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Starting a song


guitarisawayoflife21

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I usually start a song by writing a bass-line that sounds good and then use those notes as my root notes. Then I build different chords off of them or write riffs around them. Im looking for some different techniques to start off songs to try and change up my writing style a little. How do you guys start writing songs?
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write the complete musical score before you touch an instrument. (maybe hum it into a recorder or whatever.) Then FORCE yourself to play what you heard, rather than fall into the same old grooves we all tend to fall into.

 

Bill

"I believe that entertainment can aspire to be art, and can become art, but if you set out to make art you're an idiot."

 

Steve Martin

 

Show business: we're all here because we're not all there.

 

 

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Not to suggest that this doesn't belong here (too much of that going on lately) but you might also post this sort of thing to the songwriter forum, where it might get some tips & not sink as fast.

 

As to your question, there are near infinite ways to work & the longer one does this the less patterned their methods should get, if they want to avoid staleness.

Bill's idea of developing an idea before you try it on an instrument is excellent for exactly that reason.

You can also try playing piano, where your fingering patterns may not be as set as on the guitar (or vice versa).

 

I'd suggest that getting a rhythmic basis isn't a bad idea but you should be open to altering that groove as well as maintaining it.

 

Sometime I used to note an idea that appealed to me in a piece of music & then take that small section apart to see what appealed to me & to create a new piece using it. Not to just imitate it but to create a new variant.

 

You might also try keeping a "grab bag" of notated ideas & reviewing them sometimes to see which things might have connections you can build on.

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I am not a writer of original music. However If I where to write a song I would start with the piano. I would develope a melodic line right hand and include the hook. I would work out the bass line and syncopations with the left and they combine from there. I always go to the piano to work out things in my head, then go to the guitar.
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I usually use a drum machine or a sampled rhytm loop and then begin to builds chords or improvise with the rhytm going. Sometimes something interesting follows...
Korg PA3X Pro 76 and Kronos 61, Roland G-70, Integra 7 and BK7-m, Casio PX-5S, Fender Stratocaster with Fralin pickups, Fender Stratocaster with Kinman pickups, 1965 Gibson SG Standard
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I use every conceiveble method I can think of to compose songs. There is no single perfect method.

 

Usually I start with the rhythm and chord progression. I've been know to start with a bass line, then create the song around that.

 

Other times I just make a drum track and build the song on that.

 

A couple of times I've built the composition/arrangment with MIDI then recorded it with organic intruments.

 

I've started with a lick or riff once or twice.

 

On my current project, I'm writing lyrics, then putting a melody to it, then recording the song. It's slow going, but I'm having good results.

 

I would advise one to take inspiration from what ever source provides it, and don't try to destroy the creative process by turning it into too much of a process.

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I absolutely loathe writing lyrics, but if I DID write the silly things, I'd like to try out an idea suggested by Paul McCartney in an interview once.

 

He said that as soon as you have the start of a song, you should give it a name straight away.

 

That way, you know what the song will be about and, therefore, what the rest of the song should sound like.

 

If you've called it (say) "Jane", you can check periodically that the song still sounds as if it's about a girl. Assuming you called it "Jane" in the first place, of course. ;)

 

This simple idea apparently stops the song from going all over the place and losing its way.

 

One day, I shall write lyrics and try it out! :thu:

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Originally posted by ellwood:

I would like to write about a truck, a railroad, drinking,fighting,good love gone bad,cheatin on yr baby, or cheatin on yur man, mamma, my baby son, partying, or prison. Too bad I can't think of anyting YET!!!

:thu: LOL
Live long and prosper unless it is a good day to die.
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Originally posted by Bill@Welcome Home Studios:

write the complete musical score before you touch an instrument. (maybe hum it into a recorder or whatever.) Then FORCE yourself to play what you heard, rather than fall into the same old grooves we all tend to fall into.

 

Bill

That is what I'm going to try next. I have been trying to record all my stuff so that I can start from the beginning and do something truly new instead of recycling my tendancies. That is truly exciting to think about, none of the music I've played yet comes close to what's in my noggin. :) I can't sing, but I CAN hum.
Live long and prosper unless it is a good day to die.
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Originally posted by ellwood:

I would like to write about a truck, a railroad, drinking,fighting,good love gone bad,cheatin on yr baby, or cheatin on yur man, mamma, my baby son, partying, or prison. Too bad I can't think of anyting YET!!!

Why do I envision a Telecaster in this equation? :D
Never a DUH! moment! Well, almost never. OK, OK! Sometimes never!
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Originally posted by Bluesape:

Originally posted by ellwood:

I would like to write about a truck, a railroad, drinking,fighting,good love gone bad,cheatin on yr baby, or cheatin on yur man, mamma, my baby son, partying, or prison. Too bad I can't think of anyting YET!!!

Why do I envision a Telecaster in this equation? :D
**LOL** And you could have the "old time" version which includes train wrecks, stabbing your girlfriend, saintly white haired mothers, God, long sea voyages, God and telling your parents you'll just go up to your room now and die quietly ;)
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Originally posted by Bluesape:

Originally posted by ellwood:

I would like to write about a truck, a railroad, drinking,fighting,good love gone bad,cheatin on yr baby, or cheatin on yur man, mamma, my baby son, partying, or prison. Too bad I can't think of anyting YET!!!

Why do I envision a Telecaster in this equation? :D
Reif,yes it's gotta be there! and Vince... you figured it out I AM DAVID Allen..the cats outa the bag again :D
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