#1
Hello everyone!

I've been playing Guitar for about a year, I've just passed my Grade 3 Exam (With distinction!) and everyone says I'm a really good player.

I was just wondering, how easy is it to write a song? When I just mess about, it comes out sounding like whatever music I've just been listening to, or... It sounds like a nursery rhyme theme tune :P

So, has anyone got any tips for actually writing songs? I've looked in the lessons section on this site, but they're more about lyrics for songs and what to put in the songs you've written.

Cheers!
#2
for me its easy because i'm self taught so about half my practice time is just jamming, and eventually i come up with a nice riff. sometimes i'm intentionally trying to like, make a verse part for guitar, but usually it just sorta pops up. there is a lesson on this though, but a tip that i got from this site is to take your favorite song, look at the riff, and try to build something off of that that sounds original
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#4
I lolled

These questions make me forget I have a hangover.

If I play a Dm - Am7 - Em - G progression with a chorus of C - F - G.

I have a pop song.

How easy is it to write a song?

..

Your question is vague and has no real direction. What KIND of songs do you wanna write?

Metal with blazing guitars?

Christian Rock?

Jazz with Deathmetal Vocals?

More info on what style you want to write in, we can give you directions on how the most common stuff is used in those genres.

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Last edited by xxdarrenxx at Jan 1, 2009,
#5
I've only written a few complete songs, but what I do is come up with a main riff. It's not like I sit down and say, "Okay, I'm going to write a main riff that will blow Crazy Train out of the water." or anything, but just play until you like something you hear.

Once you find a riff you really like and it fits a "main riff" I'll usually come up with a verse riff, since I'm a singer I try not to make it so intricate.

Chorus riffs (IMO) depend on how you want the song to sound. If you have a very fast main riff and verse, it could contrast well with a fast pre chorus (if desired) leading into a slower chorus.

I'm not sure how much detailed info you wanted out of songwriting, but this is what I do.

Great if it helps, sorry if it doesn't.
Amps
Mesa Dual Recto 3 Ch
Peavey 6505 Combo

Cab
ENGL E212VH Cab

Guitars
Epi Explorer
Schecter Damien 6
Squier Strat (signed by Rob Zombie!)

Pedals
ISP Decimator
Dunlop Crybaby Original
Boss CE-5 Chorus Ensenble
Boss GE-7 Equalizer
#6
a simple way to write songs is by basing it off a verse/chorus structure. example: verse/chorus 3 times. there's you a song. and you can build off of that structure to add stuff (intros, bridges)

when i write... i always start with the first verse.. then build the rest of the song off that. get a good, solid rhythm. (drums and bass) then throw in some guitar. and lyrics.

you can play riffs, or you can strum chords. it doesn't matter.
it would help if we knew what kind of music you want to write

it would also help if you knew chord progressions and key signatures, etc.
there are no rules to songwriting, just make sure it sounds and flows good.
Last edited by pepsi1187 at Jan 1, 2009,
#7
pepsi1187]a simple way to write songs is by basing it off a verse/chorus structure. example: verse/chorus 3 times. there's you a song. and you can build off of that structure to add stuff (intros, bridges)

That's exactly what I do. Sometimes not 3 verses, but the idea of the verse/chorus, and of course adding in all the 'extra stuff' that make a song.

EDIT: I suck at editing quotes...

EDIT AGAIN: http://www.all-guitar-chords.com/guitar_scales.php?qqq=FULL&scch=C&scchnam=Major&get2=Get&choice=1

^^^Guitar Key Signatures and stuff, very interesting and extremely useful^^^
Amps
Mesa Dual Recto 3 Ch
Peavey 6505 Combo

Cab
ENGL E212VH Cab

Guitars
Epi Explorer
Schecter Damien 6
Squier Strat (signed by Rob Zombie!)

Pedals
ISP Decimator
Dunlop Crybaby Original
Boss CE-5 Chorus Ensenble
Boss GE-7 Equalizer
Last edited by StillSoundRG at Jan 1, 2009,
#8
Sorry about not including what type of music I was into...

I'm into a lot of Muse and Rage Against The Machine, so mostly rock stuff. I find it real hard to come up with a really good riff.. Always feels like what I do sounds too silly to be a riff, and won't stand up to any of the amazing riffs I listen to from the bands I listen to.
#9
when it comes to writing riffs, be simple.. a riff can be four notes long.. keep it in rhythm.
and keep the riff emotional.
#10
Writing songs can be as easy as you want it to be. Lets say you come up with a riff but, like you say it sounds sort of silly for what ever reason. You can do a lot of things to change it. You can change the rhythm of the notes or even one or two of the notes themselves. Simple changes like that can massively change the sound of a guitar run.
Duke Ellington - If it sounds good, it is good.
#11
If it is going to mean anything at all to you, it should take every ounce of effort, emotion, and everything you have learned in your entire life to make. But you could just put some chords together and make a melody in two minutes. Both might sound great. Or the one you do in two minutes could become a hit, while the first means nothing to other people. So basicaly, there is no answer for your question.
Quote by Gabel
You are EXTREMELY WRONG! I have played it. I own an 18W and it would be an awful stereo amp, it's way too bright, breaks up too easily and so on. Secondly, why would a guitar store sell an hifi amp.
#12
Quote by The Gore Child
Hello everyone!

