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Songwriters Discussion Room--to share thoughts, projects, etc.
13 April 2023
4.41pm
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Beatlebug
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14 April 2023
1.55am
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Sea Belt
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@Beatlebug

It has an interesting mood, sort of evokes a “lost day” where it’s cloudy all day

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14 April 2023
5.34am
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Perfect! I love that kind of mood a-hard-days-night-george-4

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16 April 2023
1.23am
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Sea Belt
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Yeah me too.  James Taylor’s “Sunny Skies” (ironic title) kind of does that for me

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17 April 2023
6.37am
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sigh butterfly
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Beatlebug reflected 
oh yeah I finally got around to uploading this little stream of consciousness I came up with a couple months ago

I’ve always had trouble navigating the emotions my writing might evoke within the people I’m close to. I fall down the rabbit hole very easily. For instance, the Window Song contains a line “I don’t know if you can hear me as you walk outs my door”. That along with the video’s reflection motif throws me instantly into this scene.

Even though I have never actually lived the story that song tells, I definitely 100% have felt the emotions. In particular, I find myself reliving a night in March 1983. My marriage had ended about 6 months prior but we were still living in the same house with our pre-teen daughter. The day had finally come for me to move out and in order to keep the drama to a minimum my wife and daughter spent the night at a friend’s house. So I’m packing and stuff and realize that the last episode of the tv show M.A.S.H. is on. It turns out to be 2 hours of heartfelt, gut-wrenching goodbyes that left me emotionally exhausted. I’m always making notes with ideas and even word combinations to use later. I thought the experience of watching that show in the circumstances I was in would make an interesting song. So that night I scribbled something down similar to this:

When Margaret looked into his eyes,
For the very last time.
It was as yours were to mine
For the very last time.

When Hawkeye reached out for her,
For the very last time.
It was as my arms holding you
For the very last time.

I left that morning and decided to go camp at the beach for a week before starting my new life. When I got back my ex-wife was very upset with as me as she found my draft and thought in might be a suicide note. I bring this up because I am reminded every year after the Super Bowl about this night. The MASH finale is slowly falling out of the Top 30 most watched shows of all time and each Super Bowl draws it a little closer. I would love to flesh this narrative out but know my current wife would be off-put and wonder why I was even in this space. (especially since the theme of my current writing regards the social mores of the sixties counter culture). I think as explanation, showing her the Window Song video would raise more questions that it answered.

Any of you other composers have this problem? Do you censor and restrict your creativity because of such concerns?

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17 April 2023
4.02pm
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SB you have no idea… I played the song for my dad and we both pretty much started crying. It was certainly one of the most terrifying things I’ve ever done a-hard-days-night-paul-7 it’s the line “And I’m sorry I don’t live up to my ideals when I’m living day-to-day” that gets me a-hard-days-night-paul-10

anyway the line is “I don’t know if you can hear me as you walk past my door”. My family were walking around outside my room and I didn’t want them to hear me working on a song because I can’t write when other people are listening a-hard-days-night-paul-7

That’s a very nice video though, love the rainy green mountains… I aspire to live in a place like that someday apple01

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17 April 2023
4.19pm
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Neely
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I wish I could write again. I have too much shit to do. I have no time to myself where i am home alone to write. I have no ideas. I might rant in the impossible to derail thread later. I always get incredibly frustrated with myself when i try to write, so i dont do it

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17 April 2023
4.35pm
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oh man I feel you on that one a-hard-days-night-paul-7 there’s definitely been times when I felt that way, like while I was working Christmas season in retail and taking college classes at the same time a-hard-days-night-paul-7a-hard-days-night-paul-7a-hard-days-night-paul-7 now that it’s over I’m just starting to finally get back into the swing of creating again a-hard-days-night-george-4

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18 April 2023
1.29am
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Sea Belt
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@sigh butterfly That’s a very poignant and personal story you recounted. I could see it also aside from a song, expressed as a short story or even film, so many threads coming together. To me, it’s far more difficult to be openly personal in a song — not so much because of emotional reasons but it just seems harder to convey it adequately to do it justice, and usually comes out forced and even cheesy or cliche.  Luckily, my artistic tastes are inclined more toward the indirect, elliptical, oblique (and often seemingly nonsensical). The vast majority of my songs are not personal (though no doubt a Jungian psychotherapist could “find” the personal there, somehow!). Some of them may have indirect allusions to some event or feeling I’ve experienced, but it would take a creative private detective to piece together anything coherently personal from it.

