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#1041681 - 03/07/14 01:50 PM Re: Why no study materials for music writing? [Re: Pat Hardy]  
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Bugsey Offline
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Originally Posted by pathardy
I learned how to write songs by learning a lot of songs that I liked. After a while, it started to sink in on how it's done.
I never studied any books on songwriting.



Pat Hardy Lockwood


Well, I think that is what everybody does. Advice I give to anyone who asks is to listen, listen, listen. Really important for a musician to listen, as well as a songwriter.

Learning covers is important, but when all is said and done, we still haven't learned everything. Im pretty sure you could learn something newabout songwriting in the next half hour, if determined. Some new process, some new way to chord a melody, some new way to put it to rythm, and understand that why you are doing it, is making it better. Knowing, not guessing.

Last edited by Bugsey; 03/07/14 01:52 PM.
#1041682 - 03/07/14 01:54 PM Re: Why no study materials for music writing? [Re: maccharles]  
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Bugsey Offline
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Yup.

#1045703 - 04/19/14 12:53 AM Re: Why no study materials for music writing? [Re: Bugsey]  
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Charlie Wong Offline
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For me if the music comes first (or at least some of it comes out initially after which I add words in bits and pieces as I go) then the song sounds better at the end. At least from a compositional point of view.

Even music by itself can be made to move people, so it is more universal. The lyrics of a song written in Swedish, for example, may not have much impact on someone from the U.S., yet the music might still influence that person. Without any music, and presented as just a Swedish poem, for example, it simply would not be the same for that listener. To oversimplify, it's the music that turns the words into a song.


Best Regards and Aloha,

Charlie
#1125680 - 03/21/17 08:33 PM Re: Why no study materials for music writing? [Re: Bugsey]  
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Mm308 Offline
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I would like to see more discussions on this subject.
Because there are hardly any books on creating melodys and when you do come across something it is very vague to say the least.
I mean if you search the internet forums or how Joe blogs a top songwriter writes his songs there info is no more helpfull than what's already been said on this thread.
I mean wouldn't it be good to just type into Google how to create a melody, and 3 seconds later the results appear, you click on one. Then wham bam thank you mam that'll do nicely. I can now write melodys.
It's not rocket science.

#1125684 - 03/22/17 08:59 AM Re: Why no study materials for music writing? [Re: Bugsey]  
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What a great topic..... lol Well, it seems it's pretty much the same now. Before the Internet, the Barnes and Nobles and Waldens were thriving, and selling lots of books. Since lyrics are words on paper, reading books about words in paper is not far removed. Reading about music doesn't mean anything until it's heard.

I think it's also an easier point of entry being a lyricist, as opposed to being a musician. You don't need to know a thing about music to start writing words, and everybody already writes words every day. You also don't even need much poetic ability to write singable lyrics, That doesn't mean everybody will be good at lyric writing, it just means yiou have a better chance of looking competent if you can read in a book how to structure a song.

If you can learn how to have a verse, a chorus, and a bridge, and rhyme each word at the end, you can have a musician turn it into a song. And glaring errors in lyrics are easily fixed, just by learning what makes them not work. Ie. You start a verse with first person, I, so the song is about you, next two lines you are saying He, according to texts, you don't switch pronouns in a song, suppose to be confusing... But I mean, that kind of stuff is not a deal breaker

Music requires years of study to get halfway decent. And it probably needs to be shown or demonstrated, more than read. But it would be nice to be able to find materials explaining why certain melodies and chords progressions work.

These guys seem to demonstrate that certain chord progressions are so successful. They don't explain why they are successful though, which you need to know if you want to try to find your own formula, but they do show how artists study other artists music, to learn from https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=5pidokakU4I

Last edited by Trentb; 03/22/17 09:06 AM.
#1125685 - 03/22/17 09:26 AM Re: Why no study materials for music writing? [Re: Bugsey]  
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Ray E. Strode Online content
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Well,
There are music colleges you can enroll in Belmont in Nashville is one. Not sure of one in maybe Boston, Julliard maybe. You can buy an instrument and take lessons or buy an instruction book and practice on your own. but you have to be dedicated to do it. Work I know but that is the only way to do it.


Ray E. Strode
#1125686 - 03/22/17 10:57 AM Re: Why no study materials for music writing? [Re: Bugsey]  
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Brian Austin Whitney Online content
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There's a plethora of educational material on any subject available on a wide range of websites, in books, organizations, individual teachers/experts, schools of various types and the easiest of all, asking a question right here. We don't always have the answer, but we can usually point you to the right place.

So what do you need to know?

PS: To those who know who you are, no need to compliment your own topic just because you have another screen name now. Just keep it positive and everyone will be happy.

Brian


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"Don't sit around and wait for success to come to you... it doesn't know the way." -Brian Austin Whitney


#1125703 - 03/22/17 07:27 PM Re: Why no study materials for music writing? [Re: Bugsey]  
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Ray E. Strode Online content
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Uh, well,
Trentb, or Bugsey, or Aaron Arthor or whatever your name is today,
Trying to explain why certain chords and progressions work is like trying to explain which came first, The Chicken or the Egg, Why the sky is blue, why grass is green, why some want everything delivered to them on a Silver Platter. To be successful it takes dedication, of which some don't have. Sorry.


