Music Player Network

Previous Thread
Next Thread
Print Thread
Music or lyrics: where do you start? #3001379 08/01/19 05:17 PM
Joined: Sep 2000
Posts: 20,529
Dave Bryce Offline OP
KCFFL Champ '14,'16,'18
20k Club
OP Offline
KCFFL Champ '14,'16,'18
20k Club
Joined: Sep 2000
Posts: 20,529
I've come at it from both directions, and find that which one you start with radically affects the creative process.

If I had to try to put my finger on the biggest discrepancy (for me, anyway) it would be that with music, it invariably begins with a lick or two...where with lyrics I need them to be finished before I start working on the music.

dB

Re: Music or lyrics: where do you start? [Re: Dave Bryce] #3001384 08/01/19 05:43 PM
Joined: May 2005
Posts: 5,759
T
The Real MC Online Content
MPN Advisory Board
MP Hall of Fame Member
Online Content
MPN Advisory Board
MP Hall of Fame Member
T
Joined: May 2005
Posts: 5,759
Either.

Songs just enter my head spontaneously (don't ask me how, it's a gift).

I might hear a melody with a lyric that just fits. Other times a riff might start playing in the radio in my head, I'll write that down and develop lyrics/melody later. Never the same approach.

I have a day job as an (non-music) engineer and I always keep staff paper in my desk when those moments of inspiration hit me.

Re: Music or lyrics: where do you start? [Re: Dave Bryce] #3001393 08/01/19 06:26 PM
Joined: Oct 2003
Posts: 6,733
G
GregC Online Content
MP Hall of Fame Member
Online Content
MP Hall of Fame Member
G
Joined: Oct 2003
Posts: 6,733
Instrumentalist here for the most part.

50% of the time for me it begins with a concept or an experience. Its a gut thing that I am dwelling on.
I will scribble out some lyrics for parts that ring out. Unfortunately, my singing scares cats.

Otherwise, I am jamming on chord progressions and nailing down rhythm as a start.

I am talking to vocalist/lyricist but its going slow. Different goals and creative folks have their own vision.

Re: Music or lyrics: where do you start? [Re: Dave Bryce] #3001398 08/01/19 06:44 PM
Joined: Aug 2017
Posts: 410
samuelblupowitz Offline
Senior Member
Offline
Senior Member
Joined: Aug 2017
Posts: 410
This is sort of the classic songwriting question, and I rarely fit into one camp or the other.

Sometimes my song ideas will start with a lick or melody, sometimes a concept or lyric idea. But very often, it's little pieces of both at once, and then I'll jump back and forth between the two as the song develops. I almost never have a complete lyric without any music, or a full song without any lyrics.

Now, which is FINISHED first? Almost always the music. The music for the verses repeats, but the lyrics don't; plus, I tweak lyrics endlessly.


Samuel B. Lupowitz
Composer. Arranger. Musician. Food Enthusiast. Bad Pun Aficionado.
Re: Music or lyrics: where do you start? [Re: Dave Bryce] #3001409 08/01/19 07:57 PM
Joined: Sep 2000
Posts: 5,309
linwood Offline
MPN Advisory Board
MP Hall of Fame Member
Offline
MPN Advisory Board
MP Hall of Fame Member
Joined: Sep 2000
Posts: 5,309
If it's a vocal tune it's much easier for me to have the lyrics first, but it's rare I get 'em that way. Usually someone will come to me with a few changes and a melody/lyric idea and then I help them flush it out. I'll spend some time on it alone and then we'll get together and work out the kinks. I think the only times when I got all the lyrics first was doing ad music. I'm like GregC and for myself I write instrumental things since I don't really sing. Thinking about it...it's been a while since I've even done a vocal with someone, but I do the ad thing and work with vocalists all the time. Kind of goofy though. smile

Re: Music or lyrics: where do you start? [Re: Dave Bryce] #3001445 08/01/19 11:40 PM
Joined: Oct 2000
Posts: 8,195
marino Offline
MPN Advisory Board
MP Hall of Fame Member
Offline
MPN Advisory Board
MP Hall of Fame Member
Joined: Oct 2000
Posts: 8,195
It really doesn't matter. In my experience, a song can be written using a wild assortment of procedures.

A few examples:
- Write the lyrics for the verse, write the music for that, then write the music for the chorus/hook... and get the inspiration from that for the chorus lyrics. Then build from that point.
- Write the chorus first, complete with lyrics. When you're satisfied, add the part(s) that will lead to that.
- Think of a subject/theme for the song first. Then try to imagine what kind of musical atmosphere would better convey it. With this in mind, start writing bits and pieces of lyrics and music, and go on from there like a puzzle.
- On the contrary, imagine a musical mood - just think of it for a while. Then try to put it into practice by writing the music for a whole part of the song - typically a verse. From there, you can proceed either by writing lyrics for that, or completing the musical part and think about lyrics later.
- No need to be obvious: sometimes, it's very effective to put strong lyrics on a delicate musical bed, for example.
- and - of course! - always write the intro and the coda for last. smile

Re: Music or lyrics: where do you start? [Re: Dave Bryce] #3001448 08/02/19 12:00 AM
Joined: Jul 2003
Posts: 916
Bill Heins Offline
Gold Member
Offline
Gold Member
Joined: Jul 2003
Posts: 916
I only write instrumentals so that narrows it down a bit wink

