#1
Have any of you ever had the problem where you can't seem to write completely original songs? What I'm talking about is writing songs that you've never heard of, or are completely original sounding (but still sound good). For some reason, I find that a lot of the stuff that I write sounds really familiar, and in many cases, I've even unconsciously written stuff that sounds almost exactly like someone else's song, that I've probably heard at one point in my life. A lot of the stuff that I do write that aren't complete copies of other peoples songs, sound real typical, as in, I'm 100% sure someone else has done this before.

Have any of you been in this situation before? Any tips or advice for writing completely original songs that don't sound so typical or unoriginal?
#4
this happened to me in my songwriting infancy.

It stops happening as you get more experience with your instrument.

The only way to grow out of it is to keep writing.
#5
Just take a break. from either writing your own stuff or from covering songs. try to create your own style
Quote by Jack Off Jill
Man, thank God the russians created UG. Otherwise, how would I have gotten this information?
#6
Quote by zincabopataurio
Have any of you ever had the problem where you can't seem to write completely original songs? What I'm talking about is writing songs that you've never heard of, or are completely original sounding (but still sound good). For some reason, I find that a lot of the stuff that I write sounds really familiar, and in many cases, I've even unconsciously written stuff that sounds almost exactly like someone else's song, that I've probably heard at one point in my life. A lot of the stuff that I do write that aren't complete copies of other peoples songs, sound real typical, as in, I'm 100% sure someone else has done this before.

Have any of you been in this situation before? Any tips or advice for writing completely original songs that don't sound so typical or unoriginal?



Have you ever written a completely original sentence in english, with all completely original words that no one has ever heard of?

(hypothetical question)

and the answer is..... no.


now, ask yourself why?


what makes something original?
shred is gaudy music
#7
Quote by salgala2000
get into prog

Nope. Not even prog is safe from this. The purpose of it is to "Progress" music, but it's pretty much progressed as far as it can as of right now.

That and it has it's own "sound". That's never a good thing for a genre that claims to progress music.
#8
I watched an interview that i cant find of Jason Mraz and he says he always gets people saying that "That sounds like that one song, or Sounds exactly like that song" but he just accepts the fact and writes it anyways because he appreciates the fact that its still music and as long as you're not writing the same exact words its your original (thats probably not what he said but all i remember) I have some of my songs sound like others and people do notice but it's still an original, sometimes i tend to change the strumming patterns if it does sound like other songs
“Be yourself; everyone else is already taken.”

Oscar Wilde
#9
Makes me rage sometimes, but as long as you aren't purposely plagiarizing the work of someone else you're just gonna have to live with it. You can't really be vigilant about other existing music, do you have any idea how much music exists?
If you are writing full songs there is a massive chance that some of your melodic work coincides with people on this very forum, even if you haven't heard it before. So don't worry about it, write music honestly in your style, disregard everyone else and check under your bed for Satriani at night.
lol guitar
#10
TS, once you figure out why your writing music, all your originality problems will go away. For instance, right now I imagine you write songs either to impress people, or get famous, or even just for the sake of writing songs. But you need to find out what it is you want to express, and then your music will really start to come alive.

I wont tell you why I write because its personal, and telling you wont help you find your own voice, but I will tell you that you need to go on a sort of intraspective journey. You need to discover who you are as a person, and why you want to share that person. What do you have to say that people need to hear?

Once you figure that out, it wont matter if your music is "original" or not, because it will be sincere

Also, take some advice that I was told at a young age from a role model of mine.

"90% of everything ever written is crap. Maybe not for EVERY one, but for myself, and I bet for most other people, they think nine tenths of what they write is garbage. But if you can put up with that 90%, and work through it, you can get to that 10%. And that 10% is gold"
#11
Music has been around and evolving for a very long time, it's not surprising that one song sounds like another when you consider the amount of musicians in the world, and how many songs have been written in total.

But the question is then, if a song lacks "originality", does it then loose "credibility?". I don't think so. In fact people are more likely to enjoy a song that sounds familiar, even if they haven't heard it before. I believe that's the key to writing good pop music. If you write a new song with an element of familiarity to the audience, they'll be more likely to pay attention than if a song sounded completely foreign to them.
And no, Guitar Hero will not help. Even on expert. Really.
Soundcloud
#12
I honestly believe "Complete Originality" doesn't exist. You have already been influenced by the artists you have listened to, whether you liked them or not (more so on the ones you listen to often). So my advice would be to put the guitar down and relax, listen to some new artists or some new inspiration for your work. If you aren't interested in philosophical reasons that is, I'd do this.
I iz moderatin teh forums on this site.
#13
Quote by Brendan1
this happened to me in my songwriting infancy.

It stops happening as you get more experience with your instrument.

The only way to grow out of it is to keep writing.
100% This^
Si
#14
Write 100 songs.
If 10 of them are new and original you're alright.

Stick those 100 songs on 10 albums, with one new and original track on each.

