them.
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Ivan Milenkovic
post Feb 9 2008, 01:47 AM
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I can post some guitar riffs if you are intersted


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Kyle Logue
post Feb 9 2008, 01:57 AM
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QUOTE (Milenkovic Ivan @ Feb 8 2008, 06:47 PM) *
I can post some guitar riffs if you are intersted

definitely...might see something i like better
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holoshreder
post Feb 9 2008, 02:03 AM
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Great idea dude laugh.gif

This post has been edited by holoshreder: Feb 9 2008, 02:04 AM


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Nemanja Filipovi...
post Feb 9 2008, 02:17 AM
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hey Kyle maybe it is litlle early to ask but can I be involved in lyrics part.....


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Kyle Logue
post Feb 9 2008, 02:19 AM
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QUOTE (Nemanja @ Feb 8 2008, 07:17 PM) *
hey Kyle maybe it is litlle early to ask but can I be involved in lyrics part.....

Anyone can be as involved as they want to be! I may not use everything that's suggested though.
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Nemanja Filipovi...
post Feb 9 2008, 02:21 AM
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QUOTE (Kyle Logue @ Feb 9 2008, 02:19 AM) *
Anyone can be as involved as they want to be! I may not use everything that's suggested though.

ofcourse..my queston was in that direction.....I will try and if you like it you can keep it...smile.gif


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Robin
post Feb 9 2008, 08:02 AM
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Hey this is great. I can't wait for the lyrics part, I'm terrible at writing lyrics.


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Kyle Logue
post Feb 9 2008, 11:44 PM
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The topic has been updated. If you have questions, please ask!
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Nemanja Filipovi...
post Feb 10 2008, 12:18 AM
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just a coment...I like it:)


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Kyle Logue
post Feb 10 2008, 09:35 PM
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Feb 10...now updated with the current progress. What do you guys think so far?
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Bogdan Radovic
post Feb 11 2008, 01:06 AM
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I like the all together.mp3 better wink.gif
Sounded very good with the licks and everything wink.gif I wish you played live rock drum over it wink.gif ehhehehe
This tehno version sounds little "cheaper" to me wink.gif Don't get me wrong my friend wink.gif
Just trying to get you to reconsider the two versions/ideas wink.gif hehehehe

p.s. this is a great topic, very good idea and executed well too.. wink.gif

This post has been edited by Bogdan: Feb 11 2008, 01:07 AM


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