Ray E. Strode
#1125704 - 03/22/17 07:52 PM Re: Why no study materials for music writing? [Re: Ray E. Strode]  
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Trentb Offline
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Originally Posted by Ray E. Strode
Uh, well, Trentb, or Bugsey, or Aaron Arthor or whatever your name is today, Trying to explain why certain chords and progressions work is like trying to explain which came first, The Chicken or the Egg, Why the sky is blue, why grass is green, why some want everything delivered to them on a Silver Platter. To be successful it takes dedication, of which some don't have. Sorry.
That's pretty funny ray. I was posing the question for a reason, to stimulate thought amongst songwriters, maybe you dont get it cause you don't write songs? You couldn't be more off buddy. Where is your dedication? Why haven't you broken out? Nobody dedicated ever could learn a a bit more?

Lol hilarity. I'm not asking you how to write songs, Ray, I already know how, as I said, you dont even get what was said here. And you couldn't be more wrong, chord progressions are studied in a scientific way, by many. if you can learn why the brain locks into to certain chord progressions, you can have better chance at writing a song that hooks people. Once somebody figures one out, everybody copies it

And this thread was not just about chord progressions. With your knowledge and skill I should be seeing you in the charts soon hey?

Last edited by Trentb; 03/22/17 07:56 PM.
#1125709 - 03/23/17 04:40 AM Re: Why no study materials for music writing? [Re: Bugsey]  
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Mm308 Offline
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I agree with a lot that's been said but the thing is there are still more people who would like to learn how to write melodys than those who already know.
But there is just nothing out there for those who want to learn.
How many lyricists are there that can't create a melody ?
And if you search the internet all you get is vagueness such as write more songs.
Put a song in your daw and play it backwards.
Record everything etc.

When you search the web on melody creation you get a lot of Paul Simon quotes like put all your ideas in a diary. How is that gonna help anyone create a melody.

#1125711 - 03/23/17 05:24 AM Re: Why no study materials for music writing? [Re: Bugsey]  
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Ray E. Strode Online content
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Aw, Humm,
We live in the information age, Uh, now the age of Aquarius, don't try to figure it out, your Computer is a good example. You can find out most anything you want by typing it into Google and get a lot of results almost instantly. But you now have to look at what you found and put in the time to sort out the thing you are looking for. I once read a long time ago that musical notes vibrate to the tune of the Universe. Try Googling that. Me, I follow Red Skeleton, I don't explain em, I just do em. And, you can listen to some of my songs. Just look for New Web Site on the Industry Board, and follow the directions. And I don't think Beethoven had any study materials to go by when he wrote the 9Th Symphony. Catch on yet?


Ray E. Strode
#1125714 - 03/23/17 05:58 AM Re: Why no study materials for music writing? [Re: Ray E. Strode]  
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Mm308 Offline
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Originally Posted by Ray E. Strode
Aw, Humm,
We live in the information age, Uh, now the age of Aquarius, don't try to figure it out, your Computer is a good example. You can find out most anything you want by typing it into Google and get a lot of results almost instantly. But you now have to look at what you found and put in the time to sort out the thing you are looking for. I once read a long time ago that musical notes vibrate to the tune of the Universe. Try Googling that. Me, I follow Red Skeleton, I don't explain em, I just do em. And, you can listen to some of my songs. Just look for New Web Site on the Industry Board, and follow the directions. And I don't think Beethoven had any study materials to go by when he wrote the 9Th Symphony. Catch on yet?


OK

I think your the one who who we need to be sending everyone to when this question pops up again.
You must know where all this info is on Google.
So where is it

#1125720 - 03/23/17 08:53 AM Re: Why no study materials for music writing? [Re: Bugsey]  
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Um, Well, Bugsey,
Some things you have to do yourself. Keep at it. You will get it eventually. You would be surprised of how many people go to College and get a Degree. and then go out in the world and get an education. So where are you?


Ray E. Strode
#1125721 - 03/23/17 09:45 AM Re: Why no study materials for music writing? [Re: Mm308]  
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Barry David Butler Online content
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I believe that Melody Writing is with you when you are born.
It can be improved but writing good melodies is an Art and you just can't teach it.
You are a Weaver of Notes....There are only 7 notes to work with to weave a tune out a block of sound. It's like creating a masterpiece out of a piece of clay or stone....

#1125730 - 03/23/17 12:16 PM Re: Why no study materials for music writing? [Re: Barry David Butler]  
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John Lawrence Schick Offline
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Originally Posted by Barry David Butler
I believe that Melody Writing is with you when you are born.
It can be improved but writing good melodies is an Art and you just can't teach it.
You are a Weaver of Notes....There are only 7 notes to work with to weave a tune out a block of sound. It's like creating a masterpiece out of a piece of clay or stone....


