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rayan
04-19-2008, 09:48 AM
Just wanted to share my song writing process and maybe get input from others who write songs. I'm not an expert songwriter like Danyo Cummings but I've developed a method that works for me.

First off, I never sit down and try to write a song. Usually if I ever can finish a song, I'm just goofing around on the guitar and a melody pops into my head that fits whatever chord pattern I'm playing.

If I think it's catchy or memorable, I think hard to make sure I'ts not the melody line of some other famous song (usually it is). If it is, I try to tweak it enough where its different, but still has that same "catchyness" factor.

Usually when the melody comes into my head, it comes in the form of a first line. Usually the first line of the first verse, but sometimes it's the chorus. The 2 strongest parts in your song has to be that first line, and the hook in the chorus. It's a little harder for me cause I'm not that great of a singer, so I need to write simple but memorable melody lines that I can handle with my limited range.

Sometimes when the chords and melody come, they're in the wrong key for me so I spend the time to find the key thats comfortable for me to sing in.

With the chords for whats presumably the verse and the first line of the song, I then try to fill out the rest of the song. With the melody line in my head, I write out lines that I think will fit with the song. After each line I try singing it and tweak it to make them fit.

Before the chorus, it's important to have escalators to get the listener pumped for the chorus. This can be done with a chord change that ends on a hanging 5th. The 5th begs for the main chord to come back and thats where you can hit it with the hook. If you listen to a lot of songs, right before the chorus, you'll notice things start to get louder or more filled. more instruments will be playing. Song writers do this so that the listener will subconsciously be pumped for the chorus and hook.

The Chorus and the hook is next and that is usually where I'm not that good. It's way easier to write hooks if you can actually sing. Writing a memorable hook that someone with no range is TOUGH. In the chorus, you need to change it up and make it sound memorable and different from the verses. A lot of beginning songwriters keep their choruses too similar to the verses. Change it up! Change chords if you have to. The chorus should sound distinctly different from the verses. The hook is the line that gets stuck in your head or that you find yourself humming. It's the proverbial "Money Shot" of the song. Most of the time, but not always its the first line of the chorus. Work on perfecting that hook.

After I figure out the chorus, I work on the 2nd verse in the same way I worked on the first. Then the bridge if necessary.

It also helps in songwriting to build your internal rhyming dictionary. Easy way to do this is to train yourself by saying a word, then trying to say all the rhyming words you can in 10 seconds.

Hope this helps! I'd like to hear other song writers writing process as well.

davoomac
04-19-2008, 12:51 PM
Ryan this was really helpful. I always wonder about the processes people use to write their songs.

My sister is a singer/songwriter and I think she writes all the words before she puts music to it.

By the way your latest song is awesome dude

jjsdad
04-21-2008, 05:45 AM
...
First off, I never sit down and try to write a song. Usually if I ever can finish a song, I'm just goofing around on the guitar and a melody pops into my head that fits whatever chord pattern I'm playing.

If I think it's catchy or memorable, I think hard to make sure I'ts not the melody line of some other famous song (usually it is). If it is, I try to tweak it enough where its different, but still has that same "catchyness" factor.
...
Hope this helps! I'd like to hear other song writers writing process as well.

Wow, I've written a couple of songs for the piano and my experience is exactly what you describe. I'm not able to just sit and compose, but rather it just comes to me while playing around with chords progressions. Usually I start off playing the same chord a few times, then add a IV or V chord then a minor VI, then just kind of fuss around after that. I wish I knew more theory about song writing to know what chords sound good together.

One time a melody came to be while I was out for a walk on Valentine's Day. I managed to figure out the rest of it before my wife came home and now she thinks that i can just whip up a song any time... I wish! That was over a year ago and I haven't written anything since. :(

Thanks for the tips regarding the hook and the escalators. Just reading your posting is inspiring me to write more.

Misguided Musician
04-23-2008, 06:59 PM
Yeah. I never really try writing a song. The words usually come to me when I'm messing around or when I'm bored and just think of a line of words that sound good.

