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#1 2012-02-25 13:59:29

Daydub
Junior Member
From: United Kingdom
Registered: 2012-02-25
Posts: 14

Does anyone have tips for songwriting?

I'm attempting to become a songwriter, with some success, but I need any tips you have for writing good lyrics.
Thanks:)


My band is Order of the Planets - look us up on Youtube or Facebook.

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#2 2012-02-26 04:09:07

jets60
Moderator
From: Gainesville, Virginia USA
Registered: 2006-03-04
Posts: 1799
Website

Re: Does anyone have tips for songwriting?

The best tip I can give is to write what you know. You have stories, right? Tell them, make them rhyme as best you can, and put music that fits your stories. Your stories/songs will get better the more you write so don't give up. Final tip - write your story/songs for you.


J  E  T  S
...and yet a Redskins fan ...long story...HTTR

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#3 2012-02-26 12:12:10

Daydub
Junior Member
From: United Kingdom
Registered: 2012-02-25
Posts: 14

Re: Does anyone have tips for songwriting?

Thanks. The only problem is, I find it really hard to write words before music. I usually come up with some chords and then put words to that.


My band is Order of the Planets - look us up on Youtube or Facebook.

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#4 2012-02-26 13:48:53

vimmerman
Junior Member
Registered: 2010-03-24
Posts: 3

Re: Does anyone have tips for songwriting?

Take an empty sheet of paper, start to write, and keep going until the paper is full. It won't matter if you have a theme in mind or not, it won't matter if you spell any of it right. Just keep going. Don't erase anything, just keep going. Once you've filled it up, walk away from it. Put it in a drawer and walk away, and if you feel you need to add something else, then just take another sheet and fill that one out too. Try not to go to fast, and don't slow down either. Just write, anything, any combination of words you want, and, at some points, words you can claim you don't know at all. ( You'll know those, when they come.)

Now walk away, paper in drawer, come back, ?tomorrow, a week? ?/? untill glass becomes water?

Once back, put your hand over the middle of that page, draw a circle around your hand, read what's inside the hand. That's what you were trying to say, now you get to understand yourself.

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#5 2012-02-26 14:34:47

Phill Williams
THE MODERATE MODERATOR
From: The Land Of Song
Registered: 2007-12-10
Posts: 2391
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Re: Does anyone have tips for songwriting?

I've got lots of bits of paper on my desk with a couple of lines, and others with chord progressions on, it's all a case of matching them up. Worry not, you'll get there.

Phill


There are two "L's" in Phill

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#6 2012-02-27 20:54:09

seriousfun
Member
From: Rotorua, New Zealand
Registered: 2007-08-26
Posts: 62
Website

Re: Does anyone have tips for songwriting?

I am like you in that I always start with the music and the words come later, in some cases a few phrases will appear along with the chord structure. I never try and force anything but find that a phrase or two will pop into my head that seem to fit the meter of the song. If I like the phraes then one or more of them will become the basis of the song. It is most unusual if these phrases dont reflect some part of my experience in life or at least a thought or feeling I hold deep. This way I have a good foundation to start with.

Next I list a lot of words, phrases etc on the chosen song theme and the writting proper begins. I incorporate some of the words if they fit where the story decides to go but am equally at home leaving them out though they help immensly in leading me to other words.

I treat writing a song a little bit like planting a flower. I find the seed and let it grow where it wants to to. Fertilising it with ideas ( my words and phrases, the chord structure, beat, tempo etc..) and weeding it ( chopping out the words and phrases that dont fit, changing the odd chord to provide some tension or whatever you feel the song needs). My last step is normally to work on the start and ending.

We are all different in how we write, but this works for me. If one or two of theses ideas assist you then use them. If sounds like total BS to you then do it your own way, we all have systems and ideas that work best for us. If we all attack things the same way then songs would not be as diverse as they are.

Good luck with the writing.

Allan.


As always I hope you enjoy my musical journey as much as I do.

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#7 2012-03-01 05:35:41

Dirty Ed
Senior Member
From: Chillicothe, Ohio
Registered: 2010-08-17
Posts: 451

Re: Does anyone have tips for songwriting?

