The feed-back thread - still going strong into YEAR 11

The Sunday Songwriters club is a stretching exercise for your mind. Arpeggios for the brain cells, so to speak. After all, writing is like playing - to get better, you have to practice.
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jesus of suburbia
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Re: SSG Year 9 Week 34

Post by jesus of suburbia » June 19th, 2011, 3:35 pm

I will take this challenge i would just like two things asked

1 how would i go about recording

2 what if one of the top 40 uk charts was a cover as mcfly a crap band did a cover of dont stop me now a good song by a good band

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Re: SSG Year 9 Week 34

Post by Nick » June 19th, 2011, 3:39 pm

Hi,

How to go about recording? Using your PC, a cheap mic and a copy of Audacity is one option. Recording to a MP3 recorder is another. We have a lot of pretty good posts about it if you use the forum search.

If it's a recent cover I'd say go ahead.

Good luck.
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Re: SSG Year 9 Week 34

Post by Chris C » June 19th, 2011, 7:16 pm

jesus of suburbia wrote:
1 how would i go about recording

2 what if one of the top 40 uk charts was a cover as mcfly a crap band did a cover of dont stop me now a good song by a good band
I don't think it really matters whether it was a hit or not, or whether it was covered. The usual object of the exercise is to take any well known song and write some new lyrics to fit the original music. You (the new writer) should know the song reasonably well, so that you can fit your words accurately to the pulse and structure of the song. The other reason for using something well known is that anybody who reads your lyrics might also know the music. This makes it much easier for anybody reading them to know what you're aiming to match, and mentally sing along. Especially useful if you haven't got the time, the equipment or the skill to put it all together in the time you have available. (So you may not need to record that part at all - that's one of the advantages).

As Nick says, it's a standard exercise recommended for new songwriters aiming to learn the craft. Legendary songwriter Sammy Cahn (who apparently had no less that eighty-seven of his songs recorded by Frank Sinatra alone) said this:
Tell your young writers: if they are music writers, if they are trying to be a composer, let them take the great lyrics, let them take “All The Things You Are” by Jerome Kern and write his own melody to those lyrics.

On the other hand, if you're a lyric writer, take Jerome Kern's “All The Things You Are” and write your lyrics. So then you're writing with Jerome Kern, aren't you?

Of course, many younger people may not now know who Jerome Kern was, let alone be able to hum the song. So something more recent might be better. Anything "Classic Rock" or "Greatest Hits" tends to be OK, because they get flogged a lot on the radio, so lots of people have heard them. Another good source is traditional out of copyright tunes, because you can then use the song you just wrote, without having to take the next step which would be to write fresh music to fit your new lyrics.

Chris

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Re: SSG Year 9 Week 34

Post by jesus of suburbia » June 19th, 2011, 11:15 pm

Thank you il get to it

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Re: SSG Year 9 Week 34

Post by Nick » June 20th, 2011, 4:25 am

Hi Chris,

I don't want to do classic rock, unless it's a recent cover with airplay. I'd much rather you take a song that was a "hit" in any of the past five years. To clarify, by hit I mean something you could hear on the radio. Something you might find in the Billboard top 100 of the year for any genre.

Why so limited? Writing style changes over time. Trying to write a song like Kern wouldn't translate to today. For instance, we don't use perfect rhyme anymore. In the old days, not using perfect rhyme pegged you as an amateur. Now using it does. So let's stick to any song, cover or not, that got decent airplay in the past five years.
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Re: Comments on Week 33 if you please

Post by jamestoffee » June 20th, 2011, 5:48 am

Hi Nick,

First of all, I want to thank you for your willingness to share your insights from your various experiences to help us all improve.
Nick wrote:Given circumstances are what you learn about your character from reading the play. Where are they coming from? Where are they going to? Are they married? For how long? Happily? The more of this stuff you can fill in for your character, the more realistic they will be.
I agree with this. The more the characters are real to you, the more they will be real to those you are communicating with.
Nick wrote:First, one of the most important things about writing your own stuff, is that it's real to you. The listener will know. The feelings or emotion you put into a song need to be based solidly in your own experience.
I'm finding that it doesn't have to be all about "me" as the writer, but having a few nuggets of reality or authenticity can go a long way to making the characters realistic.....this next comment is not going to follow the same idea so well, but sometimes getting into someone else's shoes can help broaden our material to draw upon. In that way, with hind sight being 20/20, we can look at someone and instead of judging what they did, question why they did what they did and see how they got to that point. Sufjan Steven's seems to have something a long these lines when writing "John Wayne Gacy Jr"
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FVIwBheHdFM

To me, Sufjan Steven's song is a pretty extreme example of getting in another person's shoes. C.S. Lewis did a similar "out of shoe experiment when writing the book "The Screw Tape Letters"
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Screwtape_Letters
Nick wrote:All of these evoked feelings or a reaction and gave you a starting point. By reacting, instead of acting on the need to write a song, you probably had an easier time of writing than you would staring at a blank piece of paper. Did you? Let me know.
I'd say yes, the benefit of a starting point is very helpful. Often times, it's a matter of not knowing how much time to spend on an idea before moving on that can be tricky.....sometimes we cut ourselves short, by passing on ideas too quickly...I think when that happens, we are really trying to find something we are more familiar with.....but if we always click on to the next thing, we miss out a bit on the mental workout to stretch our creativity.

