Jump to content

Blogs

Our community blogs

  1. Resisting standardization is a natural tendency for creative types.

    We want to be different…original, right?

    In part, that’s why we do what we do!

    The thing is, we sometimes allow that desire-for-different to become an obstacle to our songwriting.

    Case-in-point the never-ending battle over lengthy song intros. 

    • You say it’s too long, I say I’m exercising creative license.
    • You say it’s commercially unacceptable, I tell you I want it to be different because standardization stifles creativity.
    • I say it’s too long, you say “who am I to dictate how you write your song”? It’s your song…it should be your choice.
    • I tell you that long intros challenge the reasonable limits of a listener’s attention span…you say that pleasing the average listener is less important than living up to your own creative standards.
    • I tell you it’s too long, you tell me you’ve heard that criticism so often you’re numb to it. 

    These types of exchanges have become virtual expectations on songwriting forums around the world. Over the past decade, I’ve watched this “intro” situation devolve.

    Suggestions which were once perceived as well-meaning, are now considered white noise. More times than not, recipients respond defensively or not at all.

     

    Some might say – “good, I’m sick to death of hearing about my intros anyway”!

    The thing is, I fear it’s the intros themselves that have suffered. We now throw the baby out with the bath water.

    Too many writers are ignoring the intros, as well as the advice.

     

    I contend that the importance of the song introduction is greatly underestimated.

    Remember back to your childhood…when your parents told you about the importance of first impressions? Well the song intro is your opportunity to make a first impression on your listener!

    And…just as your parent told you back then, you may not get a 2nd chance.

    Regardless of how creatively fulfilled the intro makes you feel, it’ the listener’s impression of it that really counts If they become bored with it too soon, they’re likely to turn it off.

    How do I know this?

    Because (news flash) that’s what I do!   Absolutely!

    Yes…I’ve been a songwriter 20+ years, a musician 30+…a listener for my entire life and if I begin listening to a 6-minute song on the boards with a long, terrible intro…I turn it off.

    Now imagine what an ordinary listener does!

     

    As songwriters, we can delude ourselves into believing whatever we want. Countless people over the years have told me that living up to their own creative standards is their primary goal.

    And I might buy that load of crap if it weren’t for the fact that they’re all SongStuff members. The vast majority of whom post material on the boards, in either the critique or showcase sections.

    2nd news flash - If a major portion of your creative life is spent making your material publicly available for listening & feedback, then you do care what others think of your efforts.

    You may not be comfortable admitting that to yourselves, but you do. On some level everyone does!

     

    With that in mind, here's a few suggestions I hope you'll find helpful:

    1.      If you insist on crafting lengthy introductions, please make them interesting. Repetition of a basic chord progression, with basic percussion & a synth pad underneath does not qualify as interesting.

    2.      There’s an art to creating an intro (arranging).

    ·         Give it a defined structure

    ·         Build in some form of melodic movement

    ·         It should differ from your other song sections, yet be similar enough to convey the impression of a cohesive whole. In other words, sound like they belong together.

    ·         It should resolve into the body of your song. The change from intro-to-song body should flow naturally. It shouldn’t sound abrupt or forced.

    1. If you can’t come up with something interesting & distinctive, do yourself a favor…keep it short (15-20 sec.). Contrary to popular opinion, length does NOT = creativity. 

     

    Last, but not least, I’ve including 7 sample intros taken from my own body of work.

    They range in length from :17 to :54. Each sample ends where the vocal (body of the song) begins.

     

    *BTW for anyone wondering, NO…I don’t think I’m God’s gift to songwriting.

    I've included these samples for 2 reasons - 1) as examples of the things described above 2) to demonstrate that I practice what I preach.  

     

    Intro Audio Files:

    00_Dont Lie To Yourself_Tom Hoffman.mp3

    00_Slow Down_Tom Hoffman.mp3

    00_The Usual Suspects_Tom Hoffman.mp3

    00_Pain For Gain_Tom Hoffman.mp3

    00_I Hope To Be-Tom Hoffman.mp3

    Sunday Christian Intro snippet.wav

    00_Middle Class Blues_Tom Hoffman.mp3

    If you noticed, Middle Class Blues is the only intro that would qualify as long (by board standards). Even though it's under one minute, it begins with the hook line (title). That lets the listener know immediately that the song will contain vocals. My advice...never assume that they know. Many people, my wife included, have no interest whatsoever in instrumental songs.

    For many listeners, it's all about the vocal.  

     

    Tom Hoffman

    Songstuff member profile
    http://www.tune-smith.com
    http://www.youtube.com/user/DrumStuffTH

     

  2. Songstuff
    Latest Entry

    By Songstuff,

    IsoVox 2 Review

     

    186-300x225.jpg

     

    Getting a good vocal sound takes a lot of preparation. The size and shape of te room you record in, the ambient noise from electronic and other sources. In a home studio environment the issues are multiplied. For a start, not everyone has a dedicated studio, and even less are acoustically treated to both reduce spill onto recordings, and spill from the studio to the outside, or to shape the sound recorded by dealing with hot frequencies and reverberation.

     

    IsoVox have presented a solution, the IsoVox 2. Read the Songstuff IsoVox 2 Review.

  3. Hi All,

    I'm wondering if there are any country composers/singers on Songstuff?

     

     

  4. My first G1Xon came with a faulty LCD screen which made it impossible for me to read or edit the effects.  I returned and used the money for another purchased via Sweetwater.

     

    After many years of promising myself I'd go back to Busking I finally have.  I needed a good multi-effects unit that was battery powered for situations which I wouldn't have an outlet for.   The G1Xon is a mixed bag of nuts that... for all of it's faults still fulfills the requirements I had for such a unit.  

     

    The unit can be powered by 9 volt adapter (not included) 4 AA batteries or USB.  At home I use the USB power supply as it saves on batteries.  I haven't gone through my infinite supply of wall warts to find a suitable 9V match.    Along the back is also the guitar line in and a stereo 1/4 jack that can be used as headphones or mono out to an amp. And pin plug mini stereo in.

     

    The top of the unit has Up/Down pedals primarily used for scrolling through patches but also can be used to access the tunor or looper and rhythm play/stop controls.  Along with an expression pedal (what separates a G1on from a G1Xon)  Above the pedals are the controls.  A small square LCD screen Home Button / Value knob Menu, Rhythm/Looper button a 4 way series of buttons for editing Effects chains.  It has 100 effects and amp sims. The unit allows for up to 5 effects simultaneously in any order which can come in quite handy.

     

    Before going on it's important to remember that this is a budget effects processor selling for roughly $70.00 USD (53.00 £).   And while it does fulfill my requirement of being a battery powered pedal board with lots of effects which are fairly faithful to the original sounds still the unit has much to be desired.

     

    The tuner is accessed by pushing both up and down buttons at once.  It's easy to read and very accurate.

