1. john k
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    john k Member

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    Song writing help?

    Discussion in 'General Writing' started by john k, May 18, 2009.

    I am a guitarist and singer as a hobby and I have had a slight interest in writing some of my own songs. I have some good riffs in place but when I think of words that go with them, I go blank. Almost losing the riff in the process.

    So my questions are these:

    Is it better to write the words to a song first and then try and compose the music or vice versa?

    What are some ways to channel the mood of the song into words? My riffs have a distinctive feel to them but no real subject of course. Any ideas?

    Any other tips to get started?
     
  2. KP Williams
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    KP Williams Contributing Member

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    There's no best way to write a song. What works for you, works for you, and vice-versa. Personally, I come up with the music first and the words afterward. In my experience, it's harder to make the music match the words than it is to make the words match the music, but that's just for me. If you have trouble remembering the music, as your post seemed to suggest, write it down. Standard notation if you know it, or tablature, since you're a guitarist. Or record yourself playing it on camera. Again, whatever works best. I use a mixture of both.

    As for coming up with lyrics, just whatever comes to mind. If you need serious lyrics, think of something that you're serious about: a loved one, your stance on some controversial topic, etc. If you don't need serious lyrics, you might come up with something completely silly (a la Psychostick). I don't have much experience at all as a lyricist, so that's the best I can do.
     
  3. Mercurial
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    Mercurial Contributing Member Contributor

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    That is completely your choice. Trial and error; which gets you the better quality in song?
    In my own experience, I found that lyrics were easier for me to write because I could come up with a sing-able melody to those words so that my genius riff didnt clash with my melody.
    (It also probably had something to do with the fact that I am a writer and not a very good composer.)

    As I just explained, I always took the inverse of this route, but here's an idea: Separate yourself completely from your riffs and just write. If you write often enough and dont have a one track mind, you'll have light-hearted lyrics and serious lyrics and angry lyrics and happy lyrics, just like your riffs do.
    Once you have enough riffs and lyrics, mix and match together.
    Of course you will have to alter both after their pairing to fit, but it's a start. I know a lot of very successful personal friends and professional musicians who use this method.

    Practice. . . Sorry for lack of creativity there, but the more you immerse yourself in the craft, the easier it will be and the more you will be influenced and the more likely you are to improve.

    And remember this as well: Just as it is important to read before you write and then continue to read while you write, it is important to listen before you play and consistantly listen while you play.

    Best of luck! :)
     
  4. sprirj
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    sprirj Contributing Member

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    I'm a songwriter, and when I was new to writing lyrics, I cut newspapers up and put them in a hat and took random words out to construct lines.

    Now I just sit on my bed with a writing pad and write verse after verse after verse (for several pages) of what ever comes into my end. I will then take the best bits and edit this to 2/3 verses, a chorus, maybe a bridge, maybe a middle 8. But I won't decide what the chorus is until I have started struming on my guitar a few basic chords and get a feel for the whole thing. Once the lyrics run smoothly and I have removed the tongue twisters or that annoying extra word, then I will try it against different riffs and they will eventually find each other.

    Hope that helps!:confused:
     
  5. fantasy girl
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    fantasy girl Contributing Member

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    the first answer is write it in the order you feel comfortable.
    then, say you write the rift first. jot it down, then brain storm the first things that come top your head after playing it, then worklyrics using the lyrics. i do this thing with my dad, he'll play a rift on the guitar then i will use this meathod to write the lyrics and it usually turns out pretty well.
     

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