View Full Version : Finding it hard to not clone my previous songs?

08-21-2012, 10:00 AM
Im recently finding it really hard to not copy the songs that ive written previously, does anyone else have this problem?

when im trying to think, the same melodies and ideas just keep circulating, and im really struggeling to not write a song thats not just like the last one i did if that makes sense?

does this happen to anyone else?


08-21-2012, 10:13 AM
It happens to me all the time. Don't worry about it. One of the worst things you can do is argue with your muse. If you notice cloning happen, just let it happen and finish the song. You can always mess around with it when it's done. Sooner or later you'll stop cloning.

Remember - you don't ever have to play these songs for anyone.

08-21-2012, 10:31 AM
You could try to intentionally write in a different genre: blues, folk, r+b, country, trance, Gregorian chant . . . That's what I started doing after my daughter said "Dad, all your songs sound alike." (An exaggeration, but she did have a point.) And/or, don't start with the melody (if that's what you do): start with a chord progression, a beat, something else.

08-21-2012, 10:41 AM
i have tried that, it sounds stupid, but i can pick a genre that is as far from say, country as you can get, and half way though, ill have fallen into the same thought trains, or habbits, so its almost like its not fresh anymore i you get me.

but i suppose thats true, nobody does have to hear the songs, so who cares? finish it, move on, and move forward!

thank you

11-01-2012, 06:06 AM
I agree that you should just finish the song, even if it starts sounding like old news to you. Maybe you're subconsciously working through something. :) One thing I would suggest, besides trying to work from a different genre, is maybe try challenging yourself with a unique strum pattern or some fingerpicking. This may not be difficult if you are an advanced player, but I am firmly an intermediate player at best and it has helped me.

11-01-2012, 06:17 AM
I'll echo other's good advice, too. Don't worry about repeating yourself. Repetition never hurt the Ramones, AC DC, ZZ Top, B. B. King, Leadbelly, and a host of other terrific musicians. Keep doing what comes naturally; change may come in time.

But if you're feeling restless, here are a couple ideas: Try writing in a different key than usual. Or try writing at tempos that don't come naturally (very, very slow and very, very fast are good tempos to try).

11-07-2012, 09:01 AM
This has happened to me. When I find myself repeating chord progressions (even if a different key, where they might be a little harder to recognize), I'll stop in the middle of a progression and look for a chord other than the one I would otherwise go to, and maybe that new chord suggests a different next chord, etc. I've tried the same thing with melodies. If I find myself repeating a melodic pattern, I'll stop and try different next notes. I think changing strums and tempo are also great ideas. For me, melodies are often tied to the percussive feeling of the song, and changing the percussive feel through strum and tempo can affect whether an unitinetionally-recycled melody still sounds good.

11-07-2012, 10:21 AM
I've done it many time too. My old band would sometimes get going on something and have to stop and say...wait wait that's a song already...Can't tell you how many GREAT idea/riffs I've had that had already been done. I can see how sometimes artist get accused of stealing songs. If I have been listening to a lot of radio the songs sometimes echo what I have been listening to. I haven't written anything really on Uke but I can imagine it's even easier to redo stuff on Uke. Some chords and changes just go so good together.

11-07-2012, 10:51 AM
The Beatles seemed to have a very low boredom threshold when it came to their material. In the few short years the band existed they went through transformation after transformation. In all of these periods, they experimented with adding chords you didn't expect to find in a sequence (Fm where you'd expect F, etc) - leading to some very memorable songs. I would recommend you to visit the Beatles Songbook (or any on-line source) and experiment with some of their changes, but using them in very different contexts. That might open a few doors for you.

Additional measures might be to try alternative tunings. That has often opened the creative floodgates for me. Though as some have noted here, quite often an artist becomes well loved simply because their sound is unique and their fans can expect more of the same from them. (Status Quo had two periods - when every song sounded like "Pictures of Matchstick Men" and then the later, and more triumphant and long lived period when every song sounded like "Rocking all over the world".

Personally, I love artists like Joni Mitchell, who would do two albums at most in one style and then experiment with something entirely different. (My daughter says all my songs sound the same.... But she's only 14, so what does she know? ;) )

11-08-2012, 03:13 AM
This is one trick that I occasionally use. Pick a song that does not sound anything like I would write, write new lyrics that match syllable for syllable. Use the same rhythm and time signature but change the chord progression and melody. Tada! A new song that is not a clone of my other works and is not plagiaristic.

11-08-2012, 04:24 AM
I think we've all used that old trick Mr E ;) - It is indeed a good one to smash through the dreaded writer's block. There are a few of my songs which started life that way :)

11-09-2012, 01:45 AM
Another trick is to start with an unfamiliar song form, such as a waltz. I looked up some classic Straus waltzes that I liked and viewed the chord progressions.
As it was a waltz, I decided to give the song a dancing theme. I then used the Internet to gather some historical information. The following song is about a real place. The people in it are composites, the names were changed to protect the unrhymable. The Paradise Waltz.


11-09-2012, 02:08 AM
Particularly like the last verse. I think you could perhaps edit this down a verse by some judicious combining of verses three and four. Wordy songwriters, like us two, do have a tendency to overwrite, don't we? ;)