Aspects About Lyrics 1

#1 The difference between meaning/story and idea.

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Hello my dearest guitarists ;D Today's lesson deals with some songwriting problems. Many guitarists (mostly the ones, who have awesome skills) have difficulties concerning lyrics. ... What's the reason of this lesson? The guitarist of one of my bands Luke one of the guitarists mentioned above. Yesterday, he just composed and introduced a new song idea to us: The song is not finished yet, but its melodies remind me on Dream Theater a bit (i.e. not too easy, but just beautiful !). However, he presented a little demo version of it via Guitar Pro and we were fascinated. But still one thing was missing: the lyrics. He just told me that he is "not quite a good lyric writer", so I've taken the chance to make the lyrics since I love poems and lyrics as much as I love music. Well, almost ;). The content of this lesson is NOT compulsory! It's not a typical "How To Write Awesome Lyrics In 10 Steps"-lesson. Instead, this series of lessons simply tells you a few ideas and aspects that could improve your lyrics. Some examples might manifest that new ways of thinking for you. On the whole, just lean back and read this lesson. I am 100% sure by just enjoying it, your lyrics WILL DEFINITELY improve a bit :) ... #1 The difference between meaning/story and idea The first thing I noticed when I started songwriting was, that there is a huge and important difference between the meaning of a song and its idea. A song often tells a story about common things in life and every story has one big idea as its specific background. The biggest mistake you can make is giving the song a title before starting with the lyrics. If you do that, you force your mind into a "find lyrics that support the title"-task. Instead of doing that, let your mind flow and find the idea, not the story. Let's take a classical motive: love. In some way you want to express that love means lots of hope, but in the end turns out to be just an illusion or a big lie. You want to express how much a person desired that one girl/boy and - after some time- realized that there are other lovely girls / handsome guys. ... Finding the story (wrong start): Most likely you'll start by describing a scene, a depressed boy or girl. You want to inform the audience why he/she is so depressed and start explaining that his gf /her bf left her. That the partner found someone better, someone more attractive, someone who has more money than the narrator. Then, you would probably switch back to the present where his/her mind is working for a solution. He/She is depressed, lonely, tired, he/she is crying, screaming maybe even hurting him- or herself! In the end, the narrator overcomes his problems and faces real life: "It hurts, but this is life. So stop crying and start enjoying life again, you douche bag!" Now start singing that song and name it for example "Without you", "Loneliness", "Unloved" ...or even better: why don't you just call it "Some Random Love Song" or "Big Pile Of BS" because this is what you finally will have! A typical idiotic piece of bad lyrics. An ocean of scenes that only make sense because you attach words like "lonely", "painful" or "love" to them. You now joined an anonymous mass of millions of people. The song might even be "quite ok", but you won't reach the people, because this song is just like a million other songs. ... Finding the idea (correct start): You take the idea (in this case love) and let your mind just flow over it: You do NOT concentrate on single aspects, descriptions or causal constructs. What we want (and need) are DIRECT EMOTIONS! Nobody cares about the name of the narrator. Nobody needs the exact position and the concrete reason why his gf/her bf left him/her! In the end, even the gender is not of interest. All those things mentioned in the "wrong start" deal with INDIRECT EMOTIONS, i.e. backgrounds and decorations. The more you are explaining and describing details, the more you drift away from the essence of the song ("love is painful, but life goes on"). Instead of forcing yourself into things BELONGING to love, you should totally get away from them and find completely other things that REALLY WORK as METAPHORS! So you won't explain that the narrator is only wearing black clothing because he/she is that depressed, but you will try to DIRECTLY mediate the EMOTIONS to the audience. You don't want to work with DETAILS, but with SHORT and SOFT HINTS of what your trying to say. ... "Lemon Tree" by Fool's Garden (example for #1) I won't repeat myself at this point so it's up to you to check that song for metaphors and hints. I'll just give you a little check list of things which are particulary supporting #1: - the chorus and the title "Lemon Tree" (Honestly: You would have never integrated a citrus into your lyrics!) - your associations with "lemon" (What is also popular though it sometimes tastes bitter ? Yes, it's love! Great example of "giving a hint") - the gender (the only thing that gives the audience a clue about the narrator's gender, is the line "Baby anyhow I'll get another toy" you see: even the gender doesn't matter a lot) - boring room, rainy Sunday afternoon (it seems dumb, but you exactly know how this feels) - Driving too fast because you had a bad day (... and you also know how that feels) My suggestion: Listen to the song and think of the points mentioned above. ... Conclusion: Always keep in mind that your lyrics must NOT INFORM, DESCRIBE or EXPLAIN your idea, the story and every single aspect must just be ENJOYABLE! Have a contemplative Advent ;D Your Martin P.S. Feel free to post your very own lyric problems in the comment section or ask me via pm, I will answer my inbox within 1-2 weeks usually.

