How often are you noodling vs. writing music?

Discussion in 'Bad Dog Cafe' started by naveed211, Sep 21, 2020.

  1. naveed211

    naveed211 Tele-Afflicted

    Posts:
    1,399
    Joined:
    May 16, 2009
    Location:
    wisconsin
    And I don't mean noodling as a derogatory term, I mean it as playing for leisure, jamming around just for the sake of it, versus actually hunkering down and writing songs?

    Are they separate processes for you, or does one inform the other? Like how often are you noodling around and it then becomes a song?

    For some reason, I find when I'm playing through an amp, I'm almost never writing music from that. That always seems to just be me enjoying the sound, playing for fun, not really thinking too critically and mostly just playing stuff I already know with maybe a couple things that surprise me.

    It's usually a separate process, I'll actually sit down and have a writing session, and 95% of the time I'm writing music plugged into software with headphones. Just the way it works for me. Maybe I feel more free to mess up and try things and come up with more inventive parts by trial and error when I'm the only one that can hear me.
     
    matty428 and telestratosonic like this.
  2. PigBoy

    PigBoy Tele-Meister

    Posts:
    377
    Joined:
    Mar 17, 2003
    Location:
    San Francisco, CA
    For me noodling leads to writing/composing so it’s hard to differentiate where one ends and the other begins.
     
    matty428, DjimiWrey, stepvan and 5 others like this.
  3. TokyoPortrait

    TokyoPortrait Tele-Afflicted

    Posts:
    1,760
    Joined:
    Dec 10, 2017
    Location:
    Tokyo, Japan
    Hi.

    Um, bit of both I guess.

    But often, or maybe even typically, I’m ‘noodling’ and a musical idea pops up. So, I record it to my iPhone, using Apple’s Music Memos app. That’s like my sonic notepad. Music Memos has an option to switch in and out drums and (inaudible) bass, so it gives you a rough idea how something might sound. Using this app, I have it recorded, cos otherwise I’d forget it, and I can revisit it later to see if I can develop it. A few songs have emerged this way.

    If lyric ideas strike, I either mumble them into the same app, or write them in the Notes app.

    So, I guess I have two main, separate processes for the starting point. I start from the music derived from guitar ‘noodling’ or with words from sudden ‘mind noodling.’

    Either way, it usually settles into more formal or disciplined sessions to finish it.

    Pax/
    Dean
     
    Last edited: Sep 21, 2020
  4. Ed Driscoll

    Ed Driscoll Tele-Holic

    Posts:
    585
    Joined:
    Aug 19, 2003
    Location:
    South of Dallas
    I "noodle" all the time, trying different strummed chord progressions, riff ideas, finger-picking patterns, and then when I stumble across something worth pursing, I record it to the Voice Memo app on my iPad. (I've got to try the Music Memos app!) If it's worth developing, I'll replay the idea into Cakewalk with a drum pattern from Superior Drummer, and then start shaping those initial ideas into a song by adding a guide melody and some initial lyrics. I've also written songs from the drums up, and songs from a chorus line downward. If it's the latter, I'll figure out the tempo of the line by looping drums until I've found the correct tempo, and then start building things out from there.
     
    matty428 likes this.
  5. rangercaster

    rangercaster Poster Extraordinaire

    Posts:
    8,487
    Joined:
    May 8, 2008
    Location:
    Knoxville TN for now
    I have a short attention span ...

    By the time I get warmed up, I usually think of something else I need to do...

    Like eat, or watch TV, or take a nap...

    Or check TDPRI ...
     
  6. thunderbyrd

    thunderbyrd Poster Extraordinaire Silver Supporter

    Age:
    61
    Posts:
    7,016
    Joined:
    Dec 21, 2004
    Location:
    central ky
    i noodle all the time. if it had some quick easy way to record, i could invent rock songs by the dozens.
     
    matty428 and stepvan like this.
  7. EsquireOK

    EsquireOK Friend of Leo's

    Posts:
    4,315
    Joined:
    Aug 30, 2011
    Location:
    U.S.A.
    All writing comes from noodling, for me. I don't just sit down with the goal to write a song. It just comes out.
     
