Need Help Song Writing !!!!

SharkyBait911

Senior Member
Hi guys,

I was thinking of taking the big step in my band and try to go from doin covers to try to write some songs. Im quite good with poems and stuff ive won some school competions so i thought it would be quite easy but when ive tryed it's very difficult !!!!

I don't where to start becasue it's a bit different to a poem lol And i was wondering do you need the music first then you start writing and fitting the words in with the music ?

It would be a great help if i get a few tips from some people with experiance or something

Thanks

Tris
(By the way i couldnt decide if this should go in the " Off topic lounge" section but i though it would get more views here lol sorry :)
 
J

jamndrummer

Guest
SharkyBait911
If you listen to composers regarding writing songs you will get a variety of answers on how the songs are constructed. They may start with lyrics, Rhythm, or a Chord Progression, start with a melody etc. it also matters on the song form you plan on writing. I recommend you google some composers to listen to what they say regarding your concern. That might help. Then pick the way you would like to start your song and take it from there.

Good luck!
 

Rezn8

Member
There are so many ways to writing and thousands of books were written on the subject, but I'll try to help you get started.

Experimentation is CRUCIAL!!!

I think it's important to pick up a second instrument like guitar or piano to help you experiment b/c drums are usually more associated with beats than melodies. It also makes it a lot easier to communicate your ideas to the other band members.

Based on your writing experience, I suggest focusing on the rhythmic qualities of some of your poems. There is usually a flow to poetry that could help you get started.

Let's use an easy nursery rhyme for example:

Hickory Dickory Dock,
The mouse ran up the clock.
The clock struck noon. He's here too soon!
Hickory Dickory Dock!

From a drummer's perspective- try tapping that out on a drum:

trip-a-let trip-a-let flam (rest)
blat dat blat dat bla-dat (rest)
blat dat blat dat blat dat blat dat
brak-a-duh brak-a-duh crash...

OK that was silly but hopefully you see my point. Find the rhythmic patterns first. Then experiment with simple melodies.

For instance,

G ...............................
Hickory Dickory Dock,

C ................................ G
The mouse ran up the clock.

(rest) F ............................. C
The clock struck noon. He's here too soon!

C........................ G
Hickory Dickory Dock!

Can you find a melody over those chords? Maybe move the chords around and see what works better. Keep trying different combinations until it clicks.

EXPERIMENT!!!

Another thing I do sometimes is use different sounding chords to fit the mood of the lyrics. Like using a minor chord if the song is sad, etc.

I also suggest you start trying to emulate the types of artists that inspire you. What songs are you covering? Can you sing some of your lyrics in place of the words in some of those covers? What chord progressions make things happen in the song?

I use many different ways to write a song. Sometimes I'll start with lyrics. Sometimes I'll be noodling on some chords and the words just start to flow. There's no hard and fast rule other than just keep doing it until something clicks.

Also you should always keep a portable recorder with you so you can capture ideas. For instance, a bird singing might inspire a melody line or a washing machine or passing motorcycle might inspire a rhythm. Record these ideas as often as you can.

I know I'm just scratching the surface here. Hopefully this helps spark some ideas.

Cheers, Rez
 

SharkyBait911

Senior Member
Thanks this is just what i need ,
And yeh im learning the piano but im not ready to make some melodys up yet im still getting to know the basics....

Thanks

Tris
 

Deltadrummer

Platinum Member
I would suggest starting with very short lyric ideas.
Look at this song. It all probably came from one word, 'womanizer.'

