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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Ok, how the hell do you do it? I can write lyrics. I am decent at watching meter, rhyme, and all that stuff...creating flow, etc... But how the BIG F do you get from that point to creating a song from it? I can never break from the poetry mentality; I can't sing my lyrics...or anyone else's for that matter unless I have heard the song already.

This is why I never became a song writer.
 

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It really is a confidence thing. I always write the words after I have the tune in place. Then I work on the melody either by singing nonsense words until I find something that fits or humming a melody or even playing it on guitar. Once I have a good idea of how it is going to sound THEN I work on the lyrics. It works for me :)
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Goport said:
It really is a confidence thing. I always write the words after I have the tune in place. Then I work on the melody either by singing nonsense words until I find something that fits or humming a melody or even playing it on guitar. Once I have a good idea of how it is going to sound THEN I work on the lyrics. It works for me :)
Hehehe...I try that way sometimes and I can usually end up with 'something'. I usually think it is pretty damn good too....I get all excited about it....then later I realize it really sucks and I wonder why the hell I liked it to begin with. The lyrics usualy end up being pretty lame, like my "I'll never say goodbye" lyric I posted here a couple months ago. The mealody usually isn't much better :icon_roll :wutblau:

I suppose it takes practice, practice, practice, but of all the things this has just never worked out. 16 years of playing and I have nothing I have written that is really worth a damn as far as songs go. I do like some of the other things I have done, like my Marvin tune and "Stupid Asshole", but those aren't really songs.
 

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I always wanted to write songs and when I started playing guitar at 18 I tried really hard. They all sucked to be honest. I was in original bands til I was 27 and stopped writing anything bar the music by about 24 years old for the same reasons as you state. I sang in my first band but I didn't have a clue to be fair. I stopped singing at 20 and always got someone else to do it for me. After that I was in a covers band until 2001 then I gave up music until 11 months ago.

I tried singing again last November and I was surprised how much easier I found it. I did a few covers and then started writing again. So far I am really enjoying it. It is just the confidence thing I had to overcome - after that it all came pretty easily.
 

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I've tried it both ways, chords first, and melody first.............without spectacular results most of the time. As far as coming up with a melody, what works best for me is to go to another instrument, specifically for me, a keyboard/synth. Just having to look at and play the notes differently from a guitar seems to help the old creative thinking. Another thing that helps is collaboration, now that my son is getting better, I'll have him noodle around on something, record it, and go back and listen for little snippets that sound useful. I also think the big trick is to record or write down everything and save it, and go back to from time to time. If you read interviews with the big songwriters out there, they all have some similar story like "I had this riff, or bit of melody or lyric hanging around for years, and it finally fell into place". Just my .02.
 

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I use a similar sort of method but without playing it on a different instrument. I tend to focus on the 3rd of each chord. That dictates the melody pretty clearly to me. Then I adlib. Uncounsciously I tend to pick up on voicings - lately I have been really uncounsciouly focusing on the 7ths (normally flattened) and 5ths. That makes it sound like a considered vocal melody but it really is intuative most of the time. Occassionally diminished chords confuse me. Say changing from Fdim to E7 so I litarally record the vocal note I have trouble hitting a beat before the change.

KC Art Rocker said something to me that rings true. He said about getting into character, something that Jimi Hendrix (the board member - not the real deal) does very well. Singing is the style of ... This sometimes adds a new dimension to a song that allows you to explore differne tavenues.

Also don't pay too much attention to the meter. certain groups of words really do syncopate well and 'fit' even if it introduces extra syllables. It actually adds colur to the song.

Lastly - try and do the vocals when you are most comfortable. ie, if the house is empty you are not afraid of being heard so you put more into the vocal performance. also don't sing after a meal, being full limits your range. stuff like that.

