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  1. 4 points
    I've never written a clunker. Pathetic pieces of shit that I hope never again see the light of day, yes. But no clunkers.
  2. 4 points
    Years later I met a professional transcriber (met him in the 80's) He worked for major publishing companies. The goals he said were convenience and speed. Many songbooks are geared to beginner/novice pianists or guitarists. Preferred keys for beginner piano books are G,C,F "It's easier" they say. As for Easy Guitar blues, country and rock licks were always transcribed to the "easy" keys of E and A. Songbooks always transcribed to "Comfort Keys" E-A-D-G. Never were references made to capo usage or altered tunings. So the first thing that happens past the melody transcribing is that it is transposed. The next thing that happens is "massaging" key embelishments. If a song is in the key of C for example there is no place for a Bb it is massaged into either a B natural or an A natural. Chords are added later. Many times chord progressions are rubber stamped on to a song rather than the transcriber listening to the song, figuring out the chords and transposing into the "Easy Key" as it were. Starts on a I and ends on a V lets just make it the fifties progression (I-vi-IV-V). Forget chord inversions or slash chords the idea is to KISS (Keep It Simple Stupid) A funny mocumentary about "massaging" music As a jazz player and listener I've heard many renditions of standards some so far from the original it's hard to believe it's the same song. Changing the key is just the beginning. Many an artist will put their own stamp on the arrangement and labor endlessly on different approaches. Yet when heard it sounds completely natural. A small portion of the time I'll re-arrange songs for guitar while mostly seeking credible finger-style / chord melody arrangements. I'll often notice parts missing or obscured that I want to bring back into the song and.... It just doesn't happen. Sometimes the original into cannot be forced into a different key and sound natural again. Often times I like others will omit the solo section simply because when you are a one man band it becomes overkill.
  3. 3 points
    Just stepping in here now. My computer has been in the hospital, and it is SO hard to type on an ipad or phone. Glad to have a real keyboard back! So, picking up on some earlier posts: Donna asked if we had a target audience in mind when we write. I really don't. When I'm writing a lyric (without music) I have ME in mind: what I want to say, some feeling I want to get across. Sort of like Paul and his thoughts about the piano. He realized he was THINKING about things when he sat down at the piano. That's how I am, only without the blessing of the piano. I know "the books" say you should definitely have an audience in mind. I think you should definitely have a MESSAGE in mind. And the audience will connect with it or not. Another point mentioned here is that you should write about what you know. I agree, but I don't think this means you have to actually have experienced the emotion/situation personally. Empathy can take you all kinds of places you've never been. I can IMAGINE a lot of different emotions/situations that I have not been in myself. And I talk with my friends a lot about what they're going through, and that expands the well of ideas. And just observing things around me gives me ideas for lyrics. Which brings up another biggie. You all are talking about writing to music tracks and coming up with your own melodies. One thing I CAN'T IMAGINE is a melody! Totally nothing there! I am in awe of people here who say they read lyrics and a melody comes to mind. Lucky you! I hear NOTHING. Don't have that gene. So I'm envious of those of you who can do that so naturally. What I CAN do, and I've just discovered this, is I can write to a MELODY. Recently, a composer asked me to listen to some of his music and see if anything occurred to me lyric-wise. Oh, boy, did it! I think I wrote the best lyrics I've ever written because they were inspired by the melodies. They go together with the music so well, they feel like they were born to be together. Yet, when I read them on the page, without music, they're "just fine." So, I think, for ME, writing to a melody is a real plus. When I write Lyrics-first, it usually takes me 10-15 versions to get something presentable. When I write to melodies, it takes 1-3 versions, and it's done. So it's faster, too! I think we came up with 5 songs in about 3 weeks, and we love them all. So that was an eye-opener. Interestingly, writing to a melody blurred all the lines for me between chorus, PC, verse, etc. I just wrote to what I heard, and the composer labeled everything for me after the fact. I would have never come up with that structure without the melody. So this is a revelation for me. I still can't help myself from writing lyrics on my own, and I am amazed when musicians can read them and come up with music that works. I love that. So many fascinating aspects to this endeavor, and so much more to learn!
