Lyrics & Knowledge Personal Pages Record Shop Auction Links Radio & Media Kids Membership Help
The Mudcat Cafesj

Post to this Thread - Sort Descending - Printer Friendly - Home


Songwriting Under Pressure

Related threads:
HOW do you write your songs? (80)
songwriting (18)
Resources for songwriting (24)
Art of Songwriting (20)
songwriter workshop help needed (26)
Songwriting Standards (63)
Song writing questions (76)
WHAT IS THE 'HOOK'? (61)
Where can I find info on song writing? (11)
Songwriting 101 (96)
song writing (22)
Songwriting -- Part 2 (27)
Songwriting (84)
Song writing questions -why? (44)
OS: Legitimate Songwriting? (22)
Songwriting: How often & how long ? (29)
Songwriter's Forum (48)


black walnut 04 Jun 01 - 02:06 PM
MMario 04 Jun 01 - 02:09 PM
RichM 04 Jun 01 - 02:13 PM
black walnut 04 Jun 01 - 02:16 PM
black walnut 04 Jun 01 - 04:44 PM
mousethief 04 Jun 01 - 04:46 PM
Jim the Bart 04 Jun 01 - 05:40 PM
Amos 04 Jun 01 - 11:15 PM
Mark Cohen 04 Jun 01 - 11:18 PM
Peg 05 Jun 01 - 02:29 AM
black walnut 05 Jun 01 - 08:14 AM
GUEST,A Pro. Crastinator 05 Jun 01 - 09:54 AM
katlaughing 05 Jun 01 - 11:14 AM
Jim Krause 05 Jun 01 - 11:55 AM
Jim Krause 05 Jun 01 - 12:48 PM
black walnut 05 Jun 01 - 02:31 PM
Uncle_DaveO 05 Jun 01 - 05:04 PM
katlaughing 05 Jun 01 - 05:14 PM
KingBrilliant 06 Jun 01 - 04:34 AM
black walnut 06 Jun 01 - 07:38 AM
black walnut 06 Jun 01 - 07:43 AM
KingBrilliant 06 Jun 01 - 10:45 AM
black walnut 06 Jun 01 - 02:06 PM
black walnut 10 Jun 01 - 08:41 AM
black walnut 10 Jun 01 - 08:47 AM
GUEST,john c 10 Jun 01 - 09:43 AM
black walnut 10 Jun 01 - 10:33 AM
Ebbie 11 Jun 01 - 12:29 AM
KingBrilliant 11 Jun 01 - 05:18 AM
black walnut 11 Jun 01 - 09:44 AM
KingBrilliant 12 Jun 01 - 04:40 AM
black walnut 12 Jun 01 - 08:00 AM
Share Thread
more
Lyrics & Knowledge Search [Advanced]
DT  Forum
Sort (Forum) by:relevance date
DT Lyrics:







Subject: Songwriting Under Pressure
From: black walnut
Date: 04 Jun 01 - 02:06 PM

I haven't written a song in a quite a while. So, here's the scoop.... I joined songwriting group recently. And two days ago they gave me the homework. By next Sunday, they said, have a new song ready....a song with a story to it. That's the homework. A song with a story to it.

So this morning I wrote a whole ballad with 14 verses, and a singalong chorus to boot!

What is it about Pressure that gets me to writing it down, to starting and finishing a whole song in a couple of hours?

~b.w.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Songwriting Under Pressure
From: MMario
Date: 04 Jun 01 - 02:09 PM

*urk* - put me under pressure like that and I'd probably forget how to speak English!

And are you going to make us beg for the lyrics?


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Songwriting Under Pressure
From: RichM
Date: 04 Jun 01 - 02:13 PM

Alright, I'll do it:

Pretty please, bw?

:)

Rich McCarthy


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Songwriting Under Pressure
From: black walnut
Date: 04 Jun 01 - 02:16 PM

Let me at least sing it for somebody first!

~b.w.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Songwriting Under Pressure
From: black walnut
Date: 04 Jun 01 - 04:44 PM

I'll tell you this much for now....it's a true story called "The Ballad of Herman the Dog".

