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Thread: saving ideas, phrases

  1. #1
    Registered User
    Join Date
    Feb 2005

    saving ideas, phrases

    hi guys

    I wonder how you save phrase or musical ideas that come to your mind. Let's say that you come up with an interesting phrase that is in your mind. It makes sense to record this phrase before it vanishes from your memory. Do you use any digital recorders when you compose witha guitar? Do you use music notation software to have a copy of your ideas ? do you use guitar tab for saving your ideas? I wonder what methods you use for recording your ideas. Please, write comments on that.


  2. #2
    Registered User Malcolm's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2004
    Deep East Texas Piney Woods
    I only do this with keyboard. And I only do this in picking out a song by ear. But here is what I do. Paper and pencil and my own format which is more like Fake chord than lead sheet or standard notation.

    Decide on the key first. In my case I write and play everything in C as it's just me and C is so much easier on the keyboard.

    That means I'll start the first note on a C, E or G note which ever goes with the first word in the song. From there everything is either up scale or down scale. Simple as that.

    I write out the lyric and then put melody notes with each word. Love is the first word of the song - so while singing the word love, I sound the C note - seems OK. But, to be sure I try the G note next, no that's not it - and E did not work either so... I started with C and then it's just hunt and peck up scale or down scale.

    C......A B C......A ..B...G........E......F... G...A..A...A.....A....A...A..A.....G...F.
    Love is a man - y splendored thing its the Ap-ril rose that on-ly grows in the

    I then put the chords over the melody notes.

    C.....Am..............Em.......................... ....F....Fmaj7..... F6.......F.....G...
    C......A B C......A ..B...G........E......F... G...A..A...A.....A....A...A..A.....G...F.
    Love is a man - y splendored thing its the Ap-ril rose that on-ly grows in the

    I put this all on paper using a pencil that has a big eraser. I take it one note at a time. This one is taking a little longer than most for some reason. Normally a couple of hours gets a first draft of a verse and the chorus.

    I work best with paper and pencil and let the lyric word find a melody note.
    Last edited by Malcolm; 07-19-2008 at 04:54 PM.

  3. #3
    Registered User jimc8p's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Midlands, UK
    For me the only good way of jotting down ideas is to record them directly. Tab doesn't reflect the timing and you often need to be very good at notation to get it down accurately too. Having the most basic of recording setups is incredibly useful for many things, even if it's just a cheap tape player with a record button.

    (Internal ideas are sometimes hard to get out and do disappear quickly, I find singing them to transcribe to guitar/keyboard works best.)
    Last edited by jimc8p; 07-23-2008 at 09:13 AM.

  4. #4
    bitter old fool Jed's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2006
    New England
    I used to grab my voice-recorder (always in my brief case) while I'm driving, but when possible I tried to take the time to notate in standard notation. As Jim said the advantage of notation is that you can capture the rhythm and the chord voicings / specific notes.

    Lately though I find the ideas come so fast that there's no time to notate. So these days I just analyze the lines I hear (there's always a pitch pipe in my pocket) to try and understand why I like them / how they work. I find now that understanding how and why they work drives home the underlying concept in a practical way. I don't remember every idea this way but it builds a stronger understanding of the concepts that I can apply later in various ways.

  5. #5
    Registered User Obivion's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2006
    Usually in my head, if it's really good I'll remember it.

    Otherwise, powertab or my trusty notebook are great.
    No one sings the blues quite like Yngwie!

  6. #6
    Registered User MissMisstreater's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2008
    i analyse it, understand y i like it and what it is, that way if i cant remember it later i knew y i liked it, i start there and usually end up with something better

  7. #7
    Bedroom metalurgist LaughingSkull's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2007
    As Obivion said, If it's really good it stick in memory (unortunately even good stuff get lost.).

    Usually, I go and notate/tab it with Guitar Pro, writing melody, harmony and rhytm. When I have time then I try to do something with it ...

  8. #8
    Registered User leppard81's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2005
    I got th habit to record ideas immediatly on my mobile phone - then i´ll use my recording set up to works as fast as possible to make the idea a finished song - after that i flesh it out and tweak it as much as needed. Also, nowaday, when i work on a song i ONLY work on that song - i might spend 2 weeks just working on nothing else musically until its ready......

    Very often this works great!
    We get the dreams that we deserve.... - Marillion

    Hidden Content

  9. #9
    Metalhead JustinR's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2008
    Findlay, Ohio
    my guitar rig is miked all the time, about 3 feet from the computer, and if I come up with something that bears repeating or fleshing out in a musical context, I just turn on my recording software and make a quick .wav file of it. Takes about 30 seconds to turn on the mixer and interface and load the software and cue it to record.

    On occasion, I'll just turn it on and jam, recording all my playing for 15-20 minutes at a stretch. Then go back and listen to it either after I feel I've gotten the meat of whatever it is out, or set down the guitar in frustration, heh.

    There are times I wish I had a pocket recorder though, to record melody lines. I can't tell you how many times I've been at work or in my car and came up with a cool melody or phrase and by the time I get home it's long gone, or so mutated I can't see using it anymore.

    hmm... pocket recorder... *adds to his gear wish list*

  10. #10
    Registered User
    Join Date
    Nov 2008
    hi rafapak
    i use the same approach as jimc8p, Jed, and leppard81: i record the ideas using either voice recorder/my mobile phone, which one i could grab immediately before the idea is gone

  11. #11
    Registered User Madaxeman's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2005
    I use the same approach as Malcolm if I don't have time or am too lazy to record it. I find recording is the best way to capture to feel of the idea.
    I have lost lots of ideas by not having the ability to get them down at the time.
    I struggle with accurate rhythm notation, so having a guitar on hand is almost a requirement for me.
    Pocket sized recorders are so small and powerfull and cheap now it is amazing.

  12. #12
    Carrots!! All_Ľour_Bass's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2007
    I use my brain and sometimes my computer with sibelius or guitar pro, depending on what it is.
    Hidden Content Originally Posted by Chim_Chim
    Be different.

    Do it for the OATMEAL.

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