#1
Okay, first off, thanks for reading!

Now, I have a problem about writing songs...I just can't. Instrumental songs, anyways. Sure, I can improvise pretty well, but when it comes to tabbing them out it just doesn't come to me. Any suggestions?

I know this is short and probably lacking in detail, but any help is appreciated.
#2
Well you need creativity to write original stuff. Find a good source of inspiration, then use your feelings towards whatever that is and transpose them to your instrument.
Originally Posted by happytimeharry
Your avatar is creepy, yet incredibly hypnotic...

I do what I can

Originally Posted by FiNNi
@AlterEdge: On a side note, I laughed when I noticed pedobear was your avatar

Me too... me too...
#3
This is a stock response but for good reason: read up on theory. Chords, scales, basic notation, whatever. If you find it difficult to write then learning theory will certainly not be detrimental at the very least.
#4
Equipment
Ibanez RGT42FX
Takamine G406S
Randall RG100G3
Digitech Metal Master
#5
Quote by AlterEdge
Well you need creativity to write original stuff.


bullshit. you don't need inspiration. it helps, but what counts is the skill one has in songwriting and composition. that won't come from inspiration. that comes from work. like anything else in life, you get better by doing it -- not by waiting for the mood to strike you.

TS, you say you can improvise very well. does improvise mean you're just picking random notes in a scale pattern or you're genuinely using your ear? because the former just barely qualifies as improvisation. if it's the latter option, you're on your way to good composition.

learn theory. it is not necessary, but your compositional skills can only suffer without it. once you know enough theory, use it in conjunction with your ear.

start listening to classical music, if you haven't already. there's a reason it's the standard curriculum for music schools - it contains the most. it's the culmination of musical skill.

if all that isn't enough, then objectively measure yourself. you want to write songs -- but how many can you play? how well do you understand structure (the more you know besides the done-to-death intro-verse-chorus-verse-chorus-bridge-solo-chorus, the better off you are).

whatever you do, remember to listen. a musician who can't listen is like a colorblind artist - absolutely worthless.
Anfangen ist leicht, Beharren eine Kunst.
#6
Quote by The.new.guy
Okay, first off, thanks for reading!

Now, I have a problem about writing songs...I just can't. Instrumental songs, anyways. Sure, I can improvise pretty well, but when it comes to tabbing them out it just doesn't come to me. Any suggestions?

I know this is short and probably lacking in detail, but any help is appreciated.


I really agree with you in terms of lacking in detail. Do you know how to create progressions in a certain key if you wanted to? If so, then I'd start really studying melodies, because that's what makes instrumental songs what they are is they have a cohesive and discernible melody (most of the time).

Welcome by the way!

Sean
#7
aeolian's a bit strong, but he's right. the more you know theory and analyze and study and LISTEN, the easier it is.

you could name a style and I could come up with a respectable song (perhaps not great, but a song) written and arranged in a few hours (depending on the style and arrangement needed). just learn harmonic function, chord/scale relationships and the importance of rhythm and that's about it.
#DTWD
Last edited by primusfan at Jun 16, 2011,
#8
Quote by Burnt Ice

What was the point of that?

Thanks to all but this guy. Yes, I know basic chord progressions and all in all basic theory, but that's BARE BONES basic theory...I'll read up.
#9
Quote by The.new.guy
What was the point of that?

Thanks to all but this guy. Yes, I know basic chord progressions and all in all basic theory, but that's BARE BONES basic theory...I'll read up.

Please don't go near modes, we don't need another person like that around here

Theory is good, but realize it isn't a fast-track to success. Some of the greatest theoriests in the world aren't composers, and most mediocre theorists can't compose shit (though most composers know theory). Bottom line, you need theory, but it isn't something you will rely solely on. This is actually a good thing, as it also eliminates the fear that "learning music theory will make me uncreative," which some people have concerns with.
#10
Quote by nmitchell076
Please don't go near modes, we don't need another person like that around here

Theory is good, but realize it isn't a fast-track to success. Some of the greatest theoriests in the world aren't composers, and most mediocre theorists can't compose shit (though most composers know theory). Bottom line, you need theory, but it isn't something you will rely solely on. This is actually a good thing, as it also eliminates the fear that "learning music theory will make me uncreative," which some people have concerns with.