    The patches are laid out in 10 banks (A~J) of 10 presets (0~9) The bank/patch is highly visible from a standing position.  However It is nearly impossible to see the preset name from the board sitting on the floor.  If you want to use this unit live you may wish to consider adding the patch value to your setlist so you can call it up by A7 or G5).   I had a chance to quickly go through all the presets.  None have song or artist name attached to them.  Generally I found myself trying out a few chords or a lick and asking myself what does this tone sound like.  In any current multi-effect processor song names or artists names become patch names for easy identification.  The names were so generic it was hard to get a good feel of what was being used and it required deep editing simply to find the amp model.  That being said the tone is overall.  Punchy loud and clear If you have the unit on the floor and are using humbuckers.  However if you work with editing the sounds on your desk so you can see what you are editing the feedback from poor shielding becomes very apparent.  I know it's marketed as an inexpensive unit and production costs must be set at a minimum but still it's annoying.  Another annoying thing is the accuracy of levels.  Going from either a clean small amp setting to a high gain one has huge volume spikes.  No Output Level knob Dammit if only the single knob could be used as a level control.  I was constantly reaching over to my amp to either bring up or bring down the listening level.  

     

    No Software Editor - All editing must be done from the top of the unit.  The usb is only for power and updating the firmware.  The firmware tool supplied by zoom didn't recognize the unit and so didn't work.  This means there is little in the way of a patch sharing community which would be really handy in recreating famous sounds.  Instead you have to manually via various screens, buttons and one knob make all of your adjustments.

    There is no separate allocation for User and Preset.  Once you have changed a preset it is changed for good.  While there is a Swap for shifting one preset to another it's buried in the global settings and hard to use.  If you want the preset of B5 in a different location because you have something else that needs to go there you have to dig pretty deep into the editing.  For the hobbyist who wants to spend hours of fun trying to dial in the right tone it may be a treat.  For the professional or simply the person who wants to call up a familiar tone without work forget it.  

     

    No Soundcard Functionality.  The USB does not send or receive audio.  It's useless for re-amping from your daw.

     

    It's no Line 6 product or AxeFX or Kemper that's for sure.

     

    Editing manually is actually quite easy using the controls on the top.  Just read the manual and then use the combination of knob, 4-way buttons and enter button.  Escaping from editing is as easy as pressing the Home button.  While you can't simply download a patch and install it in there are many famous sounds at Guitar Patches which you can follow along and manually edit into your device.  http://guitarpatches.com/patches.php?unit=G1on&sort=&page=1  They do also have more than a few which are default settings.  Which means if you want to go back to the factory settings you can manually dial them back in.  The amp sims, effects and cab sims are to be praised overall.  They are wonderful recreations that aren't always that faithful to the original which isn't a bad thing.  Many guitar amps don't have a presence control in real life.  Presence while not a mix level control brings back the tonal character of the instrument and adds a little bit of "sweetness" or airy flavor to the tone at the end of the signal chain.  This is especially important when playing in many situations from dark rooms to using smaller amps and trying to fill the air.  

     

    In summary it's a very nice sounding unit that may not be for everyone.  The fact that it's battery powered so it can be used in busking situations or where you simply don't need another cable on the floor make it a win.  Sure I still think about a Line 6 Firehawk FX for the home/studio/stage.  But a Firehawk would not be suitable for a busking situation.

     

    I've resolved an issue with the usb settings which allows me to update the firmware.  As well  some crafty software engineer not associated with zoom has created an app.   While the app doesn't allow for visual patch editing  it does allow for a simple patch exchange and a patch exchange forum for zoom product users.  This is great.  As all you need do is drag the patch from a post and place it into the app window where the banks/patches are stored.  It automatically loads into the hardware.  Saving much time having to program everything on screen.

     

     

  5. Rudi
    Latest Entry

    I took early retirement by means of voluntary redundancy today. The consultation was last Thursday and my employment ended today. Said my goodbyes to some great workmates and took all my 'stuff' home. It looks weird. All this stuff that doesn't belong in the house is here. Not just tools & books, but works mug, cutlery and tea caddy etc.

     

    I've worked with some of these fellows for more than 30 years. Its pretty emotional, and leaving is a bittersweet experience. I will meet up with most of them in a weeks time anyway for a dinner. Another retiree, from a month ago, will be there too.

     

    I don't ever expect to set my alarm for 6.am again. Nor work 12 hours in a day. There is plenty to do at home. All the stuff I tried to do but never finished. In fine weather I will be out trying to sort out the garden. When its inclement, I'll be inside decorating. When I dont want to work, I'll indulge in my music. Outside I'll continue (with more regularity) both my karate & dance classes. That will get me out 4 times a week. I hope to meet up with family & friends more regularly as well.

     

    I have engaged an independent financial adviser to look into my pension options. I met with a couple of them, but this one was recommended to me and he's been helpful already.

     

    So many conflicting feelings right now. Happy, sad, excited, tired...

     

  6. http://www.mahesh-music.com/listening-habits-for-a-musician/

     

    As a songwriter (and you will see if you do listen to the recent music I've put out on my SoundCloud or Youtube), my songs are quite melancholic and well, 'singer-songwriter'y.

     

    But the music I'm listening to is not along the same lines.

     

    I listen to a lot of RnB, Neo-Soul, Blues, a bit of Jazz music and more. That's usually my playlist that would keep me going on a daily basis. Sure, I do indulge myself in singer-songwriters every now and then especially when new music is released or I find a new artist that I enjoy; and I do consider John Mayer and Damien Rice my biggest influences. But they aren't on my playlist unless there's new music. In fact, Frank Sinatra, Ray Charles and Stevie Wonder have been huge influences for me as a musician and yet, their traces may not be easily found in the music that I do. It's always interested me to understand how this works. And I realised that our listening ears and musician ears may not necessarily be the same thing.

     

    When you are listening to a song, you get drawn to the melodies at times, sometimes the rhythm or sometimes the groove. And the words sometimes catch your ear and you get instantly addicted to it. I highly suggest that you recognise and be mindful of these decisions your mind makes. When you listen to a song that you really like. Ask yourself why you really like it. Go through the melody, dance to the groove, sing out the chorus if that is catchy. Enjoy it differently each time and notice it. Learn and try to recognise where your enjoyment for a particular piece of music is coming from. Grow that quality in you. Grow that awareness in you and it WILL help you greatly in your own creative journey through music!

    It has been helping me lately and I've still a way to go!

     

    Some of the artists I've been enjoying lately!

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

  7. What happened? Have I really been too tired to write? Ugh! Maybe it's because I've been busy, distracted, and uninspired. Perhaps the few projects I've been working on have been enough...but I really do want to write. There's a song on the tip of my pencil just waiting for me to find the time to get it to paper.

     

    I wrote three songs for a specific project. I'd like to do two more for it. Somehow writing for someone else isn't as rewarding to me. When I write for me my brain goes on this journey like nothing else! It's hard to explain. I've noticed that when I help with other people's songs my brain functions much more structured. or hesitant. maybe uncertain? I wonder if anyone else has every had this happen?

     

    Ah well, in time it will all be worth it.

