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Songwriting Struggles?


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How's it going today?

 

I was thinking today about some of the struggles that come along with songwriting. When you first dive into it, it can seem like something that is out of reach. You think 'Man, it would be so cool to be able to write a song and be able to say 'I wrote that!'' You don't know how to go about it though and realize how much you have to learn to become a GREAT songwriter.

 

My question to you is this: what have been some of your biggest struggles as a songwriter? These can be things like mental blocks, self-doubt, etc. It can also be more technical things like music theory topics, lyric writing, instrumentation, etc.

 

Thanks for your time!

-Jeremy

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Personally, my biggest challenge has been to be attracted by an idea(the right one ;) ) of a song either with the story within the song, musical hook or  anything else related to the song. Because once I do get there, things start flowing much easier. The muse is a weird thing. When it comes to technicality with respect to songwriting, I have an interesting point of view. I try not to delve myself too much into the technicality when I'm writing a song. (Again, this is purely from a singer-songwriter who'd write sitting with his guitar. It may work differently for other genres, say, progressive metal)

 

It's not that I do not spend my time learning and studying about it. But I leave my learning and lessons at that and practice those lessons by analysing songs that I listen to throughout the day. Just as a fun way of going over the concepts but to also trip on how the songwriter thinks. I believe that if I imbibe any learning this way, it should appear naturally when I'm writing a song. The language of the lesson has been learnt. It is now time to use it to express what is needed. This way I'm not overly diverted from the story or emotional space of the song. As the saying goes "A good scientist is one who learns all there is to learn and drops it to discover something new"

 

 

Again, purely my point of view. Every songwriter has his/her own approach, own language. As they should :)

 

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2 hours ago, Mahesh said:

Personally, my biggest challenge has been to be attracted by an idea(the right one ;) ) of a song either with the story within the song, musical hook or  anything else related to the song. Because once I do get there, things start flowing much easier. The muse is a weird thing. When it comes to technicality with respect to songwriting, I have an interesting point of view. I try not to delve myself too much into the technicality when I'm writing a song. (Again, this is purely from a singer-songwriter who'd write sitting with his guitar. It may work differently for other genres, say, progressive metal)

 

It's not that I do not spend my time learning and studying about it. But I leave my learning and lessons at that and practice those lessons by analysing songs that I listen to throughout the day. Just as a fun way of going over the concepts but to also trip on how the songwriter thinks. I believe that if I imbibe any learning this way, it should appear naturally when I'm writing a song. The language of the lesson has been learnt. It is now time to use it to express what is needed. This way I'm not overly diverted from the story or emotional space of the song. As the saying goes "A good scientist is one who learns all there is to learn and drops it to discover something new"

 

 

Again, purely my point of view. Every songwriter has his/her own approach, own language. As they should :)

 

I like your point of view! A lot of the time it is a bit hard to find the right inspiration or to think of the right story to tell. I like to approach songwriting from the same perspective of trying to convey more emotion than technical things.

 

I like what you said about the technical stuff too and the metaphor that you used about the scientist. Many people who know a lot of music theory and think that that's how you write a song end up not writing many songs that are easy to connect with. This is a mistake that many musicians fall into! I believe that the key is to keep a balance with it. Don't overuse the music theory, but when you're stuck or need some help moving onto the next section of your song it'll be there for you. Great stuff, man! 👍

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The biggest thing to realize about songwriting – about any form of "creative writing" (especially one that is then linked to the rigors of technical production ...) – is that it is never as easy as it seems, because the audience never sees the process.  Well done, it seems like magic.  No one sees the drafts, the crumpled pieces of paper, the rhymes that didn't work, or the songs that didn't sell [yet].  No one sees the decision-making.  (Why, it doesn't appear that there is even a decision there to be made.)  And, I think, to the artist/artisan, that's a terrific compliment.

 

As for me, I've found an understanding of theory, of music-scoring and all of that, to be tremendously useful.  I work out my songs first using a fantastic open-source(!) music scoring tool called MuseScore.  I've relied on theory to help me work out of a tight spot, or to inject some unexpected freshness into a song that was getting itself into a rut.  But these are only "tools and techniques."  In the end, every songwriter begins with ... silence.  The musical equivalent of a blank piece of paper.  

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17 hours ago, MikeRobinson said:

The biggest thing to realize about songwriting – about any form of "creative writing" (especially one that is then linked to the rigors of technical production ...) – is that it is never as easy as it seems, because the audience never sees the process.  Well done, it seems like magic.  No one sees the drafts, the crumpled pieces of paper, the rhymes that didn't work, or the songs that didn't sell [yet].  No one sees the decision-making.  (Why, it doesn't appear that there is even a decision there to be made.)  And, I think, to the artist/artisan, that's a terrific compliment.

 

As for me, I've found an understanding of theory, of music-scoring and all of that, to be tremendously useful.  I work out my songs first using a fantastic open-source(!) music scoring tool called MuseScore.  I've relied on theory to help me work out of a tight spot, or to inject some unexpected freshness into a song that was getting itself into a rut.  But these are only "tools and techniques."  In the end, every songwriter begins with ... silence.  The musical equivalent of a blank piece of paper.  

I love this! Music theory has definitely gotten myself out of a number of ruts too. I don't write my music out on paper (other than lyrics), but I can see how this would be helpful. Then you can visualize the music and see what the voice leading is doing. These are great tips!

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  • 2 weeks later...

Well for the last 6 months I am Having trouble comeing up with Good Lyrics to some of my more complicated songs. mabie  I was focusing on the Chord progresions too much, or it could be I need to focus on what I want to say in the Lyrics and Make the Music work with it

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How I write my lyrics is I will record the chord progression that I have on my phone or into a DAW. I will then listen to the chord progression on loop and think about the story I want to tell. I do this 4-5 times before I actually write anything and this allows me to get the creative juices flowing. Once I have a story in mind I start going line to line, writing the first thing that comes to mind. Once I have the lyrics for each section written I'll go through and revise my lyrics. I like to use dictionaries and thesaurus' to help me find words I that would work better. If you follow this you'll have entire lyrics written before you know it!

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the Idead of recording My Rhythm and Listening to it Is a good idea. Most of the Time when I do that I put other Leads or Bass lines with it But never really Tried the Lyrics  part. I use to use a thesaurus a lot for stories or collage Papers . I should Get one !

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  • 3 weeks later...
On 11/28/2018 at 8:39 AM, jglasgow123 said:

How I write my lyrics is I will record the chord progression that I have on my phone or into a DAW. I will then listen to the chord progression on loop and think about the story I want to tell. I do this 4-5 times before I actually write anything and this allows me to get the creative juices flowing. Once I have a story in mind I start going line to line, writing the first thing that comes to mind. Once I have the lyrics for each section written I'll go through and revise my lyrics. I like to use dictionaries and thesaurus' to help me find words I that would work better. If you follow this you'll have entire lyrics written before you know it!

Do you think technology has helped or hindered your ability to create songs? Does a music education guarantee the ability to create songs? Does music theory really work? If so, in what way and do you use it? By the way, do you have struggles in songwriting?

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