I agree that composing music has to do with passions/ feelings imbedded inside us (maybe from birth) or gained through life experiences (both good & bad experiences). Anyone can be taught to compose, but one would be much like a dog learning tricks, if not passionately inspired. I always respond to such questions; “music should be composed from the heart” (it’s an audio, emotional art form). Music goes where words can’t. The music student can be taught music theory, like the seven closest related chords and proper melody notes to use, but can’t be taught passion and originality. That has to come from inside one’s heart.

BTW Barry there’s 12 half-tones and their octaves on the composer's palette.

#1125880 - 03/28/17 07:50 AM Re: Why no study materials for music writing? [Re: Charlie Wong]  
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Martin Lide Online content
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Originally Posted by Charlie Wong
For me if the music comes first (or at least some of it comes out initially after which I add words in bits and pieces as I go) then the song sounds better at the end. At least from a compositional point of view.

Even music by itself can be made to move people, so it is more universal. The lyrics of a song written in Swedish, for example, may not have much impact on someone from the U.S., yet the music might still influence that person. Without any music, and presented as just a Swedish poem, for example, it simply would not be the same for that listener. To oversimplify, it's the music that turns the words into a song.



Me too.

I'm one of those that sits with the guitar and plays with chord patterns until the mood of the chords suggests an emotion and then I let the lyrics construct themselves around the emotion. For me, that approach seems to yield a more seamless and integrated result between words and music.

I recognise that there are people in the world who are so talented that they can come at a song from any direction and make it work well. There are people who could start with the lyrics in an outro and work backwards....and end up with a great song. I'm just not one of them.

If I was chasing after "hits," I would probably write choruses first concentrating on getting the hook and the music working well and then adding the verses after the chorus was complete. That actually sounds like a fun way to songwrite. One of these days, I'm gonna give it a go.

Martin



#1126009 - 03/30/17 12:21 AM Re: Why no study materials for music writing? [Re: Bugsey]  
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Excellent responses by Mike Dunbar, Mark Kaufmann, John Schick, Martin Lide

To those saying you can't learn it, that it's inborn, the same could be said about lyrics. Many lyricists think you can't learn, yet their are dozens and dozens of books on th shelves abiut commercial lyric writing, none about commercial music writing.

= reason for the thread.

Here's my take: we all started with a first song, chances are it was bad. It took me about 6 months before I could write a song that even sounded like a song. I wrote these choppy songs that had no flow, no purpose, no sense of direction, and it took a long time to be able to write different sections of songs that didn't all sound the same

If you haven't gotten better since your first song, ok, fair enough, you stink, God bless you, try something else.

If you have improved even a little, how did it happen? You improved by doing it, and learning from yourself, or listening and emulating your favorite artists, or if you happened to take classes, or seminars or read some bits, it's all good. It's still learning, nobody is born a great songwriter, they are born with tendencies and talent, but if you never tap it, it's useless.

How could you begin to write a lyric, if you hadn't learned English, and how to write in school? You wouldn't be able to do it, so you can thank your schooling for being able to write anything, let alone a lyric.

Nobody said that talent wasn't the most important thing, of course it is. But even the small improvements you might have made came from somewhere. Not by magic, but by working at it.

Some people learn three chords on the guitar, and stop there. Then ten years later, they say, I've been playing guitar for ten years. No you have been playing three chords for ten years. If you don't go past that, you won't improve, you can't. It's like the fly in a jar, he keeps banging off the glass hundreds of times, he doesn't try anything else, he doesn't know any other way. He'll get the same results.

I have seen some people who over years and years of posting songs, never get any better, one reason is lack of talent, the other is not trying to learn anything

Ray mentioned Beethoven in a derisive way.  what Ray doesn't realize is that Beethoven traveled to Vienna to study under Hayden, and he met Motzart, and Mozart let him be his student too. This is one of the greatest composers of all time, going to study under somebody else.

If Beethoven thinks he can improve, stands to reason most of us can

Since most of us can't fly to be with our favorite artists, and they wouldn't be willing to teach us anything, it's natural to look for ways to learn on your own

It's not a sign of incompetence trying to improve. The greats are doing it right at this moment.

Last edited by terranceg; 03/30/17 12:27 AM.
#1126010 - 03/30/17 12:25 AM Re: Why no study materials for music writing? [Re: Bugsey]  
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terranceg Offline
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There are scattered bits online, but you kind of have to go through things to know what they even say.

This was pretty good by John Mayer

https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=VNu0M2A2KMk

#1126013 - 03/30/17 05:37 AM Re: Why no study materials for music writing? [Re: Bugsey]  
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John Lawrence Schick Offline
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"Ray mentioned Beethoven in a derisive way. what Ray doesn't realize is that Beethoven traveled to Vienna to study under Hayden, and he met Mozart, and Mozart let him be his student too. This is one of the greatest composers of all time, going to study under somebody else

Though one has to be careful to learn and not emulate. It’s easy to hear Mozart’s influence on Beethoven’s early music. George Gershwin wanted to study with Ravel. Ravel turned him down. Told him: "Why become a second-rate Ravel when you're already a first-rate Gershwin?”. Probably the best advice to give young aspiring composers is to be yourself. We don’t need another Beethoven, Gershwin, or Billy Joel.