    stepvan and Digital Larry like this.
  8. 4pickupguy

    4pickupguy Doctor of Teleocity Silver Supporter

    Posts:
    10,625
    Joined:
    May 12, 2013
    Location:
    Fort Worth, Texas
    I noodle chords and basslines into something resembling pasta. I can write songs born of basslines in the car or shower if I can get to a guitar before I lose them. But that's pretty rare. One of the fastest ways to a song for me sometimes is to start with the drum beat first. Noodling chords tends to produce slower instrumentals.
     
    naveed211 likes this.
  9. KW1977

    KW1977 Tele-Meister

    Posts:
    422
    Joined:
    Jun 3, 2012
    Location:
    Virginia
    Beat me to it, yep. They’re inextricable for me.
     
  10. Peegoo

    Peegoo Friend of Leo's

    Posts:
    4,789
    Joined:
    Oct 11, 2019
    Location:
    Wyoming panhandle
    My view on this matter: noodling is mindless noisemaking with little thought to what's going on musically; it reinforces bad habits and is counter-productive.

    Playing to work out riffs, licks, and parts is actual work.

    [​IMG]
    ^^THIS^^ is how I think about noodling.
     
    PhredE and Tommy Biggs like this.
  11. TG

    TG Doctor of Teleocity

    Posts:
    11,868
    Joined:
    Jan 23, 2004
    Location:
    The wild west of Ireland
    Noodler.
     
    Tommy Biggs likes this.
  12. Double Stop

    Double Stop Tele-Meister

    Posts:
    162
    Joined:
    Jul 18, 2020
    Location:
    Earth
    In every waking moment of my life, there is an incessant soundtrack in my head beginning from the moment I get out of bed and continuously evolving as the day progresses. I cannot turn it off. It just happens. I’m constantly humming ideas for riffs, chord sequences, drum patterns, bass lines, vocal or guitar melodies, and even complete solos. Even as I’m writing this now, there’s a riff in my head that demands to be recorded! I’m hearing some nice major 7th Chord changes, man!

    If it’s a real juicy idea that I don’t want to forget and I don’t have my guitar handy at that particular moment, I’ll just sing the guitar line or drum pattern into my iPhone. Then when it comes time to play and practice, I’ll bring those ideas to fruition on the guitar and record them typically on my laptop using AmpliTube.

    Sometimes, I’m not able to nail the exact sounds I was hearing in my head, but during that process I’ll stumble on an entirely new riff or motif that’s equally exciting and l’ll pursue that!

    So, that is my “process” if you will. I never sit down and say to myself, “okay, I’m going to write a song now”. You can’t force it. I think the best ideas happen naturally and you just have to wait for those moments of divine intervention and hopefully you can record those ideas before they forever vanish into the ether.

    I enjoy “noodling” as much as everyone else but my personal version of noodling is not just to simply play whatever, but rather to “noodle” around with a fully realized musical idea and develop it to the point where I’m content enough with it to move on to the next song.
     
  13. swervinbob

    swervinbob Tele-Holic

    Age:
    48
    Posts:
    708
    Joined:
    Jul 10, 2018
    Location:
    Texas
    I noodle around all of the time trying out different stuff on my recording software, or just sitting around. Sometimes I’ll go “Wait! What was that?” and reach over and grab my iPhone and pull up the Voice Memos app. That’s lead to several cool ideas. If I force myself to sit down and write, it just seems forced to me when I finish.
     
    Digital Larry likes this.
  14. naveed211

    naveed211 Tele-Afflicted

    Posts:
    1,399
    Joined:
    May 16, 2009
    Location:
    wisconsin
    I actually start most of my songwriting that way these days. I maybe get a brief moment of inspiration or some melody in my head, then I’ll lay down a simple drum track in EZDrummer and start fleshing it out from there.
     
