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Thread: Trying to write a song

  1. #1
    Registered User ReinierK's Avatar
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    Trying to write a song

    Hiya,

    I'm about to write my first song ever ;-)
    I know some theory, but def. not all and have little experience on the piano...

    I started in the key of F#m and my first chords are C#m7 and F#m... This creates kind of a 'dark' sound and that's what I'm aiming for...

    Problem is, I have no clue how to proceed, I thought an E sounded well after the F#m, but I want to maintain that 'darkish' sound, but progress somewhere higher in the register and then fall back to the F#m again.

    Any ideas? Should I (e.g.) play this in harmonic minor? I like that, but it's kinda weird with the dim. and aug. chords...

    Cheers,
    Reinier,

  2. #2
    Registered User Lynxo's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ReinierK
    Hiya,

    I'm about to write my first song ever ;-)
    I know some theory, but def. not all and have little experience on the piano...

    I started in the key of F#m and my first chords are C#m7 and F#m... This creates kind of a 'dark' sound and that's what I'm aiming for...

    Problem is, I have no clue how to proceed, I thought an E sounded well after the F#m, but I want to maintain that 'darkish' sound, but progress somewhere higher in the register and then fall back to the F#m again.

    Any ideas? Should I (e.g.) play this in harmonic minor? I like that, but it's kinda weird with the dim. and aug. chords...

    Cheers,
    Reinier,
    Hey there.

    You sound like you know more theory than I do, and I have written hundreds of songs! Don't get me wrong, I'm not saying theory is wrong...but I would suggest that if you don't find a good chord within the chord scale (hope I'm not saying anything wrong or weird now) try to make up your own chord, without worrying if it sounds good or not. You may stumble across something that you really like. That's the way I usually write songs (with a few exceptions).

    Also, most people who write their first songs, have NO clue what theory even is! So since this is your first, I wouldn't worry to much about theory. You could perhaps analyze it afterwards, see if it is in theory "right" or "wrong". The most important is that you like what you hear. Theory can be a guide to get you there, but your ears are always the best map avalibable (sp?).

  3. #3
    Registered User ReinierK's Avatar
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    Very true! It does seem that some of my "knowledge" limits my musical expression...
    But if I analyse other songs, I regularily see the structure and recognize what happens (some exeptions)... the thing is that I never know when e.g. to play an 11th chord...

    but myabe I just have to 'do' it and if it sounds nice, analyse what is is and why it sounds good...

    Thanks anyway

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by ReinierK
    Very true! It does seem that some of my "knowledge" limits my musical expression...
    I understand what you mean. Yet, does it have to be this way?

    Sure, you got some knowledge, but it doesn't have to limit you. When you know your theory, you know what is theoretically 'right' and 'wrong' - however, sometimes the ear thinks that what is theoretically wrong sounds very right. I hope you understand.

    I am no composer of structured traditional intro-verse-chorus pieces. However, I am able to use theory to create music - which some might find interesting no matter how original the structure is.

    Now, to the core. It happens every now and then that I have to break free: To forget about the theory. What I do then is that I pick a few random chords (completely random; this is important!) in order to have a mystical sound. Then, you can also create melodies using random notes - or you can create melodies which correspond to the random chord progression. It is dependent on how far away from the theory you will go.

    Another point which can be useful when incorporating such randomness in melody, is to have a strong rhythm. This might spice up the music and make it sound even better - despite the randomness of the notes.

    Just a few suggestions.

  5. #5
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    You just need to be willing to experiment and make mistakes. Take composing with a grain of salt. We all have the tendancy to think what we are doing is pure gold, or if it isn't it's not worth it...which really shouldn't be the point if you are going to have write hundreds of songs just to figure out how you naturally compose songs.

    It's good to know some theory and it's good to forget some theory, don't let it stand in the way of something you think sounds good. Do you know how many pop songs on the radio stay in one key? Ummm...close enough to none to just say none. All of this 'out of key' stuff can be theoretically justified, but it's done because it sounds cool, that's it.

    You sound like you know a bit of chord scale theory, but if what I say next doesn't make sense don't worry about it because all it's meant to do is illustrate just how many 'out of key' possibilities are used ALL THE TIME in very simple music.
    You have the chords of your major scale: I, IIm, IIIm, IV, V, VIm, VIIdim. You can't do a whole lot with that and stuff like VIIdim and IIIm have pretty limited possibilities, so what are you going to do? Well some other very common chords are bII, bIII, bVI, bVII, bVII7, IIdim, IV7, Vm, IVm, bVI7. Why do they work? Well we won't get into that because they were originally used because they sounded cool and that is reason enough. And if you do eventually get into the theory part of it you will realize that theory has pretty much come up with ways to justify every possibility, so do whatever you want because someone out there has already justified it...if that gives you any reasurence.
    Last edited by silent-storm; 12-22-2005 at 09:42 AM.

  6. #6
    Registered User ashc's Avatar
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    For a couple of those possibilities in action in very simple music - check out my Strictly Borrowed thread (shameless self-plugging there, sorry).

  7. #7
    Modally Challenged!!!! mattblack850's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ashc
    (shameless self-plugging there, sorry).
    Thou art nothing but a Brazen Hussy!!!!

    But they are worth checking out!!

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