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    BamBamn007
    We can read how to write songs everywhere on the net. Does the music come first? Or the lyrics? The answer is, there is no right answer. I have written a ton of music, then put words to it, and I have written a ton of lyrics, then put music to it. It depends on the writer. There is no wrong way, or right way to write.
    Fenyx
    If at all possible, it would be great if you could make a lesson or something describing how to translate poetry into music (i.e. adding a melody to something not originally intended for music) I would greatly appreciate it, because I have an entire catalog of unused poetry, and only like... 3 "poems" that have a musical feel. So any help there would be appreciated.
    lonewolf277
    Pretty cool lesson! I've got tons of "songs" which I've never really been happy with, and now thinking about it, most of them explain their lives away! Haha! Good post! Checking out lessons 2 and 3!
    1nsaner
    Yeah, i just recently started a band and is it a bad idea to first make the music then the lyrics? because then i would feel the lyrics will come out naturally=]
    Martin Messner
    BamBamn007 wrote: We can read how to write songs everywhere on the net. Does the music come first? Or the lyrics? The answer is, there is no right answer. I have written a ton of music, then put words to it, and I have written a ton of lyrics, then put music to it. It depends on the writer. There is no wrong way, or right way to write.
    That's exactly what I am saying. I just reversed the process by showing some important aspects I personally experienced and gave some tips.
    aplam94
    i'm tring to wirte a song for haiti. but i don't know how to start the 1st line. please help me
    SONNY MUNSON
    listen to the song ATWA By system of a down. The lyrics are vague enough to be aboutanything but it makes me think of nations in poverty, but doesnt force any meaning about any specific thing, leaving the emotions very relatable. Instead of wrting it specifically about haiti, it could be describing anything like ..... i forgot what i was saying, but i was trying to say "The biggest mistake you can make is giving the song a title before starting with the lyrics. If you do that, you force your mind into a "find lyrics that support the title"-task. Instead of doing that, let your mind flow and find the idea, not the story. Let's take a classical motive: love."
    elias-pa
    I LIKE FENYX IDEA,I HAVE THE SAME PROBLEM,A TON OF POETRY WITHOUT MUSIC(AND THE OPOSITE TOO!)
    Martin Messner
    krypticguitar87 wrote: pretty good except it would have been nice if you put in parts of the song and explained them, I don't really like this song so forcing me to listen to it made it much more difficult to get into the lesson... if you just had the lyrics posted it would have been much more efective.
    Yes, i will definitely include them next time. Just forget about it.
    krypticguitar87
    Martin Messner wrote: Yes, i will definitely include them next time. Just forget about it.
    thanks that will be very helpful, and like I said other than that this was a rather helpful and informative lesson, that isn't just the cookie cutter "just write from your heart and rhyme" type of lyrics lesson
    Martin Messner
    Fenyx wrote: If at all possible, it would be great if you could make a lesson or something describing how to translate poetry into music (i.e. adding a melody to something not originally intended for music) I would greatly appreciate it, because I have an entire catalog of unused poetry, and only like... 3 "poems" that have a musical feel. So any help there would be appreciated.
    Why not, Fenyx
    krypticguitar87
    pretty good except it would have been nice if you put in parts of the song and explained them, I don't really like this song so forcing me to listen to it made it much more difficult to get into the lesson... if you just had the lyrics posted it would have been much more efective.