  8. When I was first creating music as a teen, I would do whatever I felt when I mixed, I had no fear, no method, just feel.  None of these mixes were as they should be, but many of them were very vibey.  Then I met a producer who mentored me 5 years and taught me all kinds of things about mixing.  None were very easy to implement, but his ideas of sonic correctness, creating space, making room, what eq does, what makes a good mix, what makes a bad mix etc.  These ideas went whirling through my head, I decided "he makes good productions, he knows what he's talking about" and began implementing such ideas when I mixed.  I'm not saying these ideas were bad, but they took over, and I lost something.
     

    My mixes just got worse, and worse, and worse, I began to fear mixing, feel it was never ending, and never release my songs, I am still kind of at this phase, but I'm nearing the end of it.  Recently, I've begun asking God to show me what it is I'm missing in my mixes, and whether or not you believe in the source this is how He has been changing my thought patterns and I'm hearing improvement.  I feel like rather than the rigid philosophies that my producer taught me, the philosophies I get through faith are more life engaging and freeing.  So here are some things I believe I have learned.  They are true for me, and apply to me, decide for yourself if they may be true for you.  

     

    1.  Do not FEAR your controls and do not believe in "perfection".  There is no perfection, there are vibes and you are pulling them out of the frequencies you have to work with.  If you strive for perfection you will nitpick and pull yourself out of a creative and inspired mindset and into a scientific and rigid one.  Fool around, play with the controls, have fun, see what can be done.  You can't screw up what isn't right yet, just be sure to remember anything you may want to get back to before you tinker with it.  

     

    2.  PAINT.  Every sound has a shape, a thickness, a weight, a color, a coolness a warmth, a tone, use these to paint a picture.  Rather than focusing on one single instrument at a time and thinking "How can I bring that out" or "I want to hear more of the umph of this sound" or trying to emulate things you imagined in your brain, try to listen as a whole and paint a picture.  Once you get it in the ball park volume wise, what kind of picture do you have?  Is it flat?  Hollow?  Not giving you a feeling?  Boomy?  What do your ears want to hear, and I don't mean idealistically.  It's not what your brain wanted to hear when you wrote the song, or imagines on the radio, what does your brain want to hear from the real sounds coming out of your speakers.  

     

    examples:  There's no rhythm, I'm not feeling the beat.  It all sounds apart from each other, there's no congruency.  My voice is piercing.  

     

    3.  MIX FROM THE HEART.  If you are trying to emulate something you've heard or a band you want to "beat" or your motivation is to be the most "slammin" or "poppin" or whatever it is, you are probably not being very realistic and not getting very good mixes.  Center yourself, be honest, quench pride, now listen, and pull out something that is compelling.  This is your chance to make yourself feel something from your creation, come to that with reverence, awe that you are allowed to do something so expressive and wonderful and now see what can be done!  See what can be done!

     

    4.  LEAVE NOTHING OUT.  Keep a watchful eye over your whole creation, don't let anything go left amiss, it's easy to think guitar and bass or voice and piano are all there is and then Mr. Hi Hat or Ms. Snare are destroying your whole world.  Be conscious of your entire creation from the commanding guitar solo to the sprinkles of a shaker.  You can liken this to the love you would put into fine cooking or building a home, love your entire mix.  And if you don't love a part?  Get it out, and replace it with something you do love.  

     

    5.  KNOW WHEN TO QUIT.  Your brain is a divinely created machine, but it is still a machine and one that isn't even functioning at high capacity!  (various reasons, wrong thinking, state of the environment, health etc)   Sometimes the desire to finish is so strong that we keep going even when we know we aren't having fun, aren't feeling it, we're tight.  It's always good to stop then, even if it's 5 or 10 minutes, just be peaceful, let your brain stop straining, get back to the essence of your song, all of mixing should be a joy, if it's a chore, stop.  

     

    6.  LISTEN HONESTLY.   Sometimes I find myself mixing as I think about other things, mixing but focusing on the sounds and not the feeling, and the whole time I'm telling myself "this is sounding pretty good, it's going alright, I'm making progress"  but in reality I'm aimlessly making changes, mixing but not LISTENING.  You've got to let your song take you on a journey, that means learning to space out, not having expectations, not dwelling on the last moment, not anticipating the next, but LISTENING.  This is also a huge part of hearing the voice of God but that's for another blog and possibly another forum ;)  But yes these principles apply to life but they apply to mixing as well.  Being in the moment, having a still heart, closing your eyes and being taken off on a journey, this is how you will know if you are really getting what you want.   I think sometimes it's easier to just pretend the journey is going how we want and not listen for fear of disappointment, but if you have faith you can correct the problems and achieve your goal, it's the only way to truly know what's wrong.  You have to be unafraid to close your eyes and objectively listen and see if you are happy with the journey you've created, if not, don't fear the correcting process, it's how you grow as a mixer.  You tinker, honestly, and are unafraid to acknowledge the flaws.  And DON'T be afraid to re record, sometimes you can't make a sound work because the sound ITSELF doesn't work.  

     

    7.  KNOW WHEN TO QUIT FOREVER.  A mix can always be changed and made better, but usually by the time you have something you can really live with (if you're being honest with yourself and it gives you good feels every time you hear it) the audience would rather just have it than have you tinkering away forever.  At some point you have to consider it good enough to put out there, and this is usually when you are already happy but your brain keeps wanting to go "weeeeell... I mean maybe I could get that just a liiiiiiittttllleee more" or when you start to think it's ready but say "well it doesn't sound like this band..." or you get fearful people will compare it to *blank*.  At that point?  Just put it out, if there's something wrong with it the people may tell you, but who cares, we get better at mixing by sharing mixes, you won't bust out of nowhere with perfect sounding songs, you will grow and grow and grow forever and ever.


    Amen.  

     

    Most churchy mixing post ever hahahahahahahahahaahahahahahahahahahahahhahaahahahahaha Deal with it.  

     

    I might make more of these as more come, let me know what you think my friends.  

  9. Steve Mueske
    Latest Entry

    I just posted the first render of a new experimental electronic piece called The Spiral. I actually started it awhile ago and let it sit. I have a lot of ideas for it but want to give it a breather for a few days first.

     

     

  10. Joe Hoe

    • 1
      entry
    • 1
      comment
    • 309
      views

    Recent Entries

    Conceptual Writing workshop 101.

     

     

     

     

     

    DEFINING CONCEPTUAL WRITING

    Conceptual writing is a form of “song writing” that involves a specific goal or message. Songs that are “conceptually based” are often built around subjects that are very important to the lyricist. These songs are normally intended to be very serious in nature and are meant to send a powerful message to the listener. Conceptual writing is not just for musicians looking to push an agenda. It is also popular for musicians looking to create a more “fantastical” or “whimsical" world. This is because “conceptual” songs often need to have a world “created” around them in order to be successful. The trick is using descriptive words and phrases that will trigger a visual concept clearly into your audience’s head.      

