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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Vic Lewis VL
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Re: The feed-back thread - still going strong into YEAR 10

Post by Vic Lewis VL » December 3rd, 2012, 5:47 pm

So much for promises. I promised myself I was going to be ever-present this year....write at least one song every week. So far inspiration has resolutely denied any attempt at wriring songs. Tuesday, I've got things to do - Wednesday, I'm going to lock myself in the kitchen (where my laptop lives) and go back through this year's topics. PROMISE! :-)

:-) :-) :-)

Vic
"Sometimes the beauty of music can help us all find strength to deal with all the curves life can throw us." (D. Hodge.)

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Re: The feed-back thread - still going strong into YEAR 10

Post by Hobson » December 4th, 2012, 9:19 am

I've made that same promise to myself from time to time. In my case, it's just not going to happen. At this time of year I'm doing so much with my chorus that I'm not much in the mood to do more music. Other times I start to work on the week's assignment and the muse won't cooperate. But even if I only write a few lines, I save them for possible later use. If a few measures of a melody come into my head, I try to get it recorded before it's gone. Same for a good chord sequence. The point is to do something even if it isn't a complete song and even if you're not happy enough with it to post it.

Sometimes just the act of picking up a guitar and turning on the recorder in the room where I do most of my composing is enough to get me started. Sometimes listening to music will give me ideas. Sometimes nothing works.

If I didn't visit the SSG regularly, I would be writing a lot fewer songs.
Renee

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A Hunt for the Evasive Muse

Post by jamestoffee » December 4th, 2012, 6:13 pm

Vic Lewis VL wrote:So far inspiration has resolutely denied any attempt at writing songs.
What are you reading?

I found that sometimes the lack of output is because of lack of input.

What works for me is to have a bunch of books going at once and reading a couple a pages a day from each.

The types of books I am referring to are "Quote of the Day" or bigger works broken down into daily readings, but to also keep a novel going in the background in life's wait times of the routine.

I've also tried reading a lot of songwriting books from "how-to's" to biographies.

........but then again there are times when it just isn't coming. Like I've mentioned, Sundays are much better times for me to write than starting Monday nights after a day of work life.

Here are some things I try when we get a new topic:

Think of a flash of inspiration....if nothing then

Think literally of the elements of the assignment....if nothing then

Think symbolically of the elements of the assignment....if nothing then

Google some quotes about the topic....if nothing then

Google some pictures about the topic....if nothing then

Grab a guitar and start noodling around....record any interesting tidbits....if nothing more then

Go through a book of song titles I bought (Here are 12 free preview pages)
http://www.freado.com/read/8163/song-id ... -lyricists

Go back and reread the topic....if nothing then

Look through my books of topics or stories might tie in....if nothing then

Look through on-line rhyming dictionaries....if nothing then

Look through my hard copy rhyming dictionary....if nothing then

Read through lyrics of songs unrelated to the topic- this reminds me how the best lyrics are simple and straightforward

Here are some of the books I use
ISBN# 978-0375400810 Reading Lyrics: More Than 1,000 of the Century's Finest Lyrics
ISBN# 978-0375422003 Motown in Love: Lyrics from the Golden Era
ISBN# 978-1437644012 Lyrics by Sting

....if nothing then

Read though lyrics of songs on the same topic ***WARNING*** This is a Pandora's Box for me, sometimes it helps, but sometimes it gets the "other song" stuck in my head

....if nothing then sleep on it. Jot down any ideas that come in the middle of the night and/or first thing in the morning.....and throughout the day :wink:

....if nothing then pretty much repeat the same process the next day and the next day and the next. It takes me about 2-3 hours to go through this process.......

.......NOW if I am REALLY stuck by a Saturday night and have nothing, I will have already put 10-15 hours into the attempt to write about the topic.....usually something happens by then, but there have been weeks when nothing came and at the midnight hour, I just forced myself to write the first line of the first verse and keep writing.

Two songs I remember specifically doing this for were:
Y8W44 4orty
http://soundclick.com/share.cfm?id=9599211
and
Y7W52 I Tripped Across Your Father's Spirit Today
http://soundclick.com/share.cfm?id=8291125


...........All of this might sound like torture to some and take away all the "fun/joy" songwriting for others.

This is what works for me (and I really do enjoy the process or I wouldn't bother).

I think each songwriter should piece together their own "method". Sometimes it helps to see what others do to incorporate into their own method.

============Alternative===============
Andrea Slope has a great step-by-step method in her book ISBN# 978-0876390870 "Popular Lyric Writing: 10 Steps to Effective Storytelling"

Wishing the best for you, Vic.

James

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When to post, what to post

Post by andygetch » December 7th, 2012, 4:31 am

moved from song thread comments since it seems to fit better here :arrow:

jamestoffee wrote:
Hobson wrote:I think it would be more constructive to try to refine your lyrics a bit before posting. I rarely post the first thing that comes into my head. Write it down and come back to it later to see if it's going to be clear to someone who doesn't start out knowing what the song is about. The comments are likely to be more helpful than just "I don't get it."
andygetch wrote:OK
For whatever it's worth, I don't agree.

I think it can be helpful to get input at many levels of the songwriting process. Maybe some writers are better at generating ideas and others are better at finishing and everything in between.

I think it's fine to even post an idea and ask, "Does anyone have an idea where this could lead?"......so I don't agree the first post has to be a well reworked rough draft.....one's best effort....I see that as potentially limiting to one's creative process.