But talk to me about Pressure. What does pressure have to do with creativity? Is it a blessing or a curse?

~b.w.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Songwriting Under Pressure
From: mousethief
Date: 04 Jun 01 - 04:46 PM

Both.

Remember when Ira Gershwin (sp?) was asked which came first, the words or the melody, he said, "the contract."

The more you write, the better you'll write. The more you need to write, the more you'll write. Pressure can be a very good thing.

Alex


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Songwriting Under Pressure
From: Jim the Bart
Date: 04 Jun 01 - 05:40 PM

I don't call it pressure, I call it incentive. We're all split in so many directions in this multi-tasking culture that it takes real incentive to focus on something that is not life and death - like paying the rent. That's why I like being part of a group; joining a performance group or a writing group is a "put up or shut up" move. It forces you to focus. Facing the critical looks from other like-minded people move you to get off the fence and into the game (to mix about a million metaphors).

Good for you. Keep it up.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Songwriting Under Pressure
From: Amos
Date: 04 Jun 01 - 11:15 PM

Personally... all it takes is one fell glimpse from those torrid green eyes and I break out in cold sweat until i have answered the Challenge. They think it's lightening fast thinking, but it's actually the frisson of mortal mind facing off with Divine Imperative -- not a comfortable blinking contest to maintain for long, i can tell you!

Maybe the moral is not to mix your religion with your song-writing? Seems like all I can do anymore is Song Challenges! Talk about being over-specialized!!

A


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Songwriting Under Pressure
From: Mark Cohen
Date: 04 Jun 01 - 11:18 PM

I agree wholeheartedly with Bartholomew. Many years ago I was in a songwriting workshop with Geoff Morgan. He said, "Take the next ten minutes and write a song about your shoes." And we did it. (That's where The Wonderful Shoes came from.) I haven't written a song in ten years, but I expect to get back to it now that my life has taken a turn for the simpler, and I expect that I may again make use of the "write a song in ten minutes" technique.

The idea is to get your internal editor to keep quiet, to let the material just come out spontaneously and don't worry about how good it is or isn't until you're done. It often turns out to be a lot better than you might think. And pressure can be an effective tool in that regard. Another tool is the technique proposed by Natalie Goldberg in Writing Down the Bones: keep your hand moving. Whatever works for you.

Aloha,
Mark


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Songwriting Under Pressure
From: Peg
Date: 05 Jun 01 - 02:29 AM

I finished the lyrics to a song recently for this project I was auditioning for. The guitarist (who was looking for a singer who would also collaborate on songs as melody maker/lyricist) liked my voice and I showed him some poems I wrote and he wanted lyrics to one song along those lines.

This was REALLY hard and I had to do it at a time when life was stressful (getting evicted etc.) and I am not good at finishing songs, but I did it under the wire...just.

Then on the night when I was waiting for him to come over and hear me sing these lyrics he called to say he was not coming and that he had selected another singer for the project (I have concluded he is insane of course)...so now I have these perfectly nice lyrics and melody to someone else's music...

sigh.

But yes, deadline pressure often has a way of catalyzing creative juice...


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Songwriting Under Pressure
From: black walnut
Date: 05 Jun 01 - 08:14 AM

Great feedback.

I find it hard to write under pressure if I'm overly tired and stressed. I write better in the morning when the house is quiet and I'm full of caffeine. That's what happened yesterday.

Another aspect of making songwriting work for me is along the lines of what Mark Cohen was saying....I find that I will too easily and quickly dismiss a topic as unworthy. But if someone else gives me the topic or the task, then for me it's like filling in the blanks. A group can do that for me....it helps to get rid of that little negative editing voice. I like the idea of using a concrete thing to work from, like those shoes. The great guitar player Don Ross wrote the wonderful song, 'Any Colour But Blue', because a songwriting group leader told the group he was in to write something about any colour except blue.

For me, having a deadline to write for is like getting to work on time. You don't go to work 2 hours early. You get there when you have to, or late, depending on traffic.

Speaking of....

