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How To Write A Rock Song For A Three-piece Band

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Say that I wanted to write a rock song for a band consisting of a lead singer/lead guitarist, a bassist, and a drummer. As I said in my intro, I have had virtually no formal musical training, but I have lots of song ideas floating around my head. What I want to know is what the role of each of these instruments is:

1. I know that the singer will sing the lead melody.

2. I know that the lead guitarist will perform a riff to accompany the lead melody.

3. I don't know what role the bassist has in the music. I need to know what kind of notes the bassist should play.

4. I have a general idea of what the drummer should do, but I need to know what drums on the drum kit are played when. For example, when in a song is the bass drum played or when in a song is the hi-hat played.

Please bear with me. I really want to write songs but I just haven't had any real training.

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Generally, you don't actually need to worry about much of this. It depends how you define 'writing' a song but if you write the melody / riff in your head or on a guitar, fit the lyrics to it (or vice versa) you have technically written the song and the other musicians can come up with their parts - trust to their talents. You can either call this co-writing or arrangement of the song.

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Like Alistair I'd query your need to do this as it is definately going into arranging the song, which you might do if you are also recording it. Normally if writing for a band they will want to know the chords, melody and lyrics, and perhaps the time signature, As most rock is 4/4 time signature it's not much of a worry unless it is a progressive piece.

If you want to know so that you can record a demo, or the finished track, and you will be recording all the instruments (either real or midi) that is a different matter. Happy to help either way. :)



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I would agree with both the above...

I do get the feeling that you feel a little lost maybe? And I can kind of appreciate how starting out without any musical background could be tricky.

So I'm guessing part of your question is answered like this:

I would advise listening to a song carefully a few times over, and pick out each separate part and focus on one at a time, to get a feel of how they work together. Then maybe you will here how the bass and drums relate to each other (usually quite closely) andditto with all the other parts.

Oh and as for which drum when, usually the bass drum (the deepest sounding one - usually!) is the key to the beat, and will have at least one hit on the beat in each bar - although that's not to say that it has to be always (see John's comment about time signatures and prog music!!).

I'm afraid that's all I have time for right now, and I know it's not very clear, but if that;'s the kind of help you're looking for then say so, and we can try again! :)


*runs for his train* :P

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Also I need to know which instrument is responsible for playing the chords. Thanks for the advice btw.

The Bass player would play the root not of any chord. The 'Lead' guitar should also be playing chords, either by strumming the chord or playing as an arpeggio (The notes of a chord) untill his guitar solo (should there be one) Then back to the rhythm guitar.

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