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 How do you go about writing a song? 
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Post How do you go about writing a song?
I know a lot of the board members on here write their own music. But I was wondering what the process is like for you guys when it comes to writing songs. Do you build off of a single motif or theme? Or do you construct an outline for the song and work around that? Share with me your methods of writing or composing. I'm trying to get some ideas of how others approach writing music. Thanks.


Sat Jan 28, 2012 1:28 am
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Post Re: How do you go about writing a song?
Try this at certain intervals during the process. Oblique Strategies.

(you can click on the text for another but don't overdo it)

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Sat Jan 28, 2012 5:27 am
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Post Re: How do you go about writing a song?
I've never written music professionally, and I only once had anybody actually play music I wrote.

That said, I think people generally do it any way they can. When writing one of my first tunes I sat down with a pen and some staff paper and tried to write something: it took me an hour to write one two measure phrase of violin music that I didn't hate. Half a year later I had written the whole thing by the same method.

Other times I've "written" songs entirely by f**king around on my guitar, playing the same patterns repeatedly, with slight variations, until they sound right.

A lot of times I'll think of a theme when I'm at the grocery store or in the shower, and if I like it, I'll.write it down. I wrote my latest tunes that way. I read some interview with Nobuo Uematsu that says his PC has a bunch of "workable ideas" in it that he jots down when he gets them.

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Sat Jan 28, 2012 3:46 pm
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Post Re: How do you go about writing a song?
Grand, I really like that website there. Very cool, little ways to inspire something. I'll be sure to use that sparingly. Thanks for sharing that.

Linearity, I've always used my PC as a means to write down ideas, but I've always felt like the way I do it is somewhat cheating. I always use Guitar Pro 5 to write down everything. It's simple for me because I can write something and have the ability to add more and hear it played back instantly. I always just felt like it's cheating though because I'm not legitimately writing everything down as sheet music. It's all just tabs. That's not to say that I'm terrible with sheet music. Most of my college classes revolve around it. But GP5 is just the easiest way for me to go about writing and "recording" ideas.


Sun Jan 29, 2012 1:43 am
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Post Re: How do you go about writing a song?
It's not cheating as far as composition goes. You just want to get music out and see how it sounds.

If you want to be a better reader and writer, then try composing without an editor program. You could still write in tablature, although it would be a pain in the ass for me. What matters is thinking about the notes instead of just guessing and refining. That said, I've been finding my editor to be pretty useful for composing, since as you mentioned I can always hear (a shitty version of) what I just wrote.

I think tablature blows except for communicating fingerings. If I'm trying to write guitar music, I'm just going to play it. Anything else, I write in normal notation because it just clarifies what's going on in the music.

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Sun Jan 29, 2012 4:38 am
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Post Re: How do you go about writing a song?
Yeah, I see what you mean. But when it comes to me writing music in GP5, I tend to know where the song is going before I write in anything, so I avoid that guessing that you mentioned. I just like it mainly because it's easy to input what you want and you can hear it played back as you wrote it. Being able to ear it played back is very important for me, so I like it. But also, I saw that piece you wrote out on sheet music and I was very impressed by the look of it. How did you go about writing the rest of that song?


Sun Jan 29, 2012 12:39 pm
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Post Re: How do you go about writing a song?
Most of anything I do comes from just playing around on guitar, with samples, scales, jamming over loops and etc etc.
Linearity wrote:
A lot of times I'll think of a theme when I'm at the grocery store or in the shower, and if I like it, I'll.write it down.

I've noticed that most of my songs are usually sound better thought out first or hummed around at work or in the shower. Then I try to play them and build off of it.
I heard Grant Kirkhope would do that a lot too. A idea would hit him in the shower and he'd run off to rare and work it out. Can't recall where I read that.

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Tue Feb 07, 2012 3:43 am
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Post Re: How do you go about writing a song?
I usually sit down, beer at the ready and noodle for a bit. After I've pieced something together, I hit that record button and do a few takes. I fidget with the settings and eventually quit, finish my beer and do something else.

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Wed Feb 08, 2012 12:22 am
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Post Re: How do you go about writing a song?
MUSIC

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Wed Feb 08, 2012 12:22 am
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Post Re: How do you go about writing a song?
I'm an idea hoarder and I have a horrible attention span. I basically record/midi input whatever idea is on my mind that I don't want to forget. I have a huge catalogue to draw from. I basically borrow as much as I can and apply whatever compositional techniques I can to existing things. I find it's a matter of what I want to accomplish. I try to build a form and get my framework when I'm song focused. Otherwise, I just keep going on and on. Form sets some restrictions I find helpful. Jack White actually talks about using restrictions to boost creativity. It's true!

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Wed Feb 08, 2012 2:26 am
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Post Re: How do you go about writing a song?
Grand, that link is wonderful!! :love:

Back when I wrote more songs with lyrics, if I didn't have an idea I'd just write about what the melodies were doing in the song at that moment, or write about having nothing to write about. Then I'd write about how I was writing and how silly that was. It was easier to stay inspired that way - at least keep moving.

Technology drives the way I write, which is a good and bad thing. It allows for changing the composition as the song grows, which in a way makes the process more organic. BUT, it also means that I'm not forced to complete a full idea before I start recording. I'm not sure how that's changed my writing, because my style has changed over the years anyway. I certainly don't attribute that entirely to technology. I just know tech affects the way I fundamentally approach music, and that can seem a bit scary at times.

I'm working on an EP of music with vocals to experiment with the old way of crafting a song. While I'll probably record it with several instruments, the requirement is that I write songs beginning to end on acoustic guitar with vocals. That means I can play it and sing it at the same time (always a problem), and there isn't the ability to "cut and paste" entire collections of instruments after they're all recorded. I won't allow myself to do that. Everything will be live beginning to end (except for drums) with no cuts. 2 songs are written. It should be a fun experiment. I've been craving the open mic thing for a while, and I'll actually have some new songs to go out and play.

There's also a big difference between arranging a song (game or otherwise), and writing a completely original piece. I really enjoy being bound to the original material when covering something. It's exhilarating. Maybe that's why there are so many guys like Prince of Darkness, that exclusively do covers, but there's so much song writing in those covers it could very well be an original piece. No idea.

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Thu Feb 09, 2012 8:39 am
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Post Re: How do you go about writing a song?
I usually just figure out the main tune (as a rule it goes for a chorus), then play with the sound until it sounds like a full-fledged song, and then write lyrics. I tried to start with lyrics but this scheme doesn't work for me although I know that many musicians go this way.


Thu Oct 24, 2013 10:17 am
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Post Re: How do you go about writing a song?
Lately, I've been re-evaluating some music I wrote awhile ago. I have a habit of writing the lyrics for a song before any of the music is written, and it's something I wish I could change, but sometimes ideas come to me and I can just put words together that flow. So, naturally, this poses a little bit of a problem when I finally write music for the lyrics to go to. I have a very hard time with vocal melodies and phrasing, because I'm so used to writing the music by itself. So, I've taken it to heart to change the lyrics as necessary to better suit (or fit) the music. Whether it's cutting lyrics out, adding more, or simply rearranging the words, I've been trying to work out the lyrics to make sense melodically and rhythmically. It's still a work in progress, but it's certainly something I've been thinking about when writing.


By the way, would anyone be interested in tracking vocals for a song I've written? It's not very likely that I could find someone to do it on here, but I figured I'd ask. :lol:


Mon Nov 04, 2013 10:11 pm
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