Creative songwriting

Discussion in 'Music Theory, Lessons & Techniques' started by UncurableZero, May 11, 2012.

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  1. UncurableZero

    UncurableZero SS.org Regular

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    Hello all, this is my first thread here.
    I've been playing guitar for about a year and a half.
    I'm currently playing with a friend, who's also a guitarist.
    I've been doing some covers, I've played a live concert with other musicians and now I just want to make my own music.
    I mainly play metal and I am strugling to write my own riffs - most of them sounding really generic and boring :squint:
    I know that creative writing will probably come with experience (and i have none), but i would like some advice on that.
    Here's my first song in a gp file (i just wrote it)
    new song shit.gp5 download - 2shared
     
  2. UncurableZero

    UncurableZero SS.org Regular

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  3. oompa

    oompa Ze.. Contributor

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    I just have some general advice, fairly unspecific but I feel they're very true:

    Basic theory is always good. Just learning the diatonic scales will get you really far, learning how basic modes work and how notes relate to each other. Theory is a world that I personally feel people dwell way too deep into, when what (I feel) you really need to understand is just how notes relate and then the rest is up to the creative mind, you can work your way to understanding what scales work over what chords etc. by simply understanding the fundamentals of intervals and how notes relate.

    Second is something I feel many musicians that are in your position completely overlook:

    Start listening to music from a writers perspective! Take an artist who is fairly interesting, maybe a tad progressive, that you like to listen to, and analyze a song by said artist from a writers perspective. So he goes from a B to an A? what noodle did he use to get there? What details does she put in and around to prevent the verse from sounding boring? What patterns do I see between the bands I listen to when it comes to songwriting? Is there any way I can learn from this song how to smoothly move up a minor third (3 semi tones)? what mood does it give my riff if I move down two semi tones compared to moving it up two semi tones? What does adding a perfect fourth to my chord do? can I add it to every chord in my chord progression?

    Stuff like that is great, grab tabs and really analyze an interesting writer. If you have no idea where to start, try artists who people praise for their song writing. I have no idea what metal you like, but for softer metal, try early era Dream Theater, incredibly innovative song writing there. If you're into a tad harder music, try mid-era Opeth, great great stuff. If you want even harder metal, try Martyr or The Faceless, I love them to bits for how they structure their music, where they put the juice and their progression across a song.

    If you want more variation and inspiration than -core stuff, you kind of need to advance into more melodic or progressive music in some sense. As you get better at picking up how musicians write their music, composition in general and the most basic theory that comes with it, you will start to look at genres like experimental music, jazz and classical music in a whole different way, it might suddenly become very, very interesting genres because there is so much exciting stuff going on at a theoretical level that maybe you would overlook if you didn't focus on the writing aspect of it :yesway:

    good luck!
     
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  4. Mr. Big Noodles

    Mr. Big Noodles Theory God

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    I'll comment more on this in a little while, but I took a listen to it and a few things stood out to me. First off, the rhythm isn't right. Make the intro either 3/4 (take off two eighth notes) or 7/8 (just take off one). Secondly, the harmonic progression is interesting at the beginning, but as soon as you hit the verse, I'm asleep. You've lulled me into cosmic slumber by keeping that same bass line. Learn some theory and all of that. After I'm out of class, I'll find some stuff to analyze to give you some ideas.
     
  5. Solodini

    Solodini MORE RESTS!

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    I completely agree with what has been said: learn a bit of theory, use it to understand other music and then test the limits of the methods used. Make sure to listen to different styles of music. A lot of metal is quite dull, harmonically, at least in that it is quite static, even though it may use potentially interesting scales. Many would suggest jazz but jazz is a deep subject to get into. I'd say to look at funkand soul as it takes some of the harmony of jazz and uses some interesting rhythms. Funk has some cool dissonance, as well.

    Make sure to play through fragments of scales, intervals and different rhythmic fragments, as well. Make sure to remember/make note of those which you like. Combine them to make larger bodies of music. Remember that a variation of function/context can make a familiar melodic/harmonic/rhythmic idea more fresh. Function is very important. Repetition/familiarity is important to making something easily appreciated. Repetition, again can take place over a change of context, which again maintains familiarity while creating a sense of movement and development. For instance, ABC is 123 of anA minor chord but 345 of an F major (within F Lydian), 789 [712] with an implication of a B minor withinB Phrygian/locrian. As I mentioned: small melodic fragments which you like can be used frequently and they can create very different character depending on their context.

    Have a look at the free sample chapters of my book, which is linked in my sig. That should help you, as it focuses on conscious creativity and developing your own style and tastes. If you have and difficulty with it, have any questions or want me to elaborate on anything I've said then just let me know. :)
     

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