I am a bassist that is in 4 different bands, My main band Lexica (Indie, punk, blues) , I write all the songs for, I play bass and piano and drums, and am going to start music theory this year. Basically all of my song lack any formal type of theory behind them. Whenever i hear a sequence of notes, i for some reason can just tell what i want to follow them, and it sounds good. I cant even really write them down, i just tab all of them.

Yet my band is very successful and everyone whos heard my songs thinks that im a very good songwriter.

I just wanted to know how some guys on UG write their songs,

I do the same with my lyrics too now that i think of it.
Last edited by MikeAngel7 at Sep 1, 2008,
I play the chord progression, riff, whatever and I sing over it. I sing just random lines, keep ones I like. Sometimes I'll look through the little rhyming disctionary I have, pick a random word and try to incorporate it into a line and sing that.

But, my way is kind of stupid.
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musically i write usually using a specific key but often i just use whatever notes i feel like.

lyrically i totally suck worse than anyone else ever

guitar first, bass second, drums i have my brother put in third, vocals last

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George Harrison Got his Idea of My Guitar Gently Weeps by picking up a book, and writing a poem about the first word he noticed. it happened to be weeps.

I often pick up my guitar and just sit there singing until music comes to mind(I must be Alone )
Musically: I sometimes just sing a random tune to myself and then try to play it on guitar, sometimes I'm messing about with random notes and I write something, sometimes I deliberately create music in the same key or with the same chord progressions.

Lyrically: Occasionally I will just have a random burst of inspiration, and write something which I later come back to and wonder what the hell it was about, but think it sounds good. Sometimes I'll force myself to write something, and gradually improve it. Sometimes I'll come up with one or two lines and later integrate them into a song with a similar topic. It's very varied.
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musically, I just noodle around the guitar and fine a tune for myself, and I improvise..
lyrically, I write whatever that comes in my mind...i mean, i make rough notes of whatever that comes in my mind, and arrange them well...
my songs suck tho..
Musically I'm the biggest newbie anyone can meet. I just actually began playing a week ago, I don't know chords yet, but i'm learning how to tab. I'm not great at it being at first I had no passion to play the guitar. But this pass week, I felt compeled to pick up my old accoustic, and learn how to play.
Lyrically, I'm my own person. I write my lyrics in more of poetry form, and i work off my feelings. I want to post at least one of my lyrics on here to see how much i really suck at it. But my friends like my work, though i know they are just trying to make me happy
i think as you jsut know what should come next
you've developed the songwriting skills without knowing the techniques actuallnames
this method tends to work with me aswell
but learning the theory behind it can give you alternatives to use later on in the song
OK heres how it works best for me.
Usually I have a certain memory, happening, feeling or something else that i want to write a song about.
Then I pick up the guitar and try to find a chord progression which reflects the mood of my thought the best. You know whether it's sad or happy or whatever.
Once I have a progression that I think fits well to what the song is gonna be about I just start singing to it random sentences and melodies, to get the rhythm and the melody of the singing voice. Most of the time I have my cell phone near me to be able to record stuff that I like. This can take a while. And I have to be alone to do this. So it's pretty much a lot of improvising. When I found something that sounds cool to me I record it and listen to it again and again and try to improve it until it sounds perfect for me.
After this is done and I have chord progression, singing melody and rhythm I start writing the lyrics. Now unfortunately thats the part I really suck at. So this can take like forever.
Oddly enough I'm not really able to write songs in german (and I am german) only in english. So there's also some kind of language barreer that makes it even more difficult.
When the lyrics are finished I put it all together and record it with my computer. After that I listen to it over and over again and work over it to give it the final polish. Yeah that's the point where it's pretty much done. But it happens quite often that I don't like my songs anymore after some time. So I might just be really bad at it.
I just go. Usually, I'll be inspired to write something new by screwing up something I already know. I have a big book filled with lyrics I've written. I flip through, pick a set that works, and make a song.

Usually, I get way too carried away, though, and either make it too cluttered, or just get sick of it.
I usually start by just writing a paragrah (or, more often then not, paragraphs) about something I want to write lyrics about, then from that I take sentences that I like and think can be used in the song, put them into verses, and then go back and add metaphors and rhyme and such. By using the paragraphs I can write my true feelings down with out having to think about anything like metaphors, ryhme, flow, verses choruses, etc. I can just wite down my feelings.
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Mostly I randomly come up with like one rhyming line that sounds cool and I work off of it
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i come up with a riff and shape it into different varieties. then whatever mood matches the riff, i find words for it. but then again, its easier said than done lol
I write lyrics first. I was a poet before I was a real musician.

Then I take the lyrics and start shaping a melody in my head, I then pick up a guitar or sit at the piano or even pick up my bass (mostly guitar though) and then work on something that defines the song; a hook, or chord progression. Anything that works with the song.

And then build everything from there.

I've done 4th grade theory, I play guitar, bass (double bass aswell), drums and piano. I know the places of notes on flute, Mandarin and Violin. So I can write for every instrument including strings/orchestra. Then I record a demo (Me and my acoustic) and then, when I'm sorting out a real demo, I record the drum part, then the guitar/piano part (whichever is the main instrument), then vocals, then bass, then add in all the extras, then record strings (I use Sibelius 5).

Hope that helps.
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This just reminded me of the time that my brother in law texted his mom on the night after his wedding. All it said was "Consummated."
When I started writing music, it was basically "plug-and-chug". I didn't really know any music theory, and I just pieced together notes until it sounded good. I eventually started to realize which notes sound good with others, and then I finally took a music theory class.

Now when I write, I mix it up. If I want a particular sound, I will write in a key or a mode. Other times, I just start picking around on my guitar. My creativity seems to come in waves, so I constantly mix it up to keep a fairly steady pace.

Very rarely do I ever write music around lyrics, but it's not something I've never done. I did so with fairly good results, although I find it hard to find lyrics to a piece of music that I've already made. Lyrics are my weak point, I feel.