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Your songwriting "M.O." ?

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Your songwriting "M.O." ?

Postby bill555 » Sun Feb 11, 2018 2:56 am

Hopefully I haven't posted this before given my alleged memory :?

What if any way do you have of going about this? Do you just wait until it hits you and then go with it? Or do you try to "force" it by sitting down regularly and trying to write? Do you ever have a song just come to you all at once like it writes itself? Does music or lyrics come easier? etc - whatever just wondering how it works for others
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Re: Your songwriting "M.O." ?

Postby DC-Choppah » Sun Feb 11, 2018 9:07 am

For me every song is different and there is no one way to do it.

Some songs I sat down at the piano without intending to, and wrote the whole thing in 5 minutes. Those came easily and are some of my best and most popular. Others I had to work at and for those I have to decide to 'go do some work on it'.

Seems to me the more natural the songwriting process is, the better the song is.

That's a hard lesson to learn.

Good songs sort of write themselves. If the song is hard to work on, well, maybe that is telling you something about it.

Rather than thinking about songwriting as work or even a craft, I think of it as discovery. The good songs are out there. You have to spend time searching for them and know when you have NOT found one.
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Re: Your songwriting "M.O." ?

Postby blinddrew » Sun Feb 11, 2018 10:03 am

bill555 wrote: Do you just wait until it hits you and then go with it? Or do you try to "force" it by sitting down regularly and trying to write? Do you ever have a song just come to you all at once like it writes itself? Does music or lyrics come easier?
Yes. :)
All of the above.
That's the short answer. The long answer is that, like DCC, the best songs tend to be the ones that just arrive from nowhere in 5 minutes, but there's two important caveats to that:
1) it's a guideline not a rule, sometimes the quick stuff is junk and the one that takes lots of crafting is the good one.
2) there are ways of creating structures that help those songs 'just appear'. It's a bit like the way place kickers in rugby have a routine before taking a kick, it's about setting up a situation where you have the highest chance of success.
I have written about this before elsewhere I think (though my memory may be no better than yours ;) ) but for me it comes down to two things: space and permission.
Put yourself in the right physical space to be creative, whatever that is for you. Find what option(s) works for you, then...
Permission is about giving yourself the dedicated time and exclusion to focus on this thing. Take yourself seriously.
A final point is that you can't judge a song's worth until it's out of your head and captured somewhere, so complete it and write it down/record it. Sometimes you just need to get things out of your head, even if they're crap, so you can move on.

All of this is just my opinion of course and YMMV. You might also listen to my songs and decide that doing the complete opposite is clearly the way to go! :D
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Re: Your songwriting "M.O." ?

Postby John Egan » Sun Feb 11, 2018 11:39 am

bill555 wrote:Hopefully I haven't posted this before given my alleged memory :?

What if any way do you have of going about this? Do you just wait until it hits you and then go with it? Or do you try to "force" it by sitting down regularly and trying to write? Do you ever have a song just come to you all at once like it writes itself? Does music or lyrics come easier? etc - whatever just wondering how it works for others

Occasionally I find there are things I want to write about, but less often these days. Occasionally I find phrases - in books or headlines, or things my friends/acquaintances say - which will trigger a song. Still more occasionally they arrive in five or ten minutes. Any of them can be good or awful. As Drew says, recording them helps establish which are which, although sometimes I find that the problem with the recording is me, not the song.
A lot of my songs are stories and I approach them by imagining I am writng something akin to a movie trailer. They are stories, not the least bit autobiographical as far as I can tell, though Freud might disagree !
As I get older though and as the number of songs I have builds up (around 250 now with about half recorded acceptably), the pace of writing has slackened and the ideas and arrangements become harder to find.
I would like to find a method which works reliably for me now, but haven't done so far. I hope this thread may trigger something
Regards, John
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Re: Your songwriting "M.O." ?

Postby Folderol » Sun Feb 11, 2018 2:47 pm

Like the others, my best ones seem to be pure inspiration - unfortunately this usually seems to happen in the early hours of the morning.
I very rarely try to compose anything these days - it never has that extra something.
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Re: Your songwriting "M.O." ?

Postby artzmusic » Mon Feb 12, 2018 2:18 pm

For the music I find that studying something new relative to theory or technique gives inspiration because of fresh approaches to harmony or bass lines or chord structure. Even picking up a different guitar or using a different effect pedal can inspire. Or an alternate tuning.

For the lyrics it's important for me to have a target idea well in mind.

