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Songwriters Discussion Room--to share thoughts, projects, etc.
27 February 2023
4.01am
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Sea Belt
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@Beatlebug – Should I move my other post into this thread?

Now today I find, you have changed your mind

27 February 2023
4.05am
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sir walter raleigh
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Sea Belt said
@Beatlebug – Should I move my other post into this thread?

  

I think that a mod (like beatlebug) could do that for you if necessary. I’d leave it alone for the time being. 

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27 February 2023
5.31am
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Sea Belt
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I’ve had an instinct to follow the advice of McCartney (even before I read about it) in writing a melody: namely, that the melody should be different from the bass line and also should try to resolve away from the tonic note of whatever chord it’s in (example: avoid singing the note A when playing A major or minor, D when playing D major or minor, etc.).  This avoidance doesn’t have to be 100%; sometimes it’s okay to sing the tonic note. The point is to try NOT to most of the time.

I think most songwriters probably do this to one extent or another, but Paul articulated it explicitly when talking about his boogie woogie piano line in You Never Give Me Your Money .

So most of the time I try to do that. When I develop my chord progression, then I think about what the bassline should be (sometimes taken up by my thumb on the guitar), and usually it’s different from the melody at almost every point, only rarely synching up. Same with the tonic notes vis-a-vis the chords.

However, in one song I wrote — “Corduroys (Give Us A Smile)” — the bassline was so profoundly satisfying, and the resolution to a tonic note for each chord (using a lot of notes in & around them) fit so perfectly, I just had to make it also the melody for the chorus, based on the chords D–Bm7–Em7–A7–D.

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27 February 2023
2.29pm
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Neely
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Sea Belt said
 (example: avoid singing the note A when playing A major or minor, D when playing D major or minor, etc.).  

Am I supposed to sing 5ths, 3rds, or what? Everytime I try this it sounds bad. 

27 February 2023
3.42pm
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Beatlebug
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Posts moved john-lennon-salute_gif all is well apple01

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28 February 2023
2.08am
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sir walter raleigh
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Neely said

Sea Belt said

 (example: avoid singing the note A when playing A major or minor, D when playing D major or minor, etc.).  

Am I supposed to sing 5ths, 3rds, or what? Everytime I try this it sounds bad. 

  

it depends. There aren’t any hard rules but typically a melody should go from one place to another. Singing just one note might sound boring regardless if its a root or a 3rd or a 5th or a 9th. With interesting chords it might sound exciting. Try targeting chord tones, for example the 3rd of the V is a half step below the root of the 1. the 9th or second of the 1 is the 5th of the V. If that doesn’t make sense I can elaborate, but to make interesting melodies try connecting chord tones together using passing phrases, chromatics, intervals, and other melodic techniques that result in you landing on chord tones.

Check out Dylan’s Make You Feel My Love to hear how chord tones are target through different descending intervals that get smaller and smaller and the line progresses until eventual it becomes unison on the root. Avoid the root in jazz but in Pop it can be very impactful if built up to well. 

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28 February 2023
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Neely
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sir walter raleigh saidt
o make interesting melodies try connecting chord tones together using passing phrases, chromatics, intervals, and other melodic techniques that result in you landing on chord tones.  

My  band director taught me this once. I have just had trouble incorporating it into my own music. I may be over thinking though. I could be doing it this whole time and just not realizing.

28 February 2023
4.17am
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sir walter raleigh
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Above all trust your gut. What makes Paul so amazing is his melodies sound as of they were mined from an ancient tune ore and have existed since the beginning of time, he was just the one to dig it up and put it into a hit track with soaring high range. Following all of the “rules” or just using “correct” theory to craft a tune can often end up soulless. When you feel the call of a great melody do not let it pass you by. Work on putting it over some chords, with lyrics, at the very least record it so you don’t forget. Its extremely difficult to brute force a great melody, writing a song around one that got stuck in your head out of nowhere is easy. 

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1 March 2023
4.50am
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Beatlebug
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Petition to rename “stupidget” to Wise Get stuart-sutcliffea-hard-days-night-george-10

It’s true. Stuff like theory can help you in specific cases where you’re trying to spark something or play around with a theme you’ve already got, but just building songs like you’re following Lego instructions is probably something AI can do. Writing “I Will ” and “Let It Be “? Not so much.

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1 March 2023
4.07pm
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Sea Belt
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Beatlebug said
Petition to rename “stupidget” to Wise Get stuart-sutcliffea-hard-days-night-george-10

It’s true. Stuff like theory can help you in specific cases where you’re trying to spark something or play around with a theme you’ve already got, but just building songs like you’re following Lego instructions is probably something AI can do. Writing “I Will ” and “Let It Be “? Not so much.

  

That’s a good metaphor, the Lego instructions.

There’s an interesting nature to the songwriting process, especially the development or unfolding of a melody in tandem with the development of a chord progression. It’s almost like it flows out into pre-existing channels that only appear as the process is happening (so you only discover their “pre-existence” in the moment of creation).

Part of this may be less metaphysical than it sounds, in that the melody is born and grows limited logically by the number of notes available, the fit of notes to the chord, the structure of the notes in their scale, etc.  But that only explains the unfolding of any melody — not of the inspired melody that stands out as superlative. 

Another metaphor would be Michelangelo’s, of the finished sculpture already present in the formless clay, so that sculptor is not creating the finished face or body — he is chipping away what is NOT the face or body already latent in the stone.