UkuCouS
04-23-2008, 09:18 PM
I just can't for now, I don't know ... I just can't lol
BTW Ryan Downtown People is really good !

la_ingrit
04-24-2008, 04:13 AM
Well.. i really want to write a song...and I have ideas an all but...but I think my lyrics are sooooo darn cheesy...and i feel embarrassed about it...any suggestions???

seeso
04-24-2008, 04:47 AM
Well.. i really want to write a song...and I have ideas an all but...but I think my lyrics are sooooo darn cheesy...and i feel embarrassed about it...any suggestions???

It's okay to have cheesy lyrics, especially in your first songs. There are lots of good songs with cheesy lyrics. However, that's the problem, there are too many songs that use the same lyrics.

After you've written a few songs with cheesy lyrics, if you write something that you've heard in a song before, get rid of it. Try saying it in a different way.

A really good way to get rid of cheesy lyrics is to put physical, concrete objects in your songs.

For example, instead of saying something like, "I'm so blue," you could say, "Even my jeans are blue."

The goal here is specificity. What is unique to you? What only exists in your world? How do you see the world around you?

This is how you start finding your voice as a songwriter.

la_ingrit
04-24-2008, 06:26 AM
It's okay to have cheesy lyrics, especially in your first songs. There are lots of good songs with cheesy lyrics. However, that's the problem, there are too many songs that use the same lyrics.

After you've written a few songs with cheesy lyrics, if you write something that you've heard in a song before, get rid of it. Try saying it in a different way.

A really good way to get rid of cheesy lyrics is to put physical, concrete objects in your songs.

For example, instead of saying something like, "I'm so blue," you could say, "Even my jeans are blue."

The goal here is specificity. What is unique to you? What only exists in your world? How do you see the world around you?

This is how you start finding your voice as a songwriter.



THANKS SEESO!!!! THANKS A LOT!!!!!

laietildaend
05-03-2008, 04:18 AM
dis is exactly what i needed thx!

adellethegreat
05-19-2008, 03:53 PM
I wrote my first song on the guitar when I was 13... and my latest on the uke last month. In between there have been too many to count. I've always felt like I didn't really write the songs... rather that they're floating in the air around me, and I just have to pick them out... if that makes sense to anyone but me. I've heard a lot of authors & other writers speak similarily, like you're just doing the recording for the great cosmic force around us. Still reading? I know I sound like a silly hippie...

For me, the music comes first. It all starts with 2 chords; back & forth, back & forth. What comes next? Ah, that's it! Add chord 3 (and so on). Once I've got the music down, I start singing "la's" along with it, to establish what notes will be sung & also the number of syllables needed for each line. I write down on a piece of paper the syllable count for each line... I use the left margin & have a list going down it... 7, 7, 9, 13... whatever. Now it's time to tackle the actual words.

I never have an idea of what a song will be about until I start to write the lyrics, after I've finished the music. The rhythm & tone of the music dictates what the song will be about, for me. If you go into it with too clear of an idea, I think it's a lot tougher to write. Weren't assigned essays always harder than free topic ones? I don't do what rayan does- going about it one verse at a time... I write my songs more like a crossword puzzle. I play it through, singing la la la, & begin singing random lines at different points as they pop into my head. I often will (for example) write the 3rd line of each verse before anything else... let's say the verses go 7, 7, 9, 13 (like I just said a minute ago ;)). So maybe I'll go through & write all the 9 syllable lines first- because maybe that part of the song has a particular upbeat to it, a note or melody that's sung a certain way & that requires a certain kind of word. It's all about syllables- not just the total number of them in the line, but where they fall. You have a space for 4 syllables- but that doesn't mean you can use a 4 syllable word. Maybe the way it flows & where the breath space is you need a 1 & a 3, or 2 & 2. That's why I often write line 3 (or whatever) of each verse first... because there's a spot where I need a certain length word & I start thinking of a whole bunch. Why decide which line is best? Write em all down & now yr 1/4 of the way done writing each verse!


