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Thread: I need Songwriting Help

  1. #1
    Musician in Training SostenutO's Avatar
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    Lightbulb I need Songwriting Help

    1.What's the first thing you guys usually do when you write songs or progressions? Do you usually just pick a key, get the sequences for that key, and use a progression chart and than test and try?

    2.I can never write a good catchy progression because the catchy ones are already taken! I don't really want to copy other progressions too much, any suggestions?

    Thanks

  2. #2
    Registered User GuitarDreamer20's Avatar
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    Hey,

    I would say that you are thinking too much. Just pick up your guitar, find a chord or a few notes in sequence that you like, and go from there. Don't worry about copying popular progressions. Do you know how many great songs have been built off of the I IV V progression? Lots of songs in lots of styles. There's a reason that progression sounds good. Just play what sounds good to you, and don't throw it away because you feel like it sounds like something that's already been done before! You're orginality is going to shine through no matter what. You can't hide it. The same holds true for your influences. It's natural to write something that often sounds similar to what one of your favorite artists would write. Just stop worrying about it, and thinking so much, and you'll do fine! I'm sure you've found a chord you've liked before! Go from there!

    Hope I could help a little and good luck! Make sure you post some of your new tunes in the other forum when you create them!

  3. #3
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    IMHO Dreamer is dead on correct ...good advice there ..woohoo! lol

  4. #4
    Registered User sixstrings121's Avatar
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    The thing about copying progressions....Don't worry about it. Every single chord progression you could think of has been done before lol. Every song has been writen before as my teacher says lol.

  5. #5
    Registered User soulpumpkin1974's Avatar
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    Hey man,I know what you mean but I agree with Dreamer.
    I just sit down and play around with some chords until I find something I like then mumble a melody along with it.Then something usally flows from that.
    If you worry to much about not trying to sound like another song you;ll go mad.
    Someone will allways say oh that sounds like ....Ive taken a pop/rock song into
    rehearsal and my bass player said oh that sounds like Bob Marley ??
    Just play from the heart a little,keep the head quiet for awhile until youve got
    your parts done.
    If I get a little stuck like you explain where everything sounds like something else I start winding my machine heads.Playing in alt tunings opens up a whole new world on the guitar.Out of my 15 song set list 8 are in alt tunings,which my
    guitarist loves....not
    Now I'm just waiting for a endorsment deal with guitar company so I dont have to tune between evey damn song

    Later
    Marshall

  6. #6
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    1) It varies a lot. Sometimes I create a drum rhythm, add drums and play a melody. Sometimes I start with a groovy bass riff and add drums and guitars over it. Other times I throw in a few chords and try to come up with something on top of them. When I think about it, it's quite seldom I start with a guitar riff/melody.
    Mostly I pick a key, and for some reason it tends to be C Major. Then I work diatonically using the chords that provide the atmosphere I want.

    I've been doing this so many time now, that I want to break free sometimes, and see what a few random chords do. Instead of creating a chord progression in a certain key, I decide for a random note, for instance F#, and play it - without worrying whether it turns out as major or minor (maybe it even turns out as a sus chord), then I choose another letter, the one which comes first to mind after playing the F#; let's say for randomness A. Then I decide for i.e. augmented A chord, before I add, for instance an C#maj7. Then I have a progression, and now I can start creating melodies, and here it's room for experimenting. There may be parts of the musical piece where I try to make it sound good, by sticking mostly to chord tones - and there may definately be parts of the piece where I just throw in a few chromatic phrases to make it sound strange.

    There's so many possibillities, and it's good to try different methods, creating quite different - and at times surprising - sounds and atmospheres.
    From time to time, try to work fast, writing/composing what comes to your minds first. It's just experimenting, after all.

    2) Don't worry if there are many catchy progression's that are taken .That's just how it is. No matter who's about to create music, especially using classic theory methods, will at one point or another create something that may remind the listener of another song or artist. Actually, I think you SHOULD copy others in the beginning. Study, and see how they have worked, then understand it and try it yourself. After a while you'll be creating stuff yourself - both pieces sounding like others, and pieces sounding just like you. Also, if you spice up a catchy progression by adding interesting melodies, it may grab the attention and one wouldn't think too much about the progression. However, in the end, I don't think it really matters if you come up with a progression that sounds very much the same as someone else' progression. Especially if it's a progression you really created yourself. Then it's your work.

  7. #7
    all around psycho
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    Quote Originally Posted by SostenutO
    1.What's the first thing you guys usually do when you write songs or progressions? Do you usually just pick a key, get the sequences for that key, and use a progression chart and than test and try?

    2.I can never write a good catchy progression because the catchy ones are already taken! I don't really want to copy other progressions too much, any suggestions?

    Thanks
    1) I either mess around or ill play something that fits an emotion I want to portray. For example if Im angry one day and I want to write a hard angry song ill play fast choppy powerchords messing around etc etc. But a lot of it is just messing around, experimenting and working off of things

    2)Seriously try this: Turn on the radio and listen to a new rock station. Figure out some of the songs by ear, and I gaurentee within a few songs you'll see several progressions that uve seen in other songs already. It's all about how the progressions are put together with the other elements of the song that matters.

  8. #8
    Registered User GuitarDreamer20's Avatar
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    Apple-Joe, I really like your idea! That's a really good point you make with just experimenting. Try anything. Make up a game that forces you to use a particular scale over a particular chord. I remember I had some idea for that once. I wrote it down. I'll have to dig that up some time.

    Also, I want to emphasize the point of LISTENING. Let's say you create a chord progression...instead of just mindlessly playing over it...sit back and listen for a while, without playing. Let an idea come to your head and start humming it. I think you should always remember this. Instead of forcing things, just LISTEN.

    Hope this helps as well.

    Mike

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