In the case of my song "Lookin' Up", I wrote it originally for a songwriter friend of mine who was feeling quite down about some circumstances in his life. But it sat unfinished for about 6 years until Dr. Hynes asked me to write an inspirational piece for his perspective patients, so they could look past the pain and hope for a better outcome. That was the catalyst I needed to finish the song and video. "See right past the pain" became part of the chorus.

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Re: Your songwriting "M.O." ?

Postby garrettendi » Mon Feb 12, 2018 2:41 pm

For me, my best stuff comes from me sitting at my piano and just playing. Eventually as I "just play", chords and melodies work their way in, and if I'm in the zone, then within an hour or so, I'll have all the music composed and a start on the lyrics.

It's lyrics that come hardest - despite the fact I used to write poetry before I discovered music. Writing a song and writing a poem are two very different things!
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Re: Your songwriting "M.O." ?

Postby BikerDude » Mon Feb 12, 2018 3:50 pm

I'm just glad to have time to record.
Often as not I have to come up with something when the day comes that I can spend time in the studio. I've learned that inspiration can be somewhat over rated. If you write every time that you can your percentages go up.

Inspiration exists. But it has to find us working - Pablo Picasso

You can't wait for inspiration. You have to go after it with a club. -Jack London

If you only write when you’re inspired you may be a fairly decent poet, but you’ll never be a novelist because you’re going to have to make your word count today and those words aren’t going to wait for you whether you’re inspired or not.

You have to write when you’re not inspired. And you have to write the scenes that don’t inspire you. And the weird thing is that six months later, a year later, you’ll look back at them and you can’t remember which scenes you wrote when you were inspired and which scenes you just wrote because they had to be written next.

The process of writing can be magical. Mostly it’s a process of putting one word after another.

"
— Neil Gaiman
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Re: Your songwriting "M.O." ?

Postby paul tha other » Tue Feb 13, 2018 5:59 pm

i can come up with music continually and without any problem..lyrics on the other hand..the older i get the harder it is.

i have 2 differant processes..il either start at the piano or guitar ,steal someones riff and pretend its my own..come up with a bunch of chords,ditch the riff and a song arrives..

or i sit in front of my computer and start making noises with some synths ..sometimes these are just normal songs and ill start adding guitars etc .so i write as i record it.maybe record some real drums to it later ...other times its a edm tune of some sort ...at any given point i have about 4-8 songs on the go and i limit my time with them..if i find myself listening to the same 16 bar loop more than 4 times and i havnt added anything to the song i move on to the next song

most of the time i write lyrics without the song in mind .someone will have said something to me that i call "touches a nerve" or connects with me somehow and that sets me off..also no matter what, i need pen and paper for lyrics tried sitting in front of a computer and typing them in..dosnt seem "real"...its mostly because im an old fart now i think

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Re: Your songwriting "M.O." ?

Postby joeyondakeys » Sat Mar 17, 2018 5:43 am

garrettendi wrote:For me, my best stuff comes from me sitting at my piano and just playing. Eventually as I "just play", chords and melodies work their way in, and if I'm in the zone, then within an hour or so, I'll have all the music composed and a start on the lyrics.

It's lyrics that come hardest - despite the fact I used to write poetry before I discovered music. Writing a song and writing a poem are two very different things!

This method works wonders for me as well. Sometimes, I'm just not feeling it at all. But there's a threshold of creative block that I can actual push through with enough time jamming it out. It's worth trying
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Re: Your songwriting "M.O." ?

Postby bubisa.ljubisa » Fri Apr 06, 2018 3:05 pm

bill555 wrote:Hopefully I haven't posted this before given my alleged memory :?

What if any way do you have of going about this? Do you just wait until it hits you and then go with it? Or do you try to "force" it by sitting down regularly and trying to write? Do you ever have a song just come to you all at once like it writes itself? Does music or lyrics come easier? etc - whatever just wondering how it works for others

For me, anything can be an inspiration, and usually I use many bits and odd ends to make one cohesive piece. So I keep a note on my phone and dump any idea I get , no matter when, where or why I got it. Later i go over the notes and see what will come out of them. And its easier when I know the story I'm trying to tell.
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Re: Your songwriting "M.O." ?

Postby Elvers » Tue Apr 17, 2018 11:35 am

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Re: Your songwriting "M.O." ?

Postby blinddrew » Tue Apr 17, 2018 3:59 pm

That smarts!
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