The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #15014   Message #132534
Posted By: McGrath of Harlow
06-Nov-99 - 07:29 AM
Thread Name: Songwriting: How often & how long ?
Subject: RE: Songwriting: How often & how long ?
Much of the time you/I don't so much write songs as catch them. It's as if you hear a phrase in a conversation, then you turn your attention to it, and pick up what's being said, and then you write it down quick.

Or like when you wake up from a vivid dream - you've got to write it down quick, or tell someone, or it just slips away.

I've been years without writing songs. Then I write four in a night.

Most songs with me start with a phrase, and the song grows rapidly round it. And quite often the seed phrase will not make it through to the song. Bob Dylan when aske how long it took to write a song said that it depended on whether he had a good pen or pencil that wrote fast, and everyone seemed to think he was being smatrt-assed. Which of course he was, but he was also speaking a truth I've always assumed.

Writing down a song is quick enough. Using a word processor makes it quicker and sometimes better. You can switch the lines round and alter the order of verses and put down the lines you know are going to come in somewhere, before you've actually got tomnthem. It sppeads up the process of changing the rough song to get it right, and that is a process that may never really end.