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Songwriters Discussion Room--to share thoughts, projects, etc.
12 May 2023
11.16pm
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Richard
North of England
Apple rooftop
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Welcome to the forum, @barto! john-lennon-salute_gif

I’m impressed with April Moon. paul-mccartney-thumb_gif

The following people thank Richard for this post:

barto

And in the end

The love you take is equal to the love you make

 

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7 August 2023
2.37am
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Sea Belt
Candlestick Park
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One thing I like to do when songwriting is find variations for a melody that I otherwise repeat throughout the song.  Usually I’m not making every iteration a variant — you need a baseline of repetition so that the variants can stand out relative to something. So for instance I’ve written a version of the old standard “Heart and Soul”

The baseline melody is:

C-C-C

C-B-A-B-C-D

E-E-E

E-D-C-D-E-F

G… C…

A-G-F-E-D-C…

Then I created new lyrics and had enough iterations of this baseline to accommodate a few that followed the traditional (above), while I also interspersed a few that had variations — 10 total, with 6 sung traditionally, and 4 with variants.

One variant for example:

C-B-A

C-B-A-B-A-G

E-D-E

E-D-C-D-E-F

G… C…

A-G-F-E-D-C…

You can see the variation only pertains to the first 3 lines, while the last 3 follow the traditional.

The way I came up with these wasn’t by a process of sitting down and saying, “I need some variants, how can I vary it?”  Rather, I would run the song (or parts of it) over and over in my head — sometimes away from my guitar, doing chores or taking a walk or whatever — until my own musical creativity just came up with variants, sort of just “bubbling up” often spontaneously.  Not all the variants came to me whole & intact: sometimes I had to tinker with a germ of an idea that I knew was good, but had to refine a couple of notes to make it sound optimal.

Now today I find, you have changed your mind

27 August 2023
11.19pm
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Sea Belt
Candlestick Park
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Working on figuring out the bass lines to “Feels So Good” by Chuck Mangione.  As usual, Ultimate Guitar is partially helpful, but has annoying gaps in the list of chords which I cannot fill due to my lack of musical ear/knowledge.

YouTubes so far have not been helpful.  One guy does the bass all the way through and it sounds great — but I can’t figure out what he’s fingering just by sight.  Another guy posts what seem to be the chords (which is all I need) but the music doesn’t sound like the damn song!

Now today I find, you have changed your mind

15 September 2023
3.43am
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Sea Belt
Candlestick Park
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This isn’t quite a songwriter’s thought, but I didn’t want to create a whole topic around “Amateurs Playing Along to Pop Music Songs”.

Anyway, when I play along on my acoustic guitar to songs, I don’t try to copy or emulate the riffs or chords that the record is doing — I just like to make up my own riffs & licks to go along.

Now, many years ago I was different — I would painstakingly try to figure out what was on the record and try to copy it; but for some reason, I changed and no longer feel it necessary to copy.  I remember spending many, many hours trying to get down every last subtle nuance of James Taylor’s fingerpicking in Secret O’ Life and, to my OCD satisfaction, mastering it.  Now, I’m happy just to be coasting along with a more reliably grounded bass line.

Now today I find, you have changed your mind

24 September 2023
8.23am
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Sea Belt
Candlestick Park
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I can’t remember how many times — for frickin years —  I tried but failed to figure out the chords so I could do a bass line to Jim Croce’s “Careful Man” — then it all clicked in the last couple of weeks and I finally figured it out!

Now today I find, you have changed your mind

1 December 2023
12.14am
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Sea Belt
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Putting finishing touches on one of my songs, I have a repeated trope where I sing “baby!” sort of like someone would sing “oh yeah!” or “yeah yeah!”.  The “baby” gets repeated 6 times as it comes in a portion that is repeated 6 times. However, early on I realized I don’t want to sing the “baby” using the same notes all 6 times.  Then I hit on varying them every time.  So I’ve got a note to myself explaining (the chord is G major):

The 6 babies:

B—B

B—D

E—D

E-G

A-G

C-B-G

baby 2 spoons upward, notes B up to D

baby 3 goes down from E to D

baby 4 again spoons upward, E to G

baby 5 similar to baby 3 goes down from A to G

baby 6 fuses three notes, high C, down a half-step to B, then spoons downward to end on G

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kelicopter

Now today I find, you have changed your mind

1 December 2023
3.24am
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sir walter raleigh
In our yellow (IN OUR YELLOW) submarine (SUBMARINE AHA!)
Apple rooftop
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Reminds of Laugh Now Cry Later, a Drake song I’m teaching to student. Not a huge Drake fan but I do like the way he changes the notes when he says Baby

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Sea Belt

"The pump don't work cause the vandals took the handles!"

