Old 05-04-2013, 07:35 PM   #41
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No.

If an artist adapts his vision to include something beyond his (or her) vision, why not call that an expanding vision?

That is NOT the same as wallpaper or a toaster.
What I said was...But the nanosecond he adapts his vision to chase interests outside his vision, his art becomes a commercial item no different than wallpaper or a toaster oven. And if that's what he wants to do, that is 100% A OK too.

Chasing interests outside a vision and including something beyond it are very, very different things.

If you chase interests outside what you are doing...for example trying to make your song into a trance track when it has more in common with the Rock or Country you intended is a far cry from adapting a piece of something to expand said vision. And trying to shove 5 pounds into a 2 pound bag in this manner is clearly deviating significantly from the hypothetical original vision. It is no longer even the same vision.
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Old 05-04-2013, 07:41 PM   #42
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"Well, actually it would work if "

But did the G/Country guys WANT to do that? Nope. As your example showed, they could, sure. But they didn't and their decision put them firmly in the 'excluding significant numbers of people' category. They didn't care if the audience of the other listened or not. But we still call both artists and they are. And despite their willful exclusion, we call their products 'art'.... And other more colorful, if malodorous terms
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Old 05-04-2013, 07:41 PM   #43
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+1 it's always good to roll with it, imo.

record it, and maybe later on it will fit into something else.

(imo)
Yea, sometimes listening back to something will just strike me in a completely different way, too. I rarely throw something out. My recordings are like a salvage yard. Something useful can always be pulled from some recording, or repurposed, for use in something else.
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Old 05-05-2013, 06:13 AM   #44
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"Well, actually it would work if "

But did the G/Country guys WANT to do that? Nope. As your example showed, they could, sure. But they didn't and their decision put them firmly in the 'excluding significant numbers of people' category. They didn't care if the audience of the other listened or not. But we still call both artists and they are. And despite their willful exclusion, we call their products 'art'.... And other more colorful, if malodorous terms
Of course – because they found a way to communicate with the people who understand (or*) their codes, through music. That's why I said "IF"... Why would the G guy want to include codes other than his "street gang" codes? He would come across as a total moron or a traitor of his culture. He would be no longer "truthful" which was a major factor in (the success of) the genre.
* Excluding many people by using specific codes makes the genre even more secretive and interesting. Plus: deciphering codes (terminology) is often like solving a riddle, thus fun to most people.

So they totally do care about "the audience"!
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Old 05-05-2013, 09:39 AM   #45
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Why would the G guy want to include codes other than his "street gang" codes? He would come across as a total moron or a traitor of his culture. He would be no longer "truthful" which was a major factor in (the success of) the genre.
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If you chase interests outside what you are doing...for example trying to make your song into a trance track when it has more in common with the Rock or Country you intended is a far cry from adapting a piece of something to expand said vision. And trying to shove 5 pounds into a 2 pound bag in this manner is clearly deviating significantly from the hypothetical original vision. It is no longer even the same vision.
I thank GAWD every day that I am not cursed with the curse of staying within the same old vision day after day, night after night. I thank GAWD that I can break out of my own limitations.
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Old 05-05-2013, 04:45 PM   #46
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I thank GAWD every day that I am not cursed with the curse of staying within the same old vision day after day, night after night. I thank GAWD that I can break out of my own limitations.
1. define "same old vision" in this context – I don't get it. Does anybody?
2. "breaking out of your own limitations" – do us the favour and read this again, Superman
3. I can't imagine any better "tool" for being creative than limitation

My ideas:
1. in order to avoid the "same old vision", I suggest making music not with audible sounds, melodies or notes. This "new music" should be based on thoughts about shoes.
2. the last 10 minutes I desperately tried to break out of my own limitations. It worked for a short moment, when I suddenly managed to switch bodies with my neighbour. But then I realised that all he cares for was football and beer, and I ended the metamorphosis voluntarily. Unsatisfying. For me at least.
3. again I tried, this time to overcome my obvious "musical limitation" and indeed I came up with a piece of unlimited music. The first 2 chords consisted of a cluster of all notes from all staves ever invented in the past, now and in the future, played by all available instruments on this planet, with a total duration of 7.778.742.049 years. But I ran into a problem: I want the 2 chords to sound different. I'm sure the problem is simply my own narrow-mindedness.
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Old 05-05-2013, 05:19 PM   #47
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What methods do you use for writing lyrics?

I won't start writing lyrics, unless i have an idea in mind, except for cases where noodling and working out a melody, brainstorms me an idea.

Almost always start with the hook. I have a theme, I find the best hook i can come with, that works with the best melody i could come up with, that works with the best chorus i could come up with.

Then i do, the verses, and if my bridge has lyrics, my bridge.

Is there a particular form you use? (eg. ABAB/AABA) (ABAB being a Verse/Chorus/Verse/Chorus structure)

Almost always i just like to do V-C-V-C-B-C-C. It's not really standard i guess, but it's what i like to do. But i tend to do variations of this.

Is there a certain process you go through when writing lyrics? What is it?

Not really, once i have established as above, I just kind of brain storm, think of words that rhyme, think of what i want to say, just brainstorm ideas, metaphors, stuff like that. It's usually easier to fit an idea into the music, than it is to think of the idea i find. ideas come from any which way for me, so i just probe directions, until i get one I like.

Where do you find inspiration for writing lyrics?

If i could answer that honestly, I would have written way more songs.

This is maybe the toughest part for me. Comes from everywhere and anywhere, hard to narrow it down, but just if something strikes you, affects you in some way, some idea or thought you have, idk, it could be anything, but to me, it needs to be meaningful to me, like, i won't write a song because it is about something i think people wanna hear about.

Are there any people/writers who have influenced you? Who are they?

Every single piece of music, and every single lyric i've ever heard, professional or otherwise, has influenced me. I can't pinpoint one more than another, and I can't really list every song i've liked, I could maybe mention some of my favourite lyricists, but i don't find my lyrics resemble them more than anything else i think.

What kind of things do you write about? Why?

See, the thing about instpiration. any idea i want to convey, any emotion, anything, i'm looking for ideas for songs as much as possible. sometimes one hits me, i jot it down, and pick it up later.

What do you do about writer’s block? Tips?

