#1
yeah how does your music composition change from being a solo artist that doesn't hear the drums and bass.
from being in a band with these things helping out..
I'm thinking it would make me simplify the stuff I come up with but I'm not sure..
EG: wholle lotta love doesn't sound that good if your alone with your guitar if I'd come up with that riff I'd probably throw it out but with the band there it's amazing

Do you have experience on this subject?
let me know what you think
#2
Why weren't you listening to the other parts?! Being in a band requires awareness of other people's collaborative efforts, even as a solo artist.

Don't think first, listen.
#3
My process doesn't change at all. I will write the tune, making sure to write down important arranged parts (accents, unison parts etc) and the feel i'm after (afro-cuban, samba, medium swing etc) and then i let the guys i'm playing with make their interpretation of it. If there is anywhere we clash in the tune we discuss it and move forward.

In a band context i do the same thing, except we all have creative input on the tune we are writing.
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#4
Traditionally, a "song" is the melody, lyrics and (probably) chords. Bass and drums simply add backing, bass playing chord roots (mostly), drums marking time, adding groove. They don't change the song itself, they just enhance it, dress it up, fill it out. (You're the same person whether you're naked or have clothes on, right? )

Of course, that's at its simplest. It often works well that way, with bass and drums playing generic roles, doing much the same as they would on any other song of the same type.

That doesn't prevent you composing special bass and drum parts, of course, if you want something specific and non-generic. To do that, you need to know how bass and drums work! For a guitar player, writing bass lines is not too challenging, but writing drum parts is a whole other ball game. Not many drummers take kindly to being given drum parts by a non-drummer!
That's why rock band compositions often involve the whole band in contributing their own parts. The guitarist might come up with a riff, the singer will make up some words over it, the bass and drums will add whatever lines and grooves they think will fit - and it becomes a group composition. No one person owns it (although typically it's singer and/or guitarist who take most control).

That in turn - naturally - makes it a lot harder for a solo performer to do the song justice. You might be able to play the guitar riff, but it's going to sound empty without the bass and drums backing - let alone what you do when the solo comes around, and you can only play one guitar part! (That's if you count the solo as part of the "composition", and it often isn't.) Maybe the vocal tune, lyrics and chords are simly not interesting enough on their own?

So - there's two approaches to it, as I see it:

1. Start with a complete song, and get the bass and drums (and maybe second guitar or keys?) to do what you want, whatever that is, just backing you up. The song stays yours, and it survives as a possible solo song too.

1. Start with a fragment only - riff, chorus line, melodic phrase - and expect the band to all contribute parts in a collaborative process. That can make your job easier - no need to complete the song first, and no arguments with the band from you telling them what to do (and them not getting it). Downside - it probably will turn into something you can't convincingly perform solo.
Last edited by jongtr at Nov 29, 2015,
#5
Quote by Sickz
My process doesn't change at all. I will write the tune, making sure to write down important arranged parts (accents, unison parts etc) and the feel i'm after (afro-cuban, samba, medium swing etc) and then i let the guys i'm playing with make their interpretation of it. If there is anywhere we clash in the tune we discuss it and move forward.

In a band context i do the same thing, except we all have creative input on the tune we are writing.


We probably have very different music we have, but a very similar approach.

When I was in a band, most likely it was me who created the skeleton so to speak, then the drummer took it from there and added some of his own things (I'm not a drummer at all). Then the singer would add the vocal melody and ultimately the arrangement most likely is what I imagined in my head but just couldn't hit the right notes and movements myself. That's why I liked being in a band so much.

Now that I'm alone.. well, I do it all on my own. No band in sight, just making music cause it's fun and being creative is essential.
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Last edited by Sakke at Nov 29, 2015,
#6
Quote by Sakke
Then the singer would add the vocal melody and ultimately the arrangement most likely is what I imagined in my head but just couldn't hit the right notes and movements myself. That's why I liked being in a band so much.

The process probably wouldn't change that much for me.

I'd be happy to have a good drummer make the drum parts for me (I suck at it), but I probably would not let the singer make the vocal melodies. If it's a track that heavily relies on the vocal melody, I'm gonna make that as good as possible and build everything else around that.
#8
I have supported a lot of solo singer songwriters. Often the major issue is that they play it the same way as they were playing solo, then expect the band to write their parts around that.

Whilst this works in the way that a song results from it, usually it destroys all dynamics as there's always one instrument playing (the solo artist's). It also tends to destroy any interactions behind the instruments. In short, the arrangement is boring.

So I would say the biggest change is that the solo player will play less, and hopefully adjust their parts to work with the other instruments.

