Alternative Techniques For Writing Music

In most songs, the riff rarley changes. Here are some alternative ways to put variety and a sense of mystery to your music.

56
Throughout the ages of all things guitar (metal, alternative, punk, country) there has always seemed to be a pattern to the riffs and solos. Such as intro, verse, chorus, verse, chorus and so on. And after a while you have to admit that it gets predictable, and sometimes mind-numbingly boring. This is an opinion, so you do not have to get mad because you think I am telling you what's wrong or right. If you are in a band, thinking about starting one or playing just for fun, do you really want all of the songs sounding the same? Well, if the answer is 'nay' then listen up! When writing a riff, remember this: don't go with it for long! Once again, this is an opinion, im not saying it's wrong nor right, its just a guitar technique for anyone interested in variety. When you write a song, try to change the pace, the speed or even the instrument being used, for example: you could start off with an intro performed by a keyboard, any wind instrument or any other string instruments such as viola, cello and so on. Then come in with a catchy guitar solo/intro. After you've made a dramatic introduction kick in with the percussion, bass or even another guitar doing the rythm. Most songs hit the chorus within 30 seconds of the verse. But I have found it creates and element of mystery to "skip" it. For instance: intro, verse, prelude and then another verse. The prelude could consist of just an alternative instrument (keyboard, strings, and what not) or just perhaps a solitaire bass riff or the guitar intro again. And after the pre-lude hit another verse. For variety you could also try a different riff, perhaps faster, slower. Just different. You will have people asking themselves "whats next?" Heres another trick: as the drums beat faster, strum the string slower, if the drums go slower, speed up the rythm of the guitar... its un-expected and shows great talent. When you get near the end, begin changing the pace, switch back and forth from guitar to an alternative instrument. Perhaps even repeat the prelude, but faster of slower. And end it with something that can catch the attention of the listener. Scratching the strings from the bottom up, make the guitar "cry", or just hit some random chord, its all about variety. Well, thats all I have to say for now. Just always remember: any person can write a song, but it takes someone with imagination to make it a piece of art.