Stop writing, and come back to it later. Sometimes just a small break is nice, and you think of something on your break, and sometimes i've even gone like hours or days of break in the middle of writing a song. This is a dangerous habit i don't necessarily recommend though, because it has severe chances of never getting finished if you do that.

What comes first? The music or the words?

Depends, anything can happen in any order, but my usual recipe starts with either guitar/piano, (or programmed beat, and then instrument) for the hook music, then i'll try to find a cool melody for it, and then i'll try and stuff lyrics into that melody, but i've done it many ways before. Music often is not doing something, like math, or putting ikea furniture together, It's often sort of, allowing stuff to happen, creating the conditions for things to happen, so, you need to listen a lot, and look for ideas to come to you, and then just run with it. If you get the idea for the lyric of a hook you love, then start with that, if you noodle on the guitar, and you come up with something you love, then go with that. It's not necessarily, just sitting down and writing a song, but it's looking for the moments, and the ideas, and quickly capturing them when you come across them.

Do you write the music yourself or with a band/other collaboraters?

Myself.

Where do you start? (With The Beat (Drums)/The Rhythm (Guitar)/The Melody (Guitar)/The Voice (Vocals)?)

beat for some style of music, like, more hip hop, or r&b, guitar, for the sort of music guitar makes me write, and piano for piano music.

Lyrics may come first, nearly never the melody. To me, the hook is most important section of the song, the melody is the most important feature of the song the whole way through, so i start with the hook part, musically, then the melody for the hook. But like i said, it's not always that way.


Are there any processes you go through with the writing of the music?

Guitar, pen, paper, me, and ideas. that's pretty much it.

When is a song considered finished? When is a song ready to be shared? Finished when i'm happy with all of it, ready to be shared, when i can perform it without messing up, or if i have it recorded first.


In what ways do you think music communicates with an audience? How powerful is it?

Music is very broad, and i think it communicates with audiences, in just about every single way you can imagine that anything could. It can be as powerful as the most powerful form of communication, or it can completely lack power.

What makes a song? What attracts you to a song?

Like i said Hook, is most important section, melody is most important part. so hook melody, is really the most important thing. (sometimes in some music hook, is maybe not really a "melody" but still, the hook)

Do you have a preferred style or genre of music? What is it? Do you think this has an influence on your writing?

I love listening to various sorts of music, and there are many things i love about a large number of styles. But, it's not every music that i can appreciate, that i always feel like listening to on my mp3 player, this music tends to be more sort of hip hop r&b pop kind of stuff right now. been through a lot of styles of music i've listened to this way though.

Definitely every song i've ever heard has influenced my writing. Definitely music i listen to a lot, or music i like, a song i like, affects my writing for sure. But, at the same time, there's something about me, that likes that, so also, i will write what i like, it's kind of a chicken and the egg thing at the same time sort of.

But, that said, if i listen to a certain style of music a lot over some period of time, then that style will inspire me, and the song i write, will probably seem like that. Again though, the reason i am listening to that style, is because i feel like it also, so, again, chicken and the egg sort of thing.

Do you see a career for yourself in song writing/playing music? Or do you already have a career as a musician?

That would be the hope.
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Old 05-05-2013, 07:01 PM   #48
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I thank GAWD every day that I am not cursed with the curse of staying within the same old vision day after day, night after night. I thank GAWD that I can break out of my own limitations.
Context. Reread my post in the context it was given.
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Old 05-05-2013, 11:43 PM   #49
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I thank GAWD every day that I am not cursed with the curse of staying within the same old vision day after day, night after night. I thank GAWD that I can break out of my own limitations.
Nobody can break out of their own limitations, that's why they are limitations, but people can grow and evolve nonetheless.

Your limitations, you will never break from, that's what makes it your limitations, and you have some, as do i, and everyone else, none of us are limitless.
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Old 05-05-2013, 11:54 PM   #50
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+1 it's always good to roll with it, imo.

record it, and maybe later on it will fit into something else.

(imo)
I have learned that this is the worst philosophy ever. Not judging you or anything, but for me, this was my philosophy also, just record ideas when i have them, so i don't forget, and then make something with it later.

Result? I have hundreds of clips of audio, that has some really cool stuff in it, that i never really wanna go through, never get a round to it.

I find i am always more inspired to work on something new, something of the moment than go through all those sound files until i find something i feel like working on.

If your plan is to work on it, and finish it, in the near future, but you can't right away, because of something, then, that works for me, i can do that, and do do that, but still, even at that, i mean, you come up with one thing, record it, and as soon as you came up with a second thing, and record that, you're screwed.

Idk, one thing i've learned for me, is finish it. See it all the way through until the end. you can stop, take breaks, work on it one day, and then the next, but the focus needs to be there to just finish it.

Everybody is different though.
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Old 05-06-2013, 12:08 AM   #51
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LOL. My current project (if I ever get it finished) is just that. It is a culmination of all the ideas I had previously thrown away because they didn't fit some predefined mold I had created or sounded too predictable or too simple or too catchy or too popish or whatever excuse I found to cover the possible embarrassment of being too something.

I recently came to the realization that maybe I was throwing away the real me and if I explored that instead of trying to sound like insert_expectation_here I might enjoy the result. We'll see!
too catchy, too predictable, and too simple? No such thing. simple catchy and predictable is awesome, though predictable is the tricky one, predictable in a way, yet, fresh and interesting still.

For me, sometimes i've made music for projects, where you have to sort of make the right vibe for it, the right sort of style, but even for that, i think it is very important to be yourself in your music. To be very honest. But you can be honest in many ways. For example, if someone wants dub step, then you can take the sorts of sounds it uses, and stuff like that, and make it your own, or a cover of any song by any artist. You can take anything, and make it your own. That's every style, and yet all you.

Music is freedom. It is not doing, it is allowing to be done. When you wanna dance, you wanna let loose, not kind of force yourself, or control yourself, so when you make it, i think it is important to make it the same way, just let go, don't force it, let it be as you like it to be.

Other people might like it, other people might not, some people might think it's too much like popular music, or not rock enough, or too this or too that, and i'll tell you what, no song you write, will be liked by everyone, that's a guarantee, but what i think is important is that you like it.

Music is one of those things, where people judge it based on everything except the music, and what it sounds like and feels like.