To be fair, there is also a point of randomness that reveals how much we don't know about a subject. Then the question is how much are we willing to learn? My lack of knowledge of dance music and German language kept me from getting closer to what I thought a German band would have produced........but hybrids can be interesting as well......I know I'd rather listen to the Police than pure reggae.

There is also a "fear" that someone who knows the "truth" or more depth of the subject will see your smoke screen or might be offended how you stereotype their culture or belief.

I am wondering that a bit myself as I suggested the "Bollywood Blues" song for a jam this Thursday because one of the musicians is bringing a veena instrument
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rudra_veena

I'm a bit nervous hoping I won't offend by my lack of knowledge when we get together to try it out.

....in all just some thoughts on the given topic.

Thanks for opening the discussion :D

James

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Re: SSG Year 9 Week 34

Post by Vic Lewis VL » June 20th, 2011, 7:11 am

Nick wrote:So let's stick to any song, cover or not, that got decent airplay in the past five years.
Okaaay - I may be a little insular in my tastes here, but all I've listened to for the last few years - apart from CDs - is a classic rock station and a golden oldies station. I can not think, off-hand, of ONE memorable song from the last five years.

Looks like I may have to do a lot of research on this one! Oh wait - how long ago was it that all those Elvis hits were re-released? Was that in the last five years? Hmmmm......

:D :D :D

Vic
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Re: SSG Year 9 Week 34

Post by Nick » June 20th, 2011, 7:14 am

Haha....I was going to post something about this week being impossible for you Vic. :lol:

I think you should have a drink or two and rewrite a Katy Perry song.
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Re: SSG Year 9 Week 34

Post by Vic Lewis VL » June 20th, 2011, 11:34 am

Nick wrote:Haha....I was going to post something about this week being impossible for you Vic. :lol:

I think you should have a drink or two and rewrite a Katy Perry song.
It'd take a lot more than two drinks to force me to listen to Katy Perry....but there's no such word as impossible in my dictionary. I ripped page 237 out a LONG time ago.....

I'll find something.....I do remember hearing one record played a lot last year, in the waiting room of A&E during Marilyn's various hospital admissions and on various car radios driving to and from hospital. It was Alexandra Burke's "Don't Let Me Start Without You" and I remember thinking at the time, OK, you've won the x-factor, and that's the best you can do? A rip-off of a boney m song? (Compare it with hooray, hooray, it's a happy holiday if you don't believe me!)

The impossible dream? These days it'd be finding a decent record in the top 100.....

:D :D :D

Vic
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Re: SSG Year 9 Week 34

Post by Vic Lewis VL » June 20th, 2011, 11:40 am

Nick wrote:I don't want to do classic rock, unless it's a recent cover with airplay.
Umm - does "Don't Stop Believing" count? It was a big hit over here last year after it was used in the (yawn) x-factor......

Mind you, I never liked that song anyway.....but hey, at least I'm thinking!

:D :D :D

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Re: SSG Year 9 Week 34

Post by Nick » June 20th, 2011, 12:14 pm

Permission granted.
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Re: SSG Year 9 Week 34

Post by dhodge » June 20th, 2011, 1:33 pm

It was also really big here because it was on "Glee." Definitely should count.

Peace

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Re: SSG Year 9 Week 34

Post by katreich » June 20th, 2011, 1:48 pm

Now that all the geezers have put in their 2 cents worth, we can proceed with this week's regularly scheduled assignment.......
Falling in love is like learning to play the guitar; first you learn to follow the rules, then you learn to play with your heart.

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Re: SSG Year 9 Week 34

Post by Chris C » June 20th, 2011, 3:02 pm

Nick wrote:Hi Chris,

I don't want to do classic rock, unless it's a recent cover with airplay. I'd much rather you take a song that was a "hit" in any of the past five years. To clarify, by hit I mean something you could hear on the radio. Something you might find in the Billboard top 100 of the year for any genre.
Geez Nick, you may have just ruled me out...

I'm in an even more narrow boat than Vic. I just don't listen to pop radio at all, and haven't for years. It doesn't fit my way of life any more. Most of my music collection is classical (I had a shop for a while selling it). I have honestly never knowingly heard a song by Lady Gaga, Britney Spears, The Spice Girls, Greenday, Justin Bieber, etc. The only Madonna song I can remember hearing was Like A Virgin - many decades ago.Their publicity machinery ensures that I do see references to them all on the internet or in print media, but I just don't hear them. This is not because I'm making statements about them being not worth the effort, but I just don't seek them out or see any need to make room to listen to them. I've already got more music than I can listen to. I've worked from home for the last 20+ years, so I don't get music pressed on me in a workplace or bus, etc.

You might also note that the two submissions you've had already were both based on much older songs. Coldplay apparently released Yellow over a decade ago and Waterboys had a success with Fisherman's Blues more than 20 years ago. You may need to relax your 5 year rule a bit mate. What's the big deal about new? A good song is a good song, whenever it was written. :)

Chris

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Re: SSG Year 9 Week 34

Post by Chris C » June 20th, 2011, 3:48 pm

Blind Kiwi wrote: There must be a few Andre Rieu tunes you could try your hand at then Chris, Nick didn't say which demographic of popular music and he is getting a lot of airplay down here ;)
AAAARGHHHH! :shock: Not in this house he isn't.

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