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Method Writing


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Here is something I'm curious about.

Quite a number of songs have been written using historical, literal or even tv and movie shows as a basis for the song.

Have you ever taken your subject matter from a tv show or movie as a thought experiment or carried it to the next stage and completed the song,

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Hmmm... I have written quite a number of thought experiment songs over the years. I can't say that any were inspired by a specific movie or tv show, thought no doubt the thought experiment topics could have generally inspired by topics raised across a number of movie or tv film shows. I know that one such thought experiment was however partly inspired by the album "Aqualung" by Jethro Tull. The track was called "Dead or Dying". Unfortunately I don't think I have a recording of that track. It was written when with a band, Beyond The Edge, but never recoreded in a studio. Who knows I might have a live mix of it somewhere.

Method writing can take you to some very strange and disturbing places lol.

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I do this all the time. Not finishing a song, but taking inspiration from a sign, or a situation. Uhm, I guess I thought everyone worked like that. It's a bit interesting to me to see this question therefore. I hate to admit it, but I think all my....oooh, are you speaking lyrically, as I interpreted the question, or musically? Lyrically, I'm forever gleaning ideas from what I see.

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I knew this guy once,,,,,

He used to get high during the afternoon and watch soaps. Then scream at the tv. But then after he chilled out and got some munchies he'd take pen to paper and use whatever he just saw as his muse.

Christopher Cross (sailing, arthur's theme) once remarked that (not the gettting high) was the method he used predominately in song writing.

As for listening to music from all sorts of places. I'm a terrible boyfriend just ask any ex. When the television is on I have guitar in hand and I'll rerun the commercial trying to figure out the song.

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Ok yea, i see that side. I believe i may have misunderstood. Those songs, to me Tom, are folk based, storyline type songs. Like you, i take a bit of something and run with the idea.

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  • 3 months later...

It's entirely possible I misunderstood the intent of the original question :rolleyes: What can I tell ya'...it's happens from time to time.

Anyway, for the sake of clarity, almost everthing I write is taken-from, inspired-by, or based-on a life event. Whether it be the economy, an old saying, a TV commerical, a conversation I overheard that day, elections, politics, a specific news story, the way in which the news story was handled or happening in my own life. It all feeds into my writing, as I expect it does for most folks.

BUT, I don't typically write songs actually about historical events or a specific book or movie. That's a different matter....and that was how I originally read the question here.....probably my bad! There are lots of tunes which fall into that catagory. Like "Wreck of the Edmond Fitgerald" by Gordon Lightfoot to name one......"Woodstock"& "Ohio" to name a couple more. Just think about it for a moment or two & you'll start coming up with examples.

Tom

" Frozen Man ". By James Taylor is a cool historical song ,

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  • 3 weeks later...

Donald Fagen of Steely Dan fame has been quoted on several occasions stating that most of his influence came from TV shows. both musically and for lyric material. He'd take a basic premise from an episode then rewrite the narrative and construct a song from that.

I know it seems like a long way to go for the end result.

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