As though we judged fruit by the color of it, and the shape of it, the size of it, and who eats it, how many people eat it, rather than just deciding on the taste, whether you like it or not.

I try to stay away from that. There once came a time, where i decided, fuck all that shit, think of me what you will, i don't care, I judge music for music, the rest is meaningless to me.

It's bad, i've become shameless, i mean, if Justin bieber made a song i liked, I would freely admit it to people, and i would even listen to it, if it was not being shoved down my throat too much already. Thankfully, he hasn't written a song like that, that i've heard yet.
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Old 05-06-2013, 12:14 AM   #52
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Yea, sometimes listening back to something will just strike me in a completely different way, too. I rarely throw something out. My recordings are like a salvage yard. Something useful can always be pulled from some recording, or repurposed, for use in something else.
while this is sometimes very good, this is also a reason for sticking to something until it is done, unless you can't.

you will lose that sort of groove or vibe you're on if you leave it too much.

But, sometimes, that's what you want, when you're stuck.

Good to use for your advantage, but to stray away from when it isn't.
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Old 05-06-2013, 07:22 AM   #53
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too catchy, too predictable, and too simple? No such thing. simple catchy and predictable is awesome, though predictable is the tricky one, predictable in a way, yet, fresh and interesting still.

For me, sometimes i've made music for projects, where you have to sort of make the right vibe for it, the right sort of style, but even for that, i think it is very important to be yourself in your music...
How many kinds of music are there? Just vibe music? Only simple and catchy?

Or ... are there worlds of music out there (and inside) which can be different from where we are starting out?

One rule? One right? One should?

Sorry. Music is too big for that. Leave that kind of blindered simplicity to Attilla. There is lots of beauty just beyond our current reach. So what's wrong with reaching?
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Old 05-06-2013, 10:04 AM   #54
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Music is too big for that.
You are such a funny guy, msore
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Old 05-06-2013, 10:17 AM   #55
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You are such a funny guy, msore
Is your music small then?

Why is it funny or deserving of your snottiness for someone to say that music can be done in a world of different ways, or that songwriters can grow by incorporating more and more of that big world?

Note that in most writing about writing, including the survey above, there is always the question of important influences. What is an "influence"? It is the very thing you seem to be upset about - learning from others and broadening what you can do.
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Old 05-06-2013, 10:17 AM   #56
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How many kinds of music are there? Just vibe music? Only simple and catchy?

Or ... are there worlds of music out there (and inside) which can be different from where we are starting out?

One rule? One right? One should?

Sorry. Music is too big for that. Leave that kind of blindered simplicity to Attilla. There is lots of beauty just beyond our current reach. So what's wrong with reaching?
I don't know how you do it, but somehow you read stuff that I say, and arrive at a completely different idea of what i was saying.


read it again. I said, TOO catchy? TOO simple? no such thing. Where you got that i think that all music is simple and catchy from that, idk.

I don't even know what vibe music is supposed to be. I used that to mean, that sometimes you need to make the right feel of music for a specific purpose, for example, a sad scene in a movie, you're not gonna go and make some happy go lucky pop song.

I was saying, that sometimes you can't just make the music you want to make, in a complete sense, you have a sort vibe you need to comply to, but, still, that doesn't mean it shouldn't be of your flavour, of your style, you, but your perspective on that specific feel, on that vibe, on that emotion.


I don't know how you came up with the response you posted, but it had nothing to do with anything that i said.

Beautiful simple and catchy music, IS often, way beyond the reach of people. People scoff at it because it is simple and catchy, but I don't see why, that's like looking down on a beautiful painting because it masterfully uses very few strokes. There is beauty in simplicity, but simplicity doesn't mean it is easy.

No, I'm NOT saying that ONLY simple music is good, before you jump to that conclusion.
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Old 05-06-2013, 10:47 AM   #57
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Nobody can break out of their own limitations, that's why they are limitations, but people can grow and evolve nonetheless.

Your limitations, you will never break from, that's what makes it your limitations, and you have some, as do i, and everyone else, none of us are limitless.
Don't feel bad I'm still trying to figure out how I was interpreted as having to have a single vision of a song/album/whatever from birth to death.

M, If you set out to write the worlds greatest love song filled with roses and puppies and moonlit walks in Paris, do you think that adding monster trucks and brain surgery would be expanding that vision? Or deviating from it entirely? Likewise, don't you think we can have one vision for one thing and another vision for another?

If I say OK I want to do something loud and aggressive here, can I not also do something soft and fuzzy in another project? We aren't talking about one overarching 'vision' of how all music must be, just sticking to your basic ideas without trying to make things into something they aren't nor were eer intended to be.
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Old 05-06-2013, 10:55 AM   #58
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don't you think we can have one vision for one thing and another vision for another?
Exactly.

And a changing vision for all of them, too.

How many articles have we read over the decades about songwriting that list the RULES for doing it and how not to do it? Lots.

An eclectic and changing viewpoint, allowing for conflict and growth, is an antidote for that.
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Old 05-06-2013, 11:13 AM   #59
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How many articles have we read over the decades about songwriting that list the RULES for doing it and how not to do it? Lots.
To be honest, i've personally never read anything like that. I find songwriters are usually very clear about how their methods are methods that work for them, and they are well aware that many different writers have many different approaches that work for them, and that's ok.
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Old 05-06-2013, 11:36 AM   #60
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Exactly.

And a changing vision for all of them, too.

How many articles have we read over the decades about songwriting that list the RULES for doing it and how not to do it? Lots.

An eclectic and changing viewpoint, allowing for conflict and growth, is an antidote for that.
If you change a vision mid vision, how is it the same vision? We seem to be talking in circles and going nowhere.
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Old 05-06-2013, 11:49 AM   #61
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If you change a vision mid vision, how is it the same vision? We seem to be talking in circles and going nowhere.
That would depend on how narrowly you define your vision and what constraints you choose to put upon yourself. Tighter definition = less room to evolve the vision, which isn't necessarily a good or bad thing

If you start out writing a love song on acoustic guitar and vocals and end up building a solar powered car, then I would agree that it's not the same vision

If you start out writing a love song on an acoustic guitar and vocal and then decide that it actually works better with synths and drums and a whole big production have you changed your vision since you still end up with a love song? only if the only outcome you are prepared to allow is a love song on acoustic guitar and vocal, some are that regimented in their vision, others aren't, I guess.