I've done some gigs where I've been almost embarassed with how boring the songs sound, whilst the solo artists is amazed/excited/extremely happy.
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#9
When I write songs, I usually write all parts myself because I usually have a pretty clear vision of the overall sound. I think I can write decent drum parts, but of course I let the drummer add his own parts. When I write something for drums, it's more about showing the overall feeling of what I'm after (for example half tempo beat here, accent these beats, use the ride cymbal in this part, play/don't play a fill here, etc). Just that kind of general advice. The drum part is important and can change the feel of the song a lot. And I know what sound I'm after with my songs.

I don't think it would make sense if I just wrote bass parts for our songs. If I write a song, I write a song. I write all the parts. My ideas are not just basslines, they are usually about the overall sound.


But yeah, writing songs for a band is no different from writing songs for a solo artist. It's about arrangement. If you are using a lot of guitar slapping and that kind of stuff in your solo arrangement, yes, you want to simplify the guitar part a bit when playing with a full band. You don't need to slap the guitar, you can let the drummer play the beat. When you have more players in the band, you can also do more stuff with them. Solo guitar is just more limited than a band is. Arranging stuff for a band is different than for solo guitar. Different things will work.

Also, when you are accompanying yourself on an acoustic guitar vs playing the same song with a band, your guitar has a pretty different role. When you are accompanying yourself, your guitar kind of works as the whole band. As I said, you need to take a different approach. When writing for a full band, it doesn't really need to be a simplified approach. But you need to be aware of what the other instruments are doing. You can't take as much space in a band as when you are playing solo. So strumming barre chords may not be the best idea in a full band. That will take a lot of space. Take a different approach - in a band you can let the drummer handle the rhythmic part. You don't really need to worry about that that much. Same with playing full chords. There are other instruments that play some of the chord tones. You don't need to play full barre chords all the time. You can play things that wouldn't work on a solo guitar.
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#10
thanks you guys great to know!
does that happen often in bands? where one guy writes all the lines on the other instruments..
I wonder when you see a band like led zeppelin and a song that in the album say's written by Jimmy Page and Robert plant does that mean they wrote bass and drums too??
or did they come up with original idea or lyrics??

btw check my justin bieber cover:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=l-4ryV077zU
Last edited by João1993 at Nov 29, 2015,
#11
I think it's a good idea to try and learn to arrange parts for all the instruments; I'm sure it makes you more creative overall.

I personally find it to be one of the toughest parts in composition (especially now that I write orchestral music) but it's very rewarding to be able to make a sophisticated arrangement all by yourself. It also gives you amazing creative freedom and it's fun to play around with the timbres, rhythms, chord voicings/arpeggiations, counterpoint, among other details.

You can have a good melody, but it's the arrangement that makes or breaks it.
Last edited by Elintasokas at Nov 29, 2015,
#12
Quote by Elintasokas
I think it's a good idea to try and learn to arrange parts for all the instruments; I'm sure it makes you more creative overall.

I personally find it to be one of the toughest parts in composition (especially now that I write orchestral music) but it's very rewarding to be able to make a sophisticated arrangement all by yourself. It also gives you amazing creative freedom and it's fun to play around with the timbres, rhythms, chord voicings/arpeggiations, counterpoint, among other details.

You can have a good melody, but it's the arrangement that makes or breaks it.


yeah I was thinking Michael jackson used to get full melodies pop in his head guitar bass drums vocals and then record them..
I get guitar only I think because I'm used to focus on guitar and voice only
#13
For me, where I write makes a difference. If I write in my DAW, I generally start with a beat, and then whatever instruments, or I might start with something else. So, If I'm feeling like doing something on bass next, then that song might be a more bass dominant song. If I write on the guitar, the song will be more of a guitar song, and will have a more full, more dominant part on the guitar. If I write it on piano, the piano will have the more dominant part. The only thing really that would be more dominant than the main instrument, for the majority of the song, would be the melody/vocals.

If I decide to produce a song I wrote on an instrument, then I write all the parts for it one by one depending on what order I feel like doing it. I will usually leave the guitar part as it was, and just write other stuff to complement it. I like to keep the arrangement wide open, and go and explore and see what happens, rather than think of some whole vision, and then accomplish that, but I have a general idea going in. So, I'll know if I'm gonna want to add a piano, or if I will want some digital saw tooth chunky bass, or horns, or strings or whatever, and that's what guides what order I do stuff in also. But I don't know what it's going to be like exactly until it's done. I like to build step by step tailor making every layer for the previous ones, and I might scrap earlier stuff if I get an idea I prefer, so the end result is always kind of a mystery to me, until I whittled it out, piece by piece.
Last edited by fingrpikingood at Nov 29, 2015,
#14
Quote by João1993
thanks you guys great to know!
does that happen often in bands? where one guy writes all the lines on the other instruments..

