The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #58222   Message #920521
Posted By: Spartacus
28-Mar-03 - 10:25 AM
Thread Name: Art of Songwriting
Subject: RE: Art of Songwriting
I'm just starting to record a record of original songs. Here are some things that work for me:

1. I keep a hand held tape recorder with a built in mic in the car at all times. (a pad and paper, too) I get most of my ideas in the car and it's the only way to keep track of them.

2. I record most of the songs I write. (rough unproduced recordings) and convert them to a cd. This way, i can listen to them frequently, and determine what i do and don't like about them. (i use the notepad to take little notes for lyric changes, music changes, etc)

3. Steal! I steal lots of things. The key is to convert what you've taken and make it your own. If I hear a song I really like, I listen to the first few bars of it and turn it off immediately. By the time i get home and try to emulate it, it's an entirely different song. (maybe I should attribute that to bad memory)

4. Team up! I write with a few friends of mine. We pick a topic, a key, and a time signature and we each write a line. Even if you can't use the final song, you'll have a ton of new musical and lyrical ideas.

5. Here's an exercise I read about that I use frequently: Make a list of 5 adjectives and 5 nouns. Make the lists separately, then put the lists next to each other and combine each of the adjectives with each of the nouns. You'll be amazed. This will keep you from using some of the really over used folk phrases. Do the same thing with verbs and nouns. Verbs are the meat and potatoes of songs. They convey action. You can spend the whole song describing something, but when you animate it, it really comes to life.

Remember that it's a process. I just finished a song I half wrote about 3 years ago just yesterday. I've also written whole songs in about 5 minutes and they remain unchanged. Don't horsewhip yourself into thinking that you have to follow some magical guideline. Let the songs come when they come, and be sure to write down and record every idea you have.

Good Luck!