This thread would be another example of the original vision changing

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Old 05-06-2013, 12:07 PM   #62
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That would depend on how narrowly you define vision and what constraints you choose to put upon yourself

If you start out writing a love song on acoustic guitar and vocals and end up building a solar powered car, then I would agree that it's not the same vision

If you start out writing a love song on an acoustic guitar and vocal and then decide that it actually works better with synths and drums and a whole big production have you changed your vision? only if the only outcome you are prepared to allow is a love song on acoustic guitar and vocal, some are that regimented in their vision, others aren't, I guess.

This thread would be another example of the original vision changing
I don't see what the big deal is about. Vision, no vision, change your vision, keep the same vision, it makes no difference to me.

Personally, i often don't have a full vision of something as i write a song.

I might start out with a theme, and a riff, but as i go, every step i take, is just focussed on that step alone, and how it matches up with what i've done already, however i feel, in whichever direction, and ya, sure, it happens sometimes that i say, write a bass part, and it kind of doesn't work with the guitar I had, but the bass is so awesome, i change the guitar i started with, sure, the only thing i'll almost never do that with is the melody. that's the most important part, if i find one i love, then nothing can change that, everything must be around it. That's why i start with that.

To me, writing a song is just writing a song. I don't know how it's gonna end up exactly, because if i did, it would take me all about 5 minutes to write one. It's a process, for me anyways, I go step by step, piece by piece, sometimes what i started with is virtually untouched, sometimes i end up going in a different direction, it doesn't matter. What matters to me, is that you've written a cool song.

Everything else is nothing. All that matters is the song you resulted with. People will say all sorts of things about your songs, too pop, too mainstream, too simple, not mainstream enough, not "cool" like, whatever music your social group listens to. "Your songs are too much the same" or, "I only liked your older stuff".

You can't please everyone. None of it matters. What matters is you write your song, and you love your song, however you do it, however complex it is, however similar your songs are, however dissimilar, no matter what number of chords you use, number of instruments, change keys or don't change keys, use auto tune, or wavetable synthesis, or what have you, it doesn't matter.

Just as long as in the end, you make songs that are you, that you felt, and that you like, and hopefully, there will be many others that will like it for the same reasons you do.

One thing is for sure, many people will not like it. I guarantee you that, no matter who you are, no matter how talented you are, no matter what, many people won't like your music, your process, whatever. So what?

You know? who cares, what vision you had or whether you changed it, or anything. It is either good music to you, or not. that's all that matters.

It is interesting however, to see how others do things, and maybe learn a thing or two from them. But there is no right or wrong.
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Old 05-06-2013, 01:28 PM   #63
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How many articles have we read over the decades about songwriting that list the RULES for doing it and how not to do it? Lots.
OK, let's enter the zone of universal, atavistic, human perception.
Let's distinguish a structure called "song" from a structure "purely aleatoric notes and sounds". I may safely say that 98% of people can hear, or feel, the difference. But why???

Because the human brain looks for "harmonic/euphonic" phenomena or occurences within the meta structure known as "music" (and not "thoughts about shoes" or "solar powered car"). It doesn't matter if those musical events sound familiar, it doesn't matter in which culture or area those events were created and sequenced – in a nutshell: actually nothing matters but the notion of a "structure", the will to create something "of universal value" if I might say so.
It also doesn't matter if I know about any rules of how that structure might be maximally communicative, because I have heard examples through all my life. Some of those examples touched me emotionally, some didn't. But even if they didn't, I still called them "a song".

You know what "The Golden Ratio" is. It's a universal rule for visual artists the result of which is a "universally balanced" aspect of a picture. Now the important parts: 1. even if the artist doesn't know about that rule, he will instinctively choose this ratio IF he wants to create something harmonic or balanced AND if he's talented (we can't call him an artist if he's not). 2. even if the artist wants to create something inharmonic or unbalanced, he better know about that rule in order to avoid it voluntarily.
Have we learned to prefer the Golden Ratio? No. Do we all prefer images created within the limitations of the Golden Ratio? Yes (couldn't resist, sorry)

Exactly the same applies to songwriting and sound. There is a common quest for harmony and "perfect" ratio IN THE HUMAN BRAIN. It's in Sound asleep's, in Normie's, in mine, and even in msore's.
You can use or dismiss those rules, but you have to ACCEPT the fact that these rules exist, and that humans love rules! *

Is it easy-peasy or incredibly difficult to write music for cats? Or music for trees? We'll never know because we are human.


* in all seriousness – this aspect actually is probably the crucial factor: does the songwriter love his fellow human beings, and wants to express and share his love by creating universally "beautiful" music – or is he a cynic or a misanthrope who wants to express his disgust with society/humanity by creating incomprehensible and/or inharmonic works of art that ignore every rule that "we" could rely upon? Both is, of course, legit IMVHO.

EDIT: it would have been easier if I had used "the smell of a dead body" as an example. You'll have a hard time to find a human being which likes, or loves, the smell of a dead body. That said, nobody will stop you to create a sculpture made out of a dead horse – but I doubt anybody will find truly find it "appealing" beyond intellectually.

EDIT 2: no, it's even easier: musically "emotional" vs. "intellectual" songwriting. You have to admit that the potential of failing in the emotional writers' category is much higher than the one in the intellectual group. Whereas "I'm not touched" means a death sentence for the first category's songs, it's an approval for the latters'. And if you think about it, it indeed requires nothing: "It sounds like that, because I want it like that. Period." Which is, again, totally legit.
For my taste, it's just too simple.

