Yeah, as I have been told by others, I just need to do it. When I put in the time I can do many things. Procrastination is my biggest issue. If I worked at it more, I’m sure I could write a decent song or two.Yep! That's a constant struggle for me, too.
I write 'em first, then fix 'em till I like 'em. Then they're done. No listening back required. That would just distract me. I keep it simple: pen, paper, guitar.
I find that jiggling the words around is as important as jiggling around the music.
Whew, do I have a book. It's actually open now, which is rare. But once in a while I flip through it to find a song or two to work on memorizing. (See post 1!)
For me, it’s easiest to sort of tell a story. That makes it easier for me.Lyrics, it's always the lyrics.
Just like Zappa!. . . No grand masterpieces or hit songs, but something decent that others would enjoy. Hell, I will be glad enough to write a song that ONLY I really enjoy. . . .
Aha!It's not that they're incompatible in the spirit of the music. The lyrics never fit the phrasing of the music. Modifying one or the other to match up kills the beauty of each.
Yup, me, too. And it's not like I spend a lot of time at it. (If it were an actual career . . . .)I written over 200 songs in the last 60+ years.
I don't send 'em anywhere. I do have a friend who sings some of 'em, and he has a great voice. He's also a terrific songwriter himself. We play at pubs, coffee houses, and festivals together.Some I gave to local bands. Some I've sent to distant bands in other countries. Some I recorded for family and friends.
For me it's not a gift. (At all! A gift would be being able to hold down a job.) It's just something I like doing.I've never profited from this gift because that's just the way I look at it. It's a gift I was given and I won't profit from gifts.
I've written a lot of short stories, but I finally decided they weren't as good as my songs. I still type out a story now and then, but mostly I work on my music.Yes. I've been thoroughly spoken to about my foolishness in this belief. I've never wavered in this belief and it's to late to worry about it now. That said .....
Songwriting is all about taking something within your mind and making it a reality. I also write short stories and lyrics aren't that much different.
Yes, I notice that's what a lot of new song writers lack. The door in, the door out.You have a goal to accomplish within a limited amount of space. You need a beginning , middle and end.
Right! Some people complain that it's impossible to outdo the greats we grew up with. I say I've had the world's best teachers: Jagger/Richards, Hunter/Garcia, Laura Nyro, Gil Scott-Heron, Steve Earle, Lucinda Williams, Hank Williams, Willie Dixon, Dan Hicks . . . .I find it easiest to have a start point and an end point first and then fill in the path taken to get from one to the other. Writers like John Lennon, Merle Haggard, Bob Dylan, Willie Nelson, Paul Williams and Harry Nilsson are some of those I've learned from.
Absolutely.Melody is key to everything I write and it's also the hardest part for remaining totally original in composition.
Yep. Look at poor George Harrison and "My Sweet Lord."Over the course of a lifetime a writer is exposed to thousands of tunes. Some they remember and some they don't give a second thought about. It's the forgotten melodies that, at the time you heard them, didn't create a solid memory that cause the most trouble for a writer.
We're all magpies, stealing good stuff to make our nests. No shame there!Maybe you forgot them because the lyrics were terrible or the band playing the song did a poor job or you just weren't into that style of music at the time, but, the melody found a secret corner of your brain where it resided until you, assuming a flash of creativity, gave it new life in a new song. During my lifetimes this has happened at least 6 or 7 times and, in each case, though I thought what I'd created was far better and somewhat different from the original, I destroyed them and deleted them from my catalog. I had no idea the influence other writers melodies had on my creativity.
Brunswick? Loring? Kittery?I knew Bob Dylan was an inspiration to my lyrical writing but never intended to borrow from "Lay Lady Lay" when I wrote a song I called "The Healer" while stationed in Maine.
Good if you can do it! I don't think I've come up with an original idea in my life.It was a couple of years before someone pointed out the similarities and it hit me hard to the point that I tore up all the writing and never played it again. A few other songs I deleted bore a resemblance to songs by The Doors, Cat Stevens, Bob Seger, Tom Petty and Justin Hayward. I deleted them all and never looked back. I want my material to be totally original
Same here. I stick with guitar, pad, and pen until the song is complete. I don't record 'em until they're done.and, coming this late into the game, have found that originality in a new format verses originality in a format that has been around for a hundred years or more requires an honesty within the writer and a willingness to discard even the most astounding creations you've come up with.
Lastly ..... Beats, Riffs, Leads and instrumentation. During my first 25 years of songwriting none of these issue existed in my world. I wrote songs. What other people did with them was fine. In the '80s I bought a Fostex 4 Tracker for home recording and suddenly found myself having to make these choices. The later purchase of a Tascam 8 tracker made it all the worse. Up front ..... my songwriting gift does not extend into this area of music production.
Sounds smart. I swing the other way: record a guitar track (always) and a vocal track (usually), then just improvise whatever other tracks the song seems to want, if any. What's called for is obvious once the vocal and first guitar parts (a.k.a. the song itself) are recorded.A song I'd written in 30 minutes could take me multiple days to create a mix I'd be proud of. On top of that .... I wanted the song to sound exactly like I heard it in my head.
Oboes are the coolest.I had no clue on how to play some of the instruments I was hearing. One song required me to rent an Oboe for a full year just to play a short passage in a song I'd written.
Luckily for the rest of us, we have Yusef Lateef records to listen to!Note* Oboes are a double reed instrument and are harder than ***** to learn how to play. It took a year to play what I needed to play but in no way did I master or even come close to being a average student on the Oboe.
Yup! As I mentioned above somewhere, I envy those Brill Building folks who could bang out a song and throw it to the wind for someone else to catch and run with it.If you can keep your focus on the song itself, as I'm back to doing today because of the demise of tape recording and I can't get my head around digital, you'll write far better songs. I'm back to where I used to be and I'm happy again. Write a melody with lyrics and let whoever wants to play or record it do the rest.
I have always played for my own enjoyment first, and often enjoyed musicians who put out music that wasn’t “commercially” viable.Just like Zappa!
He hired the London Philharmonic to play and record one of his tunes. Someone asked him if he really thought it would sell. He said he didn't care. He just wanted to be able to sit at home and listen to it.
I always say: When you can't — don't!. . . Too much has already been done. It's very hard to find new ground that doesn't sound like something else. Yet I see my blues contemporaries writing / recording songs that have those super typical blues rifs and........ I just can't do it!
It’s hard not to plagiarize, even if unintentionally. There are only so many progressions out there.Yeah, or just as likely for me the same tune my father wrote 30 or 40 years ago.