John smile

#1126017 - 03/30/17 06:29 AM Re: Why no study materials for music writing? [Re: Bugsey]  
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Wise words John. God gives us the talents we have, it is up to us to develop them our way, not copy others, but that being said, we don't have to reinvent the wheel either. laugh

#1126054 - 03/31/17 12:02 PM Re: Why no study materials for music writing? [Re: Bugsey]  
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TC Perkins Online content
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Anatomy of Melody: Exploring the Single Line of Song
-Alice Parker

The book uses examples to teach melody. You can get it on Amazon, and there may be excerpts on the internet as well.

Also, learning some music theory is very helpful. There are tons of music theory textbooks. Here is a link to a list of 10 of them: http://oneminutemusiclesson.com/2014/02/13/top-10-music-theory-books/

Peace,
TC

Last edited by TC Perkins; 03/31/17 12:10 PM.

If it has strings I will find a way to play it!

You can hear my tunes at https://soundcloud.com/tc-gypsy
#1126059 - 03/31/17 04:26 PM Re: Why no study materials for music writing? [Re: Bugsey]  
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To learn new tricks and ways to improve our songwriting skills is all that we should be striving to achieve.
Ask yourselves this question
How many hits have you had, if the answer is zero.
Are you really at the top of your game in a way to suggest that you already know everthing about songwriting.
And the quest for knowledge is only for beginners.

#1126063 - 03/31/17 04:45 PM Re: Why no study materials for music writing? [Re: Mm308]  
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Originally Posted by Mm308
To learn new tricks and ways to improve our songwriting skills is all that we should be striving to achieve.
Ask yourselves this question
How many hits have you had, if the answer is zero.
Are you really at the top of your game in a way to suggest that you already know everthing about songwriting.
And the quest for knowledge is only for beginners.


Though the word "hit" is ambiguous. Not having a “hit” doesn’t mean it’s not “hit” material. Having a “hit” has as much or more to do with promotion than talent as a songwriter. If you or I wrote “Yesterday” back in the 1960’s, chances are it would have never been heard, except by our close friends. The promotion of the Beatles brought this song to the mainstream, thus becoming a “hit”. I’m sure there are thousands of songs from unknowns that could become hits under the right promotional conditions.

John smile

#1126068 - 03/31/17 05:45 PM Re: Why no study materials for music writing? [Re: John Lawrence Schick]  
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If youve got hit material it will rise to the top.
Have you got any songs like yesterday imagine or I am the walrus. Or smoke on the water etc Even now in today's music if you put those 4 songs on a CD and sent into a major label you would get signed in fact they would fight to get you to sign for them.
What some people have to realise is. There songs may sound good to themselves. But to the record labels and publisher it may sound crap.

Songwriters have to stop blaming other people and start to look at themselves.

Examples
Those 4 songs I mentioned above would get you signed but they wouldn't sound anything like they sound now. They would be reproduced to sound current for today's market.

The way to look at it is wallpaper was big in the 60s
It was big in the 70s but the pattern changed
It was big in the 80s and 90s and it's big now but the pattern is always changing and the old patterns look dated.

If you don't make your songs sound current and learn new ways and new styles then your 60s 70s 80s and 90s wallpaper is never going to sell.

Being a songwriter is all about making hits. Or why bother writing at all.
Whatever business you are in you want to sell your product. If you don't want to sell anything.
Then just be a listener.

#1126069 - 03/31/17 05:47 PM Re: Why no study materials for music writing? [Re: John Lawrence Schick]  
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Mm308 Offline
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If youve got hit material it will rise to the top.
Have you got any songs like yesterday imagine or I am the walrus. Or smoke on the water etc Even now in today's music if you put those 4 songs on a CD and sent into a major label you would get signed in fact they would fight to get you to sign for them.
What some people have to realise is. There songs may sound good to themselves. But to the record labels and publisher it may sound crap.

Songwriters have to stop blaming other people and start to look at themselves.

Examples
Those 4 songs I mentioned above would get you signed but they wouldn't sound anything like they sound now. They would be reproduced to sound current for today's market.

The way to look at it is wallpaper was big in the 60s
It was big in the 70s but the pattern changed
It was big in the 80s and 90s and it's big now but the pattern is always changing and the old patterns look dated.

If you don't make your songs sound current and learn new ways and new styles then your 60s 70s 80s and 90s wallpaper is never going to sell.

Being a songwriter is all about making hits. Or why bother writing at all.
Whatever business you are in you want to sell your product. If you don't want to sell anything.
Then just be a listener.

#1126070 - 03/31/17 06:52 PM Re: Why no study materials for music writing? [Re: Mm308]  
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Originally Posted by Mm308
If youve got hit material it will rise to the top.

Being a songwriter is all about making hits. Or why bother writing at all.
Whatever business you are in you want to sell your product. If you don't want to sell anything.
Then just be a listener.