If you try to hard, if you force yourself to write- it'll never work, and if it does, it will most likely sound forced & be full of those dreaded cheesy lines that were mentioned in earlier posts. Take days- take weeks, months if you have to. Is there a deadline you're trying to meet? Okay then, take yr time!But, one good thing about music (is when it hits you feel no pain, but also-) is that you can have a "cheesy" line in there now & again & get away with it if you sing it the right way. You can change the meaning of something, or make something sound waaaay deeper than it is by giving your voice the right inflection. Ever read the lyrics to one of your favorite songs & realized that if you had done that before you heard it, you probably wouldn't have bothered to listen to it? The words don't look nearly as impressive on paper- not as moving or enlightening as when you hear them sung. It's not always what you say, but how you say it.

Oh my! I could keep rambling... I've barely gotten started lol. However, I just looked at how long this was. I'll be quiet now. Move along... nothing to see here...

Phil Major
05-21-2008, 12:06 PM
Well.. i really want to write a song...and I have ideas an all but...but I think my lyrics are sooooo darn cheesy...and i feel embarrassed about it...any suggestions???

I dont write songs, but I am a writer and I think we all feel a little nervous or embarrassed about sharing our work at first. I suspect that if you start sharing it with others, you will start to become more comfortable with your work and you wont feel like its so cheesy.

adellethegreat
05-21-2008, 04:21 PM
I suspect that if you start sharing it with others, you will start to become more comfortable with your work and you wont feel like its so cheesy.

I agree. You never really know what will appeal to someone else, and for what reasons. Something you wrote & view as cheesy may be thought brilliant by someone else, and vice versa. The song I'm the most proud of that I've written, the one I'm actually happy & proud of the lyrics on- is not at all one of my better received songs. In fact, the ones that I've spent way less time & effort on seem to go over better. Back to that forced writing thing... first thought is best thought, so says Jack Kerouac.

Also... a great online resource that I use quite a bit is rhymezone.com. Not only does it provide you with a ton of rhymes for any given word, it groups them by syllable- and I think I made it clear in my earlier post how important I think those are ;) I often get way off on tangents with this site.... I think I want a rhyme for the word "free"- so then "tree" comes up... but not just "tree"- "dogwood tree" & "joshua tree" & "black cherry tree"... plus a million other kinds- all of which stir different images & can make what you're writing go in a totally different direction.

Phil Major
05-22-2008, 05:58 AM
[QUOTE=adellethegreat;31813]first thought is best thought, so says Jack Kerouac.QUOTE]

Kerouac also thought the "next drink is the best drink" and died of complications from liver cirrhosis... not that you're wrong, but I thought it was funny to mention...

adellethegreat
05-22-2008, 08:45 AM
Kerouac also thought the "next drink is the best drink" and died of complications from liver cirrhosis... not that you're wrong, but I thought it was funny to mention...

Oh, details, details ;p

deach
05-22-2008, 09:38 AM
Oh, details, details ;p

I'll drink to that.

SailQwest
05-26-2008, 12:04 PM
Also... a great online resource that I use quite a bit is rhymezone.com.
Adelle, thanks for mentioning this site. It's incredible! I might actually get around to finishing a song someday.

Morcains
05-28-2008, 03:34 AM
The way I write songs is to write down words that I wan't to use in the song. Then I write some rimes to the words. For example: if one of the words I wrote down is "way" there's alot of words that rimes, like away, say, lay and alot more. If you have trouble finging words just write down things that your friends and family understand. If your girlfriendleft you you can write something like: "Nothing is the same since you left me, when you were here I felt so free".

When you got some good lyrics and a good melody it's time for the chords. Chose some chords that fits the lyrics so you're not singing: "My heart is bleeding in pain" with an extremly happy melody. Remeber, the doesn't need to sound like the melody.