     

    In order to begin writing with C.W. you must first have a “concept.” A concept is simply the driving idea of your story. It can be a person, situation, opinion, belief or anything you can think of that you passionately want to speak about. Great concepts can come from anywhere, a life event, movie, dream, video game or a personal experience.

     

    For my example, the song I’m going to create is about “someone having a hard time fitting in.”

    Once you have decided on your concept, the next step is to begin fleshing out the most significant parts of the story. Begin by answering the questions below in writing, in as few words as possible AND as precisely as possible. 

    ·           Who is your protagonist?

     

    ·           What is the plight or situation your protagonist is facing?

     

     Now that you have you protagonist, it’s time to create a basic back story and a brief summary of the history for your character. Focus on the use of descriptions using metaphors, analogies and similes to flush out the elements in the story. If you find yourself having trouble defining your protagonist, start by asking yourself questions someone else might ask you about your character.

     

    What do they look like?

    What kind of personality do they have?

     

    Answering simple sample questions like these will give you building blocks that will help you flesh out, develop and most importantly help the listener connect to your song.

     

    Finally, gleam out the most descriptive and exciting words to begin the creation of the song. Look for words that are empathic and vividly describe the protagonist’s world as colorfully as possible.

     

     

    MY BACK STORY EXMAPLE:                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      A young male is constantly being forced to move from town to town because his parents job keeps causing them to move.

     

    PROBLEMS THAT ARISE:

    He has problems making and keeping friends. He becomes socially awkward as well as guarded. He becomes distant and reclusive. Is often lonely and depressed. Has strong feelings of being different and misunderstood.

     

     

     THE LYRICAL & CREATION POCESS

     

    So far in this section I have been going over how to develop and flesh out the most important elements of your song. The reason this is done is so we can highlight the most significant and interesting aspects of your story. Remember, you are attempting to write more than just a song, you are trying to convey emotions to a total stranger. Your job as a writer is to create a world for the listener that takes that person out of their world and into a world you created with your voice, mind and music.

     

    It is now time to begin writing lyrics using your notes and work from above.

    Keep your writing short and precise. Focus on writing one line at a time as if each sentence is it’s own individual story about your protagonist or a significant event in their life.

     

    SONG STRUCTURE & THEORY

     

    I am a strong believer that you do not have to construct your song with the traditional beginning, middle, end approach that most institutions teach. Songs themselves do not have to be in exact chronological order and they don’t even have to make perfect sense from a literal perspective.

    The goal of your music should always be to connect to the listener by “conveying the emotions” that will stimulate the mood and feelings you are trying to convey.

     

    With that being said, for this method you are going to start dividing your work into three categories

     

    1.         Refrain

     Hook

     Chorus

     

    It is advised that you do not try to commit too much effort into writing just a chorus or just the refrain at this time. You will learn that the songwriting process is a fluid process with constantly moving and interchangeable parts. Meaning, a piece you originally wrote to be the intro, might actually work as the refrain, chorus, hook, etc.

     

    Now as a rule, most people say the best way to tell a good story is to start from the beginning. That is because people get confused easily when having a lot of details thrown at them at one time. Keep in mind “starting from the beginning” is a relative term and different people involved in a “situation” will have differentiating opinion as to when everything started. To keep your listener from getting confused, it is my advice to start with either introducing your character or the “plight” first.

     

     

    THE CREATION OF VOCAL LINES & MELODIES

     

    To continue on at this point of the songwriting process, you must have a backing track, riff, beat

    or at least a prepared vocal melody to sing over.  This is the point in the songwriting process where we take a long look at all of the ideas we fleshed out and begin to build verses, refrains, hooks etc. We have the subject; we know the plight, now its time to put his journey into words.

     

    If you can not seem to find the right words and you are stuck with the lyrical portion of the writing process, play the backing track, riff or melody on a loop a few times. Begin to hum or sing notes over the backing track or melody without using real words. This is a great way to begin building the vocal lines and defining the “sound” for the song you are going for. (The challenge here is, you will have to replace the sounds you sang with real words that contain the same syllable count. Some people find this method to be effective and easy while others find it near impossible.)

     

    *Try this fun exercise to get a better understanding of the method I am trying to teach.

     

    Think of one your favorite songs, make sure it’s one you know well. Now, hum the melody to yourself. Next, try I want you to make the song funny by changing the words. (Basically, think of any song from Weird Al Yankovic and boom! There you go, you just wrote lyrics for a song!

     

    Not your traditional form of teaching, right? Did it work? And, there you go.

     Unfortunately, I have gone about as far I we can without personally knowing your project and getting into complicated and boring music theory. Hopefully, this workshop helped give you some tools and new ideas to help you in your songwriting journey.

     

    Thanks for reading.  

  11. Hey y’all!

     

    •  

    Just wanted to share some thoughts…

    When I first started my career as a musician I was totally in to the electric bass. I did nothing but practice scales, playing techniques, walking lines, slap bass, motown lines, disco grooves – just about everything there was to learn. I studied for about 6 years to be as good as I could get and I remember me and my class mates being up all night jamming around on all kinds of music styles – jazz, fusion, experimental. It was absolutely wonderful:)
    Of course, all along this journey I always came back to my roots: alternative rock, hard rock, post grunge, indie rock/pop – the Foo Fighters, Pearl Jam, Queens of the Stone Age, the Smashing Pumpkins, the Killers and so on… music that just makes me feel alive!!

    But… what I would like to say here is that I had absolutely no interest in lyrics! I was always much more listening for the energy in songs, what the band together as a whole (lead singer included) could communicate as a soundscape, and that said I didn’t have the need to focus on the lyrics but much more on the melody that was sung. I don’t know if any of you have had that same experience?

    Over the years I’ve been focusing more on my voice, taking lessons, getting interested in different techniques, and above all I’ve found out how fantastic it is for me to express myself with words!! It’s just the best, I love it when I’m in front of an audience (doesn’t matter if it’s 60 people or a thousand people, the feeling is the same. And since I’ve discovered this to be the most important thing for me I’ve also grown a huge interest in lyrics. I write all my lyrics by myself and have found it to be really satisfying to tell stories about this and that. Sometimes it’s about things that I’ve experienced and sometimes it’s just a thought that comes to my mind or something someone tells me that I can elaborate on.