  4. 3 points
    I had that book. Mostly I had songbooks. Terrible songbooks that were often written in the wrong key and even when they did get the chord name right they choose the wrong chord diagram. Nonetheless I did what every aspiring guitarist who couldn't afford a teacher would do. I'd fake my way through covers and got myself a spiral bound notebook. Jot down chord progressions without song titles and try out different rhythms and tempos. Then I'd try to write lyrics via stream of consciousness. Blah Blah Blah would become phrases. I usually did better when someone would hand me lyrics. Still they filled me with a lot of ideas but not the knowledge of terminology to express them properly. I had a few jazz guitar books as well. Mostly relegated to playing through common chord progressions. This was a great book for me..... https://books.google.com/books/about/Blues_Guitar_Inside_Out.html?id=hrIEAAAACAAJ&hl=en This was a book I would look at, wonder how and why. Tried to work through the examples and it would drive me crazy. My jazz guitar teacher was in love with it. I honestly thought the guy who wrote it couldn't play any of the stuff inside. It wasn't until youtube that I actually got a glimpse of Ted Greene's playing. This is how I really learned to sight read notation(not tab) on guitar. I picked up a very little book (pamphlet actually) learning the fundamentals and then try to apply what I learned using this book. http://berkleepress.com/guitar/melodic-rhythms-for-guitar/ I wouldn't be caught dead performing the songs written. This is an amazing book for learning arrangement. https://www.amazon.com/Arranging-Techniques-Synthesists-Eric-Turkel/dp/082561130X
  5. 2 points
    I used a similar randomizer for short story ideas as part of a challenge on another site. Some bizarre but quite wonderful stories came out of it. We tend to think how we think, I think and won't normally dive outside of our comfortable writing habits. I never thought to use them for lyric ideas but maybe I'll try one of these out this weekend.
  6. 1 point
    I'm glad I didn't divulge any of my magical "how I get my ideas" secrets.
  7. 1 point
    DonPharaoh, I note that you've written a guideline on 'How to Improve Your Lyric Writing'. I'd be interested in reading it, but I'm reluctant to provide name & address details and then to click on a sign-up link for a site I don't know. Since the Lyric Guide is advertised as being free, would it be possible for Musers to have a direct link to it?
  8. 1 point
    Hi IDK Well...get ready for buffet line of ideas of how to get from point A to point B. For starters you haven't told us if you are a complete songwriter or a budding lyric writer. I'm gonna assume songwriter, but they are almost one in the same as far as both writing lyrics. It starts with a music idea I come up while playing my guitar or keyboards. Some times out of the blue, in the moment or inspired after hearing some music I enjoy. That's at least the music angle of it. Lyrics, it's kinda up to the style of music Im trying emulate. I'm not gonna write ballad style lyrics to a heavy metal song or would I write death metal lyrics to a country melody. So, the music and genre can kinda shape the subject matter being thought about for a lyric idea. Although it would be funny to write a happy go lucky lyric to a blues progression. You can get ideas just from newspaper headlines or TV broadcasts. If you think outside the box alittle bit, maybe you come up with characters to write about that might seem ordinary but create a scenario that might make them feel more sublime. Kinda like singing about the anchor man. It's his job to report the news, but maybe your character is having such a mental conniption on hearing him telling bad news day after day that the singer has this viewpoint. Kinda like "Don't kill the messenger" but I wish he would shut up.lol Or give a viewpoint that you think the anchorman is a sadistic and enjoys lapping out bad headline after bad headline. So, that's maybe a silly spin on creating something out of nothing, but I hope maybe this gives you an idea of how to maybe look at things from a different angle. Like that happy couple with the two kids, two story house and a puppy to boot...is the one size fits all picture of happiness really all of what it's cracked up to be? So, introspection and perception can be a direction to go if you want to create your own reality or question reality. Just an example, I wrote a tongue in cheek song about over zealous fandom called #1 Fan Here's the lyrics: #1 Fan (J.Upham) (c) V1 I know who you are I know where you live I know what color you like I read it in a book Got you on my wall Pictures 10 feet tall V2 I found you on TV I could not believe Some oh so beautiful Comes and visits me While I'm lying on my couch TV's turned up loud (#1 fan,#1 fan) CH: I am I am your #1 I am I am your #1 V3 I write you once a week Or is it once a day I wonder when you'll write me back I wonder what you'd say As Im standing at your door It's me your living for(#1 fan) Chorus solo repeat first verse Just my two cents worth R-N-R Jim
  9. 1 point
    When I was a kid, I had notes from Steve Vai, a guitar virtuoso, about learning the guitar. I remember a section where he would talk about trying to express simple feelings or experiences on the guitar, like the wind blowing against your body, or taking a bite of an apple.