If you have trouble finding chords that fits together you can go to a site with songs and chords. You don't need to steal the whole song chords but it's a good way finding chords that will fit together.

I don't know if this helped you anything but it's atleast how I do it :)

adellethegreat
05-29-2008, 09:31 AM
Okay, a couple people sent me comments asking me to elaborate even more if I could... which I found amazing cause I thought both my posts to be fairly incoherent ;) but here I go anyway... 2 more things I thought to add:

The first is: finish what you start. Even if halfway through writing a song, you decide it sucks... finish it. You don't get better at anything unless you practice- songwriting included. So you're first song kinda sucks... oh well. At least you completed it- proved to yourself you could do it... and now each one will (hopefully) be easier & easier to write, as you get more comfortable with it & find your individual voice. But you'll never ever be a songwriter, unless you finish that first song. I personally have written many songs that I can't stand & that will never see the light of YouTube, or anywhere else for that matter except my living room when no one else is home. But I can't move on to the next one until the last is done- and each time I write a sucky song I learn something new, I get a little bit better.

The other thing I really recommend is: write everything down. When you're at work, when you're driving- no matter where you are... write down every idea you have. Now, an idea doesn't have to be a complete line for a song- it can be just a word that caught your ear for whatever reason; a specific word you wanna use in a song- or just one that brings certain feelings, thoughts, visions into your mind that are the sorts of things you'd like a song to be about.

Something else I do that I don't believe is too common but helps me quite a bit is that I write down other people lines a lot too.... if I hear a song & a certain phrase grabs me & I think "Wow, what a brilliant line!" I'll write it down & later on maybe a song of my own will be inspired by it. I have a song called '6am Roadside Cathedral' that was entirely based on one line from a song by The Avett Brothers.

And then when you sit down to write the actual song- write down all the ideas you don't use, too- all the one's that get cut for the final version or ones that just cross your mind but don't seem to fit. Get yourself a brand spanking new notebook for songwriting, and keep all those pages of scribblings & jotted down notes. You may end up recycling lines, or come up with new ones while flipping through it the next time you find yourself stuck.

Rod
05-29-2008, 10:42 AM
Ukulele and songwriting, sounds like a new UU contest idea!

thatguy431
07-06-2008, 03:34 AM
This is a pretty cool thread! Im always fascinated with the writing process of different people!

When i write music, i do it a lot differently it seems. Since im the worst lyricist, i just stick to the music.

What i do is, usually, ill just be messin around with my guitar or bass, and ill come up with a cool sounding melody, or line, or phrase, or something, really small and simple. Then ill be like "well, that sounds pretty cool!" I then approach writing and elaborating pretty...well, in a sense, scientifically, haha. I just look at what i have, and what doors are open from that. Its basically, i started on a path with this melody/phrase/sometimes even just a chord progression, and as i continue down the path, or hallway rather, i pass some doors, and go through others. Im not sure if that really makes sense to anyone or not.

My knowledge of theory is somewhat limited, so a lot of the doors i pass, or want to go through are locked at the moment. Because im not a music major, i cant take any real music classes at my school, its kinda friggen retarded. I really want to take as many theory classes as i can, or at least get some insight to different harmonization techniques. Im pretty much just stuck to writing completely modal music! AHH! It gets boring/frustrating after a while. Especially when you start looking at all this music from so many different composers, and its just like "hmmm, i wonder what they were thinking when they chose to use this chord here with that part of the melody on top. that transition is simply genius, what was going through their mind to allow them to just do that?!?" Heh

ramble, ramble, ramble :P

watchmeuke
07-12-2008, 08:52 PM
Well.. i really want to write a song...and I have ideas an all but...but I think my lyrics are sooooo darn cheesy...and i feel embarrassed about it...any suggestions???


hahah, i feeeeel you on that note!









www.youtube.com/anarkeemcpablog

Danyo Cummings
07-14-2008, 05:21 PM
All these replies are awesome and it's great to read how different people go about songwriting. I've been writing for a few years and though i feel like i have much to learn i've found a system that tends to work great for me. I like to start with melodies. I keep a voice recorder handy (as much as possible) or i sing melodies to my voicemail whenever inspiration hits. From there, i like to make lists of concepts and ideas that seem like good ideas. I'll usually match the ideas with the melody that works and from there i like to mumble to find my phrasing. Then, i write (usually the hook first) and put lyrics to the mumbling. I used to fill up notebooks back in High School but thanks to technology i now write on my phone :P That's pretty much my songwriting workflow.