A
Superstar
Where you from, how's it going?
I know you
Gotta clue, whatcha doin'?
You can play brand new to all the other chicks out here
But I know what you are, what you are, baby
A
Look at you
Gettin' more than just re-up
Baby, you
Got all the puppets with their strings up
Fakin' like a good one, but I call 'em like I see 'em
I know what you are, what you are, baby

pre-chorus
Womanizer
Woman-Womanizer
You're a womanizer
Oh Womanizer
Oh You're a Womanizer Baby
You, You You Are
You, You You Are
Womanizer, Womanizer, Womanizer

Boy don't try to front I (I) know just (just) what you are (are are)
Boy don't try to front I (I) know just (just) what you are (are are)

You Got Me Goin'
You're Oh-So Charmin'
But I can't do it
U Womanizer

Boy don't try to front I (I) know just (just) what you are (are are)
Boy don't try to front I (I) know just (just) what you are (are are)

You Say I'm Crazy
I got Your Crazy
You're nothing but
A Womanizer

A
Daddy-O
You got the swagger of champion
Too bad for you
Just can't find the right companion
I guess when you have one too many, makes it hard
It could be easy
Who you are, that's who you are, baby
A
Lollipop
Must mistake me you're a sucker
To think that I
Would be a victim not another
Say it, play it how you wanna
But no way I'm ever gonna fall for you, never you, baby

prechorus
Womanizer
Woman-Womanizer
You're a womanizer
Oh Womanizer
Oh You're a Womanizer Baby
You, You You Are
You, You You Are
Womanizer, Womanizer, Womanizer

chorus
Boy don't try to front I (I) know just (just) what you are (are are)
Boy don't try to front I (I) know just (just) what you are (are are)

You Got Me Goin'
You're Oh-So Charmin'
But I can't do it
U Womanizer

Boy don't try to front I (I) know just (just) what you are (are are)
Boy don't try to front I (I) know just (just) what you are (are are)

You Say I'm Crazy
I got Your Crazy
You're nothing but
A Womanizer

bridge
Maybe if we both lived in different worlds
(Womanizer Womanizer Womanizer Womanizer)
It would be all good, and maybe I could be ya girl
But I can't 'cause we don't
You...

prechorus
Womanizer
Woman-Womanizer
You're a womanizer
Oh Womanizer
Oh You're a Womanizer Baby
You, You You Are
You, You You Are
Womanizer, Womanizer, Womanizer

chorus
Boy don't try to front I (I) know just (just) what you are (are are)
Boy don't try to front I (I) know just (just) what you are (are are)

You Got Me Goin'
You're Oh-So Charmin'
But I can't do it
U Womanizer

Boy don't try to front I (I) know just (just) what you are (are are)
Boy don't try to front I (I) know just (just) what you are (are are)

You Say I'm Crazy
I got Your Crazy
You're nothing but
A Womanizer

Boy don't try to front I (I) know just (just) what you are (are are)
Boy don't try to front I (I) know just (just) what you are (are are)

Womanizer
Woman-Womanizer
You're a womanizer
Oh Womanizer
Oh You're a Womanizer Baby
 
J

jay norem

Guest
The only reason to write songs, or to write anything, is that you have something to write about. It's amazing how that crtiteria shrinks the field down.
It's not, or at least it shouldn't be, about stringing some crap lyrics together, plugging in some chords and calling it "original material."
Write what you have to say. Keep a notebook with you all the time. Write all the time. And learn music, learn to play the piano, or at least the guitar. Then you have to sit down to write every day, because that's what songwriters do.
 

Deltadrummer

Platinum Member
It's an interesting idea, Jay. But writing songs is not about having to say anything you want to say, unless you want to do the cafe circuit. Writing songs is about being able to develop an idea, and the better you can develolop that idea the more successful you will be at writing. Do you think film composers write because they have something to say? They write to meet the needs of the film they are writing for. The example below is an excellent example of developing a lyrical idea, that's why it is number one. And if you don't see that, you probably have no idea what it means to write a lyric.

I didn't come up with this technique sitting around my bedroom with my finger up my ass. I got it from professional songwriters.
 

jonescrusher

Pioneer Member
Never a shade of grey in your world Jay! It does seem an odd thing to suggest that one should only be writing songs if they have something to say. What of those that are simply driven by creative impulse?
 