  15. bftfender

    bftfender Poster Extraordinaire

    Posts:
    5,186
    Joined:
    Dec 21, 2017
    Location:
    York PA
    Since set the home studio up. It's been a full song a week minimum from drums to finish.

    usually get a new riff idea during the recording process. I put that in a looper for recall. During the process..absolutely noodle & switch amps & guitars..always keeping it fresh but when its lock in time for recording its all about the song at that point. before i am past a riff or 2 fr basic verse ..chorus its off to the drums

    Drums are the key..can noodle all i want..nothing cohesive will be worth it until the time keeping is set..way more songs come from being behind the kit than noodling.

    being a bass player since the beginning..the drums & bass rule ,, get them right..the rest is very easy to build upon..foundation up
     
  16. thesamhill

    thesamhill Tele-Holic

    Posts:
    747
    Joined:
    Dec 20, 2010
    Location:
    Harrisburg, PA area
    I was nodding along, thinking, "yeah, man, that's exactly how it is for me too" and then I got to this and was like, "what? I thought we were talking about metal riffage over power chords! Who put a major 7th here?" lol.

    But it's cool that the process would be the same for some people, even if the music style would be different.
     
    PhredE likes this.
  17. FenderGuy53

    FenderGuy53 Poster Extraordinaire

    Posts:
    7,209
    Joined:
    May 14, 2008
    Location:
    Marion, NC
    I'm "noodling" all the time, i.e., experimenting with different 4-bar chord progressions, then looping a progression and improv-ing over the loop. :)

    One can easily get "lost" in it... ;)
     
    Digital Larry likes this.
  18. Harvey

    Harvey Tele-Meister

    Posts:
    192
    Joined:
    Dec 2, 2003
    Location:
    Aston, PA
    The noodling part would be when you are trying to come up with a chord progression or melody (riff). If you're wasting too much time then switch to the lyrics. That's going to force you to put down the guitar part of the time (except when you are measuring the syllables against musical notes. Sometimes you need to start with an interesting song title that grasps the listener's attention. Then start thinking what the title might be about. Build a vocabulary list for whatever the subject is and find your rhymes. Songwriting really is tough work when it comes to writing songs that listeners remember and will last through more than one generation. There are too many musicians chopping chords, playing notes with words as opposed to melodies with lyrics.
     
  19. Whatizitman

    Whatizitman Friend of Leo's

    Posts:
    4,039
    Joined:
    Feb 18, 2018
    Location:
    WV
    Sometimes there's a fine line between noodling and woodshedding. In the last year or so I've been about 95% noodleshedding and 5% writing. That hasn't always been the case, though. I'm just more interested in improving my guitar skills right now. But it's also fun and stress reliever for me. So I'm not taking it too seriously. Just lots of scale runs and learning licks and techniques.

    I guess true noodling to folks here would be messing around with chord changes? I don't do that. OK maybe a few 5ths to hear my amp sing. Outside of melody ideas built on weird key changes (which I have little patience for), there's nothing to be "learned" in that world for me. Chord progressions require very little knowledge, skill, or effort. It's coming up with good melodies and lyrics that are the art and craft of songwriting.
     
    Ed Driscoll and Digital Larry like this.
  20. Digital Larry

    Digital Larry Friend of Leo's Gold Supporter

    Posts:
    2,311
    Joined:
    May 30, 2017
    Location:
    Silicon Valley, CA
    My songwriting approach is usually to capture little riff ideas into a looper, some of which make it to the next step of getting combined with another loop of pulled into the DAW for further experimentation. I'm normally always "trying" to come up with something new, however they all sound pretty similar because I willingly operate within the world of my own harmonic limitations.

    Over the weekend, after getting my Eleuke working again, I came up with a little progression that is arpeggiating the notes thusly:

    (low to high plucking, open strings below are G C E A)
    2 - 0 - 0 - 0 - real notes A C E A
    2 - 0 - 0 - 2 - real notes A C E B

    (high to low plucking, open strings below are G C E A)
    0 - 0 - 0 - 2 - real notes B E C G
    2 - 0 - 0 - 2 - real notes B E C A

    I do these kinds of things (playing visual patterns without considering what the notes really are) to try to bust out of some of my cliches, e.g. a chord progression like:

    Am - D - C - G

    After recording the Eleuke part I did a bass part by ear that matches some of the melody of the Eleuke.

    Then I grabbed my guitar and figured out the chords which sounded good along these, which turned out to be:

    Am - D - C - G

    Ah... woops! Turns out that no matter where I go, there I am!
     
IMPORTANT: Treat everyone here with respect, no matter how difficult!
No sex, drug, political, religion or hate discussion permitted here.