john

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Everything posted by john

  1. Hey Hamzi, welcome to Songstuff
  2. lol Linda... and thank you very much for answering. Welcome to Songstuff
  3. Hey Jay, welcome to Songstuff
  4. Hi Gang The main challenge is to use aliteration in your write. There are some additional rules and restrictions. Each verse must use aliteration in at least one line. Verses cannot use end of line rhymes, except for two lines.... one of which must be the last line of the verse. Topic choice is up to you Song form is up to you Have fun! Cheers John
  5. Hi Gang This challenge is all about the use of opposites. love/hate strong/weak light/dark hot/cold rough/smooth old/young smart/dumb ugly/beautiful How you use opposites is up to you. It could be central to the theme, a mechanism, contrast for any reason. You can even use more than one opposite pair. The purpose is not to simply mention some opposite elements for no real reason, but to use opposites to good effect. Cheers John
  6. As it happens, I struggle with both anxiety and depression... which is very strange for someone who is naturally optimistic, positive, and upbeat. It comes in waves and tides, occasionally floods, though sometimes it is just a puddle on a sunny day. I am also a carer for someone with bipolar type 2 and anxiety, and have been for 25 years. Music, and specifically song writing has long been my therapy, my vent, my friend. I don't tend to express my depressive side much, in conversation or in song, although I have written about depression a couple of times. I tried at least to make the songs thought provoking rather than a personal gripe. Song writing is therapeutic because it allows me to transport myself, to shift my world perspective, to think about something other than my problems. That is why it is invaluable. I deliberately chose not to exercise my own demons in song because I do not want to be defined by an illness, any more than I want to be defined by problems with my back. They are part of me, but only part. I manage both using mindfulness meditation, something I first encounter 15 years ago as a method to cope with chronic pain. I soon applied it to anxiety and later depression. Songwriters are more likely to suffer from depression and anxiety. Yet it need not be their biggest influence. Yes, they do write about sadness a lot, but that is at least partly due to listeners. Listeners use music as therapy. They use it to help them through hard times. While they do use music to enjoy themselves, music their requirement from upbeat music is simpler. The themes if upbeat songs more readily feel cheesy, over used, more one-dimensional... Sad songs allow for the exploration of a wider range of emotions, much more nuance. As such it. Is easier to write a sad song that feels pertinent, poignant and original. Even when the topic is well explored, if the emotion of the song is honest, authentic, unflinching.... it connects. Song writing is largely about connection. Writers and listeners want to connect. They both want to feel understood. They want to feel connected even when isolated. They don't want to be alone. Listeners, particularly, want to find songs that express how they feel, what they want. They want songs to challenge them, and songs that represent them. Even when immersed in great sadness, they want to find hope. Often that hope is the knowledge of connection. I think that is why so many songs are sad or about sadness. To write in a way that connects people, writers need to be insightful, to be thoughtful. Experience teaches us that being thoughtful, you are more likely to suffer from depression and anxiety. More likely to dwell on and wrestle with emotion. It serves us well when writing about. I don't see myself as sad. It is part of me, not all of me. Rob mentioned empathetic song writing. Empathy is certainly an important aspect of song writing. Willingly or not, we are the world's therapists, not just our own.
  7. Perhaps a mix between feeling what others feel and how I imagine I would feel if the same thing happened to me, sometimes building on personal similar experiences, othertimes just asking myself what if, as an immersive experience. A depth of emotion rarely comes from passing thought. It is a complex and heady mix of emotional reactions to events and consequences. So it can take a quite a bit of thought as well as reactions.
  8. Hey Theoren/Author, Welcome to Songstuff! Grats on attaining your BOFA. Nice one What school did you go to? What's next for Author?