~b.w.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Songwriting Under Pressure
From: GUEST,A Pro. Crastinator
Date: 05 Jun 01 - 09:54 AM

I've got lots of really good things to write on this subject but do you mind waiting till later in the week? Its really a good day laundry.....


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Songwriting Under Pressure
From: katlaughing
Date: 05 Jun 01 - 11:14 AM

LOL, great one Ms/Mr Crastinator.

I always do better when writing for a deadline. I've also found that writing on the Mudcat engenders some spontaneity which keeps that internal editor at bay...my first song, about the Colorado school massacre was written that way. We were all pouring out our emotions and the words just came to me, with a tune later, at Bert's request.

I hope you sing it, soon. I'd love to see it.

kat


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Songwriting Under Pressure
From: Jim Krause
Date: 05 Jun 01 - 11:55 AM

BW, I joined a songwriters' group for much the same reasons. Every month the organizing committee mails out a short newsletter which lists members' performances, as well as the monthly song challenge. Sometimes it just works out that way that I can be motivated by an external stimulus rather than internal discipline. I stopped asking why recently.
Jim


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Songwriting Under Pressure
From: Jim Krause
Date: 05 Jun 01 - 12:48 PM

PS, I'm a Morning/jazzed on Caffeine writer too. Afternoons I tend to loaf. :-)


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Songwriting Under Pressure
From: black walnut
Date: 05 Jun 01 - 02:31 PM

Oh, please, A.Pro.Crastinator, I can't wait!

Jim, if this morning caffeine thing is the key, I might just have to give up my day job.

~b.w.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Songwriting Under Pressure
From: Uncle_DaveO
Date: 05 Jun 01 - 05:04 PM

Looking back over a long lifetime, I recognize that I do best, when writing ANYTHING, whether a song or a speech or a how-to manual, by "writing around" it.

That is to say, start putting SOMETHING down, which may not be in the order needed, may not be too well phrased, which might be sort of silly, even, or whatever. Then put down SOMETHING ELSE that MIGHT or might not go with the first one. And so on.

Somewhere along in here see what kind of pattern there might be, or which of the fragments fits or doesn't fit. Eventually something catches fire, and the real writing starts.

Dave Oesterreich


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Songwriting Under Pressure
From: katlaughing
Date: 05 Jun 01 - 05:14 PM

BW, I meant I hope you sing YOUR song soon, I'd love to hear it. I don't think that sounded correct in my earlier post.

DaveO, we used to call that "brainstorming":-)

The morning thing has something to do with biorhythms, too, I think. And, I don't do caffiene.:-) Even in sales, our manager would tell us to do our tough stuff, cold calls and the like in the mornings and leave the grunt work for after lunch, until about 3 or 4pm, then try a few more of the good hits.

Mid to late evening can sometimes be a really good time for me, too.

kat


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Songwriting Under Pressure
From: KingBrilliant
Date: 06 Jun 01 - 04:34 AM

Yes - pressure can give a nudge. I tend to write more songs just before a 'sing your own songs' session is due. For me I think it just reminds me to capture something instead of letting it slide past a a transient thought.
A friend of mine has been asked to write a song about rivers for some agency which has to do with rivers & stuff. He can't seem to do it no matter how hard he tries. He's got the music but not the words at the moment. So I think the pressure is definitely not helping him - maybe its too specific a task to allow him to slip into creative mode?

Kris


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Songwriting Under Pressure
From: black walnut
Date: 06 Jun 01 - 07:38 AM

Kat, thinking back, I've written most of my songs and poems in the morning. And then edit them later in the day. You've got an interesting point there.

Kris, I can't imagine writing songs for a living, or for an organization. Right now it's just for supportive, understanding friends.

~b.w.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Songwriting Under Pressure
From: black walnut
Date: 06 Jun 01 - 07:43 AM

....except that I just remembered that one of my best poetic songs was written at Sandbanks beach at sunset, sans coffee.