  10. 1 point
    Apropos the two inspiration-related sites I mentioned above in my reply to Patty (and regarding 'ghosting' in my reply to Joe), I remembered a list of fun tools I drew up a while ago for lyricists in the annual FAWM and 50-90 songwriting challenges. These are all valid tools to generate - no matter how far-fetched initially - ideas for lyrics. Leon's Random Generators can be useful for extra-zany stuff (including band names). http://www.leonatkinson.com/random/index.php/translate.html GoogleTranslate comes into its own with surreal lyrics arising from multiple translations from the English and then back into English (e.g. English>Korean>French>Hungarian>Swahili>English). The final result - or lines from it - can be shaped into something profound or hilarious or both. https://translate.google.com Into Goth poetry/lyrics? Try 'The Goth-O-Matic Poetry Generator'. This is basically 'paint by numbers'; the results are seriously dark (and thus very funny). Tongue in cheek for sure. But who knows... An image or two could generate something monumental. I've used this a couple of times. Loved it. http://www.deadlounge.com/poetry/created.html My two favourite sites for inspiration (mainly for an ironic/quirky twist) especially during FAWM and 50-90 are: http://www.dearoldlove.tumbler.com http://www.postsecret.com Many other sites can generate ideas, or simply be an amusing diversion from the hard slog of creating something unique and awesome from scratch. http://www.song-lyrics-generator.org.uk/ Here’s a poem generator that replaces each noun with the seventh one following it in the dictionary. http://www.spoonbill.org/n+7/ Other sites. http://www.song-lyrics-generator.org.uk/ http://www.chaoticshiny.com http://sebpearce.com/bullshit/ http://thewritersresourcesite.blogspot.com/2011/08/idea-generators.html http://www.generatorland.com/gloriginals.aspx http://www.seventhsanctum.com/index-writ.php http://acid42.com/songnamegenerator/ http://morrisseysongtitlegenerator.com http://writerbot.com http://fantasynamegenerators.com http://learnhowtowritesongs.com/random-song-title-generator/ http://www.returntothepit.com/bullshit.php Follow in the footprints of David Bowie, Kurt Cobain, and others who used the cut-up method. Take random text (either generated or your own, maybe mix and match) and feed it to this one (or simply use a pair of scissors): http://www.mundoblaineo.org/cut_up_machine.htm http://heuristicsinc.com/sfgen.shtml A yoda-speak generator (mainly for fun and a diversion). http://funtranslations.com/yoda WordPalette is a fun app (it's free).https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/wordpalette-experimental-creative/id995679850?mt=8 Mainly for writing stories. But lyrics have stories too, right? http://jamesharris.design/periodic/ Feel free to post other entertaining – or, imagine, even practical − lyric-generating sites or ideas.
  11. 1 point
    Thanks for sharing this, Joe. I'm keen to see/hear the finished result. Good, creative way to use the Lyrics Feedback forum. And with regard to 'ghosting' a lyric, if any of you lyricists find yourselves in the doldrums of writer's block, you could also take a previous favourite lyric you've written yourself and 'ghost' it. The process might inspire you anew.