Muugi
07-18-2008, 05:15 PM
Great inspiriation everyone!
I may have to keep plucking away and try writing a couple of songs.

yodiepants
07-31-2008, 02:51 AM
Most of my song ideas come to me while I'm cycling, of all places. After a lot of frustration, I've started stopping to write down lyrics. Just two days ago, I actually made it all the way home repeating the lines in my head and got to write it down. But keeping a notebook and writing down lines of words, or just an interesting phrase, is most important for me.

Another fun way I've just discovered is to write out a detailed story, then section out where the major turning points are. Then compress it into its most poignant parts and make it rhythmic. When it is all laid out like that, you can add foreshadowing, reoccurring symbolism and other fun stuff. I'm was working on my first attempt at this tonight and it worked out rather well. Instead of thinking, "Where do I go next?" I'm thinking, "How do I make it sound more awesome?"

Something to consider is, perhaps, "What's the deal with this song anyway?"

Is it a song with a moral?
Does it describe how to do something?
Does it insult an enemy?
Is it for making washing the dishes go by faster?
Is it about how in love you are?
How the political climate is out of control?
Why dancing is so fun?
What your parent's taught you that is now coming in handy?
The liminal state between adolescence and adulthood?
Why you are the raddest guy in town?
Why is the universe trying to grind you in a mortar and pestle?

And once you figure that out, then ask, "How can I convince someone that this is the case?" And that's a whole 'nother grain of worms.

(Last suggestion: Take a selection of 100 pop song lyrics about a similar topic. Put them through a word frequency counter. After you cut out the "of"s and "the"s, find the words most likely relating to the topic. USE ALL OF THEM! Now, analyze the chord progressions. Find the most likely. Add an Aaug9 in the middle randomly. Sing in falsetto.)

[edit: Making a sound thesis statement could help too. Perhaps, "I enjoy going to the club and flirting with the boys because it is empowering and gives me a strong sense well being." Or something. And now that I think about it, I've got a lot of somewhat wacky ideas that will produce things resembling songs. ;)]

GForce83
08-26-2008, 04:54 AM
a great online resource that I use quite a bit is rhymezone.com.
I was looking for some rhymes for "floor" and never in my wildest dreams would I have considered "iron ore", "specialty store" or "persian gulf war"

Fantastic resource.

Dane
08-26-2008, 07:37 AM
If you take the music out of alot of songs they are just poems. I know people who write a poem first, and then try and put music to it.

redsedge
08-31-2008, 10:26 PM
Many thanks to everyone who posted here. I'll be teaching a creative writing class in a couple of weeks and was feeling like a fraud because I haven't written anything much in years and have sort of lost interest. So, I thought I'd try songwriting. These posts have really helped get me started and best of all, have renewed my enthusiasm. Not doing anything wonderful (yet) but having so much fun! Cheers and big hugs to everyone.

bornagainjeeper
01-23-2009, 09:17 AM
I almost always write the words first...to me they are the most important part (i called myself a poet at one point) I think to the lay person (non uke player) they are tuned to listen to the words first, as everyone as a voice, and that is easier to relate to. A smoking uke riff is impressive, but less so to someone who does not play the uke themself (my mom once said she doesn't care for jazz, which my dad does, because she is not a musician, All that fancy playing is easier to relate to if you take part yourself, i tend to agree with her opionion...my dad is a jazz drummer...)

because of this i put more time into my lyrics and write a chord progression that will suit the words and increase understanding in the words (this is fairly obvious...i realize, but if a song is about your parents dying it prolly shouldn't use C A7 D7 G7...)
Just a thought....

