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Creating your own works

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(@raevin)
Eminent Member
Joined: 16 years ago
Posts: 26
Topic starter  

I'm sorry if this isn't the right forum, but I couldn't really find another section suitable for this.

Anyways, my question is this...how should one go about writing their own songs for guitar? Mind you, I have no other musicians around me that can do backing tracks or anything. What I mainly want to do is about the same as an artists' "unplugged"/"acoustic" albums, where there's just mainly vocals and guitar. I've tried searching the forums, but "write songs" apparently isn't as helpful of a keyphrase as one might think...and, well, Google gives me more "Guitar Hero" stuff than I'd like. I've asked on other forums as well, but the more opinions, the better, for me.

(For those who remember me, I've gotten better, lol...better at chords, keys/scales, and a bit of music theory.)

Edit: I'm not really looking for solo stuff (I've looked through the articles on improvising and stuff on GN, also)...just, creating songs.


   
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 Cat
(@cat)
Noble Member
Joined: 16 years ago
Posts: 1224
 

G'day, Raevin...

I dunno exactly what you mean? Are you asking how to "physically" write the stuff down...or create it all???

Call Me Mr Dense!

Cat

"Feel what you play...play what you feel!"


   
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(@chris-c)
Famed Member
Joined: 19 years ago
Posts: 3454
 

I'm sorry if this isn't the right forum, but I couldn't really find another section suitable for this.

Hi Raevin,

Why not check out the Songwriters forums here - there are 3 of them. The Sunday Songwriters Group, The Guitarnoise Songwriting Club, and the Sunday Composers Workshop. There's also a bunch of "In The Studio" forums for the tech angles, plus Forums where members collaborate on making tracks, etc. What more could you want? Just scroll down the Board Index

Forum Index

Cheers,

Chris


   
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(@raevin)
Eminent Member
Joined: 16 years ago
Posts: 26
Topic starter  

I'm sorry if this isn't the right forum, but I couldn't really find another section suitable for this.

Hi Raevin,

Why not check out the Songwriters forums here - there are 3 of them. The Sunday Songwriters Group, The Guitarnoise Songwriting Club, and the Sunday Composers Workshop. There's also a bunch of "In The Studio" forums for the tech angles, plus Forums where members collaborate on making tracks, etc. What more could you want? Just scroll down the Board Index

Forum Index

Cheers,

Chris
I was looking at those before posting in this forum, lol. Thing is, the descriptions look like they are for lyric writing, and my question is about composing (which, I think I could've explained better in my first post, heh). But, if I'm wrong and they're for lyrics AND composing, I'm sorry, heh. ^.^;


   
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(@chris-c)
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Joined: 19 years ago
Posts: 3454
 

I was looking at those before posting in this forum, lol. Thing is, the descriptions look like they are for lyric writing, and my question is about composing (which, I think I could've explained better in my first post, heh). But, if I'm wrong and they're for lyrics AND composing, I'm sorry, heh. ^.^;
They're all basically about songs. Many people seem to post mostly just lyrics in the Songwriting Club, but that's usuallly because they're not that good, or confident, with playing and recording yet. There's no reason not to discuss any aspect of songwriting there - music, lyrics or whatever. The SSG also has a number of people who post music with their songs.

The Sunday Composers Workshop is - perhaps not surprisingly - focused on learning music composition.

If you want to talk about any aspect of songwriting just get started and ask. If you ask in the wrong forums to begin with, a moderator will usually shift it to a better spot (as they've done with this thread).

So where are you up to now? What style do you play, and are you aiming just at instrumentals, or will lyrics be part of it too? A good way to start is to read other people's threads and add some comments. Get known. Give people a reason to want to listen to you by paying some attention to them, etc. Good luck with it all.

Cheers,

Chris


   
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(@davidhodge)
Member
Joined: 16 years ago
Posts: 4472
 

We've also got a whole section in the main page on songwriting:

https://www.guitarnoise.com/tag/songwriting/

Some of them deal more with lyrics, some are more about putting together music and some are both. Ones that are more about music include:

Putting Things Together

Home on Your Range

Waiting for Nancy

Group Therapy

Building Bridges

There are also some Guitar Columns you may find useful:

A Before E (Except after C)

Multiple Personality Disorder

Alternate Writing Styles

Hope (some of) this helps.

Peace


   
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(@chris-c)
Famed Member
Joined: 19 years ago
Posts: 3454
 

Also....

