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Stuck with my music and need advice

Arrangement, instrumentation, lyric writing, music theory, inspiration… it’s all here.

Re: Stuck with my music and need advice

Postby RoyZ » Mon Jan 18, 2016 9:30 pm

Thanks a lot again for all your replies.
I understand what all of you said though the advice of "just do it"(or don't) is not exactly what I was looking for, if I could've done it I would, it's not even about writing songs that starts from writing the complete lyrics (which I could create). I was asking for some practical advice as for how to arrange and glue musical ides (pieces) together to form something useful in a song.. as for inspiration, I have plenty of it, so that's not a problem.

As for the advice of "do it or don't and the world probably wouldn't notice".. well.. first of all I am creating music since I was a teenage (half my life) and it is a NEED for me. second, it could very much be that (regardless of who I really am since I could be anyone) the world will loose something as my songs have values. so, I need to have the advice a "great artist" (not claiming I am) should've had.
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Re: Stuck with my music and need advice

Postby blinddrew » Mon Jan 18, 2016 9:36 pm

Ok, so how good is your musical theory? Sometimes you really need to study, starting at the basics and working your way up. If you're trying to link bits together a bit of theoretical knowledge can be worth hours of trying different progressions. I know this because I don't have the musical theory! ;¬)
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Re: Stuck with my music and need advice

Postby RoyZ » Mon Jan 18, 2016 10:23 pm

You are right Thanks, It's pretty fair, I have a solid base, I would say intermediate.
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Re: Stuck with my music and need advice

Postby blinddrew » Mon Jan 18, 2016 10:32 pm

Well, if you can't play your way out of it, and you can't theorise your way out of it I guess you have two options: either find someone else to work with who can help you find the glue, or write short songs ;¬)
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Re: Stuck with my music and need advice

Postby Dynamic Mike » Tue Jan 19, 2016 1:54 am

Essentially you're saying you're great at writing music and crap at writing songs. So you have talent, but lack discipline. Maybe investigate a different format. Write jingles, soundtracks, anything that isn't subject to the restrictions of a intro/verse/chorus/ad nauseam format. Or just try combining what you have in a 'Bohemian Rhapsody' fashion?

Or this https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=REojIUxX4rw :lol:
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Re: Stuck with my music and need advice

Postby Exalted Wombat » Tue Jan 19, 2016 2:14 am

Write some BAD songs. Ones that don't come up to your standards. But write lots of them, and FINISH them.
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You don't have to write songs. The world doesn't want you to write songs. It would probably prefer it if you didn't. So write songs if you want to. Otherwise, dont bore us with beefing about it. Go fishing instead.

Re: Stuck with my music and need advice

Postby wdsteele » Tue Jan 19, 2016 4:56 pm


I'd say watch this documentary - doesn't matter if you are a fan or not ; I think it's a very inspiring insight into song writing and the kind of challenges to expect along the way.



http://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/episode/b0 ... -that-bind
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Re: Stuck with my music and need advice

Postby blinddrew » Tue Jan 19, 2016 10:16 pm

Dynamic Mike wrote:

Or this https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=REojIUxX4rw :lol:

Perfect!
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Re: Stuck with my music and need advice

Postby CS70 » Mon Feb 01, 2016 2:57 pm

Don't wait for things to be perfect or even good before you put them down.
It's hard to keep all in your head. But make parts - say lyrics - even if they dont make much sense, just for the sound, so you have something to anchor to. Add a chorus, a bridge, a solo.

And, don't keep doing more than one or two at a time. Two allows you to switch when if get bored of the one. More than two, you ain't going to finish anything.

Last: don't tinker. :)
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Re: Stuck with my music and need advice

Postby Guest » Sun Mar 06, 2016 11:34 am

If you've already got lots of great riffs/parts/verses whatever, you've already got potentially finished songs, because you can mix and match them, just change the key.

A 3 min pop song, all 8 bars is, intro, verse1, verse2, CHORUS, verse1 verse2 CHORUS, middle 8, verse1 verse2 CHORUS.

