#1
Hi everyone,

I haven't been playing very long (about 6 months) but i would like to write songs using my guitar after a few years. I have a question for those of you who either write songs or have written in the past- how long did it take for you (years) before you could write your own songs using guitar? What kind of music theory is important in order to write?

Keep in mind that i am mainly interested in hard rock (not metal, hard rock like Aerosmith/Zeppelin/Deep Purple) and some blues (SRV, etfc).
#2
Chord progressions have a certain order that needs to be maintained in order for a song to flow properly. That is all known in theory. You also need to know what key you want to make your song and put chords in accordingly. Unless your a musical genius, theory is needed to write music or at least support what is being written. The time it takes to learn to write depends on each person, how hard they try, how talented they are, etc.
#3
I've been playing for two years and I've finished writing 4 songs. The first is a soft rock song (Pink Floyd-ish). Two of them are piano pieces and the last is an instrumental. The first song took me about two days to write. It wasn't very good though. The piano pieces both took me about half a year I think. I'd been playing about a year and a half before I completed the first one. The second one I completed a few months ago. (been playing for two years and a half now). I've been working on the instrumental since some time in October I think and I'm not completely sure I'm finished with it yet.

I knew nothing about music theory when I started writing the first song and the first piano piece, except a few tiny things about scales and how 3/4 sounds and 4/4 sounds.
#4
Quote by nojeremy
Chord progressions have a certain order that needs to be maintained in order for a song to flow properly. That is all known in theory. You also need to know what key you want to make your song and put chords in accordingly. Unless your a musical genius, theory is needed to write music or at least support what is being written. The time it takes to learn to write depends on each person, how hard they try, how talented they are, etc.



He is right. However, you don't need that knowledge to make a song, I wrote my first song a week after playing, it was very basic, but I had a nice little riff goin' on. If you are playing for fun, music is just what you like, you do not have to impress anybody.
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#5
I'd personally say just jam with your guitar and start writing whenever you're comfortable with it. Tbh you could probably start writing right now if you wanted. All you need are your bar chord shapes and you could put together some typical rhythm riffs.

In terms of theory. I think its extremely helpful and advisable to learn some but not always necessary. Personally, I don't conciously think "oh yeah i want to write a song in E minor using a I iv V progression" usually (unless I'm going for a specific use for the riff), and I don't really think I'm a musical genius. I've been studying even before I picked up the guitar actually and it is unbelievably useful to understand whats going on in what you listen to and being able to apply it to your own things as well as for polishing things up. Thats my own approach though. People might disagree with me (or try to rip my throat out =P but thats how I do it and I'm fairly comfortable putting together riffs whenever needed
#6
Quote by hhhhdmt
Hi everyone,

I haven't been playing very long (about 6 months) but i would like to write songs using my guitar after a few years. I have a question for those of you who either write songs or have written in the past- how long did it take for you (years) before you could write your own songs using guitar? What kind of music theory is important in order to write?

Keep in mind that i am mainly interested in hard rock (not metal, hard rock like Aerosmith/Zeppelin/Deep Purple) and some blues (SRV, etfc).


As soon as you can change from one chord to another, start writing songs.

You don't need theory to start writing. Theory can help as you progress. Here's the key: you learn theory as you learn to write. Theory can help fill in certainly blanks, or to write a bridge between two sections of a song, or to write a second guitar part, but it is not the wellspring of creativity.

Your early attempts won't be that good (unless you're a born genius) but you will improve your songwriting skills in tandem with your playing ability. That's the beauty of it. I've seen guitar players get very good at playing other people's songs. When it comes to their own stuff it's way behind - or nonexistent.

So ... go for it!
#7
Quote by 1avatar328
He is right. However, you don't need that knowledge to make a song, I wrote my first song a week after playing, it was very basic, but I had a nice little riff goin' on. If you are playing for fun, music is just what you like, you do not have to impress anybody.

Correct... no knowledge is necessary. I wrote my first piece on the first day... it was an opus... it lasted two days, and consisted of.... E. . . and a semblance of an A. . .

In all seriousness though... theory ony helps in some instances. Basic theory like: Key construction, said chords in key... and understanding a little (tiny bit) about chord progs... this helps. Although with enough time playing through various chords on your own, your ear kind of helps you along naturally and you figure some progs out "by accident"... which in turn makes you think "I invented this!"... which in turn puts you on a pedestal and everyone thinks yu're a god... a virgin god... and now for something completely different

My suggestion is: START NOW.

DON'T WAIT.

The earlier you start, the quicker you become a songwriting genius and Bob Dylan adopts you. That also means no more christmas'... but thats the price of adoption.

So start now... don't wait a few years. Yes, you will think the songs suck... and quite possibly they will. But trust me, the get better on every one of them.
#8
Quote by Jehannum
As soon as you can change from one chord to another, start writing songs.

You don't need theory to start writing. Theory can help as you progress. Here's the key: you learn theory as you learn to write. Theory can help fill in certainly blanks, or to write a bridge between two sections of a song, or to write a second guitar part, but it is not the wellspring of creativity.

Your early attempts won't be that good (unless you're a born genius) but you will improve your songwriting skills in tandem with your playing ability. That's the beauty of it. I've seen guitar players get very good at playing other people's songs. When it comes to their own stuff it's way behind - or nonexistent.

So ... go for it!

Exactly what I wanted to say

You don't need theory to write songs, there is no certain waiting time before you could write. I had the advantage of guitar not being my first instrument, and following lessons in musical notation (to write/read scores) which helped a lot for understanding chords etc.

If you get stuck at a certain point in writing (always the same or that something doesn't sound right, but you're not able to place it), look at cadences (=theory behind chord progresses) and/or scales (for the melody).
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