61 comments sorted by best / new / date

comments policy
    rob_larry01
    good article overall. ive only just started my band up and this has some good ideas which could really help creating some original sounding songs
    Qaphela
    Guitarmanmatt wrote: This is a good point but i kinda wanted summat to help write a good instrumental now just tips
    Well Ive never written one, but ive heard some, and what i think would be a good idea would be to maybe have an intro, one or more themes, some different verses, a bridge, one or more solos, and maybe a chorus too. how you wanna arrange'em is all up to u.
    ampqueen
    thanx man. rad article! really stoked that i read it,, try out ur tips bro
    Pol_of_spades
    You have my complete backing on this. I have sounded exactly the same in intros of conversations with my friends on this topic. But its important to remember that these are examples and its up to the individual to find his/her own tricks to be original, or its not original at all.
    rockchick45
    rob_larry01 wrote: good article overall. ive only just started my band up and this has some good ideas which could really help creating some original sounding songs
    same here. It has given me some great ideas
    druz15_UG
    bruckster15 wrote: Great article man. Im starting up a band and ur ideas r awesome. But there is some good bands who have repetative riffs and stuff. Like AC/DC for example. But all the wierd but best bands like Led Zeppelin, Metallica, Pink Floyd, Beatles, and ect. all are mysterious and thats what makes them so great. I think if more musicians did that 2 day we would have another clasic rock era. Rock on
    The beatles suck. All their popular songs are crap and all their unknown songs are good
    viper83
    this is a great article. im going to start a band soon and we already hav a song started and this will really put some varity. thanks for the help
    danabrey
    druz15_UG wrote: bruckster15 wrote: Great article man. Im starting up a band and ur ideas r awesome. But there is some good bands who have repetative riffs and stuff. Like AC/DC for example. But all the wierd but best bands like Led Zeppelin, Metallica, Pink Floyd, Beatles, and ect. all are mysterious and thats what makes them so great. I think if more musicians did that 2 day we would have another clasic rock era. Rock on The beatles suck. All their popular songs are crap and all their unknown songs are good
    Surely all that means is that the media and the industry are crap for making a meal out of their crap songs and not giving the 'unknown' ones airplay?
    Guitarmanmatt
    This is a good point but i kinda wanted summat to help write a good instrumental now just tips
    Qaphela
    great article man! i was already doin this, inspired by bands like black sabbath and metallica cuz when i hear rock songs i havent heard before and they have that ol boring verse chorus cycle im just goin "great... now lets just get to that solo, which we all know how will sound, so we get it done!" great article
    theblackparade9
    That was a great tip and it helped me alot but i need 2 know wut power chords to use because i just started and i'm in a band.... :/
    TimmyHendriix
    good article how u said to play into with keyboard then guitar then drums etc it sounded like u were making a song on garage band lol. good article
    linkinwayne
    Short article, but some really great tips in it. And yeah, the skipping thing (Intro verse prelude verse) works a treat. Of course, use it for all your songs and it becomes a cliche. Haha...
    robsterrocks_11
    thanks man! you got me thinking of how songs do get predictable after a while and that varieity is very helpful in music. I'm thinking about making the music part for my lyrics and it's really got me off to a good start!!
    pedro_marreiro
    I like it you've good ideas in here. I've wrote a song but i can't put it any kind of music im getting crazy with that song, the lyric's pretty good but i can't put it sound, if someone could help me I apreciate. My email the_8_pm@hotmail.com
    Sand_Bandit
    Hmmm... Interesting ideas. Not very long, but still usefull for starting a thought process.
    Vito Greene
    i like this article the only problem i have is that it wont work on all songs the phrase "dont bore us go to the chorus"is the thing that worries me dont get me wrong though it will work for all around good songs but if your going to skip the first chorus then you need to have a really good intro/verse but other than that great article
    Surf3r
    Dude...great article! It was a great idea to play a verse with another instrument ( I used a sax) and it sounded great! Keep the lessons coming!
    Spl!nTeRgu!tAr
    yo i write songs on guitar just for the hell of it... and this REALLY helps if ure like me trying to create ure own kind of metal style while still remaining mainstream... for example, i tune in DROP C and alotta bands dot hat, but with the help of this article i can work on the different part...thanx
    Electric Jake
    There's some nice ideas in this article, however I cannot help thinking that the reason most people like a song is because of a certain element to it, or a certain riff, so maybe a tiny bit of change is in order if a song becomes to repetitive, but otherwise I wouldn't go saying that everyone should change too things in their songs.
    FooDog007
    Your entire topic is on the variety of music and how to change things up. This is an underated and untalked about subject. Good imagination!
    fatbassist
    cheers there's some interesting tips in there which i'm definitely gonna use! x
    guitarshroom
    kick ass article man just the thing ive been lookin for ive been meening to get away from repetitve music cheers buddy
    SixStringForEmo
    VERY NICE ***** taking the road less trvel'd Perfect lesson _____ _ Everybodies talkin bout the new sound ,funny, But its still rock and rool to me
    Busted Luver
    This is a good lesson, if you know what chords you want to use to make some good sound. Unlike myself, I can write lyrics but I really struggle when it comes to fitting chords together for one of my bands songs (Kittyns songs)
    supersonic1983
    Being alternative isn't always a good thing, you know. Striking a "random chord" towards the end of a song can do more harm than good. If it sounds good, play it; don't add or change stuff just because you think a song needs 'variety'.
    konfusion1111
    great article, and your right, this article is not for all, i like it cuz im starting to get away from mainstream music and getting into underground rock and this is what i need to make my songs sound a little better, and supersonic, im not angry at your comment i just think its a little un-neccesary, you obviously stick with the more predictable music and thats fine, its your opinion
    TheWho999
    I started a band just a while a go maybe like 2 or 3 years ago and we already have had numerous gigs and we play a more mixed song type. Mising it up gives it a fresh feeling and many people like that. But try all kinds of music. Great article man!
    Angel gurl
    Dis is a kick-ass article.youve helped me and my band develop a mre variable sound.Thanx for the help mate
    cazzamia
    i think this article has some really good ideas for arrangements etc, thanx!
    bruckster15
    Great article man. Im starting up a band and ur ideas r awesome. But there is some good bands who have repetative riffs and stuff. Like AC/DC for example. But all the wierd but best bands like Led Zeppelin, Metallica, Pink Floyd, Beatles, and ect. all are mysterious and thats what makes them so great. I think if more musicians did that 2 day we would have another clasic rock era. Rock on
    dwnbowden
    This is a really great lesson my songs were really boring but ive alterd them now and they are great thanx