Hey UG,

I am in need of some help writing songs that sound good. I have been playing for quite some time and I know theory, chord construction, etc. Now lately I have been writing music, but most of it does not go anywhere without sounding like pop music or something.

So I have been studying other peoples music and seeing how they write it, what scale they use, etc. But I still have a hard time writing songs that sound similar or completely different. Playing by feel is good, but you have to have some sense of direction.

Like say if I compose a riff starting with E minor, and it kind of has a progressive rock feel. How would YOU keep expanding and expanding it. This is the problem I am having. If you could lay out some good guidelines and give me a sense of direction so I can write better songs, I would really appreciate it. And please do not respond with play what feels right or whatever. Thanks!
try to envision where you would like the song to go. for a second i was tempted to say 'well, you could take it to the dominant, or go to the relative major...' which, in essence is what is most likely to have it sounding like pop music. try to avoid thinking in scales and chords; use that as a foundation, but once you have a riff, try to imagine where you'd like it to go, and then find the note... if you heard that riff on the radio, then hit pause - would you have it go into some crashing, dramatic, cymbal flaring freak-out, or down into a timid, quiet... whatever. hopefully this helps. not that its in anyway helpful.
Once We Were Anarchists
Sort of what Danny7 said. You have an idea... now where do you want that idea to go? You must have some ideas in your mind, and if you don't, spend some time thinking to get some ideas inside your head. Then, you've got to write them down and see what works when you try it out.
(Slightly outdated) Electronic and classical compositions by m'self: Check 'em out
You probably do what I do.. create something that sounds like a jam band loop. It keeps on going and going without any purpose. Of course, it sounds good, but it's not great or revolutionary.

I found listening to the Beatles really helped me. They know how to change chord progressions very smoothly and are very original. That is if you like the Beatles.

Danny7 has the right idea. You must create a feel of the song otherwise it has no emotion. That may sound really dumb but it's true. You gotta know what kind of emotion you're putting into that song. Otherwise it's just gonna be some jumble of ideas.

And the last piece of advice I have is keep trying. Great songs aren't written overnight just fiddling around. Sure, you may have better days than others, but every so often you'll have to face the dreaded writer's block. Just keep trying.. if it were easy to write good songs everyone would be famous.... hope that helps.
Quote by DunlopGuy
I...don't...get...this...thre (brain explodes)

Quote by glib homunculus
I make love to cheesecake.

OMG i have exactly the same problem!!!
TheGreatLSD is right about the Beatles.... I got a Sheet Music Book of their best-of and it's really help'n me.
I know im not really helpin you lol
interesting point you guys have got....i have some problems too with expanding a riff and so on...but maybe you guys can help...i lay down some riffing and i want to inprov over it...now do yal think if i have this really heavy riff i need a sqealing solo? or could i just use some dive bombs or a minimalistic solo...??
?? you could just as easily have twangy funk chords over the top. its all gonna' create something; why stick in a wanky lead line just for the hell of it. do what's best for the song...

and im glad thegreatlsd and psychodelia could turn what i said into something a little more coherrant lol.
Once We Were Anarchists
What style of music are you goin' for? Cause progressive defines more of an approach to songwriting than actual musical texture.