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Songwriters Discussion Room--to share thoughts, projects, etc.
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9 November 2013
Funny Paper
Apple rooftop
Forum Posts: 2093
Member Since:
1 November 2012
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I think some Beatles Biblers like me dabble in writing (and/or peforming, recording) songs.

Sometimes I have random thoughts about the songwriting process I'd like to share, or sometimes I run into a problem with a song I'm creating and could use some suggestions.

The world of songwriters is very diverse: some are rich and famous, of course; others are successfully pursuing a career in music, but are not really that famous and often may have to leave music to make money in other ways for a while; others may be interested in performing and/or recording, but are under no delusions that they will become so successful, and are content to just play the occasional open mike or music fair gig (if they're lucky).

Meanwhile, many others love the process, and some may be quite talented, but they have pretty much abandoned any hopes of getting recognized and have consigned their love to a private personal hobby.  For this category, the availability of recording options and social networking opened up by the Net may offer a ray of hope to widen their activity beyond "playing in the basement".  I'm not yet computer-savvy enough to have made a whole bunch of recordings I can link people to -- so I guess that puts me in an even further sub-category...

I probably fit this last category the most.  Anyway, I'd like to use this little space mostly for my random thoughts about my songwriting; but other people are free and welcome to use this for any purpose they'd like, loosely relevant to this broad topic.

To start the ball rolling, random thought:  I've noticed that when I start creating a song, getting a good pattern of chords and riffs going on the acoustic guitar, I sometimes have a tendency to let the bass line become so dominant, it takes over and "demands" to be the main melody.  This sets up a tension in me, because I tend to think the main melody should be different from the guiding bass line, not the same.  So I consciously try to create a melody that's different from where the song so far is pushing.  Sometimes this works well; other times I get stuck and can't figure a way out.

One time, however, I had a flash.  The bass line was so insistent, and during the day when I thought about the song I was still in the process of writing I would just let myself hum the bass line as though it were the main melody.  Finally, I gave up trying to resist that insistent bass line, and I said "Why not just make the bass line the main melody?"  I did just that -- and it worked very well, and it turned out to be one of the best songs I've written, imho.

Faded flowers, wait in a jar, till the evening is complete... complete... complete... complete...
15 January 2014
Funny Paper
Apple rooftop
Forum Posts: 2093
Member Since:
1 November 2012
sp_UserOfflineSmall Offline

When I'm working on a song and it's "under construction", it often runs through my mind during the day, and/or I sing (or hum) parts of it to myself.  In this process, many little variations come to mind -- almost feels like the various water rivulets and branches of a mountain stream finding its "true nature" as the form it will become amid the terrain it's carving as the vessel of that form, so to speak.  I'm always aware, however, that "more is not necessarily better" and sometimes "less is more".  On the other hand, I don't want to suppress the creative flow while it's going on, in case some flash happens that is worth keeping.  Often as this goes on over time, certain of the variations that keep coming back to me I can tell are keepers.

However, there's another dynamic afoot here: as a musician, I strongly believe that a song should have variations and curlicues to its basic pattern.  I often am annoyed when songwriters out there fashion a song with a certain structure, but they never deviate from any parts of it when they repeat the refrain or the chorus etc.  So I consciously try to figure out deviations to do -- they don't have to be flashy; they can just be subtle.  But more importantly, they should feel right, musically. 

So I've got a song I'm working on how that's in a sub-genre one could call "tavern songs" or "Irish shanties", with a strong folkish feel.  This sub-genre being traditional sounding carries a strong pressure to be boilerplate and not have lots of variation.  All the more reason to break the rules, I say.

Faded flowers, wait in a jar, till the evening is complete... complete... complete... complete...
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