Songwriters... any advice for me?

so I've been working with music for awhile (guitar, metal and some rock n roll style) I'm kinda considering doing a little songwriting (lyric wise) too. I'm a total newbie to it all, but wanna try. anyone got advice for me? my focus is on heavier music but advice from any part of the music spectrum is welcome.

thanks!

Songwriters... any advice for me?
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Most Helpful Guy

  • I taught myself songwriting (progressive metalcore mainly, but sometimes I write acoustic pieces). I used to make really cringe songs, but after lots of work, I believe they’re actually decent.

    My advice in writing songs is firstly to practice the everliving crap out of it. Songwriting is like learning a new instrument. Your first songs will be total pieces of cringe, but these will pave the way for better compositions. Lyrics is the same deal. Oh boy— I lie awake at night remembering some of the cringe I’ve written. Share them with other people though. Get honest feedback, and work from there.

    Secondly, to help you write, I *strongly* suggest guitar pro 7 (or 6) or some notation software to help you out. Putting your ideas into notation software makes them more concrete. It shows where your weak points are in the song, and it also makes it easier to organize/share. Guitar pro is useful particularly, because it lets you export to midi/pdf/wav to play back your piece or show bandmates without having to spend hours recording it (only to change it later). Heck, I’ve even written songs straight in guitar pro without ever picking up a guitar before. It’s possibly the best cost to benefit music purchase I’ve gotten yet.

    The rest comes with a bit of trial and error. People each write songs slightly different. I find that I start with the instrument I want to really drive/be important in the song. Often times in my music, that’s guitar, so I’ll pick up a guitar and jam until I figure out a cool riff. Then I decide if that riff belongs in a chorus/verse/bridge/intro roll. From there, I jam that riff on repeat an start trying to lead into various ideas afterwards with it.

    Sometimes, I’ll be inspired by some band’s song, and that influence will take shape in my writing (I. e. experimenting with intentional dissonance in key, the cool chord shapes Periphery uses). This is what really made things click for me. I saw the cool chords Periphery used in the song Passenger, and it broke me free of my power chord chains.

    It also let me develop a new tool I call a half bar chord. That is, barring with a middle finger for the lower 3 strings or so and curling your finger up to leave the upper strings open. This gives you freedom in your pinky/index on the left/right of your middle finger to make interesting (often beautiful or sometimes dissonant sounding) chord shapes. (Example chord would be from DADGBE: 8-8-8-10-7-8 or 7-7-9-5-8-0)

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    • One of these days I’ll probably try and make a myTake on songwriting.

      My process after figuring out the song on guitar is...
      — punch the first riff into guitar pro
      — put drums to the riff in guitar pro
      — repeat this process with the rest of the riffs
      — add bass
      — write a general vocal melody
      — write lyrics for the melody. Sometimes I’ll need to rewrite some of the melody to fit the lyrics.
      — get feedback for the lyrics
      — make changes as need be for a new draft
      — practice the riffs and drum parts like crazy until solid
      — record

Most Helpful Girl

  • Metaphors and smilies
    Mostly poetry.
    To the point.

    I used to write a lot in high school. Then i progressed onto singing. I still write here and there sometimes if i feel creative or something strikes a spark in me to express it on paper. Usually its spur of the moment where i get these random quotes or sentences in my head that narrow down what im going through. Good luck on ur writing!

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What Guys Said 17

  • Write something that you would actually listen to. If you don't like it, what makes you think others will.