EDIT 3: sometimes bands ask me for advice. A typical, simplified, dialogue: "You know, we don't wanna make pop music." – "But it sounds like it. Just worse." – "Haha, you mean because we deny the predictability of the common rock'n'roll harmony structure" – "No, because it's obvious that you just wouldn't be able to write an average pop song." – "Because we're simply not interested." – "But you are sure that you are capable of avoiding the rules that you don't even know about?"
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Old 05-06-2013, 03:28 PM   #64
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msore, does this music follow any rules, in your opinion? I'm really interested!

http://www.hansunstern.net/video/

(unfortunately you won't be able to understand the mescaline-and-dope-soaked german lyrics, so it's only half the "fun" I'm afraid)
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Old 05-06-2013, 04:11 PM   #65
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* in all seriousness – this aspect actually is probably the crucial factor: does the songwriter love his fellow human beings, and wants to express and share his love by creating universally "beautiful" music – or is he a cynic or a misanthrope who wants to express his disgust with society/humanity by creating incomprehensible and/or inharmonic works of art that ignore every rule that "we" could rely upon? Both is, of course, legit IMVHO.
imo, this kind of statement is actually part of the problem rather than an insight.
Surely the way to find out what you really mean isn't to decide what you think you mean,and spend your time trying to support or defend it.
It's to examine what you're saying,and discover through exploration what,if anything,it might actually "mean".

To say that you must either be loving (and therefore limited to expressing beauty in the conventionally "beautiful" way) - or a cynic/misanthrope (and therefore limited to expressing disgust "disgustingly") is the antithesis of art as personal discovery.

But if your talking about bland pop music imitating art,it fits perfectly.Isn't that the problem?
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Old 05-06-2013, 05:57 PM   #66
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* in all seriousness – this aspect actually is probably the crucial factor: does the songwriter love his fellow human beings, and wants to express and share his love by creating universally "beautiful" music – or is he a cynic or a misanthrope who wants to express his disgust with society/humanity by creating incomprehensible and/or inharmonic works of art that ignore every rule that "we" could rely upon? Both is, of course, legit IMVHO.


EDIT 2: no, it's even easier: musically "emotional" vs. "intellectual" songwriting. You have to admit that the potential of failing in the emotional writers' category is much higher than the one in the intellectual group. Whereas "I'm not touched" means a death sentence for the first category's songs, it's an approval for the latters'. And if you think about it, it indeed requires nothing: "It sounds like that, because I want it like that. Period." Which is, again, totally legit.
For my taste, it's just too simple.

EDIT 3: sometimes bands ask me for advice. A typical, simplified, dialogue: "You know, we don't wanna make pop music." – "But it sounds like it. Just worse." – "Haha, you mean because we deny the predictability of the common rock'n'roll harmony structure" – "No, because it's obvious that you just wouldn't be able to write an average pop song." – "Because we're simply not interested." – "But you are sure that you are capable of avoiding the rules that you don't even know about?"
I don't think intellectual music needs to be alien, and i don't there is a love for people or a hate for them. I write some sort of conscious songs about ideas, and political ideological views, and I still make the music pleasing to me, based on its own merit.

To me, a song is like a woman, the musical part is her looks, The background her body, and the melody her face. Then the lyrics are the personality.

If at first, you don't find a woman attractive, you may never endeavor to get to know her. Same with music, at first you might listen to a song based purely on the sound, and then after a while, the lyrics start making sense to you.

Some lyrics, like personalities, when you get to know them, they make you love the song much more, in a non superficial way, some of them, make you dislike the song, and some of them are just kind of fun, and are almost indifferent in a way.

So i write with this in mind. I want a song, no matter how intellectual, or whatever the lyrics are, to be a good song on its own, regardless of what the lyrics are.

There are many moods and styles of music you can make, that might fit this message, or that one, but no matter what the style, whether i want to convey something positive or negative, I try to make the music "beautiful" good, you know, good for that style.

I personally think, that this is important for the success of music. I think it would be very difficult for music to be popular with, even select, groups of people, based on intellectual parts alone, though it could, I think the failure rate would be comparable to music that is purely emotional.

I also love humans while being cynical, just like i would love my children whether or not they do, what i believe to be, the right thing all the time.


I don't believe there are rules, and i don't believe that following tendencies in music, or not following them makes music pop or not. Green Day has a song that's the same chord progression as one of beethoven's songs.

That doesn't make beethoven punk/pop or whatever you call greenday.

If you consider the tendencies rules, then sure, it would be easy not to follow them. You don't have to know any theory to know what your music sounds like, and what pop sounds like. Just make music, not like pop.

Most people can't write good pop songs, even if they know all of these "rules" that are floating around. That's why people that can get paid millions of dollars for it. Those people don't write good songs, doesn't matter whether they are trying to avoid sounding like pop or not. Good music is good music, you can't judge it by looking at theory.

Music came first, theory is describing what that music is, and recording observations about it, and tendencies and what not. It is not rules, just common occurrences. That's how i see it anyways. I also don't see anything wrong with music that has common features. Just like i don't think a painting sucks because it is painted on a canvas like every other painting is.

To me, it is the same error to like something because it is popular, then it is to dislike something because it is popular, or like something because it is common, or because it is rare etc.. to me, things should be judged just on their merit.
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Old 05-07-2013, 03:17 AM   #67
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I agree with many points.

What we must remember, that this thread is about songwriting! There are no songs outside of pop(ular) music.

And re using the term "intellectual" pop music – that's why I wrote "musically intellectual". Prefab Sprout may be called highly intellectual, because of the lyrics and certain twists in the arrangement, but still musically emotional. Most of their songs at least. Maybe only the early ones, plus "Cars and Girls"

Lyrics might change the meaning or the perception of a song completely, but will a dull composition suddenly turn great? Do I think TV Personalitites are musical geniuses? No. Are their songs great? Yes. Are they considered "different"? Yes. Did they nonetheless follow every rule? Yes.
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Old 05-07-2013, 08:33 AM   #68
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What we must remember, that this thread is about songwriting! There are no songs outside of pop(ular) music.
WHAT? How narrow is THAT?

What about jazz songs?
What about hymns?
what about lullabyes and children's songs?
what about songs used in education/schools?
what about folk songs in places without "pop" media?
what about songs written by people outside the pop culture?
what about songs written privately and only played to friends?
what about songs from other cultures?
what about songs from history?
what about songs in the classical music tradition?

etc etc etc.
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Old 05-07-2013, 08:35 AM   #69
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msore, does this music follow any rules, in your opinion? I'm really interested!

http://www.hansunstern.net/video/

(unfortunately you won't be able to understand the mescaline-and-dope-soaked german lyrics, so it's only half the "fun" I'm afraid)
some rules
not other rules.

If no rules were followed, music would be indistinguishable from noise. And songs would be indistinguishable from forum babble.
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Old 05-07-2013, 09:13 AM   #70
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WHAT? How narrow is THAT?