  9. Hi and welcome to Songstuff
  10. Very quickly on up front analysis... should I write that song or not? Analysis. On delivering bad news. "how should I say it? Just blurt it out?" Calls for analysis. Sometimes blurting just happens. Other time I think most people at least give a passing thought to how or where or when... if they can. "Come through here, sit yourself down...." intones that you gave some thought to the consequences of what you were about to say. It does not mean you are thinking "Hold on I have some lyrics coming through" lol
  11. Some of my songs are just from my imagination, some are inspired by news, some are inspired by friends or acquaintances. Many are about my own experiences or Karen's. Is that unusual? I don't know about you, but I have no problems with being honest in conversation. I can differentiate between writing a song, singing a song and talking. When I had to tell several friends about the death of another I did not do so through song. What do you think I would do with very bad news? Write a song about it? Breach a confidence? Because, on the odd occasions that I write about someone other than myself, I am inspired by events or characters? My job as a writer is not simply to report on the world. I use my imagination. Something happens in my world, or on the news, and it makes me ask what if? Often several what ifs. Including, what if this happened to me? I don't wander around looking for tragedy to write about. Maybe it is different for ballad writers. When you write, are you inspired by events and people? My fiction by omission example is not how I work. That is a thought experiment on how I imagine some others write about real life. I would not be comfortable with that. That was why I said "You could..." If someone wants to tell their story, they can write about it. Nonetheless I can be inspired by others, people and events. Aren't others? It takes me down a line of thought. Nothing new in that. Songs about me I tend to write completely truthfully, but usually at a level of abstraction that makes it easier for others to put themselves in the story. Hardly earth shattering. I have known others who do write about others with loads of details. I just wouldn't do that. Perhaps if they said go for it, but then I am unlikely to say "Oh your dog's dead, I feel a song coming on. Do you mind?" Lol Other than that I don't really see why you seem to be mixing writing a song with giving someone bad news.
  12. Hi Jesse 1500 is certainly a lot. Is that words and music for all of them? Have many been picked up by artists? oh and welcome to Songstuff Jesse! Cheers John
  13. Of course people fictionalise... if only to spare people's feelings. Just because we create a parallel fictional story, doesn't mean it is unauthentic. In fact, there is a case for saying that writers can be liberated to be more honest when they fictionalise, precisely because they are not having to keep the peace by pulling a punch. For example Joe is your brother. He has a gambling addiction. He looks like he might lose his house. His kids regularly go without food, and their clothes are shabby. It worries you the damage he is doing, but he will not take a telling. He isn't interested. He doesn't care. Many would choose not to write about him or anything about it. They shy away. Few would choose to write it completely about Joe, especially using his name. Writing a song about Joe being a deadbeat dad, with his addiction, how it makes you feel, his wife and kids feel, could cause a lot of upset. Still, it is something important. The feelings are important. You could start by writing "fiction by omission". So you omit the guys name, his kids name, the name of the town... but you know if he or his family ever hear this song they will know it was written about them. So you can either: write it honestly, but not care how it affects them, and not care if it blows back on you or Pull your punches so that at least if they recognise themselves it is perhaps less devastating to be so observed or change it more. so, to stay emotionally honest, and keep it about the pain of addiction, it becomes a story about a woman with a drink addiction, with one child instead of two. There are maybe some other changes too. The emotions are still honest. The worries. The selfishness. The pain. But now you feel while they might see themselves, at least they don't know it is about them. They may even suspect.... but most likely not. What you have of course is a fictional narrative to spare blushes, to save you pulling punches. But you have written a very meaningful piece. It is honest in all the important ways. I have written a mixture of songs. My friends and family know songs about my wife or myself are honest and open, though I tend to write first person without names. But songs about other people I tend to fictionalise, as much so they will not be embarrassed by them. On occasion I have told them when they inspired a song. Yet again I tend to write first person, putting myself in their fictional shoes. Other times I see a story or situation that simply inspires a story. I put myself in those shoes and imagine a scenario. I overlay how I thinkI orothers around me would react and I try to keep it honest. Is that less worthy because I thought about it? We all analyse. Even up front. I just choose to acknowledge that I do so, and I view that as a strength. Each to their own.
