Placeholder Lyrics

Lou Tencodpees

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A progression and melody you like and randomly mumbling out some phonetics that marry well to the tune you're after. Some stick, you write them down. Some good enough to pursue a theme that feels like a song that's out there in the ether waiting to be deciphered.

Scrambled Eggs.

I find myself writing in this vein more and more.

Anyone else working this angle in songwriting?
 

chulaivet1966

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A progression and melody you like and randomly mumbling out some phonetics that marry well to the tune you're after. Some stick, you write them down. Some good enough to pursue a theme that feels like a song that's out there in the ether waiting to be deciphered.

Scrambled Eggs.

I find myself writing in this vein more and more.

Anyone else working this angle in songwriting?
Howdy....

Absolutely.
I'll know a certain phrase may not be what I keep when I write it down.
But, it will be close and in context with the song subject but I know I can express the line better later.
If my imagination is flowing well on the subject I'll move on, keep writing and come back to it later.

Back to it....
 

Dukex

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That's a perfectly legitimate way to write songs. But I do the exact opposite. I write lyrics and melody together. Arrangements come later.

I have done it in that way in the past, however, I and still have some old chord progressions I'll someday put melody and lyrics to.

Whatever scrambles your eggs and butters your toast...
 

blueruins

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Honokaa, Hawaii
Yup…all the time. I tried without success to explain the method to a friend who wanted to learn to write songs.
Just about every great songwriter uses the method; Paul Simon, McCartney, Sting, Lennon, etc…
Another method I use with great success is walking while listening to the track I’m writing to. The rhythm of movement really helps the creative process.
 

Timbresmith1

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A progression and melody you like and randomly mumbling out some phonetics that marry well to the tune you're after. Some stick, you write them down. Some good enough to pursue a theme that feels like a song that's out there in the ether waiting to be deciphered.

Scrambled Eggs.

I find myself writing in this vein more and more.

Anyone else working this angle in songwriting?
Totally. I rarely start from zero with the method, but it’s handy for avoiding “2nd verse, same as the 1st”
 

TokyoPortrait

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Tokyo, Japan
Hi.

Yeah, I do this all the time. In particular, when I get the infamous second verse blues - when I have the first verse down, and then I go blank. So, often I fill in with scratch / placeholder lyrics.

If I feel the thing has legs and I continue with it, I'll try to replace them with more appropriate lyrics, using various songwriting / lyric techniques if the muse is still absent.

Sometimes though, I'll just keep them, if they are generally fitting and enigmatic enough. Or, I might change parts of them slightly, so they are still essentially placeholder-ish, but maybe more fitting.

Another method I use with great success is walking while listening to the track I’m writing to.

Yeah, I do this on the train. I bounce just the verse or verse plus chorus, send that to my phone and play it back, looping it on the 'replay 1' setting, and try to see what fits / sticks. Works well, but I can end up sick of listening to it.

Another thing though, is to just make up a drum loop for the verse / chorus / etc. and loop that. Matching / placing words over the beat and messing with melody too. This can be great for really honing the lyric placement - where each word or word stress falls in relation to the beats. In fact, using a drum track can work better for this than a track you've already recorded, as it removes distractions and focuses just on the timing / stress of delivery. Everything is clearer this way.

And, I prefer a drum track (or some other form of click track which will differentiate the beats, I guess) to a simple metronomic like non-differentiating click track. I find this distinction in the cycle helps and is best for finely placing words / stress. You know where the one and three are, in other words, along with the two and four (I'm a simple kind of guy, musically :) ).

I have two such generic tracks on my phone in fact, a generally slow one and more a typical faster bpm at 120.

Pax/
Dean
 

swarfrat

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I don't like it because they have a tendency to stick around. James Lee Stanley said something like "songs are like children. You can't just go around indiscriminately making them." Or you can find yourself 50 years later being asked to sing that stupic lyric in the one song that ever managed to capture a following, all because of a placeholder you never came back and fixed
 

Charlie Bernstein

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Apr 26, 2003
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Augusta, Maine
I don't work angles. But yup, sometimes when I'm noodling, words that fit the music occur to me, and I write 'em down.

If you enjoy woodshedding, it's any easy way to write songs. It works any time I pick up a guitar, so that's where lots of my songs come from.

Like, I was recently fooling with some minor blues chords and thought of "The juke box was drunk, and the radio was speaking in tongues."

Then I wondered what rhymes with tongues. Luckily, there are enough to choose from.

And so on. I just kept adding words and customizing the chords and melody till I had a new song. And it's pretty good, if I do say so.
 

teletimetx

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Jul 25, 2011
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Frontrangia CO
Sure. Scrambled eggs. Yesterday.

Works for lots of folks.

Had a song where the placeholder was “fudge covered Oreos”. Turned into “Arapaho Rodeo”, a little song (about this big…) about my hometown.

Tens of people like that song.

…and just last week posted a song in the monthly song whatever with the phrase “shoeless goat hair”. <insert appropriate emoji>

I mean really.

C’mon.
 
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