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> Another Off-the-wall Question :), key / Song creation / standing / etc
Rain
post Oct 3 2008, 02:21 AM
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Hey everyone; it's been awhile and I have a few questions that have been bothering me for awhile.

(1) Choosing a "key" - How exactly does one go about doing this? I would like to be able to change the 'color' of my music, give it different feelings and I think Key is the best place to start.

(2) How does one start writing a song; I can do patterns, I can do scales, I can do whatever at this point - tapping, etc... (I've done nothing but work on technique since I started, January) but going about creating a smooth or rough or fast or slow song with my patterns is something that hasn't reached my comprehension quite yet. How does one record the creation of the music? The timing - etc. Do I need to learn the formal music notation to get things going? If formal notation is the best method for getting ideas onto paper then I will definitely go for it.

(3) Apparently there are "phrases" and "sentences" (or something of the sort) with guitar - I'm wondering how I can make songs out of them and how to properly note what a "phrase" or "sentence" is, so that I can string em together (and doing it properly is another issue of mine)

"3- - - - 3- - - -3
- - - 4- - - -5- - -- - 6"

Sentence? Phrase? What is it? I know it's a pattern...but what else?

I guess my problems are analogous to understanding the variables of an equation, but not understanding how to solve it and manipulate the equation.


Standing up... Does anyone have a good method for picking while standing? Using the same position as sitting, I have a strange angle which prevents speed and sometimes even sound production.

I read another thread here somewhere and someone mentioned that one can get "stuck in their ways" - which has happened to me before. What is the best method to escape that situation?



That's all for now smile.gif Gotta love learning the ropes!,
Rain


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Rated Htr
post Oct 3 2008, 08:46 AM
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I'm not the best person to answer but I'll try...Firstly, I think you shouldn't analise the making of a song from such a logic point of view. Phrasing on the guitar is usually compared as making a setence as we speak, you need to slow down sometimes, make a pause while talking, otherwise you will talk with all the words connected and it won't make any sense...That's phrasing, making use of the notes on the guitar, sometimes faster, sometimes slower, making pauses, like building a melody just like building a speach. In my opinion, everything that exists to be learn, should be learn, it will only make you better eventually. To make a song, you have to understand theory, using chord progressions and than knowing what scales to use on it. You might know patterns and scales but most important, do you have a wide range of licks?


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superize
post Oct 3 2008, 09:05 AM
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My tip for writing is to play an jam with chords and if you find something you like write it down. The you can continue doing that untill you feel that you got something good.....

As for playing standing up you just have to practise it....Everytime you play try and play both standing and sitting eventually you will learn but it will take a little time..

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Jakub Luptovec
post Oct 3 2008, 09:46 AM
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Well.. songwriting..that depends:)

But overally, I just HAVE TO advice you, to go for Guitar Pro software. Until you'll be good enough (and rich enough:P) to record at enough high quality with all instruments (drums, bass, keyboards..), guitar pro (and its MIDI's..) will serve you the best. You can use it as accompanyment, as reminder, what you created and also as.. a way how to look at your playing from listeners perspective:) you can feel what you've done and make it better. And also it will help you with theory, chords, practicing quick passages (it enables you to slow everything down as slow as you want) and also help your fretboard knowdledge..

What you shown us - the short tab, might be a lick, might be a verse rythm pattern, might be bridge might be solo (dunno how it sounds, so cant tell really smile.gif ) - thats the beauty of songwritting - because genrally its up to you, how will you use it.. Its how you hear it in your head..

The writing of song itself is.. spontaneous process smile.gif I advise to you: from start take some GMC lesson, that you like - some rythm one, and look, what you like on it.. some rhytmical lick? progression of chords, that sound cool together?

Just take it and play with it, look what scale it is in, why it sounds that good together - the key, the intervals.. and then.. just try to add something to it.. or add it to some idea (pattern/lick/chords..) that you already have.. put it in guitar pro, put it on infinite loop, and just improvise around it.. soner than later, you will have some short solo over it.. you will see what tones go good, which do not and out of blue sky, you will know how to do it smile.gif

Btw. if you are mere human, like most of us (excluding Marcus, Marcus, Muris, Kris, Ivan, Dejan, .. shortly GMC instructor - guitar Demigod biggrin.gif ), guess what:

your first composed things will be BAD:) everyone's were like this (or at least mine were:) ).. i remember my first attepms at composing - they were horrible... but thats how it should be - you'll get the feeling for what sounds good by composing more and more:) Dont haste, its journey, not championchip wink.gif