  14. Interesting topic. It sparked a few thoughts and an opinion or two hopping about wanting to get out I certainly think much of what songwriters do is fictional, but often it is more a fictional narrative to a real circumstance or event. The balance changes from writer to writer and especially when they are a singer songwriter. That doesn't mean they don't use "appeal" as a filter on idea selection and development. A fictional narrative to real events has been used by many modern singer songwriters from Adele to Alanis Morrisette, Amy Winehouse to Ed Sheeran, and many more besides. In many ways it is this ability to build a fictionalised narrative while keeping the intensity and authenticity of emotion that underpins many hits. Of course some writers are far more literal than others, and struggle to build any sort of fictional narrative without losing emotion, or indeed they fail to build a fictional narrative at all. Professional, non-performing writers can write some wonderful songs, but often they stick to safer topics. Not all by any means. Perhaps it is more focus on a broad appeal fiction that is at fault? It creates an overal homogenised sameness to pop, rock or country... at least within each genre. Conversely writers who write literal, personal only songs can often be so specific that their songs become hard to relate to. Or at least you can find yourself relating to some aspects and absolutely not relating to other aspects. In such cases writers are confusing the main reasons people relate to songs. True fans like to get to know their artists lives, they want to believe in that authenticity, that intensity, but they also want to understand their heroes suffer from similar issues in life, things they can relate to. That even when the star expresses their indulgence of wealthy excess, that it is something the listener can relate to. Something they would like to think they would do. What they don't want is an expression of the writer's life that they cannot relate to. Maybe a bit, but not to be dominated by it. And that is the judgement writers have to develop. The ability to write things people want to hear, even when they don't know what they want to hear. The ability to be relatable and relevant. The ability not to be so consumed by our own ego in that we believe the world should want to understand us and our sad lives, when really they seek to use our songs to further understand their own, and to help them feel connected, understood, and fundamentally not alone. They do of course look for more. Originality. Stimulation. Teasing. Satisfaction. A journey. But hey I can't cover it all in one post lol On a bright note it does mean if you have a good grasp of blending authenticity and fiction, and a willingness to take topical risks balanced with an eye towards appeal... you really have an opportunity to stick out. Cheers John
  15. Hi and welcome to Songstuff Aurora!
  16. Hey Tom and Mike Good to see this topic going again To be honest i think of modern arrangement as everything built on top of melody and words, up to the end of aspects of mixing. So yes, taking a bare bones piece to a full piece including song structure, instrumentation, harmony, rhythm etc. In this modern age I also include production in this because in particularly electronic pieces (but not only) production can produce unique musical components of the finished recording. Personally I don't distinguish between the skills of taking a song for the first time from melody and words to full song, than I do re-arranging an existing song, or for that matter re-mixing a song. They all involve imagining or reimagining a song, taking a song from where it is to where you want it to be using skills in instrumentation, song writing and more Cheers John
  17. Hey Ok a bit of a theme going here... What do you do? How do you go about it? What do you try to achieve (other than a "great" song)? What do you tend to give prominence to? What elements do you not really use? It's one of those subjects we frequently touch on during critique, but not something we tend to discuss much up front. Cheers John
  18. Hi Gang This week's challenge is to pick one of the 4 elements and make it the feature of the song. Earth Air Fire Water For example if you use metaphors, similes, allegories, make them use your chosen element. Not sure of what those are? Try my old blog entry: http://forums.songstuff.com/blogs/entry/171-similes-metaphors-and-allegories/ Try and stay within your theme but keep it interesting. Unlike a previous elements challenge where the purpose was to use all 4 elements, the rule here is NOT to incorporate other elements once you have chosen. One other requirement... an aspect of your element has to be within the title and hook. For example "The Burn Of Blame", "Walking On Waves", "Breath On Skin", "The Ground Beneath". Have fun. Cheers John
  19. Feel free to post up your work
  20. Hi and welcome to Songstuff Will
  21. Wrong board. Topic moved. This is not an introduction. Please read and follow board rules.
  22. Hi Gang Of all the gear in your studio, what is your favorite piece of gear and why? Which piece of gear is core to your sound? What is the most expensive piece of gear in your studio? Cheers John
  23. Hey thought this might be an interesting exercise: 1. Do you sing, play an instrument or instruments? What instruments? When did you start playing? Did you teach yourself? 2. Are you in a band or bands? What is the name of the band? What do you play? What other instruments are in the band? Do you have a band website? 3. Do you write songs? Do you write lyrics, music or both? Do you have a writing partner? 4. Do you record your music? Do you use a home studio? If so what gear do you use? Do you use a recording studio? Do you have music available on the web? if so where? 5. What other roles do you perform in the music business? Management? Label owner? Publishing? Promotion? Other? 6. Are you a tech head? 7. What country do you live in? 8. What are your ambitions? 9. Do you draw/paint/write stories/computer art/dance or other creative pursuit? What are your pastimes? 10. What would you like to get out of Songstuff? I think that covers the main musical things!
  24. Hi Gang On top of the lounge boards, which are for a broad range of topics, one of our members (Symphonious7) has suggested a general chat thread to make it nice and easy for newer members to read through and get to know the site members a lil better.. Being the sort of obliging site that we are, I thought, why not? So, have at it, be most chatty, chat your socks off, hell, chat them back on again. 3, 2, 1 go! Cheers John
  25. My bad.... I was using a test account working on the Facebook connection earlier. Doh!