M

Mediocrefunkybeat

Guest
Never a shade of grey in your world Jay! It does seem an odd thing to suggest that one should only be writing songs if they have something to say. What of those that are simply driven by creative impulse?
Then the creative impulse is what we have to say.

As a (pretty poor) songwriter myself, it is important to experiment - absolutely agreed. My better moments have been when just fiddling around late at night with strange formations that suddenly appear to me on the fretboard - and then magically work themselves into progressions. Right now I'm trying to work on a remix for a Uni project, but it's not coming quite right. Often I find fatigue actually helps - you lose any inhibition you may have. Oh! And it's never, EVER 'too simple'. Nothing is ever 'too simple'. There's 'too complicated', but there's never 'too simple'. So many of my favourite songs boil down to just three chords in the end, even ones you'd think were hideously complex always start as something simple. Learning a bit of theory helps there - to really see the cogs - and so often you'll find that there are only a couple of very simply geared cogs underneath what we assumed was a rather complex machine.
 
Pick a song that's already famous, record a little freestyle nonsense over the verse sections, then release it and act like it's your own work. Instant Top 40 hit!!

But seriously, I don't know, I'm in the same boat as far as hitting the wall on lyric writing.
 

eddiehimself

Platinum Member
Pick a song that's already famous, record a little freestyle nonsense over the verse sections, then release it and act like it's your own work. Instant Top 40 hit!!

But seriously, I don't know, I'm in the same boat as far as hitting the wall on lyric writing.
Or you could go on a TV show, sing a song written by Leonard Cohen, made absolutely amazing by the great Jeff Buckley (and mutilated by you) making sure you have as much sex appeal as possible to get all the votes then bingo! instant christmas no1! Ah well at least the proper JB version got to no2 ;)

Seriously though, jay does have a point. Maybe not all great songs are written by this method but you wouldn't believe how easily a song comes together if you just think of an idea, think about how it makes you feel, then try and think of some music that conveys the same feelings across, if you see what i mean. Then clearly the lyrics are not too difficult to make after that because you already have an idea to write about. Works great for me but you might be different. Whatever you do please DO NOT write music without thinking of the vocal parts first! I used to do this and i made great bits of music but the singing just sounded terrible.
 

Deltadrummer

Platinum Member
Pick a song that's already famous, record a little freestyle nonsense over the verse sections, then release it and act like it's your own work. Instant Top 40 hit!!

But seriously, I don't know, I'm in the same boat as far as hitting the wall on lyric writing.
Actually, this is a good way to develop song writing skills. Take a song and rewrite the lyric over the existing melody, or rewrite the melody of an exisitng lyric. Take a part of a song and play it backwards, or take out a section and play the two existing sections backwards, or invert the melody. This is how "Like a Virgin" was written. The little keyboard riff was stolen from an old Motown or Stax song, like Sam and Dave or The Isley Brothers. It was inverted and the song was built around it.

Popular music is not about high art of having something to say. When it is at its best, it is about satire and attitude. Look at the Sex Pistols, or the song below. Pure satire, pure attitude. If you are going to write songs for your band or an artist, you are creating an image of your band or of that artist. For the poster, writing is really about developing that image of the band. Are you going to sing sappy love songs like Maroon V or The Jonas Brothers? Or are you going to be a metal band that writes about dark themes of fantasy? One of the things I did with my original band was to sing covers, and then try to write songs to replace the covers in the set; that is, write original material that would do what the covers were doing.
 

PQleyR

Platinum Member
I write stupid songs (www.myspace.com/beanandamoo if you don't believe me), and I have often written things based on a short phrase, a single word, or just an annoying tune. Play something and sing something stupid over the top, and chances are you'll think of a melody. That's your starting point. Forget about whether it sounds good or not, just go with it. You can try and make it better afterwards, that's easy. The first bit is always the hardest!
 
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