I think that a lot of what you said was true. I think that some of it isn't.

The structure of pop music is simplistic. I could spend my time breaking it down for what is current and endeavoring to write hits...and if I did, I think that I could get to where I could tailor my stuff for a current artist and turn out songs that he or she could make work...but...without the history of personal relationships and the contacts, no matter how well I write...I give it no real chance. I think that there is a much greater chance that any truly marketable song that I might have would be lifted and altered by someone more connected.

One of my songs was advanced to the next level by NSAI. If that had been Luke Bryan's producer saying "with some work, he'll cut this" ...I'd be all over it
I let the song go and can't even remember the words. Without the relationships (market place), whose paradigm would I shoot for? Song are like little sisters...someone can always find something wrong with them...or right.

So,,,why bother?

I love to write. Not just songs but anything. I don't like trying to write hits because the odds are so stacked against me that I see it as a long road to disappointment. And very possibly, I just don't have the talent. In addition to that, writing a hit is a structured thing....short intro, 3.5 minutes etc. To some of us, that's confining..

Having said all that...I think that you're right. If a person wants to write hits but is writing soupy sentiments to decades old chord patterns and timing...there is no viable hope for that.

Ps...I like Deep Purple. Always liked Ritchie Blackmore and Smoke was and is a giant song...but 'tween you and me...it's not really that good. Just somehow caught fire. Pun intended. Guitar riff and a rumbling base did it...I guess. Words and meaning are virtually unintelligible. It's about a fire across a lake where they were playing...I think. Yet, it is venerable.



Last edited by Martin Lide; 03/31/17 07:23 PM.
#1126071 - 03/31/17 07:56 PM Re: Why no study materials for music writing? [Re: Bugsey]  
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Some good thoughts circulating here

I think John spoke about e word "hit"

He's right, I think a hit is just a song that got lots of exposure. It's not a hit until millions of people hear it, and either love it or hate it, and it sells.

Great songs can be left behind, mediocre songs can get famous. With subjectivity, nobody really knows what a great song is.

All you can do is do YOU really well.

Working on your craft is not just about having a hit. You work on your craft and try to improve because you love writing. Nothing wrong with chasing e dream, but also Nothing wrong with chasing the dream of being great.

That matters to me, I want to be great at it. Because I think I'm good, and know I can stretch it to great

*Even if you score a hit, as a songwriter, the pay might not be as great as you think. I know of two cases, where a songwriter had a hit song cut, and they made 50 k

Nice piece of change, but when you think how unlikely it was that you could be in The position to have a hit, and no telling how much you spent on gear, and demos before you ever had it, it's not a great financial payoff, even having a hit

Having 20 hits, ok, now your talking

I have written many kinds of songs. I've tried cheesy pop, I've tried dead serious folk, I do rock in my sleep, I have written songs with no chorus, songs with nothing but a chorus. I've written songs trying to sound like my heros and songs trying to sound like what the radio was playing. I've written blues, even some classica

Once the songs were done, can't honestly say I tried too hard to have a hit or try to market them

Mostly because I realize it's a fruitless idea

I dont think you can blame just a lack of talent for not having a hit song, you can blame lack of drive and lack of never taking no for an answer, and not working as hard as you possibly can at your craft

But if your only satisfaction is landing the hit, you may never find it

But a hit would be nice too


Last edited by Minstrel80; 03/31/17 08:26 PM.
#1126072 - 03/31/17 08:06 PM Re: Why no study materials for music writing? [Re: Bugsey]  
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@ Martin, I disagree with your smoke on the water assessment

Yes, the guitar riff is the majority of it, but that's rock n roll too.

That simple combination of bar chords, was something only they came up with. The chorus is pretty huge too

Guitar riffs make songs and artists famous, they end up on the rock band and guitar hero games.

its in ac/dc back in black, Metallica, enter sandman, Led Zeppelin heart breaker, the Nuge cat scratch fever,

The clash should I stay or should I go.

Most van halen songs, most stones songs.

I don't call them great songs per se, but these are the songs that make kids say "dad can you buy me a guitar?

Not easy to write a guitar riff that has that kind of power







Last edited by Minstrel80; 03/31/17 08:07 PM.
#1126073 - 03/31/17 09:03 PM Re: Why no study materials for music writing? [Re: Minstrel80]  
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Minstrel...I like smoke. Used to cover it years ago. Liked Lazy better. Loved Hush. Never in a band with a vocalist or the sound that could pull Hush off. To each his own.

Van Halen on the other hand was the sensuality of ZZTOP with monster guitar added. They did some truly great artistic stuff.

"It's all good" wink

#1126074 - 03/31/17 09:47 PM Re: Why no study materials for music writing? [Re: Mm308]  
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Originally Posted by Mm308
If youve got hit material it will rise to the top.
Have you got any songs like yesterday imagine or I am the walrus. Or smoke on the water etc Even now in today's music if you put those 4 songs on a CD and sent into a major label you would get signed in fact they would fight to get you to sign for them.


