songwriting

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soft revolution
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Re: songwriting

Post by soft revolution » Mon Dec 22, 2008 11:25

I've started writing a song just two days away from when I wont have access to a guitar for a week. Typical.

I think it might include a magical chord change too, I was very happy when I stumbled across it by accident because it fits the melody I already had beautifully. I think this goes back to what David Gloombutton was talking about with writing the melody first and then fitting chords to it, it seems like such a good way of doing something less obvious below what you're singing.
And by me, I mean, Flexo.

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humblebee
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Re: songwriting

Post by humblebee » Mon Apr 06, 2009 15:03

Spoken word songs. Have any of you written spoken word songs?

I came out of the shower just now with a whole spoken word lyric in my head. So I've typed it up and I can imagine it being quite entertaining if it's done right. But I haven't got the first idea how to write music for it.

It's actually quite hard to speak while you're playing guitar as well, or I think it is.

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MJHibbett
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Re: songwriting

Post by MJHibbett » Mon Apr 06, 2009 15:29

humblebee wrote:Spoken word songs. Have any of you written spoken word songs?

I came out of the shower just now with a whole spoken word lyric in my head. So I've typed it up and I can imagine it being quite entertaining if it's done right. But I haven't got the first idea how to write music for it.

It's actually quite hard to speak while you're playing guitar as well, or I think it is.
We've done a few like that, but they've usually been when The Vlads have JAMMED something that either I can't play or I can't work out a tune for, so talk earnestly over the top of. Get The Juggers (surely that's what the kids are calling them?) to have a go at doing it for you!

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Re: songwriting

Post by tompony » Mon Apr 06, 2009 15:40

When I write some lyrics that I can't seem to fit to music, I tend to end up doing an ill-advised rap. I would definitely recommend this.

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Re: songwriting

Post by James_B » Sun May 31, 2009 17:32

I kind of have the very opposite problem
I'm constantly coming up with instrumental song 'ideas' that I give to my band's singer for him to add singing, because I am utterly, utterly useless when it comes to singing and writing lyrics, but it never, ever comes to anything, even though we're both quite happy with most of my instrumentals.

I'm assuming that the singer isn't failing to come up with much through lack of effort, he just says he finds it hard to write in that way, which is understandable but frustrating for me and for the band overall, since it obviously makes us like 50% less prolific...

Most of my songs seem to been kind of simple in structure, normally they have a guitar riff as the basis for an intro, then something less busy as a verse (this is supposed to facilitate the easy adding of singing, but doesn't seem to work), then I tend to re-use the intro riff as a chorus with added synth or something, repeat the verse, repeat the chorus then have a different section and then finish it with a chorus... but this is hardly proving to be successful as far as creating finished tracks goes.

Does anyone else write songs with someone else in this way? got any advice?

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Re: songwriting

Post by James_B » Sat Jun 20, 2009 00:37

We've uploaded a demo of a new song to my band's myspace because we can't get it together to record any real versions... its getting less and less indiepop, not that we ever were to start off with probably...
i guess opinions would be good, i don't mean this to be pointless spamming...
http://www.myspace.com/zissoumusic

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Re: songwriting

Post by humblebee » Thu Aug 27, 2009 10:08

You know the way folk songs and stuff use the phrase 'this land' to mean 'this country' and it's kind of a bit cheesy and pretty much to be avoided really, I would have thought?

Well, is it acceptable to use the phrase 'this land' in a semi-ironic sense if you're writing a semi-ironic folk song? (And if 'this country' doesn't fit the tune.)

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soft revolution
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Re: songwriting

Post by soft revolution » Thu Aug 27, 2009 10:12

humblebee wrote:You know the way folk songs and stuff use the phrase 'this land' to mean 'this country' and it's kind of a bit cheesy and pretty much to be avoided really, I would have thought?

Well, is it acceptable to use the phrase 'this land' in a semi-ironic sense if you're writing a semi-ironic folk song? (And if 'this country' doesn't fit the tune.)
You could just do a cover of Gently Johnny like the rest of us?
And by me, I mean, Flexo.

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Re: songwriting

Post by humblebee » Thu Aug 27, 2009 10:28

soft revolution wrote:You could just do a cover of Gently Johnny like the rest of us?
I fear that may not sufficiently horrify the Moseley Folk Festival.

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Re: songwriting

Post by a layer of chips » Thu Aug 27, 2009 10:31

Grow a beard, Pete. You can get away with anything then.

I'll lend you some braces.

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Re: songwriting

Post by humblebee » Thu Aug 27, 2009 11:46

a layer of chips wrote:Grow a beard, Pete. You can get away with anything then.

I'll lend you some braces.
Beard's pencilled in for 2018. A year after getting a Facebook account and ten years before learning to drive.

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Re: songwriting

Post by this clump of trees » Sat Aug 11, 2012 19:19

my four track cassette recorder is broken, so i'm recording demos on a boombox. you'd think it would sound terrible but it's decent if you position it *just right* b/w the amplifiers. it's my voice that suffers most in this method tbh.