I've been playing Guitar for about a year, I've just passed my Grade 3 Exam (With distinction!) and everyone says I'm a really good player.

I was just wondering, how easy is it to write a song? When I just mess about, it comes out sounding like whatever music I've just been listening to, or... It sounds like a nursery rhyme theme tune :P

So, has anyone got any tips for actually writing songs? I've looked in the lessons section on this site, but they're more about lyrics for songs and what to put in the songs you've written.

Cheers!


A simple answer is as easy as you want it to be. You can write a piece of music that is 30 seconds long, and providing you like how it sounds then that's all that really matters. Write music for yourself and others will like it (not everyone, but since when does everyone like every bit of music they hear?).

Like anything else writing music does take practice, but it's something that you can start right now. The worst that can happen is that you don't like what you make, all you do is put it to one side (don't throw it away as you may become more experienced and be able to make something from it later) and start again.

Getting to grips with chord and scale theory will help a lot in the process of writing and give you ideas. You'll also find information on modulation useful as well, so you can mix your song up a little and give the verses and chorus a different sound (that is of course if you want a verse, chorus song). At the end of the day creating a piece that you really like the sound of is the ultimate goal.
#13
A lot of people have this perception that stringing a few riffs together means that you have written a song. Any noob can do that, pretty much.

From a legal standpoint, in terms of copyright law, a song is the melody and the lyrics. Nothing more. Getting a melody that has structure and that has a hook to it, and adding lyrics to that melody such that the musical phrasing matches the lyrical phrasing and the two really complement each other is a FAR more difficult task.

To put it in perspective, a bad song is easy to write, even with the proper definition. Great songs are difficult to write. People who can write great songs can stand to make a lot of money. Why? Because it is something that so few people can do.

CT
Could I get some more talent in the monitors, please?

I know it sounds crazy, but try to learn to inhale your voice. www.thebelcantotechnique.com

Chris is the king of relating music things to other objects in real life.
#14
You should develop your ear by trying to tab an transcribe existing songs. Then, when you come up with a riff or melody you like with your head, it will be much easier for you to recreate that riff or melody on the guitar.
#15
It's completely dependent on how much you put into it.

You could put absolutely nothing in or you can put alot in. imo, it takes no skill to write bad hip-hop and very little skill to write *core and punk music. Just unmelodically rap or scream over a bass and drum beat or over some randomly thrashed powerchords and you have a crappy song.

But writing for some people is like this: you could have 20 years experience and write books on counterpoint and teach classes in a university and it still wouldn't be enough to write a good song in their opinion (although they might be writing pure genious in reality).

If you care about what you write, learn theory, practise writing often, analyse some songs with theory (everything from jazz to classical to pop to metal, not just songs you like), learn how to write melodies (classically), learn advanced harmony, learn counterpoint.

And yeah, most "songwriting" articles suck. They're pseudo-musical and talk about "emotions" or "inspiration" or some crap like that.
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#16
Thanks for all the help! I think I need to sit down and just really get into it... How would I train my ear to be able to tab a song? And how would I learn to write melodies?

Also, does a riff have to be in key, like a solo? Or does the riff become the key? If so, are there only certain notes you can have in this riff? And chord progressions... I've been taught how to work basic ones out out (Key of so-and so... find that fret.. Go a fret lower is it.. then two frets to the right? Then they're the chords you'd use)

As I've said, I'm only grade 3, and have only really LEARNT songs so far, not made them up. Cheers for the inspiration!
#17
Quote by demonofthenight
And yeah, most "songwriting" articles suck. They're pseudo-musical and talk about "emotions" or "inspiration" or some crap like that.


Inspiration suddenly isn't a valid element in the creation of art? Well golly, I'm screwed. I never sit down and decide, 'I am going to write a song.' It has to come to me through some emotional medium. For example, Sunday night, I went to see 'The Curious Case of Benjamin Button.' In the film, Benjamin plays Scott Joplin's rag 'Bethena' on the piano. I loved it, but at the time, did not know what it was. When I went home, I wanted to play it, but couldn't, so I tried to play something that conveyed the same emotional impact. I ended up starting and finishing a song I entitled 'O Miss Geneva,' which bared little music similarity to the Joplin piece. In the end, I created a song that I consider one of my best to date, simply on the basis of musical inspiration and the emotional impact of the movie. To discourage upcoming musicians from placing value in these concepts is only going to slow them down, make them anal about their work, and ultimately unhappy in their abilities. Naturally, an understanding of music is necessary for composing, but theory should be learned secondarily to musicianship, and be brought out by inspiration, rather than vice-versa.