    Since I’ve grown this interest in lyrics I just wanted to share some lines from songs that I think is just amazing and has inspired me a lot. It would be awesome if you’d like to share your thoughts on what the lyrics in songs means to you and maybe if you got any particular song writers that you find to stand out… or anything else you want to share:)

     

    Lake of Fire
    This one I actually thought for a long time to be an original song by Nirvana. I even heard stories about how Kurt Cobain and Krist Novoselic had written the lyrics together… how wrong was I!! It’s written by Meat Puppets as early as in 1984 as a promo single but ended up at Too High to Die released in 1994. What about these lines:

     

    Now the people cry and the people moan
    And they look for a dry place to call their home
    And try to find some place to rest their bones
    While the angels and the devils try to make them their own

     

    I appear missing
    Simply the best entrance to a song that I’ve ever heard. Queens of the Stoneage at it’s best!! The words, I’m pretty sure, are written by Dean Fertita but please correct me if I’m wrong;)

    Calling all comas,
    Prisoner on the loose.
    Description:
    A spitting image of me
    Except for the heart-shaped hole where the hope runs out

     

    Read my mind
    I see the Killers as one of the most intricate indie pop/rock (whatever genre you choose) bands there is when it comes to arranging their tunes and taking unexpected turns. Listen to ‘When you were young’ and you’ll see what I mean! Brandon Flowers has called ‘Read my mind’ ”the best song he has ever written”. Since it’s been a decade ago (Sam’s Town, 2007) maybe he thinks he has written something even better now:) These are a few lines from Read my mind:

    The good old days, the honest man
    The restless heart, the Promised Land
    A subtle kiss that no one sees
    A broken wrist and a big trapeze

     

    Any particular lyrics you like? Any song writers that stands out? Anything else you wanna share?

    …oh, by the way, if you’re interested in some free music you can visit my website drkeybag.com

    Take care everybody!!

  12. Subject Matter

     

    Written, recorded & copyrighted in 2003, "Borrowed Time" was inspired by an actual event…the death of my boss Fred Marshall.

     

    Several years prior, Fred had been diagnosed with lung cancer.

    Once traditional treatment had failed, Fred received the bad news.

    There was little more medical science could do for him.

    For all practical purposes, he was living on borrowed time.

    He knew the "what", but not the "when".

     

    Grant it, Fred wasn't the first to receive a terminal prognosis & he wouldn't be the last.

    But, I couldn't help wondering....how does someone come to grips with that?

    What's it like to live with that knowledge?

    Questions worthy of a song, don't you think?

    I did :thumbsup2:

    In the end, Fred lost his battle with cancer.

    The day of the funeral, our company closed so that everyone could attend.

     

    He was laid to rest in his hometown, several hours North of St. Louis.

    As you might expect, it was a very quiet drive back.

    Since I was a passenger...with the back seat to myself, I made good use of the time.

    I wrote the majority of this lyric. Given the circumstances, it seemed a fitting activity.

     

    Lyric

    Livin’ on borrowed time

    Not sure how he’s gonna use it

    Livin’ on borrowed time

    Knows he can’t afford to lose it

     

    When life gives you a surprise

    It can open up your eyes

    Should already be…part of history

    Dead & gone before his time,

    but he’s…

     

    Livin’ on borrowed time

    Not sure how he’s gonna use it

    Livin’ on borrowed time

    Knows he can’t afford to lose it

     

    Livin’ every day

    In a different way

    Cause he’s never sure

    How much longer he’ll survive

     

    Told him he’d be dead last year

    Doctors say the end’s still near

    Still he’s tryin’ to…use the time to do

    All the things he holds so dear,

    cause he’s…

     

    Livin’ on borrowed time

    Not sure how he’s gonna use it

    Livin’ on borrowed time

    Knows he can’t afford to lose it

    Livin’ on borrowed time

    Livin’ on borrowed time 

    Copyright 2003 – Tom Hoffman

     

    Personal Insights

     

     Back-in-the-day, I participated in a number of songwriting competitions.

    The Billboard World, Song of the Year, American Songwriter, USA, UK & Great American to name a few.

     Out of all the songs I entered, “Borrowed Time” scored the highest ...one of 5 finalists.

     

    002.jpg

     

    The most traditional, mainstream song I’ve ever created…and they liked it best?

    Go figure! :eusa_think:

    Take from that, what you will.

     

    Musical Fundamentals

     

    Genre was an easy decision.

    Given the subject matter, traditional country was a perfect fit.

     

    It’s set in the key of G…a commonly used country key.

    BPM = 104 …a comfortable, easy-going pace for this type of song.

     

    Structurally, it is different. Following a brief introduction, it flows immediately into a chorus section.

    That’s not unheard of, but it’s certainly not the norm. For this particular song, I thought it was an excellent choice.

    It allowed one of the primary “hooks” (the song title) to be heard almost immediately.

     

    Instrumentation Choices

                    Fender Strat                                       Acoustic                            Bass

    DSC02341.JPG  Best, Clearest Shot.JPG Peavey Fury - full front.jpg

     

    + Harmonica (Hohner) & Keyboard Strings (Yamaha P-80 digital piano)

     

         Production: Tascam 788

    sim.jpg

     

    Performance Credits:

    • Guitars, Bass, Drums, Harmonica, Keyboards – Tom Hoffman

    • Vocals – Tom Hoffman

     

    YouTube Video Version (*includes full song) - https://youtu.be/EbeVOh7m5FE

     

    Tom Hoffman

    Songstuff member profile
    http://www.tune-smith.com
    http://www.youtube.com/user/DrumStuffTH

  13. Well a while ago I shelved plans for an album due to life getting in the road... but here I am back again, in the early stages of planning an EP and an album with accompanying singles.

     

    For now I have a provisional timescale, with the plan to release the single in October, followed by an EP in November. Hopefully then I will release singles and an album to follow in April / May. The tracks are mostly written for both EP and album and recording has begun. Tracks are being selected for EP and album as we speak, though at this point the track allocation is quite fluid.

     

    The good thing is that there are loads of tracks to choose from. I have enough written for several albums, and with new tracks being written all the time. I've also re-worked a few older tracks recently, so I may include some of those.

     

    I'm looking forward to this!

  14. "Hey, can you come play my party for free beer?!"

    "If you come play guitar for me for $50 this time there will be more gigs to follow!"

    "Do you have some unlicensed or royalty free music I can use for my video?"

    "I can pay you in (insert social media platform) more followers if you do this for me."

     

    Knowing one's value or worth is the best advice I could ever give anybody wanting to jump in this crazy music industry...OK, the end!! Whew, thank goodness you don't have to read anymore!  Seems so simple, right?  Monetarily speaking, knowing your worth can be an incredible advantage to your career, or not knowing what your "product's" value is can be a horrible disservice to you and your fellow colleagues.  This is what I mean.

     

    What we do in the music industry whether it be a song writer, jingle composer, player, artist, manager, booking agent, etc. is entirely different than any corporate structure set in any other genre of business.  

    Quote

    "If you use logic to understand this (music) business, your logic will soon be illogical."-Brent Lane *Oil Industrialist/Entrepreneur and Artist Patron

    There is no infrastructure to evaluate how much you should be making on a global scale.  There isn't a chart on the internet to tell you how much you should be making.  That certainly would make it a lot easier.  From what I've learned, culture and the city you live in seem to set a standard.  Granted I can only speak as an American understanding the evaluation process in music.  Los Angles, New York, and Nashville are what I call the big 3.  From there I would say the next tier cities could be an Austin, Texas or a New Orleans, Louisiana for example.  But the big three usually set the trends in the largest commercialized music markets (Pop, Rock, and Country).  They also have more opportunities in all areas of music as well.