GrumpyCoyote
01-24-2009, 04:11 PM
but if a song is about your parents dying it prolly shouldn't use C A7 D7 G7...
Just a thought....

Oh that's just a challenge young man... I so want to write that now.:D

sebi
01-24-2009, 11:17 PM
If you take the music out of alot of songs they are just poems. I know people who write a poem first, and then try and put music to it.

Dane made a great point. If you can read the lyrics of a song and like them without listening to the music, they're usually great lyrics.

My approach:

Words come to me when I'm inspired. I write a poem, which doesn't have to be perfect at all. Then, I try to combine those words with a few musical patterns I've been messing around with and eventually will find the right music for the right poem. Once you start matching the music to the words (or the other way around) you get more ideas of what to include and how and where.

Obviously this sounds easier than it actually is, and sometimes it simply doesn't work at all. But that's the beauty (and challenge) of songwriting. You don't really know what your song is going to sound like. I see a song like a good wine, that gets better with time. The more you play it, the more you see the details which you can emphasize.

Have fun writing and composing!

geoffsuke
01-26-2009, 10:56 AM
I was looking for some rhymes for "floor" and never in my wildest dreams would I have considered "iron ore", "specialty store" or "persian gulf war"

Fantastic resource.

yeah i used it for grand and it gave me anterior pituitary gland :shaka:

geoffsuke
01-26-2009, 12:05 PM
if you manage to get a tune going in your head things just pop out, like in the last ten secs i came up with, i killed the easter bunny, and santa claus aint reaaal, i don't want your cruddy money, your on my list to kill

ch ch ch charmin - they aint all like that :)

cpatch
01-26-2009, 01:31 PM
if you manage to get a tune going in your head things just pop out, like in the last ten secs i came up with, i killed the easter bunny, and santa claus aint reaaal, i don't want your cruddy money, your on my list to kill
Nice, but you're never going to top this:

http://uk.youtube.com/watch?v=HTGlUMvbhSw

Craig

Yopparai
01-29-2009, 05:12 PM
Most of the time, at least lately, I have a topic in mind. I mull it over anywhere from a couple of minutes to several days, no so much lyric wise, but just to get a sense of the topic and the thoughts and feelings it brings to mind. When actual words start coming together in my head, I know the mulling period is done. Then much like others have said, I start writing without too much editing or censoring. After years of reading Dr Suess to my kids till I could quote most of the books by heart, rhyming usually comes pretty easy, but if I am drawing a blank, I skip a line on the paper and just keep writing.

A couple of things generally happen, I fall into a rhythm - sometimes its limricky sometimes iambic pentameter - and some structure starts to surface. Maybe a verse is going to be four lines, with a one or two line tag before the chorus. Then I can start shuffling what I have written around, fill in those pesky blank lines, to get it close to the rhythm and structure. Usually by that point a melody starts to work its way around the words..... hmm.

Reading that, Its not overly helpful. Thats what I do, but I couldn't begin to tell you HOW I do it. For the most part I try to stay out of the way and just let it happen.

My subject matter tends to be lighter. If I try to write a serious song, it almost always ends up wrist cuttingly depressing, full of raised expectation followed by dashed hopes. I save that for the journal that has my poetry in it, which I lock up so that no unsuspecting reader will feel the urge to throw him/herself off a tall building into on coming traffic. Nope. for songs I stick to more pleasant fair.

shanifawni
02-04-2009, 08:43 PM
i haven't really written (or actually completed) too many songs, but i'd thought i'd share what's been happenin' - in case it shines a light for anyone.

i was definitely all about poetry before i ever even thought to write a song of my own, and in my poetry i was never into having a tonnn of structure, was pretty freeform - so that posed a problem when trying to write lyrics. but i basically just forced myself to change.

as far as music or words first i feel like i could set up some song - word wise and add music later - but it didn't match up. and then i cant sit down and totally just make up a melody for the song without some idea of the concept of the song. so i think i've been discovering that it kinda has to happen at the same time. sometimes some thing i hum over chords makes some words pop into my head and then form there the words or abstract idea influence where i go with the music. they have to like build on each other.

but really - i think you just have to have both things in mind at the same time - then when they fully merge you don't sit back and think "man! this is not what i was anticipating!"
ya know?