If you want a simple way to learn how to write songs then try re-writing other songs first. You'll learn a lot.

Take a song that you can already play, and write new lyrics to fit the same beat, pulse and feel of the original. Look at what the lyric writer said, paying particular attention to seeing how the flow of the words – points of emphasis etc, match the flow and emphasis of the music. What a beginner song-writer thinks are deep and meaningful lyrics (and you can scroll down from here and see plenty of examples) aren't much use if you can't make them move in step with the pulse of your music. So use an existing song but write new words for it. Choose a subject that fits the mood of the music, and give your words some POINT. Don't just ramble on and expect the listener to applaud you for being deep – give them a reason to listen. This can be a bit of a story, with some kind of punchline, some humour, or just a good emotional journey of some kind. But do at least THINK about your audience and what it might or might not mean to them, or you probably won't get one.

You can do the same thing for the three basic elements of music - Rhythm, Melody and Harmony. Take a song you know and experiment with changing one or more of those elements. For instance, grab a chord progression from a well known song and put a completely different rhythm to it. If you're up to it, keep the rhythm and chord structure the same but vary the melody, or keep the melody but try different chords behind it, etc. All these things can completely change a song, but allow you to do it in small steps.

If you experiment with that until you get a feel for what each part of a song does you can learn a lot of useful stuff. If you change one element at a time, you can also end up with song that's completely different in every respect from where you started, and is now 100% yours. :)

Chris


   
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(@stellabloo)
Estimable Member
Joined: 17 years ago
Posts: 189
 

... I'm going to add my 2 cents precisely because I'm NOT a songwriter, just a beginner hack who wound up writing some songs... :oops:

Pretty much every song came from a tune I 'heard' in my head - in the shower, walking the dog, etc. The trick, which has previously remained elusive, is transferring the tune to the guitar. Playing by ear has never been a forte of mine, EVER :roll: but surprisingly enough, the notes and chords I heard in my head corresponded to real-life notes and chords on the guitar. Moreover, most melodies (unless you are going extreme jazz) use only so many chords and the combinations are somewhat predictable. Basic blues, country or even many memorable Pink Floyd songs, for example, all use commonplace chords like Em, G, Am, C and D.

Of course, once you determine the basic chord sequence, you still need to 'arrange' the song for solo performance. The intermediate lesson on Twinkle Twinkle Little Star (song arranging) helped enormously when I was still relying on TAB to learn songs ... still can't play Twinkle Twinkle worth beans but put together a bang-up fingerstyle version of Eensy Weensy Spider that still impresses my 3 yr old :lol:

What if the Hokey Pokey IS what it's really all about?

~ why yes, I am available on youtube ~
http://www.youtube.com/stellabloo


   
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(@raevin)
Eminent Member
Joined: 16 years ago
Posts: 26
Topic starter  

So where are you up to now? What style do you play, and are you aiming just at instrumentals, or will lyrics be part of it too? A good way to start is to read other people's threads and add some comments. Get known. Give people a reason to want to listen to you by paying some attention to them, etc. Good luck with it all.

Thanks, by the way, for moving this to the correct part. :) For style, I'm looking more in the line of classical or ballad (I like slow songs. :D), but not blues (think, for example, "Every Rose Has It's Thorns" I think it is from Guns 'n' Roses). Yeah, lyrics will be (although, vocals-specifically, I can't say yes to, haha). I've read through some, but most of it is just in regards to lyrics. Oh, trust me though, when I start playing my own music, I'm going to advert that stuff like no tomorrow. :D

Maybe I should've posted in Sunday Composers Workshop, instead...^.^; I'll make a mental note for later. :D
We've also got a whole section in the main page on songwriting:

https://www.guitarnoise.com/tag/songwriting/

Thanks! I'll check that out! I read through some of them, but I'll re-read what I have, and read what I haven't...see if it makes (more) sense now. :)
If you want a simple way to learn how to write songs then try re-writing other songs first. You'll learn a lot.

I've dived into that a little bit, already actually. Granted, some of it was on accident, lol, but i've tried seeing if a higher or lower note would add more/less to the song. I'll keep doing that though! :)

As for re-writing lyrics for a song, that's pretty much what I always do, hehe. I write poetry, and when I write I'm always listening to music, so my poems end up more being like lyrical rewrites for the song. So, I guess I'm already on the right track. :D
... I'm going to add my 2 cents precisely because I'm NOT a songwriter, just a beginner hack who wound up writing some songs...