     

    How much should I charge for my services?  It all depends on your culture, city, and what will you gain out of it.  In Nashville, a guitar player hired to play some songs have a pretty standard base rate of a local show getting paid $150 and if there is travel involved no less than $200.  But I've excepted gigs for a lot less.  Even $50!  In corporate business suit and tie world they would ridicule you for taking a 75% cut.  I don't blame them.  Let that percentage sink in.  I didn't know what I was doing was undermining a system that would devalue and under appreciate a player that would be well deserved of a base pay of $150.  Integrity in the market place is a concept that , in monetary terms,  people will know what to expect.  Consistency if you will and it even sets a bar predicated to a system that can establish tiers.  For example, do those local shows for $150 and when you have the street credit eventually you can make the jump up to $200, then $225, and then so on, and so on!!!  Your culture may have something set in place.  Maybe? Maybe not?

     

    Isn't it funny?  Do you ever wonder if somebody slapped a sign on your back that says "will work for free" instead of "kick me!"  Know your worth.  Set a standard.  Educate yourself from other musicians/writers/engineers/blah/blah/ bah.  Let those that have walked that path mentor you.  Help your community by establishing that your vocation as a creative is important to be worth given money.

     

    I had a coffee with a friend when I first started traveling to Nashville.  I expressed that I didn't know my value or even when should I take a gig.  I still use this rule to this day and I absolutely love it, and I think it applies here.  After he mentioned base rates in Nashville he ended the subject by saying, "Two out of three ain't bad."  

    1. Is the money good?

    2. Do you like the music?

    3. Are they good people or are they fun to hang out with?

    "If you can say yes to at least two of those...two out of three ain't bad."

     

  15. I've taken a few days off from practice to deal with various other matters.  It's a very strange process indeed when you are your own teacher on an instrument with no set rules.

     

    Trying to balance possibilities of techniques with limited time to devote to developing muscle memory along the way is quite the challenge. Scales for both hands combined (in variation of fingering) Scales for left and right hand with great variance.  Having thumbs to target notes is an odd development for a guitarist.  Everyday I set aside time for scales. Time for the left and time for the right. playing out the various positions in one, two and three (even four) octave runs.  There is little joy for me executing a simple scale nut it's a matter of building foundations for future playing.  I've spent no time playing the guitar or other instruments since acquiring the Linn.  It's that addictive.

     

    I had purchased the upgrade to Guitar Pro 6 as it has settings that allow for eight strings. I thought that having gp6 might be useful writing my own exercise regiments and other things.  I was wrong.  Firstly Even though I can set up the linn for channel per row (as midi guitars are set up) GP6 refuses to accept 8string channel input. So It's back to number pad and cursor buttons in order to input tab scores.  Secondly GP6 refuses to convert piano scores into tablature.  GP6 has turned out to be a huge waste of time and effort and money in regards to developing exercise material.  BIAB has limited fretboard arrangement.  I'm left with.... Standard Notation for practice material.  Yes I can read notation but I'm slow as molasses in winter at it.  I haven't had to read notation in a good 15 years or more.

     

    Oddly I've disabled some of the Instrument feature for now.  I'm more about developing a organ/piano type of approach to the instrument. Without bend / slide and pressure sensitivity (yes velocity works without afterpressure pressure sensitivity) It becomes a more stable more uniformed control It also is much more the feel and expression one might attain on an actual piano (sort of).  

     

    In regards to finding material other then scales.  I've dabbled slightly in jazz standards but admit I've got a long way to go. It's all about developing the muscle memory first.  I've got a certain disdain for classical music that can't be wiped from my soul.  Nonetheless the Bach preludes are proving themselves to be quite handy.

     

    When I first saw an image of starr labs z-board (same concept although it came out in 1990) my heart was aflutter.  I'd dream of playing it night and day knowing I could never afford the $6000 price tag. Oddly the z-board still has more features then the linnstrument. .And I believe it to be easier to play due to the smaller "keys".  I'm finding that new frontiers (at least for me) take a lot of time to get there.

  16. Vagdavercustis
    Latest Entry

    It's been 2 years since I last was here... time flies!
    Happy to see that there are still people here who remember me :) 
    I've never give up on writing or forgot this place. 
    I was just in a really bad place and really thought about just giving up. I began to isolate myself from everyone.
    Positive thing about it is that I wrote a lote of stuff. Not soo much lyrics but just thoughts and feelings put on paper without any structure.
    So myabe in time I'll rewrite them into lyrics. Allthough I think that some of them are a bit too depressing.

    Anyway too keep it short. I've found myself a new love a new job and moved too the other side of my country (I'm glad it's not such a big country :P ) 
    And now I'm counting down to 30/03 cause if everything is going good I'll be a mom than from a baby girl.
    Not sure if I have it in me to be a perfect mother but I will love her with all my heart and do everything I can to keep her happy and safe and I hope that will be enough.
    For the first time in my life I'm just happy. It feels that I am where I need to be and I found myself some peace.

    So a welcome back to myself on here and I hope I will stay now!
     

  17. We recently introduced the "Member Hub", a place to pull together a whole host of useful stuff for our members. The main hub page itself includes:
     
    • The latest Songstuff Stuff site blog entries.
    • Access to the latest Member Articles (new feature!)
    • The latest topics from our Showcase board
    • The latest images
    • The latest Lyrics critique posts
    • The latest song critique posts
    • Who's online and a selection of community info
    • Latest community blog entries
    • Member Birthdays
     
    and that's just on one page!
     
    The hub itself gives you access to:
     
    • Member Articles
    • Music Tools (Music theory tools)
    • Rhyming dictionary
    • Music Industry News (Billboard, ASCAP, BMI, Sound Exchange, PPL, SESAC etc)
    • More...
     
    We are evolving and improving the member hub to better support your needs.
     
    Your feedback is not only welcome, it is an important factor in how we develop the Member Hub and the features it provides access to.
     
  18. Just1L
    Latest Entry

    As I was sitting here today thinking, a thought crossed my mind. If you look at what's popular today, most of it has made a subtle, yet dramatic change. TV went to Reality TV. Motocross/Skateboarding, "extreme sports" took things to a whole new level in the past decade or so after X-Games started. News has gone 24/7. What did music do? It went to TV to create reality TV shows. It didn't change music (well it did, but I don't think it took it forwards really), just exploited a hole that needed to be filled in the Reality TV business. So, what has music done? I've heard bands pushing the envelope a little bit but nothing extreme. What bands do you think are pushing the extremes? And how? Does music need some sort of "take it to the next level" awakening? Hell, I don't know. What could music do to take it to the next level?