This is simply not true. Anyone who has ever been in this business knows that connections and luck matter as much as talent. Hits are generated by airplay and promotion, and the majority of media platforms are owned by corporations (the same ones that own the "record" companies in many cases).

Those songs you mentioned were great in their day. This is no guarantee that they would fare well in today's market. That is like saying big band stuff from the 40s would sell now like it did back then. Modern production techniques aren't going to change a swing number into an EDM pop tune and still be THAT tune.

Originally Posted by Mm308

Being a songwriter is all about making hits. Or why bother writing at all.
Whatever business you are in you want to sell your product. If you don't want to sell anything.
Then just be a listener.


Funny, I thought being a songwriter was about WRITING SONGS. I should base my entire outlook on money because that is the only thing that matters? And, if I don't center my existence around the holy cash cow then I should stop writing and just be a music consumer? I THINK NOT

It's a tough business, and you are not going to last long enough to have a hit if you live by your philosophy.

I value the art itself. To me, it is its own means and ends, not just a means to an end.

Peace,
TC

Last edited by TC Perkins; 04/01/17 03:26 PM.

If it has strings I will find a way to play it!

You can hear my tunes at https://soundcloud.com/tc-gypsy
#1126079 - 03/31/17 10:41 PM Re: Why no study materials for music writing? [Re: Bugsey]  
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I understand MMs point of view. At some point you need an audience at least to hear the fruits of your labor. I guess songwriting forums fill that void for people who would never be heard by anyone without it, or the net in general

Back in the day you could write as many songs as you wanted, spend crazy hours fine tuning and recording them, and in the end nobody heard them.

I did that for so long, can't begin to tell you. I have shoe boxes full of cassette tapes with dummy melodies and scratch ideas...(now I use my phone for that purpose)

But it can be a thankless venture, songwriting.

Nobody owes you anything, nobody is obliged to listen.

All you got is your own self esteem and pride.

I understand his point because the return on investment in music/songwriting is ashtonishngly bad.

If I was paid by the hour for the amount of time I put into music, be it learning guitar, learning how to write songs, sitting alone for hours practicing, how many times I pulled over to jot down an idea, or do a quick recording of a song idea on tape or phone

And hours and hours of recording, and re recording, and punching in, and mixing,

But if I was paid by the hour for that, I could have lived very comfortably on that alone. But not only do you not get any pay, you end up spending money to do it!

It's horrible really, lol

But, as was said, you got love it, why the hell else would you do it?

For me, having an audience would be the ultimate, even a regular crowd of 25 people who naybe come to my weekly show, and I dint have to call them to come...lol

There are artists out there who have very humble followings, if even to have 25 real fans showing up at your shows is pretty tough to accomplish





Last edited by Minstrel80; 03/31/17 10:48 PM.
#1126083 - 04/01/17 08:49 AM Re: Why no study materials for music writing? [Re: Bugsey]  
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#1126087 - 04/01/17 12:21 PM Re: Why no study materials for music writing? [Re: Marc Barnette]  
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Originally Posted by Marc Barnette


Very nicely written and a bullseye to the topic here. TFP.

Martin

#1126092 - 04/01/17 03:06 PM Re: Why no study materials for music writing? [Re: Bugsey]  
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I just wanted to point out that there are actually 12 notes in western music. The 7 note limitation applies to staying diatonic to a Major scale for instance.

However, I agree that some people are born with musical tendencies.

For me, music is just always there. A good example of what I mean is improvisation.

If you understand a little music theory (nothing too scary) and you just let it go, see what happens, then you may come up with ultra-cool melodic ideas that can even become the foundation for actual songs in their own right.

Its kind of like letting the music be in control, as opposed to you trying to harness the music.

#1126095 - 04/01/17 03:30 PM Re: Why no study materials for music writing? [Re: Toby Barns]  
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TC Perkins Online content
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Originally Posted by Toby Barns

... A good example of what I mean is improvisation.

If you understand a little music theory (nothing too scary) and you just let it go, see what happens, then you may come up with ultra-cool melodic ideas that can even become the foundation for actual songs in their own right.

Its kind of like letting the music be in control, as opposed to you trying to harness the music.


I find that improvising is one of the keys to writing music. Sometimes just noodling on the guitar, or singing nonsense in the kitchen can blossom into a full fledged song.

Peace,
TC


If it has strings I will find a way to play it!

You can hear my tunes at https://soundcloud.com/tc-gypsy
#1126097 - 04/01/17 04:02 PM Re: Why no study materials for music writing? [Re: Bugsey]  
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Yes TC, and another plus about improv is that you really can just let your mind go. I love the feeling of hearing the notes but NOT thinking too much about them.

#1126109 - 04/02/17 03:03 AM Re: Why no study materials for music writing? [Re: Bugsey]  
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I always looked toward the net as more free wheeling and given to different slants. But this site is more trad and standard. Everyone's approach is different. Would bode well having a forum for just standards. I always preferred improvising but I can't be understood as well without some formidible sense of foundation.