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1 April 2023
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Sea Belt
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The latest Baker’s Dozen about Beatles songs where they stretch out syllables got me thinking about the opposite — where a songwriter seems to make sure to have a distinct syllable for each distinct note of the melody, and no stretching.  This can get elaborate and seemingly tedious (depending on the listener’s preferences) when there are a lot of words jam-packed into the song’s lyrics.  Case in point, James Taylor’s song “That’s Why I’m Here”.

When I write songs I usually get a melody down, then I embody it with words.  One song I wrote had a melody built around the repetition of four chords — D to Bm7 to Em7 to A7, back to D, etc.  There were 4 stanzas of four lines each, and as the stanzas go along, the melody accrues more notes which = more syllables.  For this melody, I didn’t want to stretch any syllables out: I wanted each syllable to be either a one-syllable word or a syllable of a word, with no stretching.  It took quite a bit of brainstorming to come up with fresh lyrics that way, but I succeeded.  Not only that, but I repeat this chorus 3 times in the song, and for each repetition (2nd and 3rd) I wanted different lyrics for the 3rd and 4th stanzas.

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2 April 2023
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Sea Belt
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P.S.: I realized what I wrote above could seem unremarkable, since probably most pop songs, Beatles included, parse out the notes of their melodies per syllable and don’t stretch syllables as a norm.  What I was getting at was a particular type of melody where each measure has an unusually high number of notes in a row in a rhythm including lots of eighth beats.

Now today I find, you have changed your mind

2 April 2023
10.09pm
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Neely
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I recorded one of my old songs into tape today. I realized  how much I didn’t like the musical parts of it so now i don’t know what to do. I wanted to get back into song writing but always seem to fail.

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2 April 2023
11.04pm
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Von Bontee
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Some years back, on the “Beatles Trivia – Even Easier!” game thread…

(which is not a serious regular trivia quiz thread, @Neely and @Sea Belt, but a funny silly thread where we give joke answers to Beatles questions, which can themselves be straight or silly, it’s a classic fun thread, check it out! 🙂 )

….anyways, I’d posted on the thread my lyrics to George’s imaginary song “Slower”. And ever since then, I’ve imagined how it’d sound with music, as a “real” fake imitation parody Harrisong. I can hear the bulk of the song in my head (much of the music is stolen/adapted from “Awaiting On You All ” and “I’d Have You Anytime “) but I don’t know if I have the guitar skills to work out the chords to match the vocal melody I’m hearing, let alone play them – I can’t manage a great deal more than the seven major chords, plus a few minors and fewer 7ths, all in open position.

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Paul: Yeah well… first of all, we’re bringing out a ‘Stamp Out Detroit’ campaign.

         

3 April 2023
12.05am
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Beatlebug
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ooh that sounds cool… I wonder if I could help you realize it a-hard-days-night-paul-4

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3 April 2023
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Sea Belt
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@Von Bontee 

What’s the story about George’s “imaginary song”?  I never heard of it!

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3 April 2023
1.26am
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Neely
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Okay, so after eating dinner at Huey’s (the best ideas happen there) I came up with an idea. 

Make a collection of songs telling the story behind phenomenons that have happened in history

I’ve been listening to lots of blues… can you tell??ahdn_john_08_gif

If you know of any things let me know… or not. i don’t know yet. Should I just do this on my own instead ??

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3 April 2023
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Sea Belt said
@Von Bontee 

What’s the story about George’s “imaginary song”?  I never heard of it!

I spoke of the “all jokes, all the time!”  format of “beatles trivia: even easier!” thread up above, there?

– a question is posed, then whoever answers first also poses their own question, and the next person answers, etc. Anyways, SgtPeppersBulldog asked the question “What are the lyrics to George Harrison ‘s” song “Slower?” (a song which doesn’t exist, and a title spoof on one he did record called “Faster”), implicitly inviting whoever answered first to make up some lyrics to this imaginary Harrisong. Which I did. apple01

(It’s a fun frivolous thread, going on about 7-8 years now, and it started out as a serious ‘answer-this-super-easy trivia question, and ask another’ thread; but was TOO easy, and so almost immediately transformed itself utterly and eternally into a sarcastic-reply format! Results since then, questions and answers both, are almost always funny, or chuckle-worthy. They often relies upon little references to Beatles history, and the full thread almost functions as a bizarre alternate universe story of the Beatles career (and childhoods, and of the characters in their songs), or anything Beatley really.

But as a thread, it frequently stops completely, often for months; and I just wanted to invite you and Neely, as the two most hardcore new posters of the last 3-4 months, to check it out and add your own hilarious contributions! ahdn_george_08 (I’ve wondered if the title of that thread might be altered, to make clear that it’s not a game-thread about knowing Beatles history, as much as about making up our own amusing version of the story, with a toe in ‘reality’)

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3 April 2023
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Sea Belt
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Sea Belt said
P.S.: I realized what I wrote above could seem unremarkable, since probably most pop songs, Beatles included, parse out the notes of their melodies per syllable and don’t stretch syllables as a norm.  What I was getting at was a particular type of melody where each measure has an unusually high number of notes in a row in a rhythm including lots of eighth beats.

  

I don’t know if this will work, but this is a recording of me playing the melody of the chorus of my song on single notes of the guitar. Now imagine you have to create lyrics for this melody, where each and every note is a separate syllable of a word, and no “stretching” of syllables allowed!

https://drive.google.com/file/…..share_link

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3 April 2023
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Neely
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That’s a cute little melody. Excellent playing… I could never

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