I did once write a song directly expressing an experience & feeling as old as the hills — unrequited love & being rejected by a woman. This also reflects my ignorance of the Beatles at the time (early 90s) in that I didn’t know at the time that the first half of my song’s title was also a Beatles song — “I Feel Fine “. My second part in parentheses added an ironic twist:

I Feel Fine (Going Out Of My Mind).

I also didn’t know that some band already wrote a song with the second half as their title:

Going Out of My Mind” is a song written by Terry McBride and Kostas, and recorded by American country music group McBride & the Ride. It was released in July 1992 …”

(But my ignorance there is more forgivable!)

My story doesn’t end there.  Even as that young woman had made clear her rejection (letting me down gently), she accepted my invitation to come over to my place where I effectively serenaded her with 3 songs.  Two of the songs were indirect and unrelated; the third was I Feel Fine (Going Out Of My Mind).  Her response was to cry, briefly; then she said she liked the third song best, musically!  My songwriter self was pleased with the best review one could get (even if the rest of my self was disappointed…).

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20 April 2023
1.50am
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sigh butterfly
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Beatlebug said
SB you have no idea… I played the song for my dad and we both pretty much started crying. It was certainly one of the most terrifying things I’ve ever done a-hard-days-night-paul-7 it’s the line “And I’m sorry I don’t live up to my ideals when I’m living day-to-day” that gets me a-hard-days-night-paul-10

anyway the line is “I don’t know if you can hear me as you walk past my door”. My family were walking around outside my room and I didn’t want them to hear me working on a song because I can’t write when other people are listening a-hard-days-night-paul-7

That’s a very nice video though, love the rainy green mountains… I aspire to live in a place like that someday apple01

Thanks for sharing that experience at @Beatlebug. I’ve recently gone through some tearful father + daughter moments myself. I appreciate you and @Sea Belt acknowledging that my emotional issues are not unique.

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20 April 2023
2.18am
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sigh butterfly
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Sea Belt said
@sigh butterfly That’s a very poignant and personal story you recounted. I could see it also aside from a song, expressed as a short story or even film, so many threads coming together. To me, it’s far more difficult to be openly personal in a song — not so much because of emotional reasons but it just seems harder to convey it adequately to do it justice, and usually comes out forced and even cheesy or cliche.  Luckily, my artistic tastes are inclined more toward the indirect, elliptical, oblique (and often seemingly nonsensical). The vast majority of my songs are not personal (though no doubt a Jungian psychotherapist could “find” the personal there, somehow!). Some of them may have indirect allusions to some event or feeling I’ve experienced, but it would take a creative private detective to piece together anything coherently personal from it.

I did once write a song directly expressing an experience & feeling as old as the hills — unrequited love & being rejected by a woman. This also reflects my ignorance of the Beatles at the time (early 90s) in that I didn’t know at the time that the first half of my song’s title was also a Beatles song — “I Feel Fine “. My second part in parentheses added an ironic twist:

I Feel Fine (Going Out Of My Mind).

I also didn’t know that some band already wrote a song with the second half as their title:

Going Out of My Mind” is a song written by Terry McBride and Kostas, and recorded by American country music group McBride & the Ride. It was released in July 1992 …”

(But my ignorance there is more forgivable!)

My story doesn’t end there.  Even as that young woman had made clear her rejection (letting me down gently), she accepted my invitation to come over to my place where I effectively serenaded her with 3 songs.  Two of the songs were indirect and unrelated; the third was I Feel Fine (Going Out Of My Mind).  Her response was to cry, briefly; then she said she liked the third song best, musically!  My songwriter self was pleased with the best review one could get (even if the rest of my self was disappointed…).
 

@Sea Belt Someday I’ll get that MASH experience down on paper. It should be relatable since 100M households watched it at the same time. I even have a coda. 30+ years later I was hiking with my wife and daughter in Malibu Creek State Park and came across the location where the MASH exteriors were filmed. They had no idea what sort of thoughts I was swimming in while being there.

download-2-1.jpgImage Enlarger

Most of my writing involves activities long past, so I don’t need to be too obscure. However I can relate to your “serenade” story. Once for a short period of time I wrote poems to read to my friend Alison. They were about her but I certainly did not admit that openly. There was never any reaction and we remained confidants until I moved away. <oops, down the rabbit hole>

stay-on-topic

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23 April 2023
11.05pm
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Neely
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well I wrote a little something. in 3rd person which i now find is a lot easier for storytelling which is what i was trying to do anyway

 

As love fades away she thanks god for another day, giving her a reason to go on

time ticks on by as he sits there just thinknig why his life life has got to be like this. 

 

The two lines sound like choruses and i need to separate them by verses. How do i tell this story between them?