GrumpyCoyote
03-12-2009, 08:07 PM
To me - it's a little like archeology. I'll find just a little line or concept, and it's a bit like stumbling onto a corner of a fossil sticking out of the dirt. I work that over in my head for a while - days, weeks sometimes (if I'm lucky hours).

Then the rest of the process is like gently digging it out... just the the shape first, then the details. Usually I write a first pass, then put it away for a few days at least. Then I move on to other things, and only pick it back up later. Helps me put it into perspective and polish it a bit.

Before I know it, I have the whole thing.

I tend to write lyrics and melodies together, and chord progressions separately. Then once I have a lyric to a place I like it, I'll tap it into one of the progressions I have on the top of my mind until it all fits. That's the hardest part for me.

Usually that process changes the melody again, and even the progressions shift a bit. Then I usually record a rough track so I don't forget it, and then put it down again for a day or so before I call it done.

Pippin
03-29-2009, 07:19 AM
I am a long-time songwriter and member of ASCAP. First song I wrote was 1980 and I've been writing ever since.

What I do is play a guitar and create a mood with a song idea in mind. Once I have the mood, typically I take the thought of what I want to express and I put that into verses that match the mood. The creation of a melody and lyric combination is easiest for me... based on the mood I have created. I typically write a song in about five minutes once I get started. I am not a prolific writer, however.

My mother was a songwriter in "Country Music" with a Nashville contract. She wrote the lyrics and Hillman Hall wrote the melodies. Hillman was the brother of then country music star Tom T. Hall (wrote Harper Valley PTA and many other big hits).

Most successful songwriters start with a "story" idea. They develop a mood and melody for it, put the lyrics to it and the whole thing then comes together pretty quickly. Many writers start with a "chorus" or a "hook" and write the rest of the song around it.

PoisonDart
03-31-2009, 03:24 PM
For me a central thematic line usually pops into my head. And the words themselves have a melody that I hear in my brain.

I write more of the song and then go figure the melody out on my keyboard. (I find the layout of the piano is best suited to figure out what my melody is.)

Then I use my smattering of music theory to figure out what key i'm in, and therefore what chords could support the melody... and pick the best chord for what the emotion of the song is...

for instance one of my songs is in Fmaj. and part of the melody uses F and D... and during the verse I harmonize with Bb Maj (the 4th) when I could use Fmaj... but I save that resolution for the start of the chorus.

Nearly all my songs start with words that have there own melody (to me) though.

Weasel
04-02-2009, 08:09 PM
It's all a mood thing to me. Words, along with their melody pop in my head randomly and I can imangine up a pretty sweet accompaniment for it. It's usually the chorus. I'm also usually outside somewhere, not at home, so I have to keep singing it to myself so I don't forget it. Then when I get home I try to figure out the notes and what not on the piano, which is where I get stumped (after I write down the words and notes for the melody) because I can hardly play the piano so I just get frustrated when I try to play the sweet accompaniment and never really get to the verses and such...sad...

But it will probably be a different story with the uke...woot!

ukulele2544
05-25-2009, 09:35 PM
Thanks for helping!