Being completely new and original is hard. Think about how many musicians there are in the world also creating ideas and being inspired and influenced by the same things, originality is a hard concept considering that there are so many similiarities within musicians.


...though if you take the genre that you play and add something to it that makes it sound a bit different people are going to think you're original.
For instance my band wrote it's first song (well...I wrote most of the progressions and it was filled in by the band, we're waiting on lyrics), it seems just a standard rock song but it uses slash chords, 9 chords, m7 chords etc, which you don't often find in standard rock tunes, making it initially appear original even if it's not a new concept at all.
#15
We are all products of our pasts and therefore I don't believe it's possible to be "completely original." There is nothing wrong or "bad" with not being the perfect individual, as cliché as it is: you are not a unique snowflake, even as a musician.

Write generic music and enjoy writing it, hearing it and performing it. What else matters?

Personally, the worst thing about music these days are guys trying too hard to be "original," it's taking a toll on the quality of music and you can hear it. Instead of trying to reinvent the wheel, I think musicians should just go back to writing whatever sounds good. Perhaps, originality is overdone.
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[U]      //| \      |       |      [/U]
[U]     | \|_ |     |     .-|      [/U]
      *-|-*    (_)     `-’
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        L.
Last edited by demonofthenight at Aug 16, 2010,
#16
All things we know look back as great art, wheter it is music, painting, literature poetry and drama, etc.. you know something? It's not great art because it is 100% original and comes completly out of nowhere.. it always builds on what comes before.

All great art is inspired by previous great art, but provides new contexts, mixes things up, etc.. this is what creativity is.

So what does this mean? It means that there is a difference between plagiarism and being inspired by things.. As long as you are not flat out copying (intentionaly), you are alright.
Dont start worrying too much about if something sounds a bit similar to something else, you are just putting up boundaries to your creativity and training yourself for writers block..

And you know what? In the whole history of music, there is only one completly original song.. it was made by some cave-guy crashing two stones togheter to make a rythmic clacity clack sound. Everything else that came after that was just a cheap sellout rippoff
#17
When most people write music, they write in their comfort zone.

Which usually consists of a certain time signature, chord progression type, resolution to a certain scale degree, and other stylistic elements which make all their music sound the same; these elements are often subconsciously taken from whatever music you listen to.

Make an effort to leave your "comfort zone" by pre-planning these elements. Decide before composing whether you're going to write music that's major, minor, or modal. Force yourself to use a time signature you don't usually use. Use note values and patterns of tonal motion that you're not used to; start your phrases at different metrical positions, and focus on creating unique/original rhythm patterns.

Making a conscious decision to think about these things will ensure that you create a wide variety of sounds.

Also, listening to and absorbing as many different kinds of sounds as you can, from as many different genres as possible, will help you incorporate 'original'-sounding timbres/ideas into your music.
#19
Most important thing about originality that you MUST realize is that it does not exist. Once you're cool with that idea it allows you to do what all good musicians do: borrow IDEAS from other songs, such as riffs, song structure and little effects like delay or wah or a divebomb on a floyd rose. THEN you take those ideas and express them the way you want to. I sometimes try to copy something I just heard, play it all wrong, then make it my own riff by taking it in another direction that I'm better at. Try it sometime

EDIT: Oh, and ForceofHabbit, for your own good don't do That^ again. That's called spamming and will get you in trouble. If someone asks about your style or band THEN post a link. Not trying to be a dick, but I've been in trouble for doing that too. Just trying to

Re-Edit: Perfect example https://www.ultimate-guitar.com/forum/showthread.php?t=1351292
Read near the end
Last edited by bdof at Aug 16, 2010,
#20
Yes. Just keep writing and you'll get out of this rut eventually.

I bet when you pick up your instrument you start playing around with the same chords, don't you? Learn some new chords. Explore the fretboard and come up with your own. And if you know theory, you can name them.

Try some alternate and open tunings. They are good at getting you out of a rut.
Try some of these. Some of them can break strings and I'm not responsible for your broken string. LMAO. Here are some that I enjoy lately.

(low to high)

Open-Esus2: E-B-E-F#-B-E

D-A-D-G-A-D (also dropping this half a step is cool)

Db-Ab-Db-Db-Db-Db, or D-A-D-D-D-D, or, even D-D-D-D-D-D is fun

D-A-D-G-D-D is odd and fun

C-G-D-G-D-D

I mean it's endless. Explore some different tunings for a little while and I promise you, your current writer's block will be lifted.
"He who loves practice without theory is like the sailor who boards ship without a rudder and compass and never knows where he may cast."

~Leonardo da Vinci
#21
woah... its not easy to be fully original... cos I think... we will end up creating something original.. but still have some values from anyone that we like... Influences....

But, from here... if keep on writing music and experimenting... we might end up with a totally new sound... but this wont be easy... wont be easy to write and wont be easy for some listener to accept..

so keep in mind...whatever you do... just keep on doing it...