As several have already said, there are a lot of different ways to skin a cat.  About 90% of my songs start with a "Hook" - the catchy phrase or primary subject of the song which becomes part of the chorus and which I also usually put in the title.  Once I've established the hook or focal point, all the verses and the story of the song supports the hook. I try to find words that rhyme with the primary accent word of the hook.  Its during this phase I usually work out the rhyming scheme, such as ABAB (end of A lines rhyme, end of B lines rhyme) or maybe AABB, ACBC, etc.  I usually shoot for a different rhyme scheme for the verses and chorus, but that's not set in stone.  By the time I get a couple verses written I begin to get a feel for the meter and rhythm of the song and try to ensure the prosody is correct.  I'll sometimes switch to all minor chords for a sad song, etc.  Sometimes I find a phrase in a verse I've written is stronger than my hook line and the new phrase becomes the hook and the old hook becomes part of a verse. Its more of a craft rather than an art.

I keep a "hook book" in which I jot down phrases I hear, things that I overhear people say, comments or headlines on the internet or local paper - anything or subject I think would make an interesting song later.  I usually drag out the book when I'm in a "writing mood" to see if there is anything that jumps out at me.  About 10% of the time after coming up with an interesting little chord progression or lick, I find a hook in my book that seems to fit the mood of the guitar riff and I start that way. - Its all good.  I should also mention that most of my songs would be considered country/Americana in which the story is the primary objective rather than rock-style songs in which the beat and rhythm are considered more important than the lyrics - I'm guessing most rock songs begin with the music instead of the lyrics.

I always worked a lot of crosswords, sudokus and other puzzles and have found that I may not finish a puzzle I started in the morning, but for some reason the answers come easy in the evening, and vice-versa.  I've experimented somewhat and wrote songs at different times of the day as my brain seems to work differently at different times.  I tend to favor the songs I've written in the morning but that may be because I'm basically a morning person. My favorite writing method is to be out on the road driving early in the morning with the radio turned off and my mind making up songs to keep my brain busy.

Having hung out with some NSAI songwriters for a couple years, I'm alsways amazed at the variety of methods used by different folks.

DE


"If Einstein hadn't discovered the theory of relativity someone else would have because its a basic science truth.  Same for Watson-Crick and DNA.  But if Beethoven hadn't written "Moonlight Sonata", no one else would have.  If Van Gogh hadn't painted Starry Night, no one else would have."

I don't want to play songs, I want to create songs.

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#8 2012-03-01 16:46:24

JJ ember
Member
From: Milliken Colorado
Registered: 2011-04-06
Posts: 86

Re: Does anyone have tips for songwriting?

Question! Do songs have to rhyme?


Without music life would be a journey through a desert.

I Cor 14:15

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#9 2012-03-01 18:14:43

Tyson7
Senior Member
From: Wisconsin
Registered: 2011-04-25
Posts: 249
Website

Re: Does anyone have tips for songwriting?

No songs don't have to rhyme, It's called Free Verse. Many people use it. There's lots of good sharing of info here. Remember there is not a hard set rules.If you like it and it sounds good and your delivery is smooth the song will be good. I've used all of these methods at one time or another.I think most people end up with more than one method if they write numerous songs.
You can't force them , they work their way out on their own.
One thing I do is pick a title or story line. Think of a picture and write down all you see in that picture.Write down anything that comes to mind about that. It can be a word or a line. It doesn't have to thyme or make sense, just write the ideas. After you get a page or so with enough written down let it soak in your mind for awhile. Soon Verses will start to come to mind ,write those down and keep thinking about what you want to say. Think about your chorus if you want one, You don't really need a chorus (Free Verse).
Investigate other songs you like and pick them apart as to how you think they were written. Don't get stuck on someone elese's song content. Look at how the song is formed: Verses/chorus/bridge. Chord patterns or lack of chords and pauses in a song.
A rhyming dictionary can be helpful also.
Good luck and have fun with it. Oh yeah, it's okay if you don't finish it for months or years . We all have unfinished songs sitting around waiting to be completed.