Matt

#1126112 - 04/02/17 06:52 AM Re: Why no study materials for music writing? [Re: Bugsey]  
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You do have to know the rules before you can break them, so to speak.

Really though, no matter what level you are at as far as playing your musical instrument, there is loads of information out there. Some of it may be wrong, some may be poorly presented, some may be free and some you may want to purchase.

It basically comes down to how much of your own time and work that you are able and willing to dedicate to improving your level.

On the other hand, you definitely do not have to have a massive amount of knowledge about the intricacies of music theory in order to create appealing music and songs.

Look at Bob Dylan, many of his songs are based upon fairly basic guitar chords.

Look at Nirvana, same thing.

Those guys did not need to go too far into complex music, and they created FANTASTIC songs.

With all the info at all of our fingertips, I believe that almost anybody can learn enough about making music to start writing songs.

#1126128 - 04/03/17 06:12 AM Re: Why no study materials for music writing? [Re: Bugsey]  
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Everett Adams Online content
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Who was it that said, if you use more than four chords in a country song, you are showing off. grin

#1126129 - 04/03/17 06:54 AM Re: Why no study materials for music writing? [Re: Everett Adams]  
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Originally Posted by Everett Adams
Who was it that said, if you use more than four chords in a country song, you are showing off. grin

Hey Everett. Well, Hank Williams said "If a song can't be written in 20 minutes, it ain't worth writing".

John smile

#1126160 - 04/03/17 06:16 PM Re: Why no study materials for music writing? [Re: Mm308]  
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Originally Posted by Mm308
If youve got hit material it will rise to the top.
Have you got any songs like yesterday imagine or I am the walrus. Or smoke on the water etc Even now in today's music if you put those 4 songs on a CD and sent into a major label you would get signed in fact they would fight to get you to sign for them.
What some people have to realise is. There songs may sound good to themselves. But to the record labels and publisher it may sound crap.

Songwriters have to stop blaming other people and start to look at themselves.

Examples
Those 4 songs I mentioned above would get you signed but they wouldn't sound anything like they sound now. They would be reproduced to sound current for today's market.

The way to look at it is wallpaper was big in the 60s
It was big in the 70s but the pattern changed
It was big in the 80s and 90s and it's big now but the pattern is always changing and the old patterns look dated.

If you don't make your songs sound current and learn new ways and new styles then your 60s 70s 80s and 90s wallpaper is never going to sell.

Being a songwriter is all about making hits. Or why bother writing at all.
Whatever business you are in you want to sell your product. If you don't want to sell anything.
Then just be a listener.


I've actually had discussions with people who had credits on platinum albums. I can say with no uncertainty that they would disagree with you. I highly doubt that Deep Purple would have as good a chance of making a hit now as they did back then. With population growth and the Internet, there is exponentially more competition and marketing is now more of a factor than ever. It's harder to get the exposure needed to rise to a level where your target market has the opportunity to enjoy your product than it was forty years ago. I'm in sales. I've seen many products superior to what's popular come and go. I've also seen where relationships often are more of a factor in determining the outcome of the offering than the quality of the offering. If you'd attend any quality music convention(that's about the business of music) you will hear the term "networking". A lot of times the ones who are better at networking than they are at songwriting get the opportunity. So many hit level songs don't make it. Believing that hit material will always rise to the top is naive. If one can live with that truth, songwriting can be the enjoyable gift that it is.

#1126164 - 04/03/17 08:14 PM Re: Why no study materials for music writing? [Re: summeoyo]  
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Originally Posted by summeoyo
Originally Posted by Mm308
If youve got hit material it will rise to the top.
Have you got any songs like yesterday imagine or I am the walrus. Or smoke on the water etc Even now in today's music if you put those 4 songs on a CD and sent into a major label you would get signed in fact they would fight to get you to sign for them.
What some people have to realise is. There songs may sound good to themselves. But to the record labels and publisher it may sound crap.

Songwriters have to stop blaming other people and start to look at themselves.

Examples
Those 4 songs I mentioned above would get you signed but they wouldn't sound anything like they sound now. They would be reproduced to sound current for today's market.

The way to look at it is wallpaper was big in the 60s
It was big in the 70s but the pattern changed
It was big in the 80s and 90s and it's big now but the pattern is always changing and the old patterns look dated.

If you don't make your songs sound current and learn new ways and new styles then your 60s 70s 80s and 90s wallpaper is never going to sell.

Being a songwriter is all about making hits. Or why bother writing at all.
Whatever business you are in you want to sell your product. If you don't want to sell anything.
Then just be a listener.


I've actually had discussions with people who had credits on platinum albums. I can say with no uncertainty that they would disagree with you. I highly doubt that Deep Purple would have as good a chance of making a hit now as they did back then. With population growth and the Internet, there is exponentially more competition and marketing is now more of a factor than ever. It's harder to get the exposure needed to rise to a level where your target market has the opportunity to enjoy your product than it was forty years ago. I'm in sales. I've seen many products superior to what's popular come and go. I've also seen where relationships often are more of a factor in determining the outcome of the offering than the quality of the offering. If you'd attend any quality music convention(that's about the business of music) you will hear the term "networking". A lot of times the ones who are better at networking than they are at songwriting get the opportunity. So many hit level songs don't make it. Believing that hit material will always rise to the top is naive. If one can live with that truth, songwriting can be the enjoyable gift that it is.