-Bob Dylan, Subterranean Homesick Blues

"We could ride and surf together while our love would grow"

-Brian Wilson, Surfer Girl

1 December 2023
3.35am
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sir walter raleigh
In our yellow (IN OUR YELLOW) submarine (SUBMARINE AHA!)
Apple rooftop
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I love a good Bridge like in Still Crazy After All These Years, or any James Taylor song, but my sings typically are more Beatles or Panic influenced, where I go main theme/middle 8, or transition between themes that have different progressions and melodies that don’t repeat in the traditional verse/chorus/verse/chorus/bridge construction. Not because I dislike the standard song construction but because the natural way I build songs around a strong melody or progression, and want to develop it in a more interesting way than just repeating the previous part, similar to Long Haired Lady/Uncle Albert /Happiness Is A Warm Gun /etc. 

Anyways I tried challenging myself to write a bridge, and it turned out pretty good. I’ve also been working on writing lyrics that relate to more than cryptical interpretations of a feeling or experience, instead trying to tell a story or say something relevant to something more than just my experience. Ended up writing a decent murder ballad set in the confederate south, and a protest song that includes the previously mentioned bridge. 

The following people thank sir walter raleigh for this post:

Sea Belt, kelicopter

"The pump don't work cause the vandals took the handles!"

-Bob Dylan, Subterranean Homesick Blues

"We could ride and surf together while our love would grow"

-Brian Wilson, Surfer Girl

2 December 2023
8.52am
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Sea Belt
Candlestick Park
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I must have a block about these musical terms of songwriting, like “bridge” and A, B etc.  I guess I just intuitively construct the song (and/or let it form of its own mysterious accord) and try to have variation along with repeated parts.  I vaguely get the idea of a song only having one change, versus a third change.  My aforementioned song has 6 distinct parts:

one of them only played once

another also only played once

another repeated twice

another repeated 7 times

another repeated 4 times

and a final one repeated twice.

I can’t say which one is the bridge!

Now today I find, you have changed your mind

15 January 2024
6.57pm
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Sea Belt
Candlestick Park
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Two times in recent months I have found that I lost a song which I only had written down on paper (not transferred onto computer), and I hadn’t thought about those songs in a long time, much less sang them, in maybe a year or two.  So I had to reconstruct the lyrics (and remember a couple of chords).  One song was particularly difficult to remember, and I would just sing fragments of it in my head or under my breath at various times during the day, trying to relax my mind — and lo and behold, most of the lyrics came back to me!

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Ahhh Girl

Now today I find, you have changed your mind

10 February 2024
9.20am
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Sea Belt
Candlestick Park
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As I’ve been working on “refurbishing” one of my old songs — getting all the peas and queus in order — it occurred to me that I can’t remember how I created the song and built it.  It was like in the 90s (or maybe even the 80s) when I must have written it.

What I can dimly remember is that with a lot of my songs, I start by playing around with chord combinations, maybe a riff or two thrown in, then if I like something, I repeat it and try to create a melody to go with it.  I therefore assume it must have been this way with this song I’m working with now, but I can’t be sure.

The song is rather simple — basically C to F to G repeated, with a chorus that goes F to G to C to C7 repeated.

Anyway, I realized then that I can’t remember how I wrote any other of my songs I can think of — I can’t recall the moments of initial inspiration nor the subsequent time spent building it up from that original nucleus. 

This then led me to realize that I should be less annoyed by famous songwriters like Paul McCartney or James Taylor when they seem unable to recount the genesis of a song of theirs in detail.  It’s possible they just can’t remember! 

Now today I find, you have changed your mind

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