Here's a question...am I the only one who "accidentally composes"? I don't think I have ever created a piece of music with forethought...I sit at the keys, pick up the guitar, whatever and noodle. I hit a sound, chord combination, etc. I like and I start to embellish. One thing leads to another and soon I have an unfinished bit of music I store in my hoard smile

Bill

Re: Music or lyrics: where do you start? [Re: Bill Heins] #3001449 08/02/19 12:02 AM
Joined: Mar 2001
Posts: 10,817
nursers Offline
10k Club
Offline
10k Club
Joined: Mar 2001
Posts: 10,817
Originally Posted by Bill Heins
I only write instrumentals so that narrows it down a bit wink

Here's a question...am I the only one who "accidentally composes"? I don't think I have ever created a piece of music with forethought...I sit at the keys, pick up the guitar, whatever and noodle. I hit a sound, chord combination, etc. I like and I start to embellish. One thing leads to another and soon I have an unfinished bit of music I store in my hoard smile

Bill


You are certainly not alone wink

Re: Music or lyrics: where do you start? [Re: nursers] #3001468 08/02/19 02:59 AM
Joined: Sep 2000
Posts: 20,529
Dave Bryce Offline OP
KCFFL Champ '14,'16,'18
20k Club
OP Offline
KCFFL Champ '14,'16,'18
20k Club
Joined: Sep 2000
Posts: 20,529
Originally Posted by David Holloway
Originally Posted by Bill Heins
I only write instrumentals so that narrows it down a bit wink

Here's a question...am I the only one who "accidentally composes"? I don't think I have ever created a piece of music with forethought...I sit at the keys, pick up the guitar, whatever and noodle. I hit a sound, chord combination, etc. I like and I start to embellish. One thing leads to another and soon I have an unfinished bit of music I store in my hoard smile


You are certainly not alone wink

Not even slightly. Heck, the right program on a synth can do it for me.

dB

Re: Music or lyrics: where do you start? [Re: Dave Bryce] #3001512 08/02/19 01:52 PM
Joined: Aug 2017
Posts: 410
samuelblupowitz Offline
Senior Member
Offline
Senior Member
Joined: Aug 2017
Posts: 410
Originally Posted by Dave Bryce
Heck, the right program on a synth can do it for me.

dB
I was just watching this video about Eric Whitacre's composition methods for choir. I had done some of his pieces back in high school, so I was vaguely familiar with his work, but when he talked about how his original inspiration was synthesizers and bands like Depeche Mode, it really clicked for me why he's so fond of colorful pads and clusters. It's very synth-like to just let overtones and harmonic beats sort of wash over you.



Samuel B. Lupowitz
Composer. Arranger. Musician. Food Enthusiast. Bad Pun Aficionado.
Re: Music or lyrics: where do you start? [Re: Dave Bryce] #3001545 08/02/19 04:36 PM
Joined: Aug 2002
Posts: 11,399
Geoff Grace Offline
MPN Advisory Board
10k Club
Offline
MPN Advisory Board
10k Club
Joined: Aug 2002
Posts: 11,399
I like to start at the point of inspiration and branch out from there. The point of inspiration could be a beat, a riff, a melody, a lyric, a chord, a sound—whatever comes to me. I let the idea grow organically from that point.

Best,

Geoff


Enthusiasm powers the world.

Craig Anderton's Archiving Article
Re: Music or lyrics: where do you start? [Re: Dave Bryce] #3002020 08/06/19 04:42 PM
Joined: Sep 2000
Posts: 5,940
Tedster Offline
MP Hall of Fame Member
Offline
MP Hall of Fame Member
Joined: Sep 2000
Posts: 5,940
For me, each song is usually different. It will normally start with a snippet of a melody for a verse or chorus, and oftentimes there's a little lyric phrase along with it. This may or may not be something I want to keep (Like McCartney's "Scrambled Eggs"). This can be a problem, as sometimes once I start singing a "dummy" lyric sometimes it's hard to get it to go away.

But once in awhile... actually most of the time, I'll get a part of a chorus or part of a verse and get stuck...so it goes into my "parts" file. A bit of a chorus might go in there, and if I'm really lucky, there might be a bit of a verse on a shelf that goes with it.

I really love bootleg recordings of people going through the process... like the old versions of "Child of Nature" by John Lennon, which went on to become "Jealous Guy" This kinda makes me think there's no right way..just what's right for you.


"Cisco Kid, was a friend of mine"
Re: Music or lyrics: where do you start? [Re: Tedster] #3002070 08/06/19 09:48 PM
Joined: Sep 2000
Posts: 20,529
Dave Bryce Offline OP
KCFFL Champ '14,'16,'18
20k Club
OP Offline
KCFFL Champ '14,'16,'18
20k Club
Joined: Sep 2000
Posts: 20,529
Originally Posted by Tedster
This kinda makes me think there's no right way..just what's right for you.

I'm not sure I could agree any more. twothumbs

dB

Re: Music or lyrics: where do you start? [Re: Dave Bryce] #3002072 08/06/19 09:57 PM
Joined: Aug 2019
Posts: 1
R
rockerkitty Offline
Member
Offline
Member
R
Joined: Aug 2019
Posts: 1
It's different for me each time. More often than not though, the music is a means of facilitating my melodies and lyrics.


Moderated by  linwood, nursers 

Powered by UBB.threads™ PHP Forum Software 7.7.3