I have this little problem where I come up with kick ass guitar riffs, and then when I try to put a vocal melody on it it sounds stupid. I cant seem to find anything to write about, and if I do I can't come up with an independent vocal melody. It sounds too much like the guitar melody. I've tried harmonizing the two, but its not what I would like to do for every song...
Any suggestions?
i have the same problem...but i think it comes with time.
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This is a rediculously common question, and here's my take on it.

I don't have alot of songs written, but I have roughly 50 riffs or so laying around, waiting for lyrics. It's not going to happen. A completely different approach is needed. What I do is try to get a mental picture of the entire song before I write anything, a general rhythm.

However, DO NOT do that just yet! What I have learned the most from music is that you have to do the digging yourself. You have to look at the way that you think, and see where the dead ends are. What I can tell you is that basing songs on the riffs, for many people, does not have good results. I would start your search there.
Page & Plant did both methods. One of their techniques (if you could call it that) is listen to the riff carefully. Does it suggest anything? Possibly a mood? If so. try to get the music out of your head. And write some ideas that kind of fit or put you in that kind of mood. There's your chorus. Come up with 3 examples of it and there's your verses.
Adding to my last post, an awesome riff is one that calls for attention. Composer Alan Belkin mentions (regarding counterpoint) that we, as humans, are incapable of paying strict attention to more than one instrument at a time. So by the guitar saying "look at me", attention is focused elsewhere, and not on the vocals. Almost every song in history has the main line of focus on the primary vocals (backing vocals are a different story). Guitar riffs get their limelight when the vocals are done. However, guitarists make a habit of complimenting vocals with the guitar. The reason you see all these good riffs in songs is probably because they set a mood, and the vocals fulfilled that mood.

Then again, I'm not sure.
Try not to write while thinking of the thing you're writing about, try to think a bout a mood or feeling, do you know what I'm saying?

Like if your song is to be about flowers, don't think about flowers when you write it, think about sadness, or happiness or whatever. it might help.
Do you know much about counterpoint?
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