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> Composition Question, Need some help with writing new tunes
ChocolateThunda
post Sep 2 2014, 02:03 PM
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Alright all?

Got a quick question for you lot I'm hoping you can help!

So I'm looking to start writing tunes, but I would say I'm not very creative and I'm a wee bit stuck on where to begin.


So how do you guys approach the writing process? I'm not sure I understand chord progressions and stuff properly because even those sound a bit dull and lifeless.

Thaanks!
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Gabriel Leopardi
post Sep 2 2014, 03:24 PM
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Hi mate! You are asking something very important. I have been dedicating my life to composing music for my band, for GMC, for myself, for other projects, works. I'm composing music every day and I love it. There is not one way to create music, it works different for each musician, and even using different methods can make us get different results which is very cool when we are talking about creation.

I basically have 3 main modes to create music with their own pros and cons. Let me explain them:

Mode 1: Ideas library

In this mode I compose a melody or short idea that works as the release of a song.

- I search for a place that is not where I usually work or practice. A different place, that gets me out from distractions. I took a guitar that helps me to play along with my voice, if possible a guitar that I don't use very often.
- I start creating melodies with my voice over some progressions being played on guitar.
- Every time I heard something that I like, I record it to avoid forgetting the idea. I use my cellphone for it.
- In this way I create my library of ideas.
- Organize this ideas on different folders using different criteria to being able to find them later when you need an specific feeling.

Pros of this method:
- Ideas totally genuine and original, that comes from our own personality. Quality.
- Big amount of ideas. Quantity.
- I start the song from its "soul".
- It's soul is clear at first.

Cons of this one:
- Sometimes it's tricky to develop the idea to get a the song completed.


Mode 2: Sculptor technique

Using a software that allows me to record multitrack audio I start to accumulate ideas in different layers. Each new idea suggests the next one. After many layers I get something similar to the virgin wood that a sculptor has before he starts working on it to get the final shape. In this method, I believe that starting with not very outstanding ideas, I can get stuff that would have appeared if I would have done the whole process of recording layers and layers. Another way to define this second mode is as a summation of unclear ideas that give shape to a song.

-----------------------------------------------

Modes 1 and 2 can be inpired by:
- Situation of life: feeling, love, anger.
- Reading, a book, an article, newspaper.
- Song, album, show.
- Video clip, movie.

Tricks to avoid repeating the similar ideas:
- Using an instrument that you don't know how to play the chord, scale, etc. This avoids you to play the same things over and over. You will try different combination of notes.
- Using your voice instead of your instrument.



Mode 3: Direct inspiration (Analysis - Re-creation)

- I analyze many songs, compare them and then write down a list of concepts and criteria that work on a music style and use them / re-create them to compose new music.

Pros:
- This method is very effective when you need to create music on a specific style. This usually happens when you have to compose as a job.
- Fast high quality composition. It's a very fluently and fluid method.
- You can get genuine music if you re-create the concepts learnt.



Ok mate, I hope that this gives you ideas to start composing! Let me know if this helps and if you have more questions. wink.gif


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SirJamsalot
post Sep 2 2014, 10:51 PM
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Awesome.

QUOTE (Gabriel Leopardi @ Sep 2 2014, 07:24 AM) *
Hi mate! You are asking something very important. I have been dedicating my life to composing music for my band, for GMC, for myself, for other projects, works. I'm composing music every day and I love it. There is not one way to create music, it works different for each musician, and even using different methods can make us get different results which is very cool when we are talking about creation.

I basically have 3 main modes to create music with their own pros and cons. Let me explain them:

Mode 1: Ideas library

In this mode I compose a melody or short idea that works as the release of a song.

- I search for a place that is not where I usually work or practice. A different place, that gets me out from distractions. I took a guitar that helps me to play along with my voice, if possible a guitar that I don't use very often.
- I start creating melodies with my voice over some progressions being played on guitar.
- Every time I heard something that I like, I record it to avoid forgetting the idea. I use my cellphone for it.
- In this way I create my library of ideas.
- Organize this ideas on different folders using different criteria to being able to find them later when you need an specific feeling.

Pros of this method:
- Ideas totally genuine and original, that comes from our own personality. Quality.
- Big amount of ideas. Quantity.
- I start the song from its "soul".
- It's soul is clear at first.

Cons of this one:
- Sometimes it's tricky to develop the idea to get a the song completed.


Mode 2: Sculptor technique

Using a software that allows me to record multitrack audio I start to accumulate ideas in different layers. Each new idea suggests the next one. After many layers I get something similar to the virgin wood that a sculptor has before he starts working on it to get the final shape. In this method, I believe that starting with not very outstanding ideas, I can get stuff that would have appeared if I would have done the whole process of recording layers and layers. Another way to define this second mode is as a summation of unclear ideas that give shape to a song.

-----------------------------------------------

Modes 1 and 2 can be inpired by:
- Situation of life: feeling, love, anger.
- Reading, a book, an article, newspaper.
- Song, album, show.
- Video clip, movie.

Tricks to avoid repeating the similar ideas:
- Using an instrument that you don't know how to play the chord, scale, etc. This avoids you to play the same things over and over. You will try different combination of notes.
- Using your voice instead of your instrument.



Mode 3: Direct inspiration (Analysis - Re-creation)

- I analyze many songs, compare them and then write down a list of concepts and criteria that work on a music style and use them / re-create them to compose new music.

