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What is the process YOU go through when adding music to lyrics?  

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(@niick)
New Member
Joined: 5 years ago
Posts: 3
15/05/2015 7:13 pm  

I just wrote some song lyrics and I'm having trouble adding guitar to it. I've been able to add guitar music to a couple of other song lyrics, but with this song I don't hear any music playing in my head when I sing it. If only I could hear some music in my head with it, then I might be able to find and play something similar on the guitar.

What is the process YOU go through when adding music to lyrics?


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(@alangreen)
Member Moderator
Joined: 18 years ago
Posts: 5358
16/05/2015 5:51 am  

Lyrics have a natural rhythm of their own, so I'm a big fan of talking them back whilst walking - another natural rhythm. A couple of weeks spent doing that in various amounts and experimenting with what else you can do with the natural emphasis of certain words is a great starting point.

"Be good at what you can do" - Fingerbanger"
I have always felt that it is better to do what is beautiful than what is 'right'" - Eliot Fisk
Wedding music and guitar lessons in Essex. Listen at: http://www.rollmopmusic.co.uk


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(@nicktorres)
Illustrious Member
Joined: 12 years ago
Posts: 5470
16/05/2015 8:50 am  

Sometimes I find another song that has the same mood and appropriate the chords. Then I start noodling around with them and add a line or two at a time.


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(@niick)
New Member
Joined: 5 years ago
Posts: 3
17/05/2015 7:05 pm  

Sometimes I find another song that has the same mood and appropriate the chords.

I thought about that, but I couldn't think of any songs that were close enough to the mood of my lyrics.
Lyrics have a natural rhythm of their own, so I'm a big fan of talking them back whilst walking - another natural rhythm.

That's a good idea too. I spent some time singing my lyrics over and over again until finally I was able to come up with something. Luckily I was able to get close enough on the guitar with what I was hearing in my head. I didn't walk though, might have to try that next time. Now I have some music for the verses and solo, but still stuck on the chorus. :(

Once I come up with something that sounds good, I try to determine what key and scale I'm playing in using this Nashville Numbering System Chart:

http://www.chordie.com/forum/viewtopic.php?id=13538

That way I can figure out what notes I can play in the scale that sound good together, and what chords I can play that will sound good together.

I know there are no rules, but it's nice to have some guidelines. I see it as a whole brain approach, I use the right brain to play around and come up with stuff by ear (what sounds good), and use the left brain and logic (scales, that chart) to figure out what notes and chords will sound good together in my chosen scale. Then I go back to the right brain again to play around with those notes and chords to come up with the rest of my song.

I'm somewhat of a beginner with the guitar and music theory. Please let me know if there is anything wrong with my approach.

Anybody else care to share your process for adding music to lyrics?


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 lars
(@lars)
Noble Member
Joined: 15 years ago
Posts: 1121
20/05/2015 9:43 am  

Can happen in various ways. Often I just wait... I put the lyrics in the back of my brain and carry them around - then I hum some now and then, think of the lyrics and put it back. After some days or weeks or month, sometimes it clicks. There was the melody.

Another thing I like doing is having more projects running simultaneously. A few melody ideas I play occasionally, a few text fragments etc. and then, on a good day I sit down and check if any of them fit together. Sometimes they do, more often then not, they don't. Then it's back to waiting. I probably have 10-15 melody ideas and 10-15 text fragments on my iphone now. I'm pretty sure 1 or two songs will come from that.

Good luck!

...only thing I know how to do is to keep on keepin' on...LARS kolberg http://www.facebook.com/sangerersomfolk


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