What about jazz songs?
What about hymns?
what about lullabyes and children's songs?
what about songs used in education/schools?
what about folk songs in places without "pop" media?
what about songs written by people outside the pop culture?
what about songs written privately and only played to friends?
what about songs from other cultures?
what about songs from history?
what about songs in the classical music tradition?

etc etc etc.
Exactly. Almost all examples are "popular music". Either music meant to be widespread and thus popular (hymns, educational...) or popular because they're easy to sing and whistle along (folk, lullabyes...). I'm sure that there were popular songs in ancient Greece, and other cultures do have popular (and most likely not so popular) songs, too. Why shouldn't they?
"Popular" as opposed to the genre "pop" or our western term "pop culture". You seem to mix it up with "mainstream radio stuff", don't you?

"Jazz" is indeed difficult, because there seems to be an intellectual approach, and a "song" approach. Though my die-hard modern jazz composer friends would never admit that they compose "intellectually". For them it's all perfectly simple (and they wonder why most people don't understand an 11/8 rhythm ). Remember that jazz started out as dance music!

"Songs in the classical music tradition" – what is that? There is either the "Kunstlied", for which a different term was invented for good reason, or an "aria" (which is often composed with very populist intentions), what else? Beethoven's Ninth with a hip-hop beat ?
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Old 05-07-2013, 09:14 AM   #71
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some rules
not other rules.

If no rules were followed, music would be indistinguishable from noise. And songs would be indistinguishable from forum babble.
A-ha!
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Old 05-07-2013, 09:44 AM   #72
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Exactly. Almost all examples are "popular music". Either music meant to be widespread and thus popular (hymns, educational...) or popular because they're easy to sing and whistle along (folk, lullabyes...). I'm sure that there were popular songs in ancient Greece, and other cultures do have popular (and most likely not so popular) songs, too. Why shouldn't they?
If everything is popular, then popular has no meaning. So why use the word?

If anyone describes an approach (one of many) to writing a salsa song, and then they describe an approach (one out of the myriad possible) to writing a Tex-mex song, and then they describe how one composer (out of many composers) went about writing a tango song or a ranchero song or a samba song -

we would end up with many descriptions, all different, all creative, all songy, and all meaninglessly "popular".

There are lots of ways. And they can be mixed. One vision side by side with others, melding into an extended vision, changing the rules, extending the methods, opening up.

Kind of like beingmf said above:

Quote:
If you take the time to listen closely, you'll find something that I'd almost call a new language. Cut-up, truncated sentences, interspersed with German-russian idioms and wild neologisms – totally rough but absolutely "legit". Funny, brutal and enlightening.
What are the rules for that?
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Old 05-07-2013, 02:13 PM   #73
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I agree with many points.

What we must remember, that this thread is about songwriting! There are no songs outside of pop(ular) music.

And re using the term "intellectual" pop music – that's why I wrote "musically intellectual". Prefab Sprout may be called highly intellectual, because of the lyrics and certain twists in the arrangement, but still musically emotional. Most of their songs at least. Maybe only the early ones, plus "Cars and Girls"

Lyrics might change the meaning or the perception of a song completely, but will a dull composition suddenly turn great? Do I think TV Personalitites are musical geniuses? No. Are their songs great? Yes. Are they considered "different"? Yes. Did they nonetheless follow every rule? Yes.
You keep referring to these rules, I'm curious of exactly what, you're talking about.

I think many of the terms you used require to be properly defined, because your idea of what they mean, and my idea of what they mean, seems to be different.
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Old 05-07-2013, 02:40 PM   #74
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some rules
not other rules.

If no rules were followed, music would be indistinguishable from noise. And songs would be indistinguishable from forum babble.
I sort of agree with this, (believe it or not) but... i'm still not comfortable with calling it rules really.

The question, though, i do find very interesting, and a little bit difficult to define precisely, that's why i don't like the term "rules".

If there were definitely rules, then it would be easy to state them.

But i wonder, what is it exactly, that makes music different from random noise?

The question at first seems simple, and then becomes more complex.

Is it harmonies? dissonance? is it that there is a key all tones are within? Is it just rhythm? what is it about rhythm? i'll assume that we would consider a percussionist/drummer/bongo player whatever, also making music, so then, what it is about rhythm? is it that everything is in perfect time? or is it that everything is in perfect time, and yet allowing for some swing? Is it constant tempo? is it loops of 4 counts?

Idk, i can't find it. I don't know the recipe for making music. I don't know exactly what it is that makes it music. To almost every single t hing i try to pin down as a necessary characteristic of music, i can make a song that doesn't have that characteristic.

Maybe it needs at least some number of characteristics or something, idk.

Rhythm should be the easiest thing, and i think is to me the most important aspect of what makes music music. Like i said, you can have only rhythm, and that's music.. although, tone does come into play, even with rhythm, random notes on rhythm, is not that musical, and neither is nice harmonies on off time.

Idk, what makes music music? good question, i'd like to hear anyone's answer about it. I agree, there is something there, something that separates music from noise. What is it? I don't know. To me, it is a collection of things. too many variables that all come together and either make music, or not.

It is too complex to describe easily, too complex for me, to call anything rules. I think if i were to describe it correctly, i would need to spend like a lifetime studying it, and it would require advanced mathematics.

But, none of it matters anyways. If it sounds like music, then it is music. If it doesn't then it doesn't.

I don't think you can define music using theory, i mean certainly there needs to be some sort of rhythmic relationship, and tonal relationship, definitely.

What exactly those are, are beyond me. I mean, i can hear something and say "it has no rhythm" and then you say "why?" and then i go, well, because of x, and then I think about it, and can wield the action x, at certain moments, and that works musically. So, it's tough, like i said, it would need lots of complex math to explain.

But, really to me, I dont' think there any rules. Not rules that can be broken, not lenient rules, not rules you need to learn before you can break them. No rules.

Anything anyone might call rules, were written as people noticed common things about music. They are commonalities. Music has to come before the theory. I must have come first, theory is not a discovery we can make, other than playing with music, and noticing trends, and patterns.