Also, if you wanna hear how i sing it i did record a video but it has my face in it and i hate my face so im not posting it but if you really want to hear i can dm it to you

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25 April 2023
10.23pm
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Sea Belt
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1. Many of the songs I have written, even finished years ago, I still work on in terms of details, in my head.

2. One way I work on them is by running the song through my head, sometimes not even humming it, let alone not singing it or accompanying myself on my guitar, just “thinking” it through.

3. For #2, a key word is “sometimes”.  Probably most of the time I can’t help breaking into singing while I’m thinking through the song, also tapping out the tempo with my fingers, when I don’t get more serious and pick up the guitar to address it in a more concerted fashion.

4. While I’m thinking through the song, the tempo is important and often I haven’t fully fleshed out what it will be — and how drums and/or additional percussion will embody it — as the song navigates from one chord sequence to the next. 

5. Often I find myself unable to fully flesh out the tempo (+ the drums/percussion that embodies it) no matter how many times I run the song (or portions of the song) through my head.

6. The latest song I’m running through my head (several times a day, and as I drift off into sleep at night) is my song “Corduroys (Give Us A Smile)” is one where several areas or junctures remain where I can’t quite conceive how all the instruments, including drums/percussion, fit in exactly.

7. Part of this process involves toying with time signatures. Like most Westerners, I have an innate reflex to lapse into 4/4, but the way the lines of my lyrics play out, it seems a 4/4 structure would limit it too much, so I experiment with modifying it to add maybe one or more verses in 5/4, 7/4 or 9/4, etc.

8. Back to #5, some of the times I think the song through in my head I tell myself to focus on what the drums would do: should the drummer accent with a heavy snare hit during this portion? or should he tap the rim? should he stay on the hi-hat or transition to the ride cymbal here? what drum fills should he do?  where?  If I had my druthers, I would basically map out every last drum fill — and basically everything the drummer does — and leave no room for him to improvise.

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3 May 2023
1.13am
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Neely
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@Beatlebug (or any other guitarist)

How in the world do you play lead guitar SO WELL? What songs do recommend I learn?

I need advice I’m sick of rhythm guitar and want to be good. 

Thanks! a-hard-days-night-george-10heart

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4 May 2023
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Beatlebug
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Well my first guitar solo was Exo-Politics by Muse because my band was playing it, and most of what I cut my teeth on thereafter was David Gilmour licks because I love Pink Floyd kind of a lot and they were reasonably slow and approachable to a beginner a-hard-days-night-john-6

I would definitely recommend you just start learning riffs and solos – whether by ear, watching live videos, or watching tutorials on Youtube.

Some fairly easy but instructive solos, off the top of my head, are Nowhere Man (basically just fancy strummed chords with killer tone), Something , Time (Pink Floyd), Hysteria by Muse (basically just arpeggios), And I Love Her , Fixing A Hole , and Monday Morning by Fleetwood Mac.

I would also highly recommend that you watch live footage of Pink Floyd, especially Live At Pompeii, because David Gilmour’s bending technique is IMPECCABLE and I learned a LOT from watching Live At Pompeii in particular, thanks to the camera work actually being conducive to nerdy teenage musicians in the audience (me), who want the camera to sit on Gilmours hands as we study his every move, for once!!!!!!!! (Unlike the majority of live footage, which is cut to be ExCiTiNg to General Audiences a-hard-days-night-paul-3) You should be able to find clips on YouYube.

Some good riffs/lead licks might be: And I Love Her again, Something again, Day Tripper , bits of Shine On You Crazy Diamond (during the singing parts, not the whoooole thing – I had to work up to that lol), Custard Pie /Whole Lotta Love/Immigrant Song/The Rover/ by Led Zeppelin, and Supermassive Black Hole or Hysteria or Plug In Baby by Muse.

For slide guitar just pick any George Harrison song lol, or What Is And What Should Never Be by Led Zeppelin, or the intro of Invincible by Muse.

I think it’s also worth working on your Interesting Rhythm Guitar Skills, ie not just bashing away at barre chords with no embellishments, although you may have already done so; but I found it very instructive to study the way George plays guitar on songs such as Here Comes The Sun , the demo of WMGGW, Run Of The Mill , Dark Horse , Give Me Love, and possibly even Your Love Is Forever – his accompaniment often blurs the line between “just playing chords” and something that’s arrangementy enough to be considered “lead guitar”. I think my point is, don’t box yourself into the mindset of “rhythm guitar” and “lead guitar” being separate things. In a band like the Beatles, you have the luxury of separating them, but as a solo guitarist in a trio like I am, or like Muse, or as a solo singer-songwriter, one won’t have those luxuries and must balance embellishment with holding down the rhythm. Depending on how you look at it, this could be seen as harder than just picking one of either, or easier than taking the time to become a good lead guitarist a-hard-days-night-john-6

oops I did a rant a-hard-days-night-paul-10 goodnight a-hard-days-night-paul-7

@Neely

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5 May 2023
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I find musical notation too difficult to read and compose, so I’m seeing if I can develop my own system — for now, only notating single-note melody and rhythm.  The tempo would be indicated as a footnote.  So this is the first sung line of my song “Corduroys”. 