Best of luck smile.gif

Jakub

This post has been edited by Jakub Luptovec: Oct 3 2008, 09:53 AM


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Marcus Siepen
post Oct 4 2008, 12:20 PM
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There is no right or wrong way of songwriting, everybody has his own approach. You can start with whatever comes to your mind, a melodie, a riff, a drum rhythm, lyrics, it all depends on you. But no matter what you use as a basis, from there you have to try to develop your idea and form it into a song. Don't be afraid of changing parts, even exchanging them, you might reach a point when you feel that your awesome intro doesn't really fit to the rest of the song anymore, then just take it out, keep it for a different song and compose a new one for that song. About keys, well, you can of course compose in whatever key you want to write a song, but if you are playing in a band you should also keep in mind your singers voice. Certain keys might cause problems for the singer, they might be too high for his voice, or too low, so you could crosscheck this with him. And of course you always have the option to change the key within the song.


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Ivan Milenkovic
post Oct 4 2008, 05:05 PM
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As Marcus said, there is no rule about songwriting, everyone has different approach. I did one songwriting lesson here on GMC. You can check it out here, might lead you to some ideas. If you have any special questions about it or any aspect of songwriting, feel free to ask mate. Cheers smile.gif

QUOTE
(1) Choosing a "key" - How exactly does one go about doing this? I would like to be able to change the 'color' of my music, give it different feelings and I think Key is the best place to start.

To change the key in a song, you should first be aware how keys are made following the circle of fifths and circle of fourths. You should be aware what keys are similar to each other by the number of the same chords they contain, so you can do the key change more easily. Of course, this is not a rule, you can change the key by just jammin along for a couple of hours and find some chords that work and sound good to you. This is perfectly OK as well, but IMO it is better to actually know what you are doing. You can check out Andrew's theory lessons about circle of fifths and fourths and major scale building rules.

QUOTE
(2) How does one start writing a song; I can do patterns, I can do scales, I can do whatever at this point - tapping, etc... (I've done nothing but work on technique since I started, January) but going about creating a smooth or rough or fast or slow song with my patterns is something that hasn't reached my comprehension quite yet. How does one record the creation of the music? The timing - etc. Do I need to learn the formal music notation to get things going? If formal notation is the best method for getting ideas onto paper then I will definitely go for it.


You can start with a song in any way. Usually it is just a good idea, simple melody, simple choice of words, good beat, good riff, all those things can represent idea and around it you build a song. You don't need the formal music notation, just work on chords for starters. It is good to know your choice of chords, and knowledge about the key your are using, so you can write down at least simple chord marks on paper while composing. You can also tab your songs in GP if you don't know notes well.

QUOTE
(3) Apparently there are "phrases" and "sentences" (or something of the sort) with guitar - I'm wondering how I can make songs out of them and how to properly note what a "phrase" or "sentence" is, so that I can string em together (and doing it properly is another issue of mine)

"3- - - - 3- - - -3
- - - 4- - - -5- - -- - 6"

Sentence? Phrase? What is it? I know it's a pattern...but what else?

all those terms represent should represent some kind of musical sequence of notes that sound good to you and you wanna build your song around it. However, music is not made out of sequnces alone. You must build drums, bass, rhythm guitar, and in the end solo.

QUOTE
I guess my problems are analogous to understanding the variables of an equation, but not understanding how to solve it and manipulate the equation.


It think your analogy is correct, but I would say you still don't get all the variables.

QUOTE
Standing up... Does anyone have a good method for picking while standing? Using the same position as sitting, I have a strange angle which prevents speed and sometimes even sound production.


Yes, a good approach is to practice everything you wanna play standing - while standing. Other important thing is to find a balance between your strap length when sitting and standing. The angle shouldn't be changed in any drastic way.

QUOTE
I read another thread here somewhere and someone mentioned that one can get "stuck in their ways" - which has happened to me before. What is the best method to escape that situation?

You don't know what is the best method for you, but for me it was usually reading theory a bit, along side listening to some fresh music and new artist. This has always helped me to overcome stuck periods, so I suggest you try it and see how it works for you mate.