That's all that theory is. Trends and patterns. People think it is more, but i disagree. It doesn't seem at all like rules to me. but if i play a lot of music, I will notice many common things in the music that i play, things i can analyze and name.
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Old 05-07-2013, 02:59 PM   #75
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If everything is popular, then popular has no meaning. So why use the word?

If anyone describes an approach (one of many) to writing a salsa song, and then they describe an approach (one out of the myriad possible) to writing a Tex-mex song, and then they describe how one composer (out of many composers) went about writing a tango song or a ranchero song or a samba song -

we would end up with many descriptions, all different, all creative, all songy, and all meaninglessly "popular".

There are lots of ways. And they can be mixed. One vision side by side with others, melding into an extended vision, changing the rules, extending the methods, opening up.

Kind of like beingmf said above:



What are the rules for that?
I think you, and i, misunderstand what he means by popular music. I've come across this before.

This might not be a case like that, but i've encountered people that consider "popular music", to hold the meaning i have as "music", and "music" as what i would call "noise". I don't know what those people would call what i call popular music, but anyways.

I think you and i have a similar grasp on the meanings of the words. Music, is... well music, which is hard to define, like i said last post, and then popular music, is the music that is most popular among the people. the music that makes the most money, and appears most in mainstream media. Although, the confusing thing, is that music can be of this style, without actually being popular, which might be caused by bad marketing, or by not being able to correctly pull off the genre, but i think that's ok, and you could still call it pop.

For me, an example, would be, that you and I would probably not consider tommy emmanuel to be popular music. It is not famous, most people have no clue who tommy emmanuel is, you could approach many strangers ,and they'll be like: "who?" but if you say: "Justin Bieber", then everybody's on board with that one.

Whereas, i think, and i may be wrong about this, but i think, beingmf would consider that popular music.

Which is confusing, i'll admit that, but i think that's why he said all music is popular music. just my guess.

There is some famous composer, that makes noise for a living, that people seem to love i think because it is not popular, mostly because it is noise, but some people consider that "unpopular music" which i just consider "noise".
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Old 05-07-2013, 03:54 PM   #76
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What methods do you use for writing lyrics?
I think of what I want to say and then I write it down. Sometimes I revise the words to work better in a song. Or I have a melody happening and I sing non-words to it. Just different vowel and consonant sounds that fit really well. Then I replay it over and oever an pull out words from it.


Is there a particular form you use? (eg. ABAB/AABA) (ABAB being a Verse/Chorus/Verse/Chorus structure)
No. When a song is finished it might fit into one of these structures, but I don't really set out to do so.


Is there a certain process you go through when writing lyrics? What is it?
I get out a pen and start writing.


Where do you find inspiration for writing lyrics?
The noumenon.


Are there any people/writers who have influenced you? Who are they?
Tom Waits, Jeff Buckley, Billie Holliday, Sinatra, Cocorosie, Devendra Banhart, Jesus, Women.


What kind of things do you write about? Why?
I write about lots of things because they feel important enough to say. There is no category or "go-to" subject matter though.


What do you do about writer’s block? Tips?
Stop trying to write. Be ok with it . Go play tennis or something.


What comes first? The music or the words?
yes


Do you write the music yourself or with a band/other collaboraters?
yes


Where do you start? (With The Beat (Drums)/The Rhythm (Guitar)/The Melody (Guitar)/The Voice (Vocals)?)
all those places. These questions seem like they are geared toward someone who has only written one song. Most of the fun in songwriting is trying tons of different approaches.


Are there any processes you go through with the writing of the music?
Keep it from sounding cliche. Enjoy it. Don't stop until I'm at least a bit proud of it.


When is a song considered finished? When is a song ready to be shared?
Never, Any time.


In what ways do you think music communicates with an audience? How powerful is it?
It conveys emotion. It can be powerful and not powerful. Depends on the song. I think the power potential is enough to change people's lives. If I didn't believe that I wouldn't be doing it.


What makes a song? What attracts you to a song?
Autheticity. I think art is the attempt to be more yourself every day. The amount of self authenticity in a song is what makes a song and attracts people to it. There are exceptions and copy cats, but for the most part I believe this is true.


Do you have a preferred style or genre of music? What is it? Do you think this has an influence on your writing?
Anything that is well written and insightful. If it's not thought provoking or well-said I'll probably hate it. Yes good writing inspires me to write as good as I am able.


Do you see a career for yourself in song writing/playing music? Or do you already have a career as a musician?
It would be nice but the music industry looks a bit awful at the moment. I wouldn't know where to start.








...
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Old 05-07-2013, 04:46 PM   #77
Jason Brian Merrill
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Re: Career

I already have a career in music, although it perhaps isn't exactly what people might really aspire to. (not to mention that I haven't yet really proved if it can totally support me - I've been in college and havent gone full swing yet)

I give music lessons (which refine my own skills and force me to learn new things myself)

I play cover gigs - also the same as above - with the added result of making new arrangements of old songs, trying new tempos, different things - we try our best to get out of the "box" - and it's REALLY fun, and keeps your chops up.

I play jazz gigs, which are very intense and really make you think about the music and internalize things in order to get the soul of it...

I play original gigs (few and far between atm)

I record music...

I record events and podcasts for money....

I record and write my own originals which are mostly done, and I've started the promotion process on. I find this to be the least windfalling possibility, but it is also the most rewarding. The other parts of my "music career" support it, and I love it.
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Old 05-08-2013, 04:35 AM   #78
ARP
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I couldn't write a song to save my life, as for ABABAAA/Bridge/etc, what ! I don't even know what those terms mean. I have written music with words in it, and songs, sort of, but the vocal is only used as a piss-take, or to make a texture, or just a few words to set a mood. I am a trained classical singer, countertenor, but as for writing songs in a popular conventional style, forget it. I have huge gaps in my musical knowledge, I do what I need to do, and I don't have a broad general knowledge of any type of music, recording, or engineering for that matter.

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Old 05-08-2013, 05:13 AM   #79
pattonfreak1
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The moment none of you've been waiting for lol...

What methods do you use for writing lyrics?

None really. Depends on what service it is to the song but I generally try to tell a story as opposed to "what rhymes with orange" so to speak.

Is there a particular form you use? (eg. ABAB/AABA) (ABAB being a Verse/Chorus/Verse/Chorus structure)
Yes... but its not a) intentional and b) a must.

