Poll: How do you start?
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View poll results: How do you start?
21 19%
32 29%
All at once
2 2%
Whatever comes to me first
57 51%
Voters: 112.
Well, I write songs in school, in the margins of my notebooks, etc. Obviously, I can't be strumming chords and humming melodies in class, so I try and think them in my head and write down some theoretical chord progressions (ie: just numerically done, no actual feeling or rhythm most of the time).
Later on, I'll stick chords behind it and try to crowbar some hard rock riffs and a solo into it ( I want to write hard rock with blues influences in the style of Led Zep and Guns, but it always ends up very... soft rock acoustic, romanticy ballads ), but it often feels awkward, like a poem with random music playing behind it.
So, how do you guys start songs?
me and my friends usually come up with a cool riff, then the lyricist writes around it
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Quote by geetarguy13

I've never smoked before but it looks like fun.
Typicaly i'll start with a riff/melody, over dub it with a chord progression then since my band only has 1 guitarist i'll use the melody for vocal melody then either substitute the riff or melody for verse/chorus, usualy keping the riff and having bass play the chord progression.
once i'm all way through the song i'll write lyrics.
takes a little longer this way but it seems to work.
Originally Posted by Chromeproguitar
they make horrible noises in the middle of the night (is it sex?)

Quote by CliffIsAngry
I guess she's pretty hot if you're into that "having a good music video, but not better than Beyonce's" kind of thing...
ya just start off with a drum lick, then a riff.
the way we used to do it was, we decided what kind of song it'll be (thrashy/doomy/etc), our drummer would work out a beat, and we'd just riff over the top of it until we heard something we liked. Then we'd structure it all, then write lyrics.
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I would be angry too if there were turds on my head.
I used to think "well, the melody is really what makes a song good, so I might as well not write until I find a good melody" with melody either being vocal melody or riff or whatever.

Then I realised it's so much harder to find melodies without having something to sing. Now I write massive amounts, books and books of typewritten pages, and try and sing some of it to a piano.
Last edited by skagitup at Jun 2, 2008,
i sometimes think of lyrics, some times chords and some times riffs. However, my first and favourite song came from a bass riff i came across completely by accident. I'd recommend that if you want a particular style (hard rock, for example) start with a riff, melodic idea or chord progression that sounds like the sound you want. Then write the lyrics around that idea.
if you're not sure about how to structure it use the basic pop/rock song format below:
intro (main idea introduced)
verse (focus on vocals, not guitars)
chorus (change of chords if you want, louder than verse)
verse 2
chorus 2
bridge/middle 8(another change of chords, make sure it doesn't sound similar to the verse/chorus chords, this is supposed to feel different)
chorus 3
outro (optional)
i said lyrics because i always write them without trying to match them to any riff or rhythm or anything. sometimes after i write them ill go through my riffs and say "hmm this one might work well," so i guess i always start off with lyrics.
I kind of come up with a musical lick/chord progression.

Separately I come up with a few lyrics or a fragmented chorus or whatever.

Then I glue them together and hope for the best.
i personaly like to find a catchy riff (hook) then blend into a bridge that goes to a verse.
i guess it would be use full or alot easier to just write the lyrics first then make the riffts you know? because u can now find the right tune your looking for to go with your song.
i usually play some chords, throw and throw in a couple of riffs and a solo before i start with lyrics
i've tried to write some songs before. I end up writing a verse and maybe a terrible chorus. I try to add a few simple chords in there and i end up throwing it away because of writers block. I can never get past the chorus.
I like to write music out for a song before lyrics, I find it a lot easier.

The vocalist in my band has written lyrics and we have to write music around what he's written but usually we get it first try, but it can sometimes be a pain cause he'll stop singing and we're still playing the riff so we kinda have to figure out whether to shorten the riff or have him add an extra line.

Music and lyrics are both bad as each other when putting them together, its what you find easier to do first.
My band just comes up with some cool riffs, jams 'em out, then make them into a coherent song. Then we record the instrumental track and move on to the next song. Later, me or one of the other members will go back and write words to go with the recording, and bingo. New song.
I just really struggle to get inspiration... I've got a music assignment due in next Tuesday and i haven't got anything
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lololololol that was epic andyd93. you just made my day

i keep trying to write some acoustic stuff, & i'd like to sing over it, but i hate my voice so i always feel like a prick when i try it =/
but usually i just mess around & try out different things on my acoustic, then try & fit them together so it actually sounds like a song instead of just a bunch of things rammed together
& whenever some lyrics hit me, i just write 'em down & then try to make a song out of them
If you start every song with the same kind of format I think it gets repetetive, so it's good to have variety.
For me, some start with a riff, some start with lyrics, which in some case is just the chorus being sung slowly, or something else. Some may even start with a solo or a bass/drum section. So yeah, whatever seems to work basically.