#1
If you haven't read the original thread, I invite you to check it out, and contribute if
you feel like it. Here it is:
https://www.ultimate-guitar.com/forum/showthread.php?t=776439
Now that we've got that out of the way, we can hopefully learn something.


I'd like to share one of my favorite chords with all of you:

Bbmaj13
-----3--------
-----3--------
-----5--------
-----7--------
--------------
-----6--------


I was practicing out of Chord Chemistry by Ted Greene a while back when I played this one,
and nearly shat upon myself. It had such a beautiful, full quality that I just wanted to
sit there and play it all day long; in a perfect world I would have, but I had things to do.
Anyway, I really got thinking about the songwriting process, and thought about how somebody
could literally build a song from one phrase, or one chord, or one NOTE. It's been done;
take a listen to Bo Diddley and you won't hear fast-moving bebopish changes, but one-chord
grooves that made his career; Led Zeppelin's Whole Lotta Love is a song based on one
riff; The White Stripes' Seven Nation Army; there are hundreds of examples and too many
great songs to mention that follow this principle.

Well, how do you come up with that one riff, you might ask? Tons of ways, old bean, but
first I'd like to pose a question: do mistakes suck? A logical person would say that "Yes,
mistakes suck or else they wouldn't be mistakes." I would say that a mistake is your
subconscious creativity manifesting itself at opportune times (or inopportune, depending
on your point of view and the context of the mistake). If you're playing a song, and you
screw up, go with it. Try to create something from the madness. If you just happen to
discover a good melody, play it like you've never played anything. Turn it inside and
out. Play it backwards. Add a note. Take out a note. Change the rhythm. Start on a
different note. End on a different note. Write it all down. That last point is CRUCIAL!!
You're not going to remember everything that you play unless you happen to be a savant, so
keep a record, and a year down the road you might discover genius in your notebook.

Robert Fripp has a solo in the King Crimson song Starless which consists of only a few different
notes over the course of several minutes, but because of its rhythm (a steady da-daaaa) and his
great use of dynamics during that time, it brings the song to its climax, and you realize that
the song wouldn't be nearly as good if the song skipped right from the chorus to the now-unsuitably
bombastic peak. Try this exercise: sit down (or stand up, I don't care). Choose a note and bend
it with all the pain and anguish you can manage. Bend it again with all the ecstasy that you feel.
Think of a person that has wronged you terribly in the past; let the hate flow through you
young Skywalker, and bend it again. Think of that woman/man/shemale that you would do everything to,
and you guessed it, bend that sexy bitch.

If you hadn't guessed already, my point is that many people that perceive that their creative juices
have frozen solid need to work harder. If creating music doesn't come natural to you, your best
option is to get the most out of what you do come up with.

"Well that doesn't help me out very much. I think I'll eat this titopuente's babies." Don't heat
up the oven yet; I still have more to say. If you know the fundamental building blocks of music,
you've got a good staging ground for an attack on Funkytown. Melody, Harmony, and Rhythm: Learn 'em
if you don't know 'em. If you've had the mic recording for the past hour and haven't come up with
anything worthy of a house party, then pick one and focus on it. Rhythm is simultaneously the
easiest and hardest element to create music from. You don't even need your guitar to come up with
the rhythm. Use your hands and slap your knees until you come up with a knee-slapper. Once you've
taken care of one of the elements, it suddenly becomes much easier to fill in the blanks. From rhythm,
it would probably be easier to come up with a melody that adheres to the beat, unless you want your
song to have a very rhythmically active comping part, which can be a very good thing. You can think
of this process like decoding an encryption; once you figure out a few of the letters, the rest come
much faster. It's just that initial bump that's hard to get over.

Folks, there's just one more thing I want to say, and it's one of the most important things that
people need to learn. Hopefully some of you know it already. Don't take things too seriously.
Your masterpiece doesn't need to be written within the hour. Have fun, guys.
Last edited by titopuente at Feb 8, 2008,
#2
Nice! I agree with everything you've said here. It's true, even though some riffs or melodies may sound extremely easy and basic, they can still be transformed into something amazing. That's what a lot of bands are doing now a days anyway. I forgot who the artist was, but they took there chord structure and made a sort of harmonic arpeggio behind it and only played certain parts of it to highlight the guitar when there was no vocals. Also, you're right, it takes a lot longer than an hour to write a song.
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Portugal. The Man »–
#3
"Well that doesn't help me out very much. I think I'll eat this titopuente's babies." Don't heat
up the oven yet; I still have more to say. If you know the fundamental building blocks of music,
you've got a good staging ground for an attack on Funkytown.