Is there a certain process you go through when writing lyrics? What is it?
Usually the chorus comes first. Some phrase of words will just pop into my head and I'll write the rest of the lyrics around that.

Where do you find inspiration for writing lyrics?
Whatever mood I'm in but in all honesty... Religion

Are there any people/writers who have influenced you? Who are they?

Perry Farrell

What kind of things do you write about? Why?

Anything... Everything... It's therapy.

What do you do about writer’s block? Tips?

Suffer through it lol... I'm currently dealing with this.

What comes first? The music or the words?

Music

Do you write the music yourself or with a band/other collaboraters?

Either

Where do you start? (With The Beat (Drums)/The Rhythm (Guitar)/The Melody (Guitar)/The Voice (Vocals)?)
Usually Rhythm Guitar

Are there any processes you go through with the writing of the music?

I hit record

When is a song considered finished? When is a song ready to be shared?

Whenever I realize I'm starting to ruin it I'll back up a few steps and release it.

In what ways do you think music communicates with an audience? How powerful is it?

Depends on subject matter and personal taste. For instance I know msore is a brilliant composer that is pulling off stanzas and time sigs even I have trouble fathoming but I just cant get into it. Yet gimme a good riff over 4/4 and I'll lose my mind.
So it can be extremely powerful in regards to who's listening to it.

What makes a song? What attracts you to a song?

A lot of times it's the unusualness of it. Seems I gravitate towards the extreme but I'm also fond of beautiful melodies as well. I also like dissonance and straight up noise. lol. It depends on how "honest" the artist is being.

Do you have a preferred style or genre of music? What is it? Do you think this has an influence on your writing?

I think everyone here knows how I'll answer that lol

Do you see a career for yourself in song writing/playing music? Or do you already have a career as a musician?

Ha ha ha ha ha ha...
























ha.

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Old 05-08-2013, 05:51 AM   #80
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@Sound asleep, msore:

It is indeed not easy, I have to admit (It actually would be easier in German, because we have far more specific terms for most of the unclear concepts)

Nowhere I said "everything" was popular music. Classical is not "popular", neither are free jazz, avantgarde and experimental music, not even a hybrid would be valid, because those approaches are too disparate. Though each form has their own rules, too! Otherwise it wouldn't be possible to communicate with the "receiver"!

I was talking about "what is a song", and that songs don't exist outside a popular genre. Now please allow me one last attempt, promised Remember: the question is "Why do I think that in every creative process there have to be limitations, also known as rules".

As I tried to explain above, almost all of msore's examples are "popular songs", because they are either meant to be memorable, easy to digest or they emerge from a cultural background where tradition is more prevalent than innovation.

OTOH there are many "popular" genres whose "products" can't be called songs. Film scores, background music, ambient, techno spring to mind.
Techno is all about rhythm and sound (coincidentally (?) the name of one the most notable acts in this genre). Techno tracks (nobody would ever call them songs), as the name already implies, cannot be played with an acoustic drumset, a piano, a double bass, and no further processing, let alone amplification.
[There are attempts to do exactly that, but where's the point? The genre originated from the "liberation from the means of production", the democratization of the "studio system" and major label politics. You didn't need Sigma Sound and the Philly Strings any longer in order to produce energetic disco music. Alone. And the best of all – you could simply leave out all the cheesy "song-like" refrains and strip the track down to its basics: a bass line that aimed directly to your stomach, not your brain, raw, sexy and perfectly tailored drum machine beats and some chord changes that led nowhere. Meaning the physical and spiritual experience on the dancefloor seemed to be never ending.]

Ambient tracks (you can't play them with any other sound than the exact one used in the final piece) seems to be a genre where total freedom is allowed, no, even requested. Without a doubt, Brian Eno is not only one of the originators, but still the untouchable Leitfigur. For most of the recent compositions he limited himself to ONE synthesizer. Because he knows very well that a) total freedom is not possible b) limitation makes you search for the inherent boundaries (> innovation / approximation of freedom / fun / surprising).

One artist I like very much is Matthew Herbert. He puts so many rules and limitations upon his own creative process, it's not even funny. One of his last compositions was made out of a 10 second audio snippet of a bombardment in Libya. No other source was allowed. Does his music sound "limited" or "popular" or "simple" or "cheap" or "predictable"?

I don't know about you guys' background. I've studied screenwriting – and no matter how hard I've tried to like or respect a movie without a "story" (of any kind whatsoever), it isn't possible. Because the reception patterns of "film" are clear. Anything else is "a deliberate deconstruction of a movie for the sake of breaking taboos or playing mind games". It's a theoretical movie. It is NOT SATISFYING. Why, except for provoking, should anyone be proud of his unsatisfying works of art? There is of course a lot of theoretical music – but the question is: does it have to be heard?

Actually last saturday: a friend of mine (I hope he doesn't read this ) played his current live show. Him with a laptop for audio, a woman with a laptop for the visuals. It began with noise. White noise. After 5 minutes, pink noise was added. The girl on the video lappie didn't move a finger. Never. He did sparingly. It went on like that for almost 1 hour.
First of all, you could have done that 1955, maybe 1965, and it would have provoked a scandal and all the beatniks would have said "This is the music of the future!".

But it's 2013 – and there is no genius in declaring something genius anymore. Just like you can't declare something "art" because you declare yourself an "artist" anymore. And you can't declare some notes and chords "a song" because you declare yourself "a songwriter".
Those times are over. I really do hope we all know that! Because there is more to it. We all should have developed criteria (or know that these criteria exist) in order to distinct "legit" art from "bad" art.*
That said, my criteria are based on the codes used and sent out by an artist, the intersection with my knowledge and taste, and last but not least his personality. Basically they could be described as "a condensed insight in the artist's past, present and future, communicated with essential craftmanship" more or less.

Read Bourdieu "Distinction", "Neutralisation and the universe of possibilities" (my translation In the German edition around page 95). It's all laid out in splendid clarity.

Curious question: do I come across as the purveyor of mainstream easy-to-digest cliché music??? Hm... In real life, my musical approaches are mostly considered "unexpected" and "different"...

* please ask again if you don't understand why, I've been sitting here much too long already
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Last edited by beingmf; 05-08-2013 at 05:58 AM.
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