What he said.....


Brian Austin Whitney
Founder
Just Plain Folks
jpfolkspro@aol.com
Skype: Brian Austin Whitney

"Don't sit around and wait for success to come to you... it doesn't know the way." -Brian Austin Whitney


#1126165 - 04/03/17 08:21 PM Re: Why no study materials for music writing? [Re: Bugsey]  
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That is very true about the networking versus talent. I knew a songwriter who was really far less creative or good at many elements of songwriting than plenty of other people's work. They were okay, but they got a gig on the Row because they were better at networking.

It is sort of strange because with so many people wanting to make something with a songwriting career, the publishers are understandably overwhelmed. So its like the squeakiest wheel gets the oil!

In this particular instance, that writer did not last long in that gig. They did however learn a lot so now their songs have better qualities about them because of the experience they gained working with other writers.

The end result of it all is that now they are just another artist out there, playing fairly basic gigs on fairly basic regional circuits. They put out albums on all the sites and have a career. They moved on with what they learned.

That's actually pretty cool. The songs are very generic though and in no way do they stand out. They are not getting rich either.

So even though there are people who have better songs, that is likely not enough without getting a rare opportunity by getting your foot in the door.

I think that "better songs" means something very different today than what it used to mean.

I am not so sure that highly melodic songs like "I am the Walrus" would fit in today. I think it is TOO melodic and too AMAZINGLY creative for the public at large.

It would have to be really dumbed down, put to a repetitive drum sample, the melody would need to have most of the life squeezed out of it.

Then it might appeal to the wallpaper of the month crowd.

#1126176 - 04/04/17 07:18 AM Re: Why no study materials for music writing? [Re: John Lawrence Schick]  
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,NL Canada
Originally Posted by John Lawrence Schick
Originally Posted by Everett Adams
Who was it that said, if you use more than four chords in a country song, you are showing off. grin

Hey Everett. Well, Hank Williams said "If a song can't be written in 20 minutes, it ain't worth writing".

John smile


I did not know that John, but some of my best songs were written in 20 minutes or less, but some that took much longer to write turned out OK too, but some not so good. You have to grab them as they are floating by to get the best results. LOL

#1126820 - 04/21/17 10:15 AM Re: Why no study materials for music writing? [Re: Toby Barns]  
Joined: Apr 2017
Posts: 18
sjames17 Offline
Casual Observer
sjames17  Offline
Casual Observer

Joined: Apr 2017
Posts: 18
Originally Posted by Toby Barns
You do have to know the rules before you can break them, so to speak.

Really though, no matter what level you are at as far as playing your musical instrument, there is loads of information out there. Some of it may be wrong, some may be poorly presented, some may be free and some you may want to purchase.

It basically comes down to how much of your own time and work that you are able and willing to dedicate to improving your level.

On the other hand, you definitely do not have to have a massive amount of knowledge about the intricacies of music theory in order to create appealing music and songs.

Look at Bob Dylan, many of his songs are based upon fairly basic guitar chords.

Look at Nirvana, same thing.

Those guys did not need to go too far into complex music, and they created FANTASTIC songs.

With all the info at all of our fingertips, I believe that almost anybody can learn enough about making music to start writing songs.


Well I think there is a difference between performers/bands and songwriters

When you are a songwriter only, all you have to offer is your song.

As a performer or a band, there are other things in the picture, like a great vocalist, great sound, great musicians, great productions, great live performances, vibe, energy, look, chicks screaming.

If Kurt Cobain was just a songwriter, , and never was a performer or in a ground breaking rock band,
would he be a hit songwriter? I doubt it. He might have been a hit songwriter after his nirvana success, because he already was a brand name in the industry,
and had endless amounts of contacts

As a songwriter, you can't blow people away with your guitar sound, or your front man appeal, or your opinions, or your look or vibe, you have to catch a different audience, that's the artist who needs songs.

I agree about music not needing to be complex. Trying to improve your songwriting is less about trying to be complex, but more about trying to be authentic. A lot of three chord writers say more with three chords and few words than others do with the full tilt.

Dylan wrote a lot of musically simple songs, but he knew how to frame his characters, he understood what music was needed to bring his ideas to life. Alot of copy cats

try to do the same thing, strum a few chords, play a harp, but they dont make an impact like he did.

Even when using three chords, there are still good things and bad things you can do with them.

The music supports the lyrics and vice verse.

Sure there is plenty of music, especially in rock. where craft and art does not matter. The attitude, sound, and charisma is what sells it

But can you do that as a songwriter or somebody trying to write for film?

I can perform my stuff, but I think I got more interested in writing because I realized my window of opportunity of being a rock star was gone.

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