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Finding YOUR Voice
 
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Finding YOUR Voice

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(@dinell2)
New Member
Joined: 20 years ago
Posts: 1
Topic starter  

:lol: What is it about a lyric that makes the message universal? What is it that makes that message unique? So often, when I'm sent lyrics to critique, reading through them I find they "sound" the same as the last set of lyrics sent to me, but by a different writer! How can this be?

I remember being a teenager and coming to the realization that my thoughts about this world were not so much my own, they were thoughts that I'd picked up from my parents, my teachers and other mature individuals whom I respected. What a realization! It depressed me! I decided that I had to make time to come to my own conclusions about everything, but that was a pretty ominous task. This is the problem I find with newer writers...they are repeating lines they've heard a million times...cliché's some of them, but others just ordinary, uninteresting phrases that make your eyes glaze over everytime you read them. They have trouble coming up with a new way of saying something old...well, no kidding! When I wrote my first few songs...maybe the first couple of hundred!...I did the same thing. Not only were my thoughts not my own, neither were my lyrics.

The first hint of what's coming is when a writer says..."Without the music, the lyrics don't sound as good, so you should hear them with the music!" If you feel that way about your lyrics, take it as a sign that they are not finished yet! The age old argument, that a song isn't completely understood without the music, may be true on some level. But that doesn't take away from the fact that the lyrics may be weak...no music, no matter how wonderful, actually improves the state of the lyrics!

So how do you uncover your own individual thoughts, your unique perspective of the world around you? One of the keys is in your unique experiences...your life is different from many other's lives in many ways. The things that happen to you, although they may have something in common with others, also have elements that are different.

For instance...say your whole family goes on a picnic, and the usual things happen...someone brings a football and the men play on a field...people bring baskets of food and drinks. The kids scream, people plaster sunscreen on. These are the common elements of a family picnic. But what might be different from others? That you have an Uncle Derek who has a gold front tooth that he flashes everytime he gets a touchdown. That your mother always brings tunafish sandwiches and makes you eat them before you can have the potato chips...that your cousin smuggled beer in a gingerale bottle because it's almost the same colour...

The family picnic experience is common, the characters and events are not. When you begin to look for these little things that make your life unique, you begin to uncover your own voice in your lyric writing. Over time, it becomes easier to identify the interesting stuff! You didn't just wear a suit to the prom...you wore a dark blue suit and the collar of the shirt scratched you in the same place all night everytime you danced with this one particular girl...there you go. Later on in this series of articles, I go into more detail...about detail!

Eventually, you may find yourself INVENTING these details because your creative mind begins to feel freer to do so. My writing has developed to a point now where I can mix reality with imagination...sometimes I do that to "beef" a song up. People often ask me what elements about my songwriting are true and what I've made up! I almost never tell them! But I think I've finally begun to think, and write, for myself...

http://www.guitarz-for-ever.com/free-guitar-lessons.html


   
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(@blaine)
Trusted Member
Joined: 22 years ago
Posts: 52
 

I didnt find a question or answer throughout any of that but it was very enlightening... I struggle with those same things that you mention.. I would like to say that I'm beginning to overcome them...... thanks.. that was groovy

Blaine Adams


   
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(@gmilam)
Estimable Member
Joined: 20 years ago
Posts: 159
 

Awesome points about taking something that everyone is familiar with and personalizing it with actual characters or situations that happened. Quirky lines like the gold tooth smile are often the type of lines that I tend to remember from songs.

Good Insight! Thanks!

I don't think I'm a lot dumber than you think that I thought I once was - White Goodman (Dodgeball)


   
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(@guy_d)
Active Member
Joined: 20 years ago
Posts: 16
 

Good Insight! Thanks!
Agreed!

People talk of situations,
Read books, repeat quotations,
Draw conclusions on the wall.

Bob Dylan, Love Minus Zero/No Limit,


   
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(@omega)
Estimable Member
Joined: 20 years ago
Posts: 92
 

That was interesting...I wish I could answer my own questions like that. :P

Nice read. Thankya. :D

Somnium Dulcis.


   
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(@e-sherman)
Reputable Member
Joined: 20 years ago
Posts: 374
 

That was itnresting, however. I'd like to disagree on one point.