     

    Randy

  19. TPistilli
    Latest Entry

     


    (the chord arrangement got messed up with the copy/paste thing)

     

    WE SING PRAISE

     

    Verse:
    Am G Am
    The Father showed His love for us when He sent His only son
    G Am F G
    And Jesus showed His love for us when He shed His precious blood
    Am G Am
    The Spirit shows His love for us when He leads us into truth
    G Am F G
    And how we show our love for Him, (is) with a heart of gratitude…

     

    Chorus:
    C G
    We sing Praise, sing praise
    F C F C
    To our Heavenly Father, to Jesus His Son
    F Am G F
    And the Holy Spirit, all three in one
    C G
    For perfect salvation, our love overflows
    Am F G
    From the deepest part of our soul
    C G C
    We sing praise, sing praise, sing praise
    C G C
    Sing praise, sing praise, sing praise

     

    We sing praise

     

    Bridge:

     

    To Abba Father, Prince of Peace, Wonderful Counselor, to Elohim (x2)

     

    Chorus

  20. It's just another day they say,

    Commercial in every way,

    Cling! Clang! hear the ring of the till

    and the sleigh bells ring.

    It's just another day they say,

    Let's keep it simple.. no frills,

    no thrills.

    The sick, the scared, those in despair,

    Poor and them living in poverty some

    damaged in war,

    Is it just another day?

    Is this what they say?

    It's just another day they say,

    Let's keep it simple no frills,

    no thrills.

    Songs are sung at this wonderful day,

    Houses decorated; cards sent filled

    with greetings,

    Parties given in celebration.

    It's just another day they say,

    Let's keep it simple no frills,

    mo thrills.

  21. So, I got a DAW setup - yeh, party time.

    I got all my plugins to link (well 99% of them) correctly - yeh, party time.

    I got a Novation Launchpad hooked-up and making noise- yeh, party time.

    But there hasn't been any time for a party :no:

    You see 'between' each potential party-time of the first three lines, are a lot of things each respective company doesn't tell you. How could it with all the permutations of OS, DAW's, Plugins, Soundbank file types, Sound Card setups, Keyboards, Controllers etc. Well it could go a long way if truth be told !!!!!

    Take this Presonus example; they offer you a list of compatible and tested 'external devices'. But if your 'things' aren't in the list, then you set them up manually. To do this you choose which category your 'thing' fits under:

    1. New Keyboard
    2. New Instrument
    3. New Control Surface.

    But that creates a problem, since if your 'surface controller' acts as a Midi interface and you add it as a surface controller, it will not act as the Midi interface it is supposed to. So you have to add it as a keyboard. They don't tell you that, but they could (and if they do, I haven't been able to find it 'from them').

    Then take the Novation Launchpad problem. They made it to work with Ableton Live, so that DJ's could perform amazing live sets. DJ's seems to have united to the Launchpad and have been busy creating various maps etc that will allow them to use it with FL Studio, VDJ and a host of other DJ type programs.

    But it has the ability to be used like a Midi keyboard, just pads to hit instead of keys, and to organise the pads in the way you want (called mapping). So if you have EZDrummer, you can create a Midi drum track quite easily.

    But there's little help in this area, probably in one respect due to all the permutations of OS, DAW's, Plugins, Soundbank file types, Sound Card setups, Keyboards, Controllers etc.

    But it doesn't stop the frustration of knowing it 'will' do the job you want it to do, but taking a lot longer to work out how to. Couple that with the hours spent going through say Youtube and people's so called tutorials that are just them showing off what they can make the Launchpad do without saying how, and finding out way, way down the line about how you setup the wrong permutations of connecting and routing a Midi external device .............. you end up not feeling very much in the party mood.

    People create these amazing 'map' files, but they seem to omit where you put them to work. All these little types of things just mount up in frustration and time spent tracking down answers that offer solutions aswell as joining multiple forums to ask basic questions that leave you in 'limbo land', as you wait for days for a kind person to answer your question.

    It's no wonder really that musicians walk away from mixing and production - they'd have no time left to make music :lol:

    So, if you're the kind of person who gets a new toy and opens the box and plays with it without reading the instruction manual first (requiring some doctorate in language interpretation), or you have zero PC / technical skills, or you have no patience .......... I advise you to think carefully before going down this path :lol:

    I mean, install Ableton and be left wondering why the 64 bit version will not utilise your 32 bit plugins, I dare you :lol:

    I bet you're glad this is 'my' mountain to climb now :yes:

    Onwards and upwards ......... as they say!

    • 1
      entry
    • 0
      comments
    • 1916
      views

    Recent Entries

    kxylxxgh123
    Latest Entry

    You need to let me go

    You need to set me free

    The world has everything I need

    I need to fly

    Like a paper plane

    They're not always in control

    But with someone stronger by their side

    They build up power

    They can glide

    Some days get too much I want to shut down

    But when I go in to overload it's no use

    Sometimes it can be the littlest things that make me frown

    But that's complicated, I run on a short fuse

    You need to let me go

    You need to set me free

    The world has everything I need

    I need to fly

    Like a paper plane

    They're not always in control

    But with someone stronger by their side

    They build up power

    They can glide

    You're the one who feeds me my strength

    When all my energy runs out

    You won't let me flat line

    You know me better than that

    Sometimes I wish I could sleep all day

    When I know I won't be resting at night

    Too many worries about letting go

    I will when the time is right

    You need to let me go

    You need to set me free

    The world has everything I need

    I need to fly

    Like a paper plane

    They're not always in control

    But with someone stronger by their side

    They build up power

    They can glide

    But if it starts raining

    Bring that aeroplane inside

    Cause even the most carefree things

    Need the love and attention to thrive.

  22. Why bother getting stress right?

    The purpose of a lyric is to communicate something. An emotion a feeling or perhaps a story. For that to be put over the best way it can be, it needs to sound natural. For a lyric to sound natural and conversational, it needs to use language that we use everyday, in the way we use that language when speaking to each other.

    Now every multi syllable word in the English language has an agreed stress pattern. These can be seen in a dictionary. Not only that but each multi syllable word has a melody. Some syllables are pronounced with a higher or lower pitch than others.

    The reason for this is when we hear a multi syllable word for example "evenhanded"

    You will notice that the stressed syllable "hand" is a higher tone than the others.

    Why is this so? It is because we do not hear a multi syllable word as four separate syllables, we hear it as one entity. It is like driving a car when you turn a corner you do several things automatically without thinking about them separately. You are just thinking I am going to turn the corner. The things you need to do that happen automatically it is a learned response.

    So if you hear someone speaking a foreign language it always sounds as if they are speaking really fast. The reason being you do not know the agreed stress patterns and tunes of that language, so you are hearing it as separate syllables. They are not speaking fast at all.

    Now what does this mean to song writing? Several things. It means if you do not place your stressed syllables in the corresponding positions within matching meter lines, within a section of a song. You will end up with unnatural stresses, and forced rhymes. If you do not match the stresses in the same lines verse to verse, you are going to end up with a lot of melody variation between the verses, or a stumbling meter when it's read out aloud.

    What about single syllable words? Normally verbs nouns and adjectives are stressed other parts of speech are not. The exception to this is some times you may want to stress a pronoun to get a particular point across. For example "it ain't ME babe" the idea being that it is not me your looking for. Because I am not going to meet your expectations.

    Ok enough of the boring English lessons what to do?

    Well you can sit there in silence and say each of your lines as you would say them in normal speech, then go through and underline each stressed syllable.

    Then check that you have the right number of stressed syllable per line, in approximately the right places.