I think this "ignore modes" mentality some of you have here should stop. You absolutely shouldn't learn them without having the basics down, but you should still learn them eventually. You guys always use numbers like 99% of songs are in a major or minor key and while that's true for mainstream music I hear modes being used occasionally in prog rock and jazz fusion namely. The best advice I think is "learn modes correctly". They aren't extremely important but you can't lose anything by learning them. I've also found they are only useless and monotonous if you don't do anything creative with them.
Last edited by Sóknardalr at Jun 17, 2011,
#11
Basic Metal Writing:
-Choose a tuning (dropped tunings are generally the easiest to write in)
-Choose a key, or just noodle around and find some chords you think sound good together
-Work on a chord sequence
-Use open string pedal tones on the low *insert note here* string
-Gallop rythms are good to use
-Maybe add some bigger chords over 4 strings for djent-y tones
-Attacking the strings with the side of the pick when just chugging a chord will make a more aggressive heavier sound

In the way of modes, using phrygian mixed with the pentatonic scales gives a good sound. If you want to use any diminshed chords then a good mode to use is locrian. The blues scale will also offer some good sounds to your riffs.
It didn't take long to realise
The safest place was not her arms, but her eyes
Where she can't see you
For her gaze, it blisters;
Grey skin to cinders
#12
Quote by Sóknardalr
I think this "ignore modes" mentality some of you have here should stop. You absolutely shouldn't learn them without having the basics down, but you should still learn them eventually. You guys always use numbers like 99% of songs are in a major or minor key and while that's true for mainstream music I hear modes being used occasionally in prog rock and jazz fusion namely. The best advice I think is "learn modes correctly". They aren't extremely important but you can't lose anything by learning them. I've also found they are only useless and monotonous if you don't do anything creative with them.

Well, the biggest reason to stay away is that there are so many ways to do it wrong, so many sites that claim to have the right answers, and either give completely wrong answers, or present the right answer in such a convoluted way, that it is easy to take it in the wrong way.

So, let me rephrase, don't ignore modes, but be insanely careful about your source of learning them, and take everything you learn with a grain of salt, checking and rechecking with various sources (especially some sort of academic source, if possible, like a legitimate music theory textbook).
#13
Quote by Sóknardalr
I think this "ignore modes" mentality some of you have here should stop. You absolutely shouldn't learn them without having the basics down, but you should still learn them eventually. You guys always use numbers like 99% of songs are in a major or minor key and while that's true for mainstream music I hear modes being used occasionally in prog rock and jazz fusion namely. The best advice I think is "learn modes correctly". They aren't extremely important but you can't lose anything by learning them. I've also found they are only useless and monotonous if you don't do anything creative with them.


Here's where I differ with you: And I've never differed with you before, I like everything you have to say.

I suggest the sentence be:

"Ignore modes for NOW".

If a guy comes in and context wise by his question shows that he doesn't understand anything, then I think that advice is solid. Modes aren't going to save him. Period.


If we follow your advice and change that to "learn modes correctly" then what happens is guys that don't have the patience, will or constitution to learn theory are going to adopt a "cut to the chase" approach and start following up with "how to's" questions, and ignore the principle answer, and that is, "learn theory, and then you'll understand modes."

So the advice however blunt is there to derail people trying to take shortcuts to understanding. Close that door. Period. Move further will only lead you into error, kind of thing, nip it in the bud early, and then those who do decide, "OK, I see that I have to learn more about theory" then they can do so, and those that won't do it that way, well they never had a hope of working out modes in the first place.

Best,

Sean
Last edited by Sean0913 at Jun 17, 2011,
#14
I'd advise you to get into some Joe Satriani, man! He's a master at writing instrumental guitar music.
Learn what chords are in what keys, and what scales can be used to compose melodies relative to the chords. It's a long road - one that I'm still treading, too - but being able to express yourself through writing music is one of life's treasures!
#15
Now, I have a problem about writing songs...I just can't. Instrumental songs, anyways. Sure, I can improvise pretty well, but when it comes to tabbing them out it just doesn't come to me. Any suggestions?