Bratset
06-12-2009, 04:01 PM
Seen a few people talking about rhymes here so I though I'd share this if it hasn''t already been mentioned.
This (http://www.rhymezone.com) is a great site if you arn't very good at finding words/syllables that rhyme on your own :)

uke5417
08-30-2009, 04:58 PM
For me, it's all about mood. I'm not good enough to say, "I'll write a dark song about nuclear weapons from a chameleon's perspective." Interesting idea, but I haven't the chops. Instead, I noodle. I let the ukulele find the tune that I'm in the mood to write. A couple few chords, an interesting progression. The melody starts forming in my head, usually as I scat along to the progression.

Once I've got something I like, I start back-filling with lyrics that fit the mood of the progression and the melody. If the first three chords are major, chances are I'm in upbeat land. Am I starting on, or lingering on minor chords? Sad city. Is that a hopeful sounding note? Perhaps the story can turn at that point to take advantage of it. The story develops.

On the other side, can I change the music a bit to suit the idea that's formulating?
I pick out the melody line. Wow, look at that. The song sort of wants to shift right at this point, at this "A" note on this string. Are there chords within the key, or maybe even not, that include, even center on, that particular note, that I can add to the progression and make work? Noodle... noodle... Yeah! That's it!

Now the song's coming together. A few verses, a conceit, a tale of woe. But it's getting a bit monotonous. Chorus/bridge time. Again, noodle, noodle, noodle. What chords or notes take what I've got and run with it, expand on it?

OK, I've got something new and slightly different musically; what's missing from the song lyrically? Does the hero get the girl? Whatever happened to the bastard in verse 1? Kill him? Let him live? Sometimes, I let the music decide. Happy sound, let him live. Sad sound, terminate him. Often, this sort of thing just happens intuitively. I just write, and play, and it works itself out.

In the end, the words and the music have to make some sort of sense, I figure. It's all about finding patterns, musically and lyrically, that people find interesting.

(I've only been at this for a year, have no training, and will probably look back on this as having missed many of the most important points, but it seems to be working for now.)

Yopparai
08-31-2009, 04:53 AM
"I'll write a dark song about nuclear weapons from a chameleon's perspective."
I will have you know I woke up at 3:30am and saw this on my phone, and couldn't go back to sleep because my half-asleep brain kept trying to put together a song about nuclear weapons from a chameleon's perspective.

uke5417
08-31-2009, 09:51 AM
I will have you know I woke up at 3:30am and saw this on my phone, and couldn't go back to sleep because my half-asleep brain kept trying to put together a song about nuclear weapons from a chameleon's perspective.

lol

Can't wait to see the video!

FSUkulele
09-22-2009, 06:30 PM
Usually I start off playing the same chord a few times, then add a IV or V chord then a minor VI, then just kind of fuss around after that. I wish I knew more theory about song writing to know what chords sound good together.

A basic concept for chords is progression vs. regression.

CAPITAL = MAJOR
lowercase = minor
PLUS+ = AUGMENTED+
star* = diminished*

In any (major) key, the progression of chords is:
I IV vii* iii vi ii V I

If you go to the right in this pattern, you are progressing through the chords, which is GOOD e.g. I>IV or iii>V or IV>V>I is common. Going to the left is BAD most of the time e.g. ii>iii or vi>IV etc. The exceptions to this are V>vi and V>iv , which are deceptive cadences. As V wants to go to I, instead going to iv or IV sort of tricks the listener and lets you prolong a phrase.

Similarly, the minor progression is:
i iv vii* III+ VI ii* V i


Have fun with this! Experiment and see what sounds good to you and why!

lovinforkful
11-07-2012, 11:50 AM
My subject matter tends to be lighter. If I try to write a serious song, it almost always ends up wrist cuttingly depressing, full of raised expectation followed by dashed hopes. I save that for the journal that has my poetry in it, which I lock up so that no unsuspecting reader will feel the urge to throw him/herself off a tall building into on coming traffic. Nope. for songs I stick to more pleasant fair.
I could have said this. Sometimes it bothers me that I can't come up with more "serious" sounding lyrics, but honestly I have much more fun playing the songs that are light-hearted or funny (to me) than anything painful or grim. There's enough of that out there anyway.