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Writing down songs?


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#1 OFFLINE   JessThrasher

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Posted 13 April 2012 - 05:45 PM

How do most of you on here write songs? Do you usually write out every part note by note (either by hand or on a composition program)? Or do you just play around until you come across something that sounds good and record it? If I don't write it out note for note, how can I be sure that I'll play the same thing everytime I try to play that song?

I feel kind of bad that I trained in classical piano and theory for 12 years and I'm too lazy to write out an entire song note by note. I'm great with lyrics though.
"Remember to eat, sleep and breathe music for the mind, play from your heart and never be swayed by the current trends." - Rusty Cooley
"You can't play an instrument for the technicality of it. It's a tool you use it to get what's in here and here [heart and mind] out there." - Marten Hagstrom, Meshuggah

#2 OFFLINE   harles

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Posted 04 May 2012 - 06:01 PM

I have a digital camera, teeny one, that has a sound recording function. If I play something I like on guitar or whistle something or whatever I record it and tell myself how I'm playing it. I save that to my computer and develop it that way. I have literally thousands of tunes on my computer and because I tell myself how to play them with the sound recording I can play them exactly how they are. I don’t know how else I would go about writing music, I don’t think I could do it at all.

#3 OFFLINE   eddiez152

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Posted 05 May 2012 - 11:41 PM

Jess,
I use my recording software. I play it on the keyboard and save it as a midi file. Then, I take the midi file and print out the notation. Easy and quick to do.
Nothin sweeter than the sound of music comin out of a 6 string box - EZ me Music / ASCAP "Music is a social act of communication, a gesture of friendship,the strongest there is"-Malcolm Arnold

#4 OFFLINE   Random Robot

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Posted 23 May 2012 - 08:33 AM

After I figure out what I want to play from trial and error, I usually write down the chord progression and then play it over and over and over and over and you get the idea until I know it. Probably why I have so many older songs that I have know idea how they actually go.
Exotic is just people talk for awesome...which you are!

#5 OFFLINE   waveheavy

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Posted 01 September 2012 - 04:38 PM

Is it kosher to say 'Band-In-A-Box' on this forum?

That's actually a music comp tool that Grove School of Music recommends for its students. I use it when I want to work out heavier chord progressions with a lot of alterations. It is cheating, I won't deny.

#6 OFFLINE   JessThrasher

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Posted 01 September 2012 - 06:43 PM

View Postwaveheavy, on 01 September 2012 - 04:38 PM, said:

Is it kosher to say 'Band-In-A-Box' on this forum?

That's actually a music comp tool that Grove School of Music recommends for its students. I use it when I want to work out heavier chord progressions with a lot of alterations. It is cheating, I won't deny.

That's what I need.
"Remember to eat, sleep and breathe music for the mind, play from your heart and never be swayed by the current trends." - Rusty Cooley
"You can't play an instrument for the technicality of it. It's a tool you use it to get what's in here and here [heart and mind] out there." - Marten Hagstrom, Meshuggah

#7 OFFLINE   eddiez152

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Posted 07 September 2012 - 02:05 PM

View Postwaveheavy, on 01 September 2012 - 04:38 PM, said:

Is it kosher to say 'Band-In-A-Box' on this forum?

That's actually a music comp tool that Grove School of Music recommends for its students. I use it when I want to work out heavier chord progressions with a lot of alterations. It is cheating, I won't deny.

I don't think its cheating at all. Its just another tool in the arsenal of composing. However, if your instructed not to use this and do it from scratch well then you have a conscience.
Nothin sweeter than the sound of music comin out of a 6 string box - EZ me Music / ASCAP "Music is a social act of communication, a gesture of friendship,the strongest there is"-Malcolm Arnold

#8 OFFLINE   JessThrasher

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Posted 07 September 2012 - 02:06 PM

Whatever works! :clap:
"Remember to eat, sleep and breathe music for the mind, play from your heart and never be swayed by the current trends." - Rusty Cooley
"You can't play an instrument for the technicality of it. It's a tool you use it to get what's in here and here [heart and mind] out there." - Marten Hagstrom, Meshuggah

#9 OFFLINE   carol m

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Posted 19 September 2012 - 10:13 PM