CHeers smile.gif

This post has been edited by Ivan Milenkovic: Oct 4 2008, 05:06 PM


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kjutte
post Oct 4 2008, 05:23 PM
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QUOTE (Rain @ Oct 3 2008, 03:21 AM) *
Hey everyone; it's been awhile and I have a few questions that have been bothering me for awhile.

(1) Choosing a "key" - How exactly does one go about doing this? I would like to be able to change the 'color' of my music, give it different feelings and I think Key is the best place to start.

(2) How does one start writing a song; I can do patterns, I can do scales, I can do whatever at this point - tapping, etc... (I've done nothing but work on technique since I started, January) but going about creating a smooth or rough or fast or slow song with my patterns is something that hasn't reached my comprehension quite yet. How does one record the creation of the music? The timing - etc. Do I need to learn the formal music notation to get things going? If formal notation is the best method for getting ideas onto paper then I will definitely go for it.

(3) Apparently there are "phrases" and "sentences" (or something of the sort) with guitar - I'm wondering how I can make songs out of them and how to properly note what a "phrase" or "sentence" is, so that I can string em together (and doing it properly is another issue of mine)

"3- - - - 3- - - -3- - - 4- - - -5- - -- - 6"

Sentence? Phrase? What is it? I know it's a pattern...but what else?

I guess my problems are analogous to understanding the variables of an equation, but not understanding how to solve it and manipulate the equation.


4: Standing up... Does anyone have a good method for picking while standing? Using the same position as sitting, I have a strange angle which prevents speed and sometimes even sound production.

I read another thread here somewhere and someone mentioned that one can get "stuck in their ways" - which has happened to me before. What is the best method to escape that situation?



That's all for now smile.gif Gotta love learning the ropes!,
Rain


1:
What you are talking of is modulation.
basically you have to change your chord progression, or play another scale, eg. harmonic minor.

2:
formal notation is awesome. I don't know how to read it (just a tiny bit), but it is indeed important.

3:
well first of, you are writing it in tab, and there is your limitation. if you write it in tab, you have to compare it with other tabs, or patterns.
Again, this is very limiting. What you shall do, is find the notes of your riffs, also the name of its chord.

In your case it's a chromatic passage, and this isn't really made for any typical progression at all. you should make another example.

4:
Put your guitar so high that it's the same pos when you stand as when you sit. this works awesome for me. before I did it, I could only shred whilst sitting down.

5:
Depends on what you're stuck on.
It sounds to be that you don't know patterns and their chords as well as you should to really get further.

Learn the majorscale, how each of the 7 patterns fit together. When you know that, you automatically know all its chords, which is just (for a simple triad) the 1 3 and 5th note of each pattern.

With that simple knowledge you can start making songs right away.

Hope this helped!

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Rain
post Oct 4 2008, 09:43 PM
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This site's member quality just keeps going sky high in my books! Thanks everyone! I'm going to essentially go learn all of Andrew's theory (in time of course) and practice standing up more often now. I'll post back if I have any further questions; you guys nailed them all really well - thanks!!


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kjutte
post Oct 5 2008, 12:04 AM
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QUOTE (Rain @ Oct 4 2008, 10:43 PM) *
This site's member quality just keeps going sky high in my books! Thanks everyone! I'm going to essentially go learn all of Andrew's theory (in time of course) and practice standing up more often now. I'll post back if I have any further questions; you guys nailed them all really well - thanks!!


The most important to start with is naturally the scale, and just the chordal rules.
It's pretty awesome to think of that if you know one scale, you know all its chords smile.gif

Just learn the rule!
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Matt23
post Oct 5 2008, 08:53 AM
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I always compose in guitar pro. and if your just starting i suggest you do a simple song so the structure is like (Intro-Verse-Pre-chorus-Chorus-Verse-Pre Chorus-Chorus-Break/Guitar Solo/Chorus x2. You'll need to have all the different sections in the same style, and to start off with in the same key.

About phrasing ill just explain something ive noticed satch and a lot of other people do. You create a one bar melody, then create another one bar melody that answers the first one (check out the opening 2 bars of the 1st solo in surfing with the alien). you then repeat the first melody and then do something completely different to finish of the sentence and answer both melodies. You can use this in riffs as well.

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Ivan Milenkovic
post Oct 5 2008, 01:52 PM
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QUOTE (Rain @ Oct 4 2008, 10:43 PM) *
This site's member quality just keeps going sky high in my books! Thanks everyone! I'm going to essentially go learn all of Andrew's theory (in time of course) and practice standing up more often now. I'll post back if I have any further questions; you guys nailed them all really well - thanks!!


