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Songwriting
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9 October 2013
7.02pm
Ben Ramon
Candlestick Park
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26 March 2012
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Bungalow Bob said
 Lennon, on the other hand, often started with a phrase that interested him, like "
All You Need Is Love," or Instant Karma" or "Give Peace A Chance," and he would develop a melody to fit the phrase.

Whatever Gets You Thru The Night is another example of this, and the assorted fragments and ephemera he found in the Daily Mail which were the genesis of A Day In The Life.

I would point jodiff to Many Years From Now; the only book I've read where a Beatle describes their songwriting process in anything near detail. I don't have the book to hand, but I recall passages where Paul says something like: "I was sitting at the piano and just hitting this D6 chord over and over and Fool on the Hill came out of that." Based on that I would assume he just fiddles around until he finds a chord sequence he likes the sound of, goes with the flow and the melody comes naturally to him, words added in afterward.

This video corroborates that theory pretty well: he knew what he wanted to write about, "got a riff going" and it sprang from there in a list of ideas that matched the rhythm.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v.....1jHp_qa1Z4

 

 

 

 

SHUT UP - Paulie's talkin'
9 October 2013
9.03pm
Bungalow Bob
Seattle, Washington
Hollywood Bowl
Forum Posts: 356
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16 September 2013
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9 October 2013
11.27pm
jodiff
A Beginning
Forum Posts: 6
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9 October 2013
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Thanks a lot for the replies. You guys are so great. The video is so cool. I also got to get that Many Years From Now book.

That's what I figured too. Like Bob said " there was no formula". There's that classic John quote from the Playboy interview where he talks about " I Want To Hold Your Hand" : " We wrote a lot of stuff together, one on one, eyeball to eyeball. Like in 'I Want To Hold Your Hand,' I remember when we got the chord that made the song. We were in Jane Asher's house, downstairs in the cellar playing on the piano at the same time. And we had, 'Oh you-u-u/ got that something...' And Paul hits this chord [E minor] and I turn to him and say, 'That's it!' I said, 'Do that again!' In those days, we really used to absolutely write like that — both playing into each other's noses". 

So i guess it's pretty clear that they were writing bits of improvised stuff and kept what they liked and joined them together. And I'm sure that's the best way to do it.

Anyway, this subject is ultra-fascinating to me and I'll keep researching. 

Thanks again, guys.

10 October 2013
5.02pm
Bungalow Bob
Seattle, Washington
Hollywood Bowl
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16 September 2013
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11 October 2013
5.30pm
Bungalow Bob
Seattle, Washington
Hollywood Bowl
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16 September 2013
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Funny Paper said

  Sometimes a lot of creativity and flashes of genius happen in re-structuring and re-arranging and adding crucial flourishes to the original inspiration.   ...new possibilities and creative tweaking after the song's already on the table -- plus the critical ability to tell what to keep and what to trash.

Good points, Funny Paper. And if there was any magic formula with the Lennon/McCartney songwriting partnership, it was that there were two very creative people who were, for the most part, on the same page. And when they weren't exactly on the same page, it was in a way that augmented the existing song, and took it to another place. Lennon helped write the bridges for McCartney's melodies for "Michelle," and "We Can Work It Out," to name just two instances. And those bridges seamlesly fit in with the verse melodies, but with a "blues-ier" feel than Paul would have arrived at on his own. I know there are other examples of melodies that were wriiten mainly by one Beatle, and then added to by the other, but I can't think of them right now. And like Funny Paper said, they would then add "critical flourishes" to one another's songs as they rehearsed them, or on the spot in the studio while recording. I would really like to read more in-depth accounts of their songs' creations.

18 October 2013
6.59am
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Funny Paper
America
Apple rooftop
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1 November 2012
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Thanks for that video jodiff -- some very interesting stuff there.  I still haven't watched more than 30% of it, will do so when I find time.  I left off where he was describing his songwriting process for "Alligator".

I recall another video back from the 1990s in conjunction with his composition of his classical piece "Liverpool Oratorio" (or something).  He was collaborating with a classical musician for that, and at one point Paul is trying to write some new song on the piano, and he's in E minor, and he instinctively goes for the B major chord, but the classical music guy says -- "No, don't do that, it's so predictable", and Paul says something like, "Yeah, you're right" -- and so they try something else. 

Faded flowers, wait in a jar, till the evening is complete... complete... complete... complete...
20 October 2013
11.10pm
jodiff
A Beginning
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9 October 2013
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21 October 2013
11.56pm
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Funny Paper
America
Apple rooftop
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1 November 2012
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Faded flowers, wait in a jar, till the evening is complete... complete... complete... complete...
22 January 2014
9.13pm
SirHuddlestonFuddleston
St Peters Church
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22 January 2014
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I have a related question. Once those songs were written, how did they remember them all, without the use of notation? It's said that L&M wrote over 50 songs before Love Me Do, and some of them, like When I'm Sixty-Four, were used a decade after they were written. How did Paul remember how it goes?

Furthermore, I kinda disbelieve Paul when he says he can't read music. You can hear him teach a song to George on Let It Be, calling out "D minor", "F6" whatever. He clearly knows his chords, and certainly a lot of music theory, which is evident from the way he describes his bass playing ("I tried using the fifth of each chord" etc). What's the final verdict? Can a dude who knows 6 chords, diminished chords, I-IV-V-I progressions, suspended resolutions, plagal cadences, etc, really not be bothered to learn where the notes go on a staff?

Finally, Paul talks about travelling hours by bus to find a guy who "knew how to play a B7 chord on the guitar." These kids were middle class (except Ringo). They had money for guitars. They couldn't afford a dollar or two to buy a chord book from the music shop? Are they really just being disingenuous?

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