So we need, 5 diff bits, an intro, verse1 verse2 CHORUS & middle 8.

CHORUS is the best bit, the verses should lead/guide you to it. the two verses can be similar or different, either way the second verse usually gets little bit more attention, more of something good in it, stronger voice leading & or another instrument whatever.

The intro is important as it tells those that know what's gonna follow, you gotta start right, so start as you mean to go on, this could simply be the seperate instruments and drums whatever, that appear in the coming verse entering the affray one by one leaving the last part bass maybe to sound as the verse kicks in.

Decide wot you're best bit is and make that your CHORUS then work the verses, use the same riff for both verses, but just have stronger voice leading on the last bars to lead into the CHORUS. Also with verses change a couple of snare fills whatever...

Think of your whole song and each part as living within a I-V-I (harmonic) structure, point being all composing is, is, using the same notes but in a diff order, the rules are written, you leap and you step through the intervals, you, me, Beethoven , 'endrix, it's the same for all us.

Try this, C to C all the white notes, 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8, play/syncopate the 1 3 5 to a beat, they're stable, they're not going anywhere are they, ok this time, when you hit the 5 play 4 3 2 1, now there's movement yes, so write a bassline that moves, and then add a brass fill that stays where it is...

There's 3 things you need to achieve it, Ears Ears & Ears, you need to realise that this or that riff is not up to it and therefore find a better/stronger note or two, voice leading, a hook.

Again all any of us can do is step and leap through the intervals and you'll be using the same intervals in every part, jus' in a diff order, 'ow 'ard's that mate.

USE YOUR EARS. 'tis them that seperates the men from the boys bruvver.
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Re: Stuck with my music and need advice

Postby Guest » Sun Mar 06, 2016 12:00 pm

LdashD wrote: you, me, Beethoven , 'endrix, it's the same for all us.

Er, maybe that should've been, Beet'oven...
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Re: Stuck with my music and need advice

Postby Sam Spoons » Fri Mar 11, 2016 6:38 pm

Just a thought, (and I'm only a very occasional songwriter) if you were able to complete the songs where you wrote the lyrics first why not sit down and write some lyrics and then look through your ideas archive for bits of music to fit the completed lyrics?

In fact, this year I'm going to do exactly that, thanks for the inspiration :)
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Re: Stuck with my music and need advice

Postby DC-Choppah » Tue Mar 22, 2016 5:22 am

Make a radical change in your life and go in search of inspiration and meaning. The music will follow.
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Re: Stuck with my music and need advice

Postby turbodave » Tue Mar 22, 2016 9:22 pm

Imagine you had one chord...just one chord to work with....how would you take the listener on a journey with just one chord. Arrangement is about the journey, retaining interest and delivering a musical message.Utilise sounds and textures to add/ subtract from the overall sound...dynamics as well...and if you use lyrics try and connect the words with the sounds in even an abstract way....and as others have said...enjoy the process. Dave
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Re: Stuck with my music and need advice

Postby CS70 » Wed Mar 23, 2016 11:19 pm

turbodave wrote:Imagine you had one chord...just one chord to work with....how would you take the listener on a journey with just one chord. Arrangement is about the journey, retaining interest and delivering a musical message.Utilise sounds and textures to add/ subtract from the overall sound...dynamics as well...and if you use lyrics try and connect the words with the sounds in even an abstract way....and as others have said...enjoy the process. Dave

Just yesterday I listened again - and wrote about - Nathan East and Paul Gilbert's "One chord challenge". It's so much fun that I try to do that quite often at rehearsal, just jam over one chord (different voicings of course are allowed) and see how much stuff I can invent before I start to get repetitive. With a little attitude, it's pretty amazing how long you can go on - change the attack, the sound, the accents, syncopation, notes in the scales, speed of playing, intervals you use, feel of the notes, swing etc. So much for the need of "ear candy" and all the bleeps, beeps, bells and whistles of today's music.

The downside is that if I write a song afte that, it doesn't really gets a lot of harmonic movement.. if you can last half an hour on a single chord, a few chords progression allows you a hundred things to say in four minutes!
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