  12. 1 point
    If nothing interests or inspires you at the moment, here are some randomizers: http://ideagenerator.creativitygames.net/ http://artprompts.org/
  13. 1 point
    Hi Peko This is probably the most honest and enlightening post by a lyric writer I have ever read as far as your journey of writing lyrics here at the Muse. You obviously don't take anything for granted including your new writing partner and partners for the future. You seem to respect and enjoy those who have a talent that you,yourself do not have (yet). You shared your personal experiences of how different it is writing lyrics to a melody compared to just coming up with lyrics on your own. It's a big difference that some here fail to see. But you hit the nail on the head and I'm glad you have this perspective in mind. I'm sure when you critique lyrics in the future, you will now have a different approach on how to critique since you better understand the relationship between words and melody. All valuable lessons indeed. With this humble and positive attitude, I'm sure future writers will appreciate working with you. Good job! cheers R-N-R Jim
  14. 1 point
    lol you guys are right! I remember now.... my very first book when I was maybe 13 or so was a songbook. I remember trying to learn "Love Me Tender", and while I was happy to be learning chords, it certainly didn't sound right. I think I remember my mom telling me it sounded bad. Of course, it could just have been me.
  15. 1 point
    This was always so confounding to me. Why go through the effort to creating a songbook when even a beginner like myself could tell the chords were wrong? Granted, at times it appeared to be simplified, but often they were just flat-out wrong. I still haven't gotten my head wrapped around that.
  16. 1 point
    Hi T I wish I could play the drums even half ass. Just don't have the coordination.So I have to settle for programming drum parts on my Boss 550 Dr Rhythm Im hoping some time down the road to re-record some of my studio stuff with my band. I gotta kick out of your band in the 1970s. The bass line of that song was total 70s. lol
  17. 1 point
    Now that the collaboration contest writing is over (and results pending), I hope the lyric writers will share a few thoughts about their role as wordsmith in the two-person team. (Not related to the partnership itself.) For example (if any of these apply): 1) What part of writing/adapting the lyric did you find easy or difficult? 2) What sorts of things about writing did you learn in the process? 3) Would you take part again in a collab contest? And if so, what, if anything, would you do differently? 4) Did you use a particular formula you thought would be effective? (For reference, see Neal’s post at the beginning of this thread.) 5) On the whole, was it a positive experience? Do you feel your writing benefitted? My own experience: I discovered (again) that it’s possible to restructure and tweak a lyric that I’d thought was set in stone. And still keep the integrity of the original. And also, when you think a lyric is finally – permanently – once-and-for-all − finished, you can still tweak. Even if it's just one word. In addition, when music requirements come into play, it’s possible to step back, and become objective again about what you’d written. And if you think a particular suggestion might not benefit the lyric, it can be discussed, and another type of approach can resolve the issue. Thoughts, anyone?
  18. 1 point
    I have some Elliot Smith tunes in my playlist. Haven't heard them in a while, though...
  19. 1 point
    Hi T Yeah, I kept my 1994 edition of Songwriters Market because my "then" publisher mentioned my song "Vain" on page 133. You could call it my penny anti brush with fame.
  20. 1 point
    Hi M My cd and vinyl collection are my books The only books I have on the subject of music is maybe one on the business of songs as far as publishing rights etc. and maybe a songwriters market book(which I havent bought in 10 years) If anything, I have books about the artists I like and sometimes they give perspectives about not only their lives and careers but how they may have gone about writing a song or what inspired them. It's this tangible information I find fascinating and in some ways makes them ordinary like you and me. So there's hope? Other than the obvious Beatles DVDs I own as well as Spinal Tap, I bought this one DVD on one of my underground favorites, Elliot Smith called "Heaven Adores You"DVD. Basically a rather unassuming character who went from alt college rock to acoustic folk to acoustic folk/indie pop. He had a minor hit in the movie Goodwill Hunting that was nominated for a grammy and appeared briefly on some of the late night shows when some of his critically acclaimed albums XO and Either/Or came out. He would come out with yet another crowning achievement with his last cd Figure 8. His life was cut short and the death remains open I guess. Two stabs to the chest. They don't know if it was murder or intentional suicide since he was going through a dark period in his life. And life goes on....