    Note and this is important.

    line length is determined by the number of stressed syllables per line.

    Line length is not, I repeat not determined by the actual number of syllables in a line.

    Now I don't know about you but this seems to be a boring and laborious way to go about things. So what else can you do?

    You can write new lyrics to existing songs making sure the stresses all work and you can do that in your head.

    Or you can get, or make yourself a series of loops. Either straight drum loops, or drums and pad, or drums and base. Then say your lyric out loud to the loop. Test the stresses, just hear them. If English is your mother tongue you will instinctively hear what is correct and what is not. So no need to go through the stress analysis on paper. Just feel the meter of it naturally.

    Now this can also be done by tapping a pencil in time on the desk. It is however easier to begin with to use loops. Especially if you are writing to a groove. Less to think about.

    Songs are meant to be heard and felt, not read. So it doesn't make any sense to be writing in silence. It is like writing in a vacuum. Say the words out loud, hear how they feel.

    Now and here is a bonus for writing or polishing a lyric to a loop. Prosody.

    Make your line FEEL the same as what you are saying.

    This is achieved by how the lyric is phrased, where it is positioned in the beat.

    To test this put on a drum loop in 4/4 time and recite this line to the beat.

    " I feel good today"

    Now the first time you recite it just say it naturally with out the drum loop.

    You will hear that the natural stress of this line is.

    "I feel GOOD to DAY"

    So the first way we are going to try it is as a positive statement, simply it's a great day and I feel good and all is right with the world.

    To FEEL this from the lyric the first stressed syllable "Good" will fall on the first beat of the bar. "I feel" are pick up notes from the previous bar. So count one two three "I feel good today" with the "I feel" as half notes on the fourth beat of the pick up bar, "good" on the first beat of the bar, "to"on the second and "day" on the third, rest on the fourth. Say it several times like that and note how it feels.

    If you then try this, you can get a slightly different feel. This time count one two on the pick up bar and say "I" on the third beat and "feel" on the fourth beat, then the rest of the line the same as in example one. Now it could be saying "I" feel good today, you may not , but "I" do.

    Now if in the context of your song this line is conveying I feel good today, but maybe I won't feel so good tomorrow, because today I'm drowning my sorrows, and tomorrow the hurt will come back.

    Then try it like this.

    Count one "I feel" as half notes on beat two, "good" on beat three, "to" on beat four, and "day" on beat one of the following bar. Now it should feel as if your actually saying "I feel good today, but". You should feel a certain doubt or anxiety to the sound of the line.

    Now having said all this, if you write your own melodies you should be having an aha moment right now. Because the lyric is dictating the grove, meter and feel of the melody. You will also notice the pitch. " good" will be a higher pitch and "today" will be descending, because that is how we say it in natural speech.

    This has to tell you, that if this statement is in a verse, Then in the corresponding line in the next verse, if the natural shape of the language doesn't move pitch wise in the same direction,you are going to have a melody variation. That is ok, easier if you don't, but no big deal it is done all the time. Just note that it is there, so that when you set the melody, in one verse you may be going up in a spot, and in another verse going down.

    Even if you are not writing the melodies it is your right and responsibility to get the feel to the lyric that you want. So make Margin notes. For example if you need the "I feel good today" line to be simply I feel good today. Note that you want "good" on the down beat. IE, beat one of the bar.

    The technical term for these phrasing techniques is "back heavy" and "front heavy" phrasing.

    Front heavy being the first stressed syllable on the first best of the bar.

    Back heavy being the first stressed syllable on the third beat of the bar.

    When I am preparing a lyric for melody writing. I make notations on the lyric sheet, for the phrasing notation I will write ( BH) at the end of any lines I need to have that feel, the assumption is that if it's unmarked it's front heavy. This is not a convention it's just my own short hand.

    So if I ask the question again: Why bother getting stress right?

    The answer might well be because if you don't, you have some nice words on a page. But what you don't have is a song.

    In summary

    Write to drum loops it's so much easier.

    Play with the phrasing to get the feel of how the lyric sounds, to match what it is saying.

    Happy writing.

    Cheers

    Gary

  23. Hey everyone, I just wanted to share some of my account names so you guys could follow me :flowers: I'll follow back too, if you let me know you're all from this site.

    Twitter: https://twitter.com/XXsummerdawnXX

    tumblr: upwardover-themountain.tumblr.com

    Instagram: smerr

    YouTube: http://www.youtube.com/user/KCandSM

    Also, roughly a year ago, I posted an original song by me on my YouTube and recently around Christmas, I posted a cover. I wouldn't mind some feedback on them if anybody does check out my stuff. I will advise that my cover video wasn't the best I've done, but I hadn't posted in a long while so I thought I'd do something for Christmas. Thank you for your time!

    xo-SummerDawn

    • 1
      entry
    • 6
      comments
    • 2269
      views

    Recent Entries

    blog-0867098001434211448.png

    Although this post mainly deals with lyricists, I think musicians can glean some truth.

     

    *NOTE*... Most of what I say here is subjective....This is the way I see it.

     

    I remember as a young boy, finding a well worn note binder on my mother's dresser, and being curious, I opened it and looked inside. It was filled from front to back with poems she had written; with the time written, day, and year at the bottom of each one. I sat down on her bed and started reading them. I had read about four or so, when my mom came in and caught me; mad as a hen that I invaded her privacy. After getting a lecture about how those were her private thoughts, I asked her why she never read me any poems (she read me books all the time). She said she didn't write them for other people, she wrote them to make her feel better. At the time, I didn't grasp what that really meant. Now I do.

     

    Why do we write? What is your core reason to write? There could be many answers to that, from many different people. But the core reason should always be, because you enjoy it. Other reasons might be; "because I want to get famous" or "I want to make money at it" but the core reason is enjoyment. If you don't enjoy it, you're not going to get famous and it's doubtful you will make any money. Yet there's another reason linked to the enjoyment factor (at least for me) and that is; it's therapy. It makes me feel better. I can vent anything through writing. I can let it all out, and in the process, deal with what I'm feeling in a constructive way. So I encourage new writers, don't write in hopes of impressing someone, or for getting a lot of positive reviews. Because the more you write for that reason, the less positive reviews you will probably get. If you really love writing, you WILL get better. Yet, part of getting better, is getting in touch with yourself. Write what pleases YOU and advance in your craft from there. Listen and learn from the seasoned writers, and use their input to express who you are better, in a better way than you did before. When you're feeling depressed and can hardly move; write. When you are feeling frisky; write. When you're content; write. You get the picture. Throw off your apprehension and lack of confidence, and write to feel better, not worrying about other people. And then when you decide to post, and you find you get negative reviews; don't sweat it. The core of you is in the lyric, now just reword it into a polished form that fits a lyric criteria. The more you write and take advice, the easier it gets, not only in writing a good lyric, but also in being able to reach down inside yourself to pull one out. To sum it all up; write what feels good to you, so you can feel better, and be better. Let it be your cheap form of therapy.

×