If I write a song, for me, that means lyrics. Usually, I have a lot of trouble visualizing how those lyrics can turn into the music for a song. Luckily, I'm a member here at GFB, so I post them here and the clever people here usually come up with a melody and a recording. That works for me.
One good thing about music is that when it hits you, you feel no pain - Bob Marley

#10 OFFLINE   waveheavy

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Posted 11 January 2013 - 11:50 AM

View Posteddiez152, on 07 September 2012 - 02:05 PM, said:


I don't think its cheating at all. Its just another tool in the arsenal of composing. However, if your instructed not to use this and do it from scratch well then you have a conscience.

Old post, but for the benefit of others...

In my day (1970's), using a MIDI instrument for anything instead of playing the real instrument, was cheating. It was looked down upon by most musicians of that era.

Lot of the musical greats before my era that have died are probably rolling over in their graves with how much MIDI is used today in professional music. I thank God for all the hard working instrumentalists in various musical styles today that still refuse to use MIDI.

Yet I cannot deny, samples of orchestral instruments like Vienna Instruments are impressive sounding, and used a lot in film scores, etc.

Band-In-A-Box software is a great tool. One can learn a whole lot just by how chord progressions are played and voiced, and it will even design a melody and solo to play over a chord progression according to Grove School of Music's chord/scale approach (used in Jazz especially).

So in the 1980's when Band-In-A-Box first came out, it was tempting to use it to create a MIDI file for various song parts to use in recording. Many frowned on that. But today... I think it more pratical to use than trying to peck out single MIDI notes in a piano roll. One can always find a style to fit close enough for their song, and then manipulate the MIDI notes later to make it more personal.

The musicians that created Band-In-A-Jazz are Jazz musicians, the main creator is a Jazz pianist.

#11 OFFLINE   eddiez152

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Posted 11 January 2013 - 04:36 PM

waveheavy,

A lot of great information can be gleaned or taken from those midi files. Its all part of learning. Chord tones.
Nothin sweeter than the sound of music comin out of a 6 string box - EZ me Music / ASCAP "Music is a social act of communication, a gesture of friendship,the strongest there is"-Malcolm Arnold

#12 OFFLINE   waveheavy

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Posted 24 January 2013 - 09:09 AM

OK, for the more serious-minded, composer approach... pecking out each note...

I'm self-taught, and have the advantage of years with what kind of music books to study vs. all the filler type books on the market that's stealing people's money.

For serious music composition I recommend Peter Alexander's books, especially his translated Fux book on 17th century counterpoint. Like Peter Alexander says, the rules for what works and doesn't work in music composition has already been worked out for over 300 years. Beethoven used Fux's counterpoint, many of the Classical greats did. Alexander gives a healthy dose of Bach's use of counterpoint, Mozart, Bizet, Debussy (great for Jazz study), Ravel, etc. And he applies it in a Pop/Jazz/Classical context, all at the same time, with 4 Tutti song composition methods.

In essence, what those works teach you how to do, is let's say you've come up with this great bass line, and you need to find chord structure and a melody line to go with it. You'd write the melody line for the bass line, and then figure out the two middle voices to come up with a 4-part chord structure. He teaches how to do the same starting with a melody line only, and how to write a counter-melody line (second melody below the original), etc.

What that means is you're no longer just hunting and pecking for chords that might go with a bass line or melody line. You're using time-tested methods that Fux defined back in the 17th century to know also how to go outside the Classical rules for writing in the Pop, Rock, or Jazz styles. To do that means pecking out each note for each line to fit together, real music composition that you know will always work.

(Peter Alexander is a Berklee School of Music Boston graduate, and a professional composer. Several modern composers, like Henry Mancini, praised his books).

#13 OFFLINE   gasbag

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Posted 24 January 2013 - 01:48 PM

I usually get a melody in my head that refuses to go away. Therapy doesn't seem to help.
I use Guitar Pro and write it out, modify and refine it. It works well for me.
I can hear the song as I am changing it and it makes it easier to decide what to change.
I then play the song and will change anything else that didn't work as expected.
It also gives me a printed piece of sheet music to work from when the piece is finished.
This isn't an ad for GP, it is just how I develop a melody.
Some may call it cheating or being lazy.
I am old. I can cheat and be lazy if I darn well want to................ :poke:
Blessed are the Flexible, for They shall not be bent out of shape.

