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> Writing Songs - For Any Instructor, From riff idea to full song
post Sep 4 2008, 09:48 PM
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Writing Songs.

My weakness.

Its like I know the ability is in there somewhere. But I cant find the part of my brain that is hiding it and squeeze it out.

I'm talking about the music part of a song. Not lyrics.

It usually starts with a melody idea or riff for me. I'll try and capture myself humming it into my pda's digital recorder.

Then I try to translate that to guitar.

The furthest I get is that initial riff idea. I cant seem to come up with the next part. I have lots of riff ideas laying around but I cant seem to link them together.

Any ideas?

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Juan M. Valero
post Sep 4 2008, 10:54 PM
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mmm it's difficult to say just one way, I sometimes start with the rhythm, and sometimes with the melody, but just one advice, if you start with the melody it will be to much hard to write a rhythm if you don't know anything about harmony and theory.

Anyway I use to imagine the melodies in my mind and then I play them in the guitar and I arrange them and for example if I start with Rythm and then a melody appears in my mind I can change some chords to work better with the melodies or to avoid the same rhythm patterns (for example the always present C-D-Em in all Iron Maidens songs laugh.gif)

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Ramiro Delforte
post Sep 4 2008, 11:04 PM
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Make an effort to listen what is next. I mean, if you have a riff try to listen to it a lot of times until you can hear something that follows that riff. You can try to find the kind of riff in some other song and listen to the following part in that composition to make an idea of a possible continuation.
If you have a melody is the same, you have to record the melody and try to listen a possible rhythm guitar.
If you are not familiar with theory this is the best way, trying and trying.
Once I've heard that a journalist asked Hermeto Pascoal (a great Brazilian composer) about his method of composition, his answer was: "well, I try with one chord and if I don't like it I try another".
All is about listening what is in your head, I'm not talking only about the harmony but about the mood, the rhythm.

I hope it was useful.

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Jose Mena
post Sep 9 2008, 10:22 PM
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Believe it or not, you had a good start. When I started writing all I had were a bunch of cool riffs, and didn't know how to put them together. What I did was put some of these together and created my first songs, when I listen back I realize that they sound like a bunch of pieces that have been put together, and remove stuff and try to create smooth transitions for the parts.

Listen to the bands you like, and you will become better at hearing what comes next like Ramiro said. You will play a riff and sometimes you will inmediatelly hear what comes next in your head. It takes time, but you have to start doing it now as much as you can, so that you can get better at it.

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post Sep 10 2008, 08:26 AM
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I'm not an instructor but I write songs, so I thought I'd answer anyway wink.gif

For me it starts with Rythm parts, riffs I come up with during practice.
I always record every riff I come up with as long as I like for later use if I can't come up with anything that fits right away.
Later on I listen through my riffs and try to connect them together to create a song.
Or I just continue with a riff until I come up with something good for it, making a song right away.
Sometimes it takes little time at all, and sometimes it takes a very long time to get what I'm after.

After that I create the backing, melodies, solos etc.
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post Sep 10 2008, 03:10 PM
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I've written some and I have a few tips.

Ok, so you have your first riff, sometimes the following riffs or the chordprogression comes naturally, but not very often. So there's a few things we have here to help us. Let's say you have a riff in a aeolian, do the exact same riff but in D-dorian, C Ionian etc. Just to get the hang of what positions you can use for your next riff. Play your riff inside out, backwards, chose a new scale like A harmonic minor, play it in E-minor. Just alter the riff theory wise to find new ideas.

Get the chord progression you have and analyze it, what cadences etc. If you're stuck somewhere, try EVERY cadence from that position, just to get a small Idea of what possibilities you have.

Go get a piano and learn what you play, then try to come up with a nice piano part for it, record it and try to play your guitar to your piano piece.

Try painting what you hear, then try to play what you've painted tongue.gif

Come up with beats, try drumming your original riff on your legs and then alter it rythmically while drumming on your legs.

Learn how to sing your riff and harmonize it with your guitar.

These things are things that works for me when I'm stuck with the best riff in the world, but dunno how to proceed.

This post has been edited by Oxac: Sep 10 2008, 03:11 PM

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Gerardo Siere
post Nov 20 2008, 04:28 PM
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Usually from the riff you can get the chorus, so the rif intro acts as an anticipation of the hook of the song, then you have the verse that can be a totally diferent idea.

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