  21. 1 point
    I always like to hear songwriters and composers talk about how they approach their instruments of choice when writing, and drummers are high on my list for that. EDIT: Yeah, this is quite a good post of yours, TS. Your drumming knowledge/xp is showing!
  22. 1 point
    I like the idea of having somewhere I can browse lyrics that I am free to try and turn into a song if I get inspired. I think that is what is happening here with the new blog? Correct me If I am wrong? I think my collaboration experience with Kuya has proven to myself at least that I can be inspired by someone else's words enough to record a decent song. I wonder then of the opposite it workable? As I have said before I struggle with lyrics and keeping up with my backlog of songs is tough, and actually seems to stop me from writing new stuff. I know I need to keep writing new stuff if I am ever to improve and become good at this. Is there scope do you think to post demos, with melody, and see if someone can wrie something for them? A part of me isn't sure, and I think this is what Alistair means. I guess were I to sing and in some way try to "own" a song, I need to believe in it. So maybe a partnership would work better. Hard to find a partner who shares some of the same outlook, politics, perversions and sense of humour etc.. and is prepare to write to already existing melody. I guess that is the point. Anyway, love the idea and will keep an eye on that thread.
  23. 1 point
    I do agree that credentials count. I suspect we are all more likely to take advice from people we respect than from those we know nothing about. I also think that it helps to get to know people and their capabilities. I'm a bit more lazy than Tom and am less likely to do a bunch of research, but I will get to know people by their work and by their posts. I think this, for me, is one of the advantages of a community and of becoming part of one - people get to know you and you get to know them, over time. It's a trust thing. Once I know someone, I get to know what I think their strengths are. That way, when they say something I don't immediately agree with (or give me feedback that stings!) I am less likely to dismiss it, especially when it concerns an aspect of songwriting (or anything!) that I know they are skilled/knowledgeable in. That said, I have received useful feedback from people who (imho) lack songwriting skills and who have few credentials. Sometimes this may be because they are effectively representing my audience and sometimes this is because they have simply held up a mirror that shows me something I missed (for example, they misunderstood something I thought was clear but can now see was confusing). But it's still a trust thing
  24. 1 point
    I agree. Spaces and the art of letting a song breath. I believe this is one of the toughest tasks in songwriting, especially when you're writing by yourself and don't have a band to rehearse with, then the problem will solve itself, your bandmates will simply tell you to shut the hell up. It's difficult to lean back, and naturally let the music fill out the spaces. A lot of songwriters, when it's time to let the music "speak", a time when you should really let the lyrics (and vocal melodies) sink in, hit panic mode and instead fill the musical parts with vocals. What happens then is that we feed the listener with too much vocal and lyrical information so we lose their interest. I've gotten better at it but I'm guilty of this myself in the past. That's the hardest part of arranging, you really need to step out of yourself to be able to focus on what the song wants and needs, not what you want or need. A big difference and usually makes wonders once a songwriter figure it out. Again, not saying I don't do it, just saying I'm more aware of it nowadays and that alone helps a ton. Thanks for sharing Paul. Good stuff! /Peter
  25. 1 point
    Super helpful, Alistair. Hope many folks read it. I had to be schooled about this over and over again in my early attempts at lyric writing, which often neglected much of the wisdom you impart here. I would argue that counting syllables isn't useless -- it's useless if that's ALL you do. You have to focus on the stresses as the priority but keep an eye on the syllables, too. Especially for those of us who don't write music, it takes a lot of work to think about what the lyric will sound like SUNG. Getting the stresses right so that the language sounds natural, writing lines that make some sort of sense, rhyming (if you want your lyric to rhyme), and changing up the rhythms so that verses and chorus have some sonic variety -- it all requires thought and diligence. And a lot of the hardest work is done in the revising. Thanks for posting this. Doug