Pros:
- This method is very effective when you need to create music on a specific style. This usually happens when you have to compose as a job.
- Fast high quality composition. It's a very fluently and fluid method.
- You can get genuine music if you re-create the concepts learnt.



Ok mate, I hope that this gives you ideas to start composing! Let me know if this helps and if you have more questions. wink.gif



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Mertay
post Sep 2 2014, 11:05 PM
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Begining is the hardest part, pass that and soon later it will feel very natural smile.gif

Gab. gave good tips, I'd only add specially for the first few songs don't try to make them fullfill you. I mean you're not working for a grammy and your friends don't have to listen to it unless you want to wink.gif but feel free to share here as this forum is the last place to be shy about music smile.gif


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Cosmin Lupu
post Sep 3 2014, 07:57 AM
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Hey mate smile.gif

Gabi shared a very thorough approach based on 3 different perspectives, follow them and you'll surely make things work. I don't want to repeat what he said, so I will share my vision further, as I see writing divided into two other directions:

- exercise writing - the act of writing musical pieces to practice various techniques and applied theory.

In order to approach this, I suggest you to start by building a sold theoretical base on which we can work together if you wish smile.gif
You need to cover the Major scale, its intervals, harmonizing, chord progressions and of course the modes. Then everything revolves around understanding the relationships between chords and notes - basically, what goes well with what and to what effect.

All these theoretical aspects are covered here at GMC, but simply reading them won't do much good - you need to see them applied in musical contexts and then tackle tasks in which you use them in musical contexts.

Once you start understanding these, you can take a chord progression formula and tinker with it until you give it a shape you like. Come up with a theme over it or link it to other progression types, coming close to it, that can actually create a structure. Chances are it can sound good or ordinary, but hey, your purpose here was to be able to work with the newly acquired info - so, points taken wink.gif

- the inner spark - that happens when one morning you wake up with an idea in your head. It dominates your mind, so you can't but pick up your guitar and record it. Once you have that, you need to use the knowledge above in order to shape it and develop it.

Let me know what your thoughts are and if you want to hone your theoretical skills by working together, let me know smile.gif


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Mith
post Sep 3 2014, 08:31 AM
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I personally use a method alot like Gabs Mode 2.

I jam around and find a riff that I think is great and catchy and has something special. I then try and think of 2 or more other riffs that can tie in with that one. I then fill out a drum track and a bass track for those parts and then just keep laying more guitar parts and what not.

Once a fair bit is in there I start thinking of lyrics. This is ussally when I decided the structure of a song. See what lyrics come to mind and what works for choruses and verses. Then its just tweaking. Add more music for choruses taking some away for verses. Double track things.

The one thing I always do last is any solo. I really like knowing what the vocals are doing so I can think about how I want the guitar to go. sometimes I want to mirror a vocal line sometimes I want to take it somewhere new.

And as Cos was saying its a skill you need to work on. Start with a simple thing thats like verse/chorus/verse/chorus/bridge/chorus or something like that. Try get the framework of a song up then add to it.

I personally write songs alot better than I play guitar. but I'm working on that tongue.gif


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ChocolateThunda
post Sep 3 2014, 05:49 PM
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These are some seriously useful tips.

Actually I'm working on writing a song this weekend. I'll post it up here at some point and let you know what the final product sounds like. I can't sing so I won't put you guys through that but I'm pretty excited to get this done!! tongue.gif
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Cosmin Lupu
post Sep 4 2014, 07:06 AM
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QUOTE (ChocolateThunda @ Sep 3 2014, 04:49 PM) *
These are some seriously useful tips.

Actually I'm working on writing a song this weekend. I'll post it up here at some point and let you know what the final product sounds like. I can't sing so I won't put you guys through that but I'm pretty excited to get this done!! tongue.gif


Hey mate! Glad we could be of assistance wink.gif Just let us know how it goes and if we can help further smile.gif Singing can be learned too, you know wink.gif


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ChocolateThunda
post Sep 9 2014, 01:45 PM
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Finally finished a view tunes!

I was hoping you guys could point me in the right direction for recording?

So I wanna do a few things..

Firstly, I wanna recording some tunes using drum tracks and stuff that my mate has made for them. But I;ve no idea where to start with that. Any tips?

Secondly, I want to record my guitar parts to songs over a backing track already (for the REC section). I've been working on Starry Night by Joe Satriani and I wanna record it and get it uploaded but once again I've no idea where to start. Are there any guides out there?

Thanks!
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Cosmin Lupu
post Sep 10 2014, 08:13 AM
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Hey mate smile.gif First things first - congratulations on finishing your songs wink.gif

Secondly, I recommend this movie here in which you can learn everything about home recording, both audio and video:



About the REC zone, that place is only meant for GMC lessons - any other recording can go into the Practice room and we will give you feedback, of course wink.gif

In order to write a song from scratch, you need to get a DAW - Reaper can be a good start, as you may see in the video above and some virtual instrument pluggins. I used EZ Drummer and Superior Drummer and now I am using Kontakt for drums and for bass, I know of a pluggin named Trillian. I am currently recording live bass whenever I want to put something out, as it's a lot more natural and good sounding - if you wanna try it, it's obviously going to sound a lot more human and natural, so I'd recommend that, if of course you can procure a bass guitar from a friend, or maybe you already own one?

You also need an audio interface which will help you record the guitar/vocals/bass guitar into your computer and some monitors or headphones in order to be able to monitor/control what you record.

Please let us know what your current setup is and we'll take it from there smile.gif


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