The age old argument, that a song isn't completely understood without the music, may be true on some level. But that doesn't take away from the fact that the lyrics may be weak...no music, no matter how wonderful, actually improves the state of the lyrics!

I think there are alot of cases where the lyrics don't really matter. They just blend in with the music. One example that comes to mind is Pearl Jam. Most of the time I can't make out what he's singing at all, but the songs are still good. In fact, alot of bands nowadays have horrible lyrics, but that dosen't stop them from being liked and admired.

Sometimes, great music is the important thing. That's why there are such things as instrumentals. It's why I love progressive rock.

But, when great music is combined with well-written lyrics ( early Genesis comes to mind) then you a very well-crafted song, which makes other artists like and admire you. But then again, the average person certainly seems to like the same stuff being sung at them over in over. Look at Nashville, or pop music in general.

Hmmm...dosen't seem like I had much of a point...I guess the whole thign goes in circles. :oops:

The king of rock, some say lives
the lizard king, is surely dead
the king of France, lost his head
the King of Kings... bled
( email me at esherman@wideopenwest.(com). I almost never check my hotmailaccount.


   
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(@rbert101)
Eminent Member
Joined: 20 years ago
Posts: 20
 

Isnt it amazing how dumb you feel when you become smart enough to realize you dont know anything.

A person cant truly think for him/herself until they realize that even what their thinking about is what someone else figured out. Then you begin to wonder how the genius figured it out. You can trace it all the way down until you get to the basic building blocks that the genius had to work with.
Why do that you might ask. Why not just flip the darn switch so I can see in here? Well thats just fine if you want to be like EVERYBODY ELSE!

Emotions are the basic building blocks of art. We all have emotions. The way we deal with emotions is what weve been taught, traced all the way back to Adam and Eve or Thag and Ugilda whatever your belief. Ask yourself "why do I cry when Im sad? Why do I laugh when Im happy?" Understand the basics of what your working with and use it the way YOU want to. Only when youre creating from scratch can you be original.


   
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(@lostbeggining)
Reputable Member
Joined: 19 years ago
Posts: 197
 

I think your both right ....this is really good stuff and totally true.....i feel the stepping stone where my writing really improved was when i began stating things about the situations that are different from others like u sed about the picnic scene. I feel its all about throwing in a mix of things about the subject that touch you and things that make the situation unique to you and really about not being afraid. That was really the key to me, was to not be afraid of writing things that are considered 'not normal' or things that people wouldnt understand...because on some level i think, yes, every subject must have been touched on before...most likely people have felt the exact same emotions as you at sometime somewhere but its all about how you portray them and how they affect you or anyone involved, the past of the event, the future and all the little details inbetween that are going to differ from others. One of the things that really helped me was to just let my heart create the metaphors and see the little things, so to speak...Eg i would just sit there when feeling a certain emotion and just try to break from conscious and break from thinking and just let something flow outta me....if you know what i mean....just sit and try to say "damn this makes me feel just like...." etc without giving it much thought....

And to add my pennys bout the whole music and lyrics thing. I personally feel like Lyrics are....well if we compare a song to someone telling a story...I feel that Lyrics are the actual story someone is telling you and then the music is the tone in the persons voice when reading it out to you...Like raising their voice when it comes to speaking on the part of a dominating character. So good lyrics that are impressive can sometimes capture your emotions and your attention even if they are without music...just like a really impressive story can capture the same if its unique and impressive but so can not so impressive lyrics if they are accompanied by very emotional or 'in-your-face' music....just as a story can if the person is screaming it at you. lol...

Sorry for that..im just in a talking mood.....
And sorry if i confused you...because i confused myself there

Rain Shadow


   
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(@hairballxavier)
Estimable Member
Joined: 19 years ago
Posts: 93
 

Eventually, you may find yourself INVENTING these details because your creative mind begins to feel freer to do so. My writing has developed to a point now where I can mix reality with imagination...sometimes I do that to "beef" a song up. People often ask me what elements about my songwriting are true and what I've made up! I almost never tell them! But I think I've finally begun to think, and write, for myself...

Then when you get older you find that you have enough to write about that isn't fiction, you don't have to "beef" up anything. You just have to tenderize things a bit.


   
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