#1
I'm having a hard time writing a non generic song within guitar pro.
i write these riffs and put them together, but when i play them back it just doesn't sound right.
i've been told that some parts are really great, but i've also been told that some parts just sound like i have thrown them in without any real thought.
i wish i could distinguish where each riffs placement is.

i think my problem is that i think to much, but i didn't know if any of you guys have struggled with the same scenario and maybe could pull me out of this?
any advice would be grateful.
i've been looking up how to write great melodies, but it obviously doesn't point out the placement of where the riffs should go, when i write them.
i just feel like i'm in a huge rut! :[
what would you do to try to resolve this issue?
Last edited by Dragon_ReaverXV at Sep 17, 2016,
#2
Maybe try writing music with your guitar instead of guitar pro. All the great riffs you've ever heard in your life were probably written by a guitarist jamming around and stumbling upon cool sounds.

As for the structure, try to study good songs and see how they flow. The best way to learn how to write music (or well, metal and rock at least) is by listening to a lot of music, and trying to figure out how it plays out. What kind of an intro does your favorite song have? What kind of a part comes after that, does it slow down, speed up, or is the intro riff carried into the verse of the song? What happens when the songs hits the chorus? What's the difference between the verse riff and the chorus riff? I personally wouldn't write a bunch of riffs and try to combine them into a single song. Maybe take a riff you like, figure out how you'd like to use it (is it an intro riff, a verse riff etc.) and then build your song from that. Not every riff in a song has to be a masterpiece, and as you yourself said, you might be thinking too much. Simplicity is beautiful, and sometimes misunderstood by beginners.

If you think that this sounds hard, maybe link a song you like here and we can try breaking it down together.
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#3
Kevätuhri

i do start out by writing the riff on the guitar, then i program it into guitar pro.
i do think maybe my problem is structuring the song out like you just said.
i generally will write a riff that sounds really rad that was influenced by a certain band, then i will program it into guitar pro, but i never really structure it out.
(well sometimes i do)
i think i kinda get ahead of myself and not really focus on the structure of the song.
i know its important, its just when being a composer it's hard for me to think super level headed.
i don't just think of one instrument when writing a part, i think hmmm....... what other instruments will fit in with it as well.
i will practice the methods you have shown me and see how it goes.
i do appreciate you trying to point me in a path!
its hard writing guitar stuff fluently, when thinking in the mind of a drummer.
Last edited by Dragon_ReaverXV at Sep 17, 2016,
#4
try to solo over the riff and find notes in the same key play chords with those notes that you're using to solo.
When I started writing I found it hard to complete what I had started but as I got better knowledge of where I could go with it by improvising it's getting much easier now.
and learn all the cool parts of songs you like and assimilate them, all the riffs, cool intros etc you will begin to find there's plenty of ways to play the same 3/4 notes, and you will have a wealth of information on the back of your mind on how to keep things interesting
#5
Not being able to write something you can personally appreciate, can often mean that you're looking in the wrong direction. It's quite difficult, especially when one reaches a certain level of play and knowledge where it concerns music, to be able of writing something as exciting as you'd remember your first works to have been. Since your knowledge is commonly built around what you know, which is all your accumulated knowledge and experience over your time of playing and learning, it is quite difficult to expand from it and step out, since that knowledge is also your comfort zone. There are methods to get out of it, but it is never easy, you will need patience.

Personally, I'd advise you to abandon what structures you know for the project. No disrespect to the other posters, the change in direction and forcing a structure on parts can certainly work getting a clear picture, the opposite is also true as it offers new freedom in creating.

In my experience structure is the main obstruction when it comes to songwriting, and avoiding falling into the trap of similarity. Certainly, patterns and structures exist for a reason, they work and appeal to people. They also exist to be broken, without composers defying their boundaries we'll never find new possibilities. Structures are the overarching whole, they can be anything from scales to tonality, to rhythmical or structural layout. It is however, not music. Start at the beginning, not the end. Next, analyze what music you have to see what it has in common, among its separate parts. There always are similarities, since it is your music after all. Once you've found them, it's quite easy to progress to the next step.

Songwriting is made a lot easier if you know your sound, but to realize such a personal matter in clear definitions is not easy, you'd need very good solfege, and possibly some form of theoretical knowledge concerning your music. For me, there are certain chord-voicings, melodic intervals, rhythmic patterns and feel, depending on what I'm playing, that define my style. They expand and grow over time, of course. But knowing them at all times helps in creating, as well as avoiding falling in the same trap too often. If you don't know this about yourself, the easiest albeit longest way to find out is simply to keep playing, listening and analyzing your music. While you do so, try to go into new directions, but make them be clearly defined new directions.

Just mindless chaos, for me personally at least, does not work. So if you have no clear idea on how to find excitement in your music, try setting some rules for yourself, define what you know about songwriting. Such as scales, certain chord progressions, soundscapes, rhythms, rhythm changes, melodies, tunings, even finger patterns, dynamics, intervals and so on. Play something random, just see what comes out, and analyze it to see which of the above it falls into. Work with that definition for the music you have and see in what shapes you can mold it, or if you do not see a similarity from one part to the other, bend them into the same shape.

If you can still not reach it, it tends to mean that you're looking in the wrong direction. There is always music, always. You just need to learn how to listen for it, and that takes a very difficult level of mental relaxation most people only achieve when drunk or otherwise inebriated (disclaimer: I don't advise this). If you cannot write a melody that excites you, try different intervals you'd otherwise never use, or abandon melody altogether and change the rhythmic pattern.

And as a last note, perfection is not possible. Songwriting is a form of expression, and a constant path not for perfection, but for being the best. The best at that moment, I have maybe written ten riffs/melodies/etc. in my entire life that, in some cases 20 years later, I can actually still bear listening to. It is a constant path to improvement. Keep shaking the puzzle, take your time, and eventually all will fall into place. Remember that is should never be a struggle, music, dance and art are all natural forms of expression, don't swim against the stream but learn to feel what direction it flows, and go with that. All the above can only make it easier to feel that current, once you have it, abandon that plan as well.

Good luck
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#7
Your songs shouldn't just be collections of riffs. Start with one idea. If you analyze almost any song from almost any artist, you will see that there's always a "main theme" or a "main riff" or something like that. And usually pretty much everything else in the song is based on that, at least in some way. You shouldn't get too progressive if you can't write more simple songs. If all the riffs you use have a way different feel, they don't belong together.

When you have written one part of the song, just listen to it and figure out what you would like to hear next. Where do you want the song to go?

Repetition is good. The song will automatically feel more coherent if the same idea is used in different parts of the song. You don't need to use verse-chorus-verse-chorus structure of course, but then again, I don't think you should avoid that structure either. It's a structure that will always work. You can also always make that structure more interesting by adding some variation to it. When you use the same idea many times in a song, play it a bit differently each time if you feel like it sounds too repetitive.

For example here's Steve Vai explaining how he wrote "For the Love of God". Structurally the song is really simple - it only has two different sections in it.




It would of course also help if you posted some demos of your songs here so that we could hear if there really is anything "wrong" with them.
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#8
Dragon_ReaverXV here is what you do :

1) pick up your guitar
2) play a chord
3) play second chord that sounds nice
4) slide that second chord up or down one half step

Now simply play the first chord and then the "off chord" , avoiding the second one all together. The point here is that you are breaking away from the usual generic sounding chord progressions .

Another trick is to play a chord and then play the same chord three frets up. That always sounds out.

Kurt Cobain basically made a living off of playing the notes next to the ones you're supposed" to play