#14 OFFLINE   Lcjones

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Posted 14 August 2013 - 10:20 PM

A little late to the show here ..... but ....

I can't imagine *any* popular musician or band literally "composing" sheet music to any song they may write. They will leave that up to their publishers, after the fact, and hopefully collect a royalty from the publisher for printing their song into sheet music form for the world to play.

What I do imagine is the song writer to have an idea for a melody in their head that fits their lyrics and then translate a basic chord progression to the band for practice until the song writer gets the results he or she wants. Every one contributes to the final product.

LC

Respect The Music
I'll saddle up my pony so I wont be so lonely, at least I know his heart is true


#15 OFFLINE   JessThrasher

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Posted 15 August 2013 - 02:41 AM

That's what I was thinking too.
"Remember to eat, sleep and breathe music for the mind, play from your heart and never be swayed by the current trends." - Rusty Cooley
"You can't play an instrument for the technicality of it. It's a tool you use it to get what's in here and here [heart and mind] out there." - Marten Hagstrom, Meshuggah

#16 OFFLINE   waveheavy

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Posted 15 August 2013 - 03:55 AM

View PostLcjones, on 14 August 2013 - 10:20 PM, said:

A little late to the show here ..... but ....

I can't imagine *any* popular musician or band literally "composing" sheet music to any song they may write. They will leave that up to their publishers, after the fact, and hopefully collect a royalty from the publisher for printing their song into sheet music form for the world to play.

What I do imagine is the song writer to have an idea for a melody in their head that fits their lyrics and then translate a basic chord progression to the band for practice until the song writer gets the results he or she wants. Every one contributes to the final product.

LC

Yeah, that's pretty much how it's done in a small band situation, where all the band members are taking a part in the actual composition.

But let's go back to the Big Band days. Band leaders like Glen Miller and maybe a couple others in the band that knew composition would peck out the melodies, counter-point, bass lines, etc., a lot of times just on a piano, and then score it on paper. Then that score would be worked out separately to fit the rhythm section, sax section, trombone and trumpet sections, etc. Pat Metheny's 'Secret Stories' CD is a more modern example of this, as Pat did his compositions on piano mostly for all the different pieces, and then broke it into parts and assigned it to separate instruments, which is what orchestration is about.

After that stage is done, then comes the time to present the piece to the various musicians that each will play a part, and they work out their individual parts, making suggestions as needed, adding their contributions, etc. This stage is about arranging.

Composing for orchestra requires a score on paper. But even in today's modern recording studios with a small group of studio musicians and a solo artist, they still create a chord chart for the tune, most often using the Nashville Number System.

I highly recommend that if anyone is going to write songs, they learn to use the Nashville Number System to make a chord chart at a minimum.

#17 OFFLINE   Lcjones

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Posted 15 August 2013 - 09:26 AM

View Postwaveheavy, on 15 August 2013 - 03:55 AM, said:




I highly recommend that if anyone is going to write songs, they learn to use the Nashville Number System to make a chord chart at a minimum.


I'll second that notion. Ok boys, in the key of G ... I, IV, V

http://208.86.154.13...mber-Charts.pdf


LC

Respect The Music
I'll saddle up my pony so I wont be so lonely, at least I know his heart is true


#18 ONLINE   pHGTRSpider

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Posted 15 August 2013 - 09:32 PM

I use Gtr Pro for working out songs, Besides ending up with a printed score, it's good for quick changes as things develop. I don't think it really matters what you use, I still use pen and paper sometimes. I've found I'm using Kirk's planetalk mindset more and more. Gtr Pro for me complements what I've learn't from Kirk. I always have the staff and tab at the same time. cheers...
Don't dream it, be it.
from the Rocky Horror Picture Show

#19 OFFLINE   TheGuitarist23

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Posted 09 November 2013 - 04:49 AM

I write a poem first then I create a melody..
Allen Jackson
Artist/Guitar Instructor
website: learnguitarchords.net





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