To be able to tabb out songs you need to have a overview about the things you do.

*Meter and rhythm
*Melody and its phrasing.
*Chords and there cadences
*Song structure. Chorus Intro Verse bridge.
*...

I prefer to tab before playing. although That challenges me to learn this complex stuff but its worth.

You should create a concret picture about what you play. 'did I do 5 4 6 8 9 notes?'

Improvising is always a lost when you dont reflect it. running the scales will give you no
satisfaction.

let a chord progression run and then jam. but look at the significant licks...that are catchy...
work on your phrasing...so you will be able to tell when the next phrase comes up...
Orientation by the chords.

If you do metal you will have a lot more orientation by the riffs that determinate a phase...
You will have a handful of riffs and then you have the structure.

Best catchy -riffs is for chorus.
a riff for a kickass bridge or the atmospheric part.
the introduction and progressing lciks for intro etc.
the rest for verse riffing.


Thats the basic.
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
IF YOU READ 'H' I MEAN 'B'

GERMAN H = AMERICAN B

#16
Quote by Sean0913
Here's where I differ with you: And I've never differed with you before, I like everything you have to say.

I suggest the sentence be:

"Ignore modes for NOW".

If a guy comes in and context wise by his question shows that he doesn't understand anything, then I think that advice is solid. Modes aren't going to save him. Period.


If we follow your advice and change that to "learn modes correctly" then what happens is guys that don't have the patience, will or constitution to learn theory are going to adopt a "cut to the chase" approach and start following up with "how to's" questions, and ignore the principle answer, and that is, "learn theory, and then you'll understand modes."

So the advice however blunt is there to derail people trying to take shortcuts to understanding. Close that door. Period. Move further will only lead you into error, kind of thing, nip it in the bud early, and then those who do decide, "OK, I see that I have to learn more about theory" then they can do so, and those that won't do it that way, well they never had a hope of working out modes in the first place.

Best,

Sean


Don't get me wrong, I in no way disagree with you here but I don't think giving people the impression that the modes have no functional purpose apart from making clueless guitarists sound smart is the best approach. Like I said, they shouldn't be approached until you understand diatonic theory well, but they should still be approached. Sometimes people on here respond negatively to any modes discussion in general.

I guess I also agree with your door analogy, if people are told something isn't worth checking out and are told why then they probably won't go through that door. But will they even be remotely interested in learning about them once they've learned the basics? Perhaps simply telling people to learn "correctly" isn't good enough, and perhaps they do need to be dissuaded. But I still think a balance needs to be struck: between "modes will make you a more interesting guitarist" and "modes have absolutely no practical application today".
#17
What AeolianWolf and some other people are suggesting is such bs. The question is is are you an artist? Anyone can learn to be technically good, just like anyone can learn to paint a portrait of someone or compose prose writing. To make good art, you have to find a muse or an inspiration, which could be a real subject or just an aesthetic idea. Maybe take someone elses song and make some sort of variation of it. Study what you write and think about what kind of music you want to hear.

There has been good music composed literally with 1 chord, like the Beatles' "Tommorow Never Knows", so it isn't only about complexities and effort... If it sounds good is the main goal to a degree.

I kind of assume you know theory well sense you say you are a good improviser, but if you don't, study composition/the songs you like to see how scales and chords are put together.
#18
Quote by 剣 斧 血
Basic Metal Writing:
-Choose a tuning (dropped tunings are generally the easiest to write in)
-Choose a key, or just noodle around and find some chords you think sound good together
-Work on a chord sequence
-Use open string pedal tones on the low *insert note here* string
-Gallop rythms are good to use
-Maybe add some bigger chords over 4 strings for djent-y tones
-Attacking the strings with the side of the pick when just chugging a chord will make a more aggressive heavier sound



ACTUAL Basic Metal Writing:
- Make riffs
- When you find one that melts your face because it's so awesome, make a song out of it
- Insert beefy low end tone
- SUCCESS!
It's spelled wiener.
#19
Quote by yoyoyoitcool
What AeolianWolf and some other people are suggesting is such bs. The question is is are you an artist? Anyone can learn to be technically good, just like anyone can learn to paint a portrait of someone or compose prose writing. To make good art, you have to find a muse or an inspiration, which could be a real subject or just an aesthetic idea. Maybe take someone elses song and make some sort of variation of it. Study what you write and think about what kind of music you want to hear.