I don't know. But I would guess many times people write more than their own parts. Not necessarily every single part that accurately. My demos are usually more about "this is what I'm after" than "play exactly like this".

I wonder when you see a band like led zeppelin and a song that in the album say's written by Jimmy Page and Robert plant does that mean they wrote bass and drums too??
or did they come up with original idea or lyrics??

No, I don't think when you see Page and Plant in the songwriting credits that they wrote all of the parts in the song. They wrote the main ideas for the song.

Many LZ songs were based on jams, so they all just started playing around with some ideas and the songs kind of wrote themselves. But I would guess in LZ Jimmy wrote most of the guitar parts. I know that John Paul Jones wrote the riff on Black Dog. He also wrote most of In Through the Out Door - but again, that's more about general ideas than writing every single part accurately.

I doubt they touched the drums. Bonzo was a pretty creative drummer and did his own thing. I also doubt they touched the basslines. You can hear that in JPJ's playing - in many songs it sounds pretty improvised. It's based around the chords of the song (or the guitar riff). It's not a written part (most of the time). Of course sometimes the bass plays the same riff as the guitar.

The way LZ wrote songs is a bit different than how basic pop songs are written. They are a lot more jam based. They improvised a lot.


There are different ways of writing songs. Sometimes you don't know what you want the other instruments to play. That's when you should just start playing around with your idea. For example if you have a riff but don't know how to continue it or something, just start jamming.
Quote by AlanHB
Just remember that there are no boring scales, just boring players.

Gear

Bach Stradivarius 37G
Charvel So Cal
Fender Dimension Bass
Hartke HyDrive 210c
Ibanez BL70
Laney VC30
Tokai TB48
Yamaha FG720S-12
Yamaha P115
#15
Quote by MaggaraMarine
I don't know. But I would guess many times people write more than their own parts. Not necessarily every single part that accurately. My demos are usually more about "this is what I'm after" than "play exactly like this".


No, I don't think when you see Page and Plant in the songwriting credits that they wrote all of the parts in the song. They wrote the main ideas for the song.

Many LZ songs were based on jams, so they all just started playing around with some ideas and the songs kind of wrote themselves. But I would guess in LZ Jimmy wrote most of the guitar parts. I know that John Paul Jones wrote the riff on Black Dog. He also wrote most of In Through the Out Door - but again, that's more about general ideas than writing every single part accurately.

I doubt they touched the drums. Bonzo was a pretty creative drummer and did his own thing. I also doubt they touched the basslines. You can hear that in JPJ's playing - in many songs it sounds pretty improvised. It's based around the chords of the song (or the guitar riff). It's not a written part (most of the time). Of course sometimes the bass plays the same riff as the guitar.

The way LZ wrote songs is a bit different than how basic pop songs are written. They are a lot more jam based. They improvised a lot.


There are different ways of writing songs. Sometimes you don't know what you want the other instruments to play. That's when you should just start playing around with your idea. For example if you have a riff but don't know how to continue it or something, just start jamming.


Ya, for those guys, you're probably right. For some guys, like beck, or lenny kravitz, they might write all of the parts and record it themselves, or guys like michael jackson might be very involved in production and arrangement, but by and large, I think songwriters don't really write all the parts like that.

For me, in a band setting, I prefer to write the song, and then let the band members do whatever they feel is right for their part, and that's really what building a cool band is all about, to me. Finding a group that meshes well together, and works off each other and complements each other well. Then as a band you could give general pointers of things to try, and the arrangements can evolve as a group. I would not want to hand out parts though as a writer, unless its something really big that needs to be choreographed like strings. If I wrote all the parts already, I'd show the completed production to the group, and then they could do their thing.
Last edited by fingrpikingood at Nov 30, 2015,
#16
Blind post, I did not read any of the other replies because I am vodka.

Music consists of three main concepts: rhythm, harmony, and melody.

Whether or not you are playing with a rhythm section or not, should not affect your musical output aside from "collaborating with the actual rhythm". If there is no rhythm at the present time, there should be "implied rhythm", which can be free form (if there is such a thing, [subjectivity, etc]). Same as there is "implied harmony" that goes with unaccompanied melody.
With regards to Whole Lotta Love; yes, a rhythm section makes everything sounds fuller, more controversially "better".

I believe that every piece of sound has the three qualities of music (rhythm, harmony, melody), whether it is a Chopin piece, or a tree falling in the woods. In which case you are playing alone, follow your nose.