I've looked through your YouTube...defanitely not a hack to me...:P
Pretty much every song came from a tune I 'heard' in my head - in the shower, walking the dog, etc. The trick, which has previously remained elusive, is transferring the tune to the guitar. Playing by ear has never been a forte of mine, EVER but surprisingly enough, the notes and chords I heard in my head corresponded to real-life notes and chords on the guitar. Moreover, most melodies (unless you are going extreme jazz) use only so many chords and the combinations are somewhat predictable. Basic blues, country or even many memorable Pink Floyd songs, for example, all use commonplace chords like Em, G, Am, C and D.

That's how it is with me...I'll just come up with some beat/rhythm/tune while I'm at work, talking to my girlfriend, or something of that sort...I've just always had trouble going from brain to fretboard, lol. I've noticed the chord thing as well, hehe, and generally songs are done in scales...so once you know what chord(s) the player uses, you can work with the scale(s) as well (oh, music theory...).
Of course, once you determine the basic chord sequence, you still need to 'arrange' the song for solo performance. The intermediate lesson on Twinkle Twinkle Little Star (song arranging) helped enormously when I was still relying on TAB to learn songs ... still can't play Twinkle Twinkle worth beans but put together a bang-up fingerstyle version of Eensy Weensy Spider that still impresses my 3 yr old

Bah...solo performances, haha. Correct me if I'm wrong, but aren't solos just the guitar player showing off (or spicing up the song a lot, if you will)? I'm not flaming soloists and stuff, just what my definition of solo is, and if i'm wrong I wanna be corrected so I'm not ignorant. Hehe, Twikle Twinkle is kind of hard, especially if you're not all that fast on the strings (at leats, the version I play). That's awesome w/ the 3 year old part though! :D


   
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(@davidhodge)
Member
Joined: 16 years ago
Posts: 4472
 

Bah...solo performances, haha. Correct me if I'm wrong, but aren't solos just the guitar player showing off (or spicing up the song a lot, if you will)? I'm not flaming soloists and stuff, just what my definition of solo is, and if i'm wrong I wanna be corrected so I'm not ignorant. Hehe, Twikle Twinkle is kind of hard, especially if you're not all that fast on the strings (at leats, the version I play).

There is big difference between a solo (which is what you're thinking about) and a solo performance, which probably should have been written as "solo arrangement." An arrangement is just putting together a version of a song for a single guitarist, who is usually also singing the song. It can be something as simply as strumming the chords, but it can also involve putting in a walking bass line or a single-note riff or two. The "Easy Songs for Beginners" and "Songs for Intermediates" lessons here at Guitar Noise are examples of solo arrangements. They're not what you hear on the recording but rather a version of the song that you can sing and play with one guitarist.

As you know, all the advice you've gotten is pretty good. One thing that should be stressed is the importance of listening and analyzing songs that you know and like. Knowing how to put together a chord progression is something easily learned by both listening and experimentation. You might want to take a read of the one of the Ear Training articles ("Solving the Puzzle," I think), which, when I think about it, shows how to go about songwriting in kind of a reverse-engineering sort of way. As Chris notes, it all comes down to melody, harmony and rhythm. So learning what you can about those elements of songwriting, learning from reading, listening and experimenting, is probably your best starting point.

Best of luck with this. There is truly nothing to be compared to writing a song, unless it's performing a song you've written for an audience. Or hearing a song you've written being done by someone else at a show.

Looking forward to progress reports.

Peace


   
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(@rahul)
Famed Member
Joined: 18 years ago
Posts: 2736
 

Thanks for posting this thread. I was myself looking for some songwriting tips and got a lot of help here. :D


   
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(@rcsnydley1)
Trusted Member
Joined: 16 years ago
Posts: 59
 

raevin - If you are still looking for some insight on writing songs check out the thread 'The chicken or the egg question'.

There you will find forum members discussing how they go about writing songs.

After you get that first song written be sure to post it so we can all see how well you did.

Ric

"I've got blisters on my fingers." - Ringo Starr


   
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(@raevin)
Eminent Member
Joined: 16 years ago
Posts: 26
Topic starter  

raevin - If you are still looking for some insight on writing songs check out the thread 'The chicken or the egg question'.

There you will find forum members discussing how they go about writing songs.

After you get that first song written be sure to post it so we can all see how well you did.
Ah, thanks for that! I'll definately check it out and see what I can gather from it. I've started working on a song though, and once I do get it done I'll be sure to poison everyone's ears with it. :D


   
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