 

d | e | d | f# • e | d |c# | c • • • • d •b • • • • d|b|c# • • • d • e

 

Each letter is a note and represents one quarter-beat.

Each vertical line just spaces out the letters/notes for visual ease.

Each bullet represents a quarter-beat not sung.

If I want a note to resound extending into the beats that follow it, I can underline the bullets — c • • • • • d • b • • • • • d

The tempo is fairly fast 4/4, where the tempo of the quarter-notes would be approximately the tempo of Everybody’s Got Something To Hide, if you consider the fast beats as the quarter-note beats.

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9 May 2023
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Another thing some songwriters do is tinker with the words of their lyrics — almost as if they were writing fiction and not just reporting facts of their experience & life!  The tinkering is often done in order to fit the lyrics to a rhythm & melody, rather than the other way around. So we may ask of Gordon Lightfoot with regard to one line in his song “Old Dan’s Records” —

Bring out old Dan’s records, bring out old Dan’s records
I remember my Aunt Bea, she’d dance with Dan til two or three
If old Dan could see her now, I know he’d shout out loud!

—  was there really an “Aunt Bea” or did he fabricate her name in order to rhyme with “two or three”?  Or maybe there really was an Aunt Bea, but she only danced with Old Dan until midnight, so he fabricated the time!

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10 May 2023
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Well, it’s like with all artistic expression inspired by real life events. Artistic license may be taken. mccartney-shrug_01_gif

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12 May 2023
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I tend to prefer it when songwriters (& novelists) completely fabricate characters and events. A close second is when songwriters weave lyrics that you can’t figure out what exactly they’re talking about — very ambiguous and elusive. You can piece together maybe a theory of what it’s about, but you’re never sure, and there’s not much concrete in an ordinary way you can hang on to. We assume maybe some songwriters are using phrases they know are connected to some experience in their life but only they and maybe a few close friends (and some OCD nerd-journalists) know how they’re connected and what the original context was — otherwise, we average listeners can’t for the life of us figure it out! 

Here’s an example from James Taylor.  Now, somebody could come along and supply an article or interview that explains the whole song; but I kinda like not knowing…

Yellow and Rose

Yellow and rose, yellow and rose, yellow and rose…

Oh boy, Botany Bay, watching the water go by.
Here’s your home so far away, here is a tear for your eye.
Here is a vast and unknown land, here are the strangers on the sand.

Oh, seeds of the universe ever endeavor to grow.
Tiny pieces of everything, into the water they go.
Everything changes for the strangers on the shore.
They are blue and green no more, they are yellow and rose.

Down under got the south side of this groovy crazy planet.
Watching from the outside, it’s as smooth as a gravy sandwich.
People play music night for day, one caught the sun in a shekere…

Oh, seeds of the universe ever endeavor to grow.
Tiny pieces of everything, into the water they go.
Everything changes for the strangers on the shore.
They are blue and green no more, they are yellow and rose.

Remember when we thought we were in California? We thought it was the eye of the hurricane.
Old gypsy woman she tried to warn you, “You’ll be back this way again,
hungry for the rain, it’s written in your hand… plain.”

Oh, seeds of the universe ever endeavor to grow.
Tiny pieces of everything, into the water they go.
Everything changes for the strangers on the shore.
They are blue and green no more, they are yellow and rose.

Yellow and rose, yellow and rose, yellow and rose.

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12 May 2023
9.41pm
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Hi all, I’ve been a long time beach boys message boards poster and wanted to join here as well. I’m a massive beach boys and Beatles fan, and I like to make music as well.

 

My musician name is Darnomite and I post new tracks here:

https://darnomite.bandcamp.com

 

My latest song ‘April Moon’ was inspired by Paul’s Uncle Albert . My goal was to create a rock suite. I am pretty proud of the instrumental, which I uploaded as well. 

 

https://darnomite.bandcamp.com…..ril-moon-2

 

Just wanted to share, I hope that’s ok. I hope someone out there might enjoy 🙂 

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