Just because something is done with a very thought-out process instead of direct inspiration, doesn't mean that it has to be complex. A songwriter shouldn't have to rely on inspiration alone, since inspiration doesn't always come.

Take a note from the man who is arguably america's greatest songwriter: George Gershwin
"Inspiration, commonly considered the main spring of composition, is as elusive as it is illusive. I might call it an unconscious something that happens within you which makes you do a thing much better than if it were done self-consciously. When it does come, it may be truly called a gift from the gods. Out of my entire annual output of songs, perhaps two - or at the most, three - come as a result of inspiration. When I want it most, it does not come, so I never rely on it; that is, I don't sit around and wait for an inspiration to walk up to me and introduce itself. What I substitute for it is nothing more than talent plus my knowledge. If a composer's endowment is great enough, the song is made to sound as if it were truly inspired."

(George Gershwin, "Making Music," from the New York World Sunday Magazine. May 4, 1930)
#20
Quote by nmitchell076
Just because something is done with a very thought-out process instead of direct inspiration, doesn't mean that it has to be complex. A songwriter shouldn't have to rely on inspiration alone, since inspiration doesn't always come.

Take a note from the man who is arguably america's greatest songwriter: George Gershwin
"Inspiration, commonly considered the main spring of composition, is as elusive as it is illusive. I might call it an unconscious something that happens within you which makes you do a thing much better than if it were done self-consciously. When it does come, it may be truly called a gift from the gods. Out of my entire annual output of songs, perhaps two - or at the most, three - come as a result of inspiration. When I want it most, it does not come, so I never rely on it; that is, I don't sit around and wait for an inspiration to walk up to me and introduce itself. What I substitute for it is nothing more than talent plus my knowledge. If a composer's endowment is great enough, the song is made to sound as if it were truly inspired."

(George Gershwin, "Making Music," from the New York World Sunday Magazine. May 4, 1930)


I agree and disagree with this quote. I find it a bit surprising that someone who has composed some of the most memorable and inspired melodies in American music would say this. Inspiration isn't being able to come up with and fully develop a theme in your head and arranging it, it's an intangible "mood" that strikes you. At least that is how I perceive it. All of the details that you can't hear and the way you arrange the themes is up to your composition skills. But you can't make music only with theory and knowledge. You can fake it, but it's not genuine. Of course when you start experimenting with a theme it almost invariably goes through a few changes and maybe it won't be anything like your original conception, but it came from somewhere.
#21
Quote by yoyoyoitcool
What AeolianWolf and some other people are suggesting is such bs. The question is is are you an artist? Anyone can learn to be technically good, just like anyone can learn to paint a portrait of someone or compose prose writing. To make good art, you have to find a muse or an inspiration, which could be a real subject or just an aesthetic idea.


i'm sorry you feel that way. if that's how you sleep at night feeling good about your own lack of skill (and, no, i don't mean shredding, don't even go there; i mean compositional ability), then by all means, get your eight hours. so by your logic, the greatest composers of the pre-romantic era (bach, mozart, haydn) are terrible writers, and anything that falls under the category of absolute music is not good music?

anyone can learn to be technically good. this is true. but anyone can find a muse and make good art in the definition you're providing. if i was to contest with someone else in inspiration-against-skill composition, and we both wrote around the same theme, you can sure as shit bet that i'll be just as good (if not better) at it.

your vision and perception of music as a whole is limited. if you really don't believe me then challenge me. i'll prove it to you.
Anfangen ist leicht, Beharren eine Kunst.
#22
Study other peoples songs. By study I mean analyze, Find out everything they do basically.
then writing will come easier because you'll see first hand what is common and what's not.
Quote by kaptkegan
Don't think I've ever been sigged.


I pretty much never leave the drug thread anymore.
Last edited by Metallicuh at Jun 19, 2011,