#1
Hi guys,

I'm looking to my playing to the next level. I've recently made some attempts at songwriting-specifically "style of" songwriting, like this instructor does: http://www.guitarmasterclass.net/instructor/Gabriel-Leopardi/

What I've been doing is taking a song (Smells Like Teen Spirit, e.g.) and using it as a "template" to create an original song. I've had moderate, yet irregular success with this. I have a few TuxGuitar files I've created with this process; if anyone is interested I'll post them. I would like to develop my skills to the point where I can pick up my guitar and play something that is inspired by one of my favorite bands, but without needing to use one of the band's songs as a basis.

Also, I'm unsure of the role that theory plays in this. I've heard a few people say, "Theory doesn't write music", but I've also read that theory explains why a song sounds the way it does. Continuing with this, AC/DC's songs mostly have the same hard blues rock sound. There must be some unifying commonalities to the theory behind their songs, then- yes?

Some of my favorite bands include the Foo Fighters, Nirvana, Green Day, and Social Distortion.

Thanks in advance,

Jake
#2
First off. If this is your first attempt at songwriting, just start by rhyming. I know they are going to suck more than Justin Bieber but keep practicing. It doesn't really matter what you write about either, just practice. I started when I was 14 by just rhyming. I don't divulge into theory that much but if this is your first time writing songs, start by using that. Here is a song I wrote when I started by just rhyming (age 14)

Someone Get Me A Mold (My Heart's Melting)

hey man
have you heard the news
i met a girl who just came to town
i saw her and fell down to the ground, aint she a sight

someone get me a mold
(my hearts melting)
i gotta fix this problem
someone get me a mold
(my hearts melting)
i hope you do as you're told
cause my hearts melting

i stare in wonder as the mold is dryin,
she was knockin me out with them american thighs,
my heart cant harden cause that mold aint workin,
it keeps breakin, and quakin

someone get me a mold
(my hearts melting)
i gotta fix this problem
someone get me a mold
(my hearts melting)
i hope you do as you're told
cause my hearts melting

Now here is one after two years of constantly writing

I Don't Know How To Dance

I can't sit still,
Ten minutes to go,
I am sweating like a ball player,
I hear the sounds of a door,
Wendy walks in,
She looks at me,
I feel like i am going to fall on the floor,
She takes my hand,
I look at her,
She looks at me and smiles back
I hear the sounds of a band,
Its zero time,
But i don't know what to do,

I don't know how to dance,
But Wendy, this is my last chance,
I don't know how to dance,
But she put me in a trance,
I don't know how to dance,
But Wendy, this is my last chance,
I don't know how to dance,
But she put me in a trance,

I step out on the floor,
I look for the nearest door,
I need to have a backup,
I asked her how to do this,
She tried to show me how,
I couldn't get it right,
I stepped on her a time or two,
I looked up into the light,
I was blinded by it,
I heard a voice in the night,

I don't know how to dance,
But Wendy, this is my last chance,
I don't know how to dance,
But she put me in a trance,
I don't know how to dance,
But Wendy, this is my last chance,
I don't know how to dance,
But she put me in a trance,

An hour drove by,
I began to know how it's done,
I knew how the songs were sung,
And soon me and Wendy were rocking,
I began to lose the time,
I smiled at her and she smiled right back,
The feeling was just right,
As we danced into the pale moonlight,
We danced like a spirit in the night

I know how to dance,
Wendy, this is my chance,
I know how to dance,
she put me in a trance,
I know how to dance,
Wendy, this is my chance,
I know how to dance,
But she put me in a trance,

I survived the promenade
Now I need a glass of lemonade,
I had fun with her,
Me and Wendy had danced the night away,
I told her I wanted to see her the next day,
She told me maybe,
But she had to go,
Then she kissed me,
Like only a beautiful girl can,
It felt so right,
It felt so sweet,
Like a promenade in the night

It takes a while but you will get a hold of it. If you get stuck do not be afraid to use a rhyming dictionary or look up synonyms. also, DO NOT FORCE YOURSELF TO WRITE. Wait until you feel like you can write a song before you write it. DO not force yourself.

Just my two cents on how I started.
#3
I personally believe that all songwriting could essentially be looked at as being "in the style of..." songwriting in that you develop your own style and sound from adopting the sonic aspects of your favorite artists/bands and apply them all in your own unique way. I know that this is very much the way that I write (sometimes consciously, but for the most part not) and I certainly don't try to hide my many influences.

To answer your question, I would say that based on my experience that the best way to effectively write in the style of any band is to first listen to that band enough to fully recognize all of the trademark things that they regularly do. Break down all the riffs, the grooves, the melodic phrasing, the production style, the tones, the emotions being conveyed, all of it. If you're a huge fan of these bands and already listen to them all the time, then you've probably already done a good bit of this (and maybe without even realizing it). I find that when a certain band or artist really resonates with you and you welcome their influence, you'll naturally start writing things that sound like their work after a while without even consciously trying to.

As for the theory aspect of it, it does indeed help to know a good bit of theory, but I wouldn't go so far as to say it's totally necessary for writing rock, pop, grunge, or punk. All artists do have certain shared musical traits in their respective bodies of work, and being able to understand the theory behind those traits can definitely put you on a faster road to being able to just pick up your guitar and play something that sounds like them on the spot. I'd say if you want to learn the theory behind what's going on in the music you love (and in rock, it's largely pretty simple theory) without getting too wrapped up in the theoretical side of it, then absolutely go for it
Last edited by ARom22 at Apr 26, 2014,
#4
Quote by ARom22
I personally believe that all songwriting could essentially be looked at as being "in the style of..." songwriting in that you develop your own style and sound from adopting the sonic aspects of your favorite artists/bands and apply them all in your own unique way. I know that this is very much the way that I write (sometimes consciously, but for the most part not) and I'm certainly don't try to hide my many influences.

To answer your question, I would say that based on my experience that the best way to effectively write in the style of any band is to first listen to that band enough to fully recognize all of the trademark things that they regularly do. Brake down all the riffs, the grooves, the melodic phrasing, the production style, the tones, the emotions being conveyed, all of it. If you're a huge fan of these bands and already listen to them all the time, then you've probably already done a good bit of this (and maybe without even realizing it). I find that when a certain band or artist really resonates with you and you welcome their influence, you'll naturally start writing things that sound like their work after a while without even consciously trying to.

As for the theory aspect of it, it does indeed help to know a good bit of theory, but I wouldn't go so far as to say it's totally necessary for writing rock, pop, grunge, or punk. All artists do have certain shared musical traits in their respective bodies of work, and being able to understand the theory behind those traits can definitely put you on a faster road to being able to just pick up your guitar and play something that sounds like them on the spot. I'd say if you want to learn the theory behind what's going on in the music you love (and in rock, it's largely pretty simple theory) without getting too wrapped up in the theoretical side of it, then absolutely go for it


Thanks for the response, ARom22! I was thinking more of isolating a single influence in writing music, but I still found your response very helpful. Keep the responses coming, guys!