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  • it doesn't really matter what type of music you like or desire to create the process is ultimately the same.

    there are one of primary two ways to work
    develop the song first... that is to say write the music. if a tone, melody, chord progression, rhythm comes into your head get it down on paper or record it... then you try to find lyrics or create lyrics that fit the music composition
    develop the lyrics first... most songwriters will tell you they are never not working on a song. many will carry a notepad with them to jot down lyrics or ideas.

    when i used to write music writing poetry often helped then i could put into a more melodic format for music later.
    - i often would go out in public and watch people and try to find someone who seemed interesting in some way and create a narrative around them... like create their back story
    - another trick that worked great in a crunch if ideas weren't coming organically was going to art museums. sitting down at a painting or two paintings and creating a story of what is going on combining two elements from two paintings to come up with a narrative
    - there's method john lennon used a lot (i forget the term for it) where he'd take news paper clippings and chop them up and put them back together in some way that told a story OR simply take advertisements or newspaper stories and create a song around general ideas or topics (the song Being For The Benefit of Mr. Kite of mr kite was created this way)

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  • Don't be afraid to write anything down. Whatever cokes to mind at that moment. Make sure you catch it. The lyrics I write don't have music because I don't play anything. But if a certain rhythm comes to mind with lyrics, I write them down. Then when I return to read it, I remember the rhythm in my head :)

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  • Start with a nice riff, or if you have a vocal melody, a solid foundational chord progression...

    Above all, just let it happen naturally. Don't try too hard, otherwise it's not going to sound right.

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  • Advice... I don't really know. I usually first, find out what the subject is, that I'm writing about. Then I brainstorm, and start writing the song. Once I've finished writing, it's usually very messy, so I "fix" some little bits, and "pretty" it up with rhymes, and stuff. The result, usually, is a song.

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  • Experience the guitar. Sit there and just try find those notes you hear in your head on the guitar. You'll slowly familiarize yourself with the guitar and get better. You can pour passion into a guitar even through mistakes.

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  • Write what comes to you. Whatever you hear in your head, write it down (if you know music theory) or play it on the guitar and record it.

    As for lyrics, that's more difficult. It changes and evolves as you write. They need to be you and feel it something that expressed you in the words.

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  • I like Geezer Butler from Black Sabbath’s idea write lyrics based on your favorite horror movie and set it to some heavy chords. But honestly I suck at song writing so I can’t give any personal advice.

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  • Someone once told me to not listen to music... Your songs tend to end up sounding to similar.. Though it made sense, i couldnt do it. If your trying to write lyrics, get into a habit of writing whats on your mind in order to develop meaning with them, also listen to music that has no lyrics helps

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  • There is no advice. Songwriting is an art, expressing yourself, and that can only be individual. There are no rules, or the "right way", Thats the beauty of art, its free from all boundries

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    • That's retarded. Some sort of compositional determinants exist. People are just indignant about it.

    • Show All
    • We're again talking about a human's need to have it hard.

    • This is why I stay away from chicks who say they like Tom Waits, Leonard Cohen, and the like.

  • Don't think too much about it and just play. When you stumble across something that sounds good, record it on your phone so you'll remember it.

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  • Whatever comes from your heart, your honest emotions.

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  • Practice. Put in those 10,000 hours. You may have the most awe inspiring lyrics... but you have to be able to convey them in a musical sense.

    Practice MORE. If you're serious about being a songwriter, treat it seriously. Actually listen to other peoples songs. Gain tools and tricks from those that have written before you.

    Practice even more. Don't paint yourself into a corner. If you find yourself writing a slow acoustic style song... go with it! Don't fight what's inside you.

    Practice even more than that. Good music doesn't just walk up and give itself to you. You have to work at it, just like anything else.

    Be. You. Don't try to emulate somebody else. The crowd can tell when you're insincere.

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  • Well, just keep the lyrics simple I guess.

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  • Improvise its fun

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    • Make the lyrics as juvenile, stupid and hilarious as possible but another thing nobody makes it in music especially not guitar not anymore

  • Being a musician myself I'd say
    You should do it

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  • Don't quit your day job.

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What Girls Said 3

  • The best advice I ever received about songwriting is to just write. The best way to get good at it is to write as many songs as you can. Don’t get discouraged if you feel like they suck. Even professional musicians hear some songs they wrote and think “what was I thinking! This is terrible!” The more you do it, the better you’ll get.

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  • Just don’t use those pop music cliches where you know exactly what line comes next xD
    Plus points for metaphors :3
    Good luck ^^

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  • Cliché advice, but write what your heart says

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