Take or leave what fits, but don't stop posting! :wink:

James
James, thanks for the encouragement. Other life events have me reconsidering my level of participation in online music/songwriting exercises in this hobby. Looking back at 2012, I have posted some forty odd songs/lyrics to the assignments here, and a few dozen more in various other challenges and exercises in local circle, FAWM and 50/90. Written a few dozen songs outside of assignments/challenges in NaSoAlMo, FAWM and 50/90 to complete those goals. There were only a few "assignment/challenges" songs that I liked well enough to learn. Way below the Pete Seeger - 1 in 10 song ideas worth finishing, 1 in 10 finished songs worth playing again - ratios :roll: . More often when I saw the titles again my reaction was "oh that one" :shock: than :D . It's not writers block, but lately it has not been fun. So I'm committing to myself to write when it is fun, no longer writing just to please others or to fulfill an assignment.

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Ludwig 3.0 - Write great songs with automatic arrangements

Post by jamestoffee » December 23rd, 2012, 9:03 pm

Hi All,

I've been having a lot of fun with this program.

It's incredibly easy and versatile. The have a free version and pay version

Web site:
http://www.write-music.com/

Youtube Video:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AeLvBQP9WLQ


I used it on this week's assignment.
http://forums.guitarnoise.com/viewtopic ... 23&t=53991
http://soundclick.com/share.cfm?id=12069101

James

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Free Songwriting Course Starts Mar 1, 2013

Post by jamestoffee » February 22nd, 2013, 7:54 pm

I just signed up for Songwriting #songwriting - a free @coursera online class. Join me at https://www.coursera.org/course/songwriting

Update: I don't know if this course is still open or not, but I find it amazing that at the opening over 63,000 people were enrolled in the course!

Coursera Songwriting Course Launches with over 63,000 students enrolled

http://www.patpattison.com/news/

It's been GREAT material.........and FREE!!! :mrgreen:
Last edited by jamestoffee on March 9th, 2013, 1:46 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: The feed-back thread - still going strong into YEAR 10

Post by pbee » February 22nd, 2013, 9:34 pm

Thanks for the link James, I've signed up to :D .

Paul

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The HotFrets Progressionator

Post by jamestoffee » March 2nd, 2013, 7:04 pm

This is a cool online tool if you want help generating some new chord progressions

http://www.hotfrets.com/songanator.asp

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Free Songwriting Course Starts July 19, 2013

Post by jamestoffee » July 5th, 2013, 1:55 am


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

Post by John Sargent » July 16th, 2013, 5:47 am

I found a tool that is helpful to me today. I was trying to figure out a chord progression to a song Pico De Gallo by Trout Fishing in America. A web site called Chordify http://chordify.net/. You enter a recording or a you tube video and it tells you the chords and the measures. It's not always correct but it is incredible.


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Re: Free Songwriting Course Starts July 19, 2013

Post by John Sargent » June 26th, 2014, 5:19 am

I had some time to watch a few of the videos with this Coursers class. The concept of "stable/unstable" eludes me.
I thought prosody was about having the melody fit the lyric. I was wrong.

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

Post by jamestoffee » June 26th, 2014, 6:20 am

jamestoffee wrote:The concept of "stable/unstable" eludes me.
I think part of the confusion might be it's one concept, but different ways to implement stability or instability.

This is how I remember the concepts.

Stability or instability refers to the emotional tone of the song and message; positive being more stable; negative being less stable....so 'happy' song stable.....sad/angst song unstable

How to create stable or unstable in the structure of the song:

One way is by the number of lines in each section; odd number being unstable, even number being stable.

Another way is the rhyming patterns of the last word in each line: AABB or ABAB stable....AABC or AXX being less stable or unstable

Another way is the types of rhymes in the last word of the rhyme; closer to perfect rhyme being most stable while consonance rhymes are least stable

AABB

Cat/Hat Blue/You....stable Perfect rhymes
Cat/Cub Blue/Black....less stable or unstable Consonance rhymes

Another way is in the music modes
stable being equivalent to 'bright'
unstable being equivalent to 'dark'
....so each flat added adds to the darkness or instability of the mode

lydian (1 sharp) most stable
Ionian (0 flats/sharps) ***to me this sounds most stable though
Mixolydian (I flat)
Dorian (2 flats)
Aeolian (3 flats)
Phrygian (4 flats)
Locrian (5 flats)

.....so the formula would be for a happy stable song, use the following:

Lyrical content/message positive
images and concrete details associated with happiness
happy ending to the story/song....or heading in that direction
even number of lines in each section
even/balanced rhyme scheme patterns like AABB or ABAB
perfect rhymes
Lydian (or Ionian) mode

for an unhappy unstable song, use the following:

Lyrical content/message negative
images and concrete details associated with sadness
sad ending to the story/song....or heading in that direction
uneven number of lines in each section
uneven/unbalanced rhyme scheme patterns
consonance rhymes
Locrian mode

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

Post by John Sargent » June 26th, 2014, 7:08 am

I'm watching further videos as I get time. I have taken a couple song writing classes and workshops including a Lamb's workshop, Old Town School class and Kerrville Songwriters School but no one has ever introduced these concepts.
I

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

Post by jamestoffee » June 26th, 2014, 7:21 am

One thing I like about Pat Pattison's teaching is that it is very "how to"/hands on/step-by-step.

It's also what I don't like about his teaching. Following all the steps can feel more like work than fun, but it is productive.

It's a bit overwhelming to take on all at once, but continually rereading helps the information sink in over time.

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