It really is about trial and error. :)
 

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Da Blooze Guy
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Goport said:
I use a similar sort of method but without playing it on a different instrument. I tend to focus on the 3rd of each chord. That dictates the melody pretty clearly to me. Then I adlib. Uncounsciously I tend to pick up on voicings - lately I have been really uncounsciouly focusing on the 7ths (normally flattened) and 5ths. That makes it sound like a considered vocal melody but it really is intuative most of the time. Occassionally diminished chords confuse me. Say changing from Fdim to E7 so I litarally record the vocal note I have trouble hitting a beat before the change.

QUOTE]

Very cool technique, that's what this board is all about, when little chestnuts like this pop up, and that little light goes off over your head, and you think why didn't I think of that. Can't wait to try it.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Goport said:
- try and do the vocals when you are most comfortable. ie, if the house is empty you are not afraid of being heard so you put more into the vocal performance.
One of the primary reasons for the soundproof room actually :lol:

As I understand, being nervous makes you flat. I don't know a lot about it, but that seems to coincide with my experiences.
 

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Rythameen - it just works for me. I hope it works for others mate :thumb:

Noah - invariably it does make you flat/sharp. you spend too much time thinking about who is hearing what and not what you are supposed to be singing. at least imo. :)
 

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Very delicious tid bits here, gents. This is the hardest part for me. And I've gotten spoiled playing in my band. Oddly enough, our drummer is the brains of the operation when it comes to melodies and lyrics (cheap, stereotype, shot at the drummers). I write tons of lyrics (more like poetry), but never with music in my head. It's my therapeutic way of marking my spot in time, reflect - move forward. I take all of my writing with me to practices, I'll listen back to a scratch recording of our practice and go through all the sheets looking for words that jump out at me that might fit. I think this approach is more miss then hit. When it has landed, it's been some of my best work. Writing the words first has not yielded much success. I'll have to try some of these techniques and see if it helps, move me forward. If I ever get to play my guitar again, that is.
 

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I remember reading somewhere about Paul McCartney. Something about him being a musical genius because of the way he writes. Well he pretty much writes like I do. I come up with a sketchy chord progression and then hum melodies in my head over it until I find:

a. Bass line
b. Supplementary guitars
c. Vocal melodies.

I am no genius - but I can play/sing what I hum. It isn't difficult really and it breaks you free of conventional patterns. If I didn't write like this I would be locked into traditional major/minor scales like I always used to practice. Don't get me wrong all the practice has been invaluable but it is restricting when you actually start being limited by patterns and scales that you play ad infinitum.

humming a simple melody is actually quite rewarding for me - I find passing notes I would have never had played or sang if I limited myself to my limited music theory. it is enlightening.

Going back to Paul McCartney for a second - the track band on the run first part is a great example of this kind of melodic thought process. The first verse "Stuck inside these 4 walls" is a Dmaj7 to G change. the vocal harmonies dictate the maj7 chord. My guess is it was a simple D until he started experimenting. but the best part is when the vocals force the change to Dmaj 7 to Gmin. This is vocal driven. He has sung the tune, probably unaccompanied and then gone back to refine the tune as a result. Don't get me wrong - Macca is a genius, only because he makes something so melodic, so effortless.

This is where vocals can really help in song writing. Once you start thinking about that melody, you don't need an instrument in your hands (no pun intended!!) to further develop the tune. If anything there is a stage where the song development is actually easier without accompaniment.

Now I know this is a little off topic but it is relevant. this is all developing how you think musically and it make the transition to vocals far easier because it actually integrates the voice into the process early on. by doing it this way your voice limitations are already apparent and therefore the song has been developed with that in mind. you have the vocal melodies roughly in your head before you even consider words. then it is simply a matter of shaping the dialogue to fit the melody. I say simply - yeah that is selling it short but it can at least get you to do a first pass, even if your first draft of words really suck. there is no reason for the music and melody to be disgarded. rewrite the lyrics over time. As wig says wait for words to jump out at you while you are listening to the first draft. build on it. visualise a story around it.

I could ramble all night but hopefully my garbled explanation may help a bit without boring you too much :)
 
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