Mental song writing problem, please help

Discussion in 'Music Theory, Lessons & Techniques' started by thevisi0nary, Apr 24, 2012.

  1. thevisi0nary

    thevisi0nary Regular

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    Jan 17, 2012
    asbury park, nj
    Im having a problem with song writing, my songs are real good, but im finding im comparing my music to anything i think sounds similar to it and i have difficulty turning it off in my head. I understand theres a big difference between stealin and influence, but it stops me from feeling originol even though i know it is. What makes it worse is sometimes i compare songs that i wrote before i even heard the other one lol. I guess its ocd.

    anyway, could someone please tell me that there is another song that starts similarly to this kimbra song? Im sure there is, i would just like to hear it for my self.

    please help because it screws with me mentally.
  2. flint757

    flint757 Regular

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    Jun 17, 2011
    Houston, TX
    The drum beat sounds a little bit similar to John Mayer Gravity's intro, but it deviates big time once everything kicks on. Never hard anything like this before sounds cool. I'm sure there are songs that start similarly and are similar I wouldn't sweat it so much.
  3. Mr. Big Noodles

    Mr. Big Noodles Theory God

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    May 29, 2008
    Los Angeles, CA
    Oh, god, not originality! Anything but that! Honestly, anything that you can come up with has been done, or can be extrapolated by trends that were set in motion long before you were even born. There are seven-billion people in the world, most of whom are poor and ruled by corrupt political forces. Knowing the general state of things, what percentage of those disenfranchised destitutes do you think care that song A sounds like song B, or if song C sounds different from song B? Fuck, dude, just write.

    I don't see how this relates to the first part of your post (unless you're trying to narrow your music collection down to only the most original of tracks), but I'll bite.

    I can't think of anything that sounds remarkably similar to that song, but I can dissect its workings without thinking too hard, which means that some other skinny 'artsy' singer/songwriter chick is screaming "plagiarism" right now. Compare the first fifteen seconds of the Kimbra song to everything up to 0:32 here:

    Prince - The Beautiful Ones

    The sound quality is crap, but it's the best we're going to get for now (thanks, Viacom). Ahem.

    Both introductions use unaccompanied 'easy listening' drums, have similar harmonic progressions when the song kicks in (Prince's is a bit simpler), and the vocal melody is very close.


    Prince's melody is first, Kimbra's is second. I've put asterisks under the tones that are common to both melodic figures. Kimbra's singing a minor second lower than Prince, but I've transposed her into the same key for the benefit of seeing both melodic fragments in the same light. Prince ends his phrase on that G, Kimbra has a rest and a punctuation from the guitar and drums where that note would be, so the phrase is really identical except for one note.

    I won't microanalyze the entire song, but there are a lot of common melodic, harmonic, and formal ideas that come with R&B. Also, no cadence at the end and arbitrarily cut the drum beat that's been going on the entire time? That's generic pop 101.

    To recapitulate, originality is overrated and scarcely understood. You can go to some pretty distant places in music and still find people doing things there. Microtonal women's choir music in 7 with a heavy dose of quartal harmony? Bitches done jazz chords for centuries.

    Artistic voice is the same as your speaking voice. Two people can say the same thing and come across differently in a lot of ways. When my girlfriend and I are walking through a crowd, she squeaks "Excuse me!" and sounds cute and non-threatening. I say "Excuse me," and the person in front of us thinks they're about to get butt-raped by Barry White. You don't need to reinvent music to be unique - the nuances and idiosyncrasies of your music will come through your interpretation of existing materials. But the only way to shape that is to write a lot and explore as much as you can.

    My final word:

  4. Velixo

    Velixo Regular

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    Sep 23, 2011
    That shit was gold:ugh::lol:
  5. Varcolac

    Varcolac Frets? What frets?

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    May 8, 2009
    Great, now I can hear the Bulgarian women going "Simpsons did it, Simpsons did it," in sevens, IN MY HEAD.
  6. ArrowHead

    ArrowHead Regular

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    Dec 15, 2009
    Boston, MA
    The solution is Jay Leno.

    Remember those doritos commercials? Where he used to encourage people to keep eating the Doritos? "Crunch all you want, We'll make MORE"

    Just keep writing. Look at artists like the beatles who wrote hundreds and hundreds of songs. And you can see their catalog grow more and more adventurous and original over time. No amount of thinking or education will replace experience and practice. Just write. Had a bad day? Write a song. Met a girl? Write a song. Got a bad report card? Write a song. Got caught smoking dope outside the police station? Write a song in jail. You get the idea.

    Your earliest work may be incredibly derivative, but as you write and listen to more material your palette will increase, your vocabulary will increase, and your music will become more and more uniquely yours.
  7. asher

    asher So Did We

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    May 24, 2010
    Oakland, CA
    Not only was that a great post overall, but that line is sig-worthy. :metal:

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