We're glad to be of assistance mate, shoot if you need anything at all, we'll try to help as much as we can. Cheers smile.gif


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Marcus Siepen
post Oct 6 2008, 07:07 PM
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That's what this forum is here for, to asnwer questions and help others smile.gif


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Scott Gentzen
post Oct 7 2008, 03:55 AM
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QUOTE (Rain @ Oct 2 2008, 09:21 PM) *
Standing up... Does anyone have a good method for picking while standing? Using the same position as sitting, I have a strange angle which prevents speed and sometimes even sound production.


When I started out, I always practiced sitting. One day, I tried playing my normal practice routine and really had a hard time with it. I was surprised how different it felt.

Lately, I try to mix it up...sometimes practice standing, sometimes sitting. Playing standing's getting more comfortable. I'm not sure if I'm hurting my progress by doing it this way, but will find out..


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Marcus Siepen
post Oct 7 2008, 04:19 PM
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You should definitely practice sitting AND standing. Playing in those different positions just feels different, so you should get used to both ways. Specially when you are playing in a band and you want to play some gigs, you just don't sit on stage...


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Jose Mena
post Oct 7 2008, 04:24 PM
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What I did is simply hang the guitar higher when standing to make it easier, I know it looks cooler to have it around the waist, but I guess my hands are short, playing lead like that is difficult, so I chose comfort instead of looks


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Morn
post Oct 7 2008, 06:01 PM
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QUOTE (Rain @ Oct 3 2008, 02:21 AM) *
(1) Choosing a "key" - How exactly does one go about doing this? I would like to be able to change the 'color' of my music, give it different feelings and I think Key is the best place to start.

(2) How does one start writing a song; I can do patterns, I can do scales, I can do whatever at this point - tapping, etc... (I've done nothing but work on technique since I started, January) but going about creating a smooth or rough or fast or slow song with my patterns is something that hasn't reached my comprehension quite yet. How does one record the creation of the music? The timing - etc. Do I need to learn the formal music notation to get things going? If formal notation is the best method for getting ideas onto paper then I will definitely go for it.


Just adding to Marcus and Ivan's comments, here a couple of things that were passed to me...

(1) If all the songs in a set or on an album are in the same key, it can sometimes sound boring in the same way that a speaker who uses a monotone voice sounds less interesting than a speaker who varies his pitch and tempo. Playing the odd song in a different key can liven things up. If your song has lyrics of course, then you must write within the range of the vocalist. A good exercise is to take a song you like and transpose it into differnet keys and see how it sounds. You will hear things you like and don't like accoustically and you may find that some that just don't work as well as the original.

(2) Some composers start with melody, some start with lyrics, some start with a single riff and some start with a rythm part. You could try a diffferent tune for each method and see what you come up with. It's like jamming with yourself. Try and record your "jam" sessions - you may come back to them later and hear something you like and wish to expand on.

I've heard that ABBA often took one of their existing songs and wrote a new melody to the existing lyrics, then wrote new lyrics to the new melody. As an excersise, why not try this with one of your favourite songs.

What ever you come up with, try transposing to a couple of different keys and see if it affects the tone of the piece or even makes you re-write the melody.

Morn.

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Vasilije Vukmiro...
post Oct 8 2008, 09:27 AM
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About writing the song. Usually, it begins with having melody, or some cool chord progression. If you have just chords, record them and jam sometime over it, you will get plenty ideas this way. Usually 2 or melodies will remain in your memory, so try to work on them and develop them. If you have only a melody, you need to find which chords will fit it. You have to experiment here, it isn't only about C maj, D min, you have to know which voicing will be the most appropriate. Experiment. Next thing to do is to make an arrangement. Which instruments will best fit your song? Which instrument should play chords, and which melody? Maybe you could play guitar for both. Which tempo is the most appropriate. Which key? If you have a singer, key could be a problem for him because of his voice (in)capabilities? Solos are least important, usually. Except if it's instrumental. Don't create too many parts of the song, usually few motives are enough. More elements, less focus.

This is a small part for this rather comprehensive subject, if you still feel confused, get a Band-in-a-box, and play with it.
You can post some mp3 if you have something and we will give you advice!


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