  Joe

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#10 2012-03-02 03:46:38

jets60
Moderator
From: Gainesville, Virginia USA
Registered: 2006-03-04
Posts: 1799
Website

Re: Does anyone have tips for songwriting?

Daydub wrote:

Thanks. The only problem is, I find it really hard to write words before music. I usually come up with some chords and then put words to that.

There is nothing wrong with writing the music first. If that is what works for you then go with it.


J  E  T  S
...and yet a Redskins fan ...long story...HTTR

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#11 2012-03-02 05:45:18

beamer
THE METALIZER
From: Texas
Registered: 2006-07-30
Posts: 1267

Re: Does anyone have tips for songwriting?

most pros , from what I see on documentrys have the music first then listen to it and fill in the words.  I however seem to be a word guy first so I get the feel of where the music needs to go.

If you watch you tube, go to the mettalica some kind ov monster doc. you can skip the first 3 or 4 parts and get the stuff where they are in the studio.  they lay down riffs and then sit around and write the words.  oh herei it is,, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XXofbkCE … ure=relmfu    at 3:16


Mal - Well, lady, I must say, you're my kinda stupid.
Mal - Jayne, your mouth is talking. You might wanna look to that
Kaylee - No power in the verse can stop me. BOOK-  you're going to burn in a very special level of hell. A level they reserve for child molesters and people who talk at the theatre.

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#12 2012-03-05 14:50:47

JJ ember
Member
From: Milliken Colorado
Registered: 2011-04-06
Posts: 86

Re: Does anyone have tips for songwriting?

I have a habit of writing both the music and the lyrics together at the same time. This is a great post page. Good advice I"ll think on.


Without music life would be a journey through a desert.

I Cor 14:15

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#13 2012-03-05 15:16:46

Tyson7
Senior Member
From: Wisconsin
Registered: 2011-04-25
Posts: 249
Website

Re: Does anyone have tips for songwriting?

I'd like to add this. Keep writing songs no matter how good or bad you think they'll be. The more you write the better your songs will get. Not every one you write is going to be the best . Keep on writing and soon each one will feel better than the previous one. You will develop as a writer. It can be frustrating ,but very rewarding.

  Joe

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#14 2012-04-28 23:20:26

rjacquay
Junior Member
Registered: 2011-08-31
Posts: 1

Re: Does anyone have tips for songwriting?

For me, song writting begins with being inspired, excited, amazed, or some similar emotion. At that point a lyric appropriate to the theme of whatever it was that excited me comes to mind. The first verse is always so easy. Then, I have to do a another verse, a bridge, a lick or two of fillers, and it becomes work. So I work at it til Im not excited any more, and like others have suggested, let it rest a bit. But sooner or later, you have to be true to yourself and finish the job.  I love it when I can play a new thing for my wife, and then I hear her hummining it a few days later. She is my best critic.

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#15 2012-06-27 13:18:50

Daydub
Junior Member
From: United Kingdom
Registered: 2012-02-25
Posts: 14

Re: Does anyone have tips for songwriting?

It's interesting, some days I write a great song in 20 minutes, other times I spend a few days trying to song, which usually turns out to be worse. It's really important to have inspiration, when you have to spend time desperately trying to think of a subject, it won't work.


My band is Order of the Planets - look us up on Youtube or Facebook.

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#16 2012-07-04 00:55:00

Lane1777
Member
Registered: 2010-12-12
Posts: 72

Re: Does anyone have tips for songwriting?

I`ve read the comments here, and we all write so different...for me something in a conversation will trip the switch" something happens during the day. to be honest its hard for me to write songs, I say everything I want to in the first verse and chorus...and then struggle to fill the song in. "great out of the gate" the finish is hard. I guess the advise i`d have for you is "relax it has helped me.

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#17 2013-03-19 20:13:33

harleyjim
Member
From: Southwest Pa.
Registered: 2011-04-02
Posts: 46

Re: Does anyone have tips for songwriting?

I have the music in my head and even play it out on my guitar.  The lyrics, now that's another story.  I guess I'm just not a good poem writer.  But, I keep telling myself to never give up anyway.


Without rock and roll, there is no music.

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