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Re: songwriting

Post by this clump of trees » Mon Aug 20, 2012 18:25

all my songs are about economic stagnation and alcoholism. i will be the bruce springsteen of the surplus generation. no car, no charisma, no dreams, putting the "retro" back in retrograde. just idly talking about the music i make instead of performing it.

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Re: songwriting

Post by jayen_aitch » Mon Aug 20, 2012 18:32

Well, you've got to write what you know.

Having collectively come up with the music bit of some songs at practice the other night. I'm having a crack at lyric writing properly for the first time ever.

Quite happy with the way the first one turned out. I'm trying to work out if that was a fluke now.

I figure my English Lit background might as well come in useful somewhere, and it surely doesn't in my work-life.

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Re: songwriting

Post by this clump of trees » Mon Aug 27, 2012 01:21

i like what David Berman said about a song being like a football team where lyrics play offense and music plays defense. that's exactly what it feels like when you (or i, at least) have more musical ideas than lyrical ideas. it feels like going into defensive mode.

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Re: songwriting

Post by humblebee » Tue Jan 27, 2015 14:30

Hello songwriting thread. Been a while. How you keeping? Oh. Yeah, there's a lot of it about.

Yesterday when I started writing a song, I put down my guitar to try out the chords with the piano sound on Chordbot. I really liked it. It sounded quite intimate, almost like the piano chords and the melody were inviting me to open up. So I started with the words and it became this really personal thing about bereavement. I think it's strong - certainly distinctive from my other stuff. But I can't decide whether it's a real songwriting breakthrough - striking sound, expressive melody, a different style, and a more up-front emotional approach - or just completely overblown and sentimental.

I wonder if this is a function of moving outside the strictest parameters of indiepop. The more I think about it and realise why we write the way we do, the more I think the sound of indiepop is defined by our own shortage of self-confidence. We're sometimes accused of being 'unambitious' - which is a horrifically misplaced thing to say about a musical 'career', but might have some viability within the process of writing, arranging and performing songs. In indiepop we're capable of the purest, sweetest pop melodies - as good as anything anyone is doing, anywhere. There are, however, vocal inflections and instrumental fills that are commonplace in other genres but which we will never attempt, perhaps because they are an expression of confidence, and we're attracted to indiepop for precisely the opposite reason: because, unusually in pop music, it's a place where the less confident can thrive.

So when an indiepop songwriter chances upon these, our first instinct is to reject them. We think they've been done before and we must be unconsciously ripping something off; or we think they sound cheesy or pretentious and will turn our audience off. Or, more nebulously, we just feel they're not for us. But where could we go if we get past that? If our rejection of ornament defines indiepop, does it also limit indiepop?

I would welcome your thoughts.

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Re: songwriting

Post by crystalball » Wed Jan 28, 2015 15:59

Don't really know anything about songwriting. But as a listener, I'd hate it if a songwriter I liked thought that something they wrote wouldn't fit my (and their) definition of indiepop. Remember when we first started listening to Withered Hand and we were like, this is not what I would normally like but fuck me, so beautiful! And there's overblown, sentimental stuff that kills us, like 'Shipbuilding' or 'Primitive Painters' or 'I Was Just Dreaming'. We love 'Superstar' for heaven's sake. Well, some of us do. What I am trying to say is, when I'm putting a record on, I'm not looking for anything - I just hope that something finds me and I want it to be true. I'll say it until I die: indiepop is what we like.

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Re: songwriting

Post by humblebee » Wed Jan 28, 2015 16:57

crystalball wrote:Don't really know anything about songwriting. But as a listener, I'd hate it if a songwriter I liked thought that something they wrote wouldn't fit my (and their) definition of indiepop. Remember when we first started listening to Withered Hand and we were like, this is not what I would normally like but fuck me, so beautiful! And there's overblown, sentimental stuff that kills us, like 'Shipbuilding' or 'Primitive Painters' or 'I Was Just Dreaming'. We love 'Superstar' for heaven's sake. Well, some of us do. What I am trying to say is, when I'm putting a record on, I'm not looking for anything - I just hope that something finds me and I want it to be true. I'll say it until I die: indiepop is what we like.
Yes. Yes!

On the first bit: I didn't explain this very well! I didn't mean that we consciously self-censor when we're writing because an idea transgresses genre boundaries and we think the audience at Indietracks will walk away and listen to the band on the other stage instead cos they're playing Proper Indiepop. Instead I was wondering whether genre-transgressive ideas get filtered out at a subconscious level because we wouldn't have the necessary confidence to perform them. I've been making music since 1843 and it's only in the last year or two that particular devices have materialised while I'm writing or arranging songs - things like a grace note in the vocal, or a "yeah" or a "well" between phrases, or a pull-off on the guitar - perhaps as I've become (in some ways) more confident at performing.

On the second bit: yes. Yes! That's what I was looking for. OK. I'm gonna go with this song and see what happens.

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Re: songwriting

Post by tonieee » Wed Jan 28, 2015 23:00

If you start doing any grace notes at any gig I'm at, Green, then I'm walking out! :-) And the less said about pulling off, the better.

Anyway: what Marianthi said.

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Re: songwriting

Post by paukl » Thu Jan 29, 2015 11:55

What is a grace note?

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