#1
I'm a metal guitar player who has a pretty decent amount of technical ability worked under my belt. I can make leads and improvise pretty well. I can make rhythm riffs to a decent extent but I'm working to make that better and I have a pretty good knowledge of music theory. My problem is that I lack the ability to form a song together into a nice flowing coherent tune. I was wondering if anyone has any tips to help me work on this. I want to be able to make a song that is formed around an idea instead of a bunch of cool riffs put together.
#4
Quote by Nitnatsnok
as backwards as it may seem to some - start studying pop lol

This, pop is easily the most melodically built and "fitting together" music there is, not matter how talentless the artists sometimes are.
#5
Quote by Nitnatsnok
as backwards as it may seem to some - start studying pop lol


I'll try to stomach it but when my music starts sound like "Happy" metal I'm stopping lol.
#6
How's your ear?

I don't think you can meaningfully compose a part if you can't hear the part in your head. I mean sure, you can randomly stumble around into things that sound okay now and again, but unless you can hold the sound of the chords and lead lines together in your head simultaneously, you can't really compose.
#7
Quote by HotspurJr
unless you can hold the sound of the chords and lead lines together in your head simultaneously, you can't really compose.


i could not have said it any better myself.
Anfangen ist leicht, Beharren eine Kunst.
#8
Quote by HotspurJr
How's your ear?

I don't think you can meaningfully compose a part if you can't hear the part in your head. I mean sure, you can randomly stumble around into things that sound okay now and again, but unless you can hold the sound of the chords and lead lines together in your head simultaneously, you can't really compose.


My ear isn't bad. if I hear a note or a chord in my head it doesn't take me long to figure out what it was.

My biggest problem is that I don't want to sound like a watered down metal head who plays the same damn syncopated palm muted rhythm. I hate bands that sound like a copy of something else.

Most of my riffs come from trying to form something around a very little I came up with. Which sometimes wields great results.

Would it help to maybe try to put the guitar down and try to song a melody or rhythmic idea? I've heard of lots of people doing that but haven't tried it to the extent that they have.
#10
Quote by thelordofdarkch
I'll try to stomach it but when my music starts sound like "Happy" metal I'm stopping lol.


It doesn't even have to be sugar coated pop music.

There are a lot of big bands that aren't considered pop necessarily but are pop influenced in terms of how they write their songs. Def Leppard had a lot of hits, Metallica has some hits, System of a Down is heavy pop.
#11
Heres something i told someone else on here, think it'll help you as well.
This is something i found off of youtube , think, i don't really remember too well :P
Well, listen for rhythm in nature. Usually someone talking. When i hear something that stands out, i take it, turn the emphasis into rhythm, then add the notes from my head onto that rhythm.
For example, someone says something like "give me the birthday cake" pronouncing it like "Give-me-the birthday-cake) adding certain emphasis on each syllable, which i then turn into rhythm. This could become a rhythm for a song in a 4/4, and it might be something like this:
quarter note, quarter note, eighth note triplet, quarter note.
With this, I add whatever notes and harmonies in my head. This isn't a particularly complex rhythm, but there is an unlimited amount of melodies you can create with just this rhythm. I use this technique because, personally, i think rhythm is much more important than note choice, and it is also one of the harder things to really get once who have the notes already. By working with the rhythm first, you already have half the song, and the notes will just fall into place depending on you emotional state of creation. This is an incredibly simple song idea, but with this technique you can make a song as complex or as simple as you like.
#12
Just try and do a simple verse chorus verse using standard pop structure, and don't be too technical when your trying to write. Just because you can do some crazy sweeping doesn't mean people want to hear it.
Quote by herby190
When I saw that, I thought of musical notes.... my elementary school teachers taught them as "tee-tees" "ta-tas" and a bunch of other nonsense....
#13
Quote by Ir a+infinitive
Just try and do a simple verse chorus verse using standard pop structure, and don't be too technical when your trying to write. Just because you can do some crazy sweeping doesn't mean people want to hear it.


Yeah, doesn't sound like good advice. If it was that simple I'd have it down by now. I'm not an idiot.
#14
Quote by thelordofdarkch
My problem is that I lack the ability to form a song together into a nice flowing coherent tune. I was wondering if anyone has any tips to help me work on this. I want to be able to make a song that is formed around an idea instead of a bunch of cool riffs put together.


You want to make a flowing tune (simple form) , based around one idea, so you can practise your 'compositional' skills, yet you think you're too good to write a pop bases song?
You have to start at the basics.

The metal music you listen to probably has more in common with pop then you'd think.
Also, metal rarely has anything to do with composition IMO, but I know that people will disagree with me on that.
#15
Quote by Jesse Clarkson


This.

Theme and Variations are a great way to practice. You don't have to do it in the style of Mozart (although I'd recommend that), you could also try to write variations on a metal riff if that's the only thing you want to do. It's really fun and a good practice for creativity.
#16
Quote by 505088K
This.

Theme and Variations are a great way to practice. You don't have to do it in the style of Mozart (although I'd recommend that), you could also try to write variations on a metal riff if that's the only thing you want to do. It's really fun and a good practice for creativity.


Yeah, I was pretty impressed with that. I'm looking more into it.
#17
Quote by Keth
You want to make a flowing tune (simple form) , based around one idea, so you can practise your 'compositional' skills, yet you think you're too good to write a pop bases song?
You have to start at the basics.

The metal music you listen to probably has more in common with pop then you'd think.
Also, metal rarely has anything to do with composition IMO, but I know that people will disagree with me on that.


You misunderstand me. I'm not so much talking about what song form to use. I'm also fully aware of what they have in common. I've noticed basic song form in multiple different metal bands an genres. I'm talking about making a song that is focused around an idea as in the chorus sounds like it's the chorus that accompanies the verse of that song. Like it was meant for it.
#18
Listen and deconstruct Baroque, Classical and Romantic music, the'll show you how to develop ideas into songs
#19
Quote by geo1450
Listen and deconstruct Baroque, Classical and Romantic music, the'll show you how to develop ideas into songs

This and like everyone else said start with simple pop tunes. If you can't put a couple chords together and make it sound good how are you expecting to make some grandiose ever changing soundscape?
#21
Quote by thelordofdarkch
I'm a metal guitar player who has a pretty decent amount of technical ability worked under my belt. I can make leads and improvise pretty well. I can make rhythm riffs to a decent extent but I'm working to make that better and I have a pretty good knowledge of music theory. My problem is that I lack the ability to form a song together into a nice flowing coherent tune. I was wondering if anyone has any tips to help me work on this. I want to be able to make a song that is formed around an idea instead of a bunch of cool riffs put together.


What do you know about cadences, modulation, tonal harmony, tension and resolution and counterpoint?

Best,

Sean