For those of you that don't believe a song can be composed on the basis of emotion, here is 'O Miss Geneva,' the song I referred to.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u71b2b3VDUk

Please refrain from discussing my above post on the comments page of the video. I understand not all of you will like the song; I am not tooting my own horn, I am simply trying to relate the methods through which this song was written to the topic starter.
#18
Quote by The Gore Child
So, has anyone got any tips for actually writing songs? I've looked in the lessons section on this site, but they're more about lyrics for songs and what to put in the songs you've written.Cheers!


No tips-no rules-no nothing. Do what you like when writing a song, any advise that makes you change your song will make it a little bit less yours.
#19
some of the greatest musicians ever constatly had sounds, floating in their heads, beathoven and hendrix for example, and since they had the ability of perfect pitch, they just took what they heard and transposed to guitar.

take a look at "Moon, Turn the tides Gently." Youll see what i mean.

Also, may i suggest David Lucas Burge's Relative Ear Training program. google it, Its long, but hella worth it.
Cmaj9add4add6(b13)(b5)
#20
These kind of threads are pointless. It depends; the simple answer it depends. Mozart wrote over 600 pieces of music, most of which are incredibly lengthy complex and orchestrated for a number of instruments. Wrote more music in his 30+ year career than a couple of dozen rock bands do in their whole lives. So if you ask Mozart how hard it is to write a 'song', he'll probably tell you it's pretty damn easy. Of course there are certain virtuoso guitarists who come up with 3 original albums and then rip of their own previous albums to morbidly extend their careers. If you ask them, they'd say it's pretty easy as well. And of course how can we forget the one hit wonders and those few modern day rock bands that continue on without exhausting their style and sound? Generally, ease of song writing translates into number of songs wrote. So I ask you. Would you like grit your teeth, put in some long hard nights and come up with one golden album with 10 gems or would you like to spend 10 minutes per song and come up with 200 clones?

Doesn't matter how hard or easy it is; what matters is whether it can be done and how good it can be done.

As for tips for writing songs. Well, inspiration, conceptual thinking emotional interpretation to come up with the song in your head and theory and grasp of your instrument to put it into paper and then eventually sounds. Simple as that. Promise.
#21
Quote by The Gore Child
Hello everyone!

I've been playing Guitar for about a year, I've just passed my Grade 3 Exam (With distinction!) and everyone says I'm a really good player.

I was just wondering, how easy is it to write a song? When I just mess about, it comes out sounding like whatever music I've just been listening to, or... It sounds like a nursery rhyme theme tune :P

So, has anyone got any tips for actually writing songs? I've looked in the lessons section on this site, but they're more about lyrics for songs and what to put in the songs you've written.

Cheers!


How easy is it? that depends on you really

Tips:

- listen to songs
- analyze whats going on in those songs
- get creative and try writing songs your self
- don't be overly critical or take yourself to seriously..... let yourself develop as a writer
shred is gaudy music
#22
I guess I need to find a way to like.. Let it all out I guess?
I think I need abit more training in general musicianship...
I get what you're saying about you can't give tips really, cause that makes the song yours not mine. To "MisquotedTeabag"... Nice name :P And good advice! I would rather write 10 gems that loads of drivel... But I feel the riffs I do like, lack personality? I dunno... hard to explain I guess.
#23
Quote by MisquotedTeabag

As for tips for writing songs. Well, inspiration, conceptual thinking emotional interpretation to come up with the song in your head and theory and grasp of your instrument to put it into paper and then eventually sounds. Simple as that. Promise.


And developing a strong sense of melody through practice.

CT
Could I get some more talent in the monitors, please?

I know it sounds crazy, but try to learn to inhale your voice. www.thebelcantotechnique.com

Chris is the king of relating music things to other objects in real life.
#24
Quote by The Gore Child
I guess I need to find a way to like.. Let it all out I guess?
I think I need abit more training in general musicianship...
I get what you're saying about you can't give tips really, cause that makes the song yours not mine. To "MisquotedTeabag"... Nice name :P And good advice! I would rather write 10 gems that loads of drivel... But I feel the riffs I do like, lack personality? I dunno... hard to explain I guess.


Keep in mind that 1 year is very little time in the scheme of things. Just keep listening to, learning, and playing music. If you're a creative person, you will get to the point where you're making your own music. Spend some time cutting your teeth on the music that inspires you for a while. You need to spend some time in "input" mode, so that you have something (in your head) to work with.
shred is gaudy music
#25
Keep in mind that 1 year is very little time in the scheme of things. QUOTE]

Yeah, I've always been sort of an impatient guy like... jumping in at the deep end I guess? I think I'll ask my guitar teacher if he's got any tips to just like... help get me inspired enough?