I lol'd hard. These articles are brilliant, submit this ****! It's far more thought provoking than "here are some legato exercises" or whatever.
Call me Batman.
#4
I like the knee-slapper part. I come up with some weird-ass stuff doing that - golden.
You simply MUST check out my music on
Reverbnation Downloads available here
Myspace Streaming Only


Especially for fans of Tool, APC, Avant-Garde, Ambient music, rock instrumentals, and fans of music in general. Will not disappoint.
#5
this is yet another great little article, i do this stuff naturally. sometimes while writing a song when im trying to figure out how the lyrics are going to flow i tap out something percussive with my fingers or whatever thats a kinda counter rhythm to whats happening in the song, it seems kinda basic and instinctual but i can see where prolly not everyone steps back and looks at it like that. and if it weren't for mistakes some of (imo) my best stuff wouldn't even exist!!! i love mistakes, they're a great thing, even dime thought that when you screwed something up you should go with it and see where it takes you and that its a great way to make something new.
#6
Try this exercise: sit down (or stand up, I don't care). Choose a note and bend
it with all the pain and anguish you can manage. Bend it again with all the ecstasy that you feel.
Think of a person that has wronged you terribly in the past; let the hate flow through you
young Skywalker, and bend it again. Think of that woman/man/shemale that you would do everything to,
and you guessed it, bend that sexy bitch


Lovely! I think that this is one of the ways to express your feel, in your music.
You simply MUST check out my music on
Reverbnation Downloads available here
Myspace Streaming Only


Especially for fans of Tool, APC, Avant-Garde, Ambient music, rock instrumentals, and fans of music in general. Will not disappoint.
#7
Maybe this is preaching to the converted, but guitar pro has proven itself a pretty invaluble tool for writing music. It fits the "write it down" thing to an absolute T - you can get the music down in tab, in notation and it's 'recorded', given that you can play back what you've just come up with and see how it sounds. It's great for storing things you've come up with, it's great for changing things about (and putting extra instruments in - very important for adding vocals if you're like me and have a terrible vocal range ), and I've even ended up writing songs into pro that I can't play, but then learn (as I would any other difficult tab) - something that never could happen if I was just taking ideas on paper.
Quote by Ed O'Brien
“It’s not genius. It’s just that if you want something good to come out of something, you have to put in a lot of effort. That involves a lot of hard work, and a lot of blood, sweat and tears sometimes.”

http://urbanscarecrow.bandcamp.com/
#9
I agree with Damascus, about GP being a great tool; but, sometimes, it's a pain to get it to produce the right sound, especially while using polymetrics.
You simply MUST check out my music on
Reverbnation Downloads available here
Myspace Streaming Only


Especially for fans of Tool, APC, Avant-Garde, Ambient music, rock instrumentals, and fans of music in general. Will not disappoint.
#10
Another fantastic Diarrhea article. I love these steaming piles of... uh... nevermind.

I like the advice on mistakes. Sometimes, if I'm soloing, and I hit a note that's just plain WRONG, I'll create a lick out of it and repeat it. You can almost always turn a mistake into, well, a non-mistake.

Keep this stuff coming!
#11
Quote by Damascus
Maybe this is preaching to the converted, but guitar pro has proven itself a pretty invaluble tool for writing music. It fits the "write it down" thing to an absolute T - you can get the music down in tab, in notation and it's 'recorded', given that you can play back what you've just come up with and see how it sounds. It's great for storing things you've come up with, it's great for changing things about (and putting extra instruments in - very important for adding vocals if you're like me and have a terrible vocal range ), and I've even ended up writing songs into pro that I can't play, but then learn (as I would any other difficult tab) - something that never could happen if I was just taking ideas on paper.

I use a line-out into audacity as a notepad instead, it doesn't disrupt the flow of the self-jam as much as typing the number and selecting the note value etc.. When I get something cool I can just hit record and it's done. If I decide to use it later and can't remember how to play it I can figure it out fairly easily.

EDIT: Woops, just realised this is a fairly old thread. Sorry for the bump!
My name is Andy
Quote by MudMartin
Only looking at music as math and theory, is like only looking at the love of your life as flesh and bone.

Swinging to the rhythm of the New World Order,
Counting bodies like sheep to the rhythm of the war drums
Last edited by Ænimus Prime at Feb 25, 2008,
#12
Quote by Ænimus Prime
I use a line-out into audacity as a notepad instead, it doesn't disrupt the flow of the self-jam as much as typing the number and selecting the note value etc.. When I get something cool I can just hit record and it's done. If I decide to use it later and can't remember how to play it I can figure it out fairly easily.

EDIT: Woops, just realised this is a fairly old thread. Sorry for the bump!

I'm glad you bumped! This article should be pinned!
Gear List:
B.C. Rich NT Jr. V (With Seymour Duncan AHB-1 Blackout in bridge)
Electro-Harmonix Metal Muff
Marshall MG15DFX
Jazz III picks
DR strings
Planet Waves Cables