~b.w.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Songwriting Under Pressure
From: KingBrilliant
Date: 06 Jun 01 - 10:45 AM

bw - I don't think my friend is getting paid for the song - its just a favour for an aquaintance (probably the most difficult kind).
As regards the morning thing - quite a lot of mine are written in the morning on the way to work (driving or cycling are very conducive).
I did have an enormous creative flurry once late at night after a lot of wine, and wrote 4 songs one after the other. Unfortunately in the morning they turned out to be mostly utter crap.... + one which was very heartfelt but completely unsingable due to the subject matter. I managed to salvage one later though - so its worth keeping the failures to work on later.

I keep meaning to get a notebook to keep odd song fragments in.

Kris


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Songwriting Under Pressure
From: black walnut
Date: 06 Jun 01 - 02:06 PM

I have a file folder filled with ideas and beginnings of songs. I also keep some of my poems and lyrics on the computer, but at the idea and incomplete stages, everything just gets thrown into the file folder. Actually, there is no completed stage. I keep on changing words and phrases here and there. I suppose if I were to try to record any of them, I'd have to decide on a final version.

I think this new one might be at the computer stage. Then I'll let you read it.

Meanwhile, how about a wee spring poem from the vaults?

lake shines in the sunrise
ripples cause the fallen night stars to dance
stars take a partner
feet move with waking will
past sand rings
to the breathing rock
join wave on wave in newmelt flow
and dance we round and dance we go
sunlight
starbright
all the stars i see
take flight!

(d.c. May 2000)

All for now.... ~b.w.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Songwriting Under Pressure
From: black walnut
Date: 10 Jun 01 - 08:41 AM

Well, here's the song. It's not high art, folks, but it IS a true story of our family dog. We put him into 3 consective dog food eating contests at the local fair, and,

THE BALLAD OF HERMAN THE DOG
(lyrics: black walnut, 2001; tune: variation of Harbour Grace)

Sing the story proud and true
Here boy! Here!
I'm a dog from the County of Waterloo
And I come with a waggling tail-o

In the summer of 1963
To Kitchener's fair town-o
We came from many miles around
With the windows all rolled down-o

The sun was hot, our tongues hung down
And every breath was panting
But the gaming call was in our ears
And the prize we were a-hunting

Sing the story proud and true
Here boy! Here!
I'm a dog from the County of Waterloo
And I come with a waggling tail-o

When the whistles blew, we gave our all
The trials they were many;
Some were judged for how they ran
And some were judged for beauty

But my master had the finest plan
He took me to the table
And all I was required to do
Was to eat as I was able

Sing the story proud and true
Here boy! Here!
I'm a dog from the County of Waterloo
And I come with a waggling tail-o

They sized me with the smallest dogs
(It's true I have no height)
The contest was to eat with speed –
I would try with all my might
Well, the poodles held their noses
The chihuahuas did not care
But I downed my chow with great delight
And I beat them fair and square

Sing the story proud and true
Here boy! Here!
I'm a dog from the County of Waterloo
And I come with a waggling tail-o

My master had prepared me well
For several days he'd starved me
So I did not leave the table
When bigger dogs came 'round me

Another half a can was laid
Before me it was waiting
My nose dove down, I swallowed all
And my fame it was a-rising

Sing the story proud and true
Here boy! Here!
I'm a dog from the County of Waterloo
And I come with a waggling tail-o

Now, it wasn't long before the rest
The great ones tall and wide
The Danes and Labradors and such
Were standing by my side

My belly was already full
I thought I'd eaten well
But they put a whole can in my bowl ……
And my eyes the story tell

Sing the story proud and true
Here boy! Here!
I'm a dog from the County of Waterloo
And I come with a waggling tail-o

The game was fair; the dogs were fierce
I knew I could not cheat-o
And the first prize ribbon dangled in
The haze and the heat-o

And every mutt around me
Was as big as Timbuktu
And who was I but a weiner dog
From the County of Waterloo?

Sing the story proud and true
Here boy! Here!
I'm a dog from the County of Waterloo
And I come with a waggling tail-o

I'm sure you've heard the ending
And I'm sure you know it well
Every dog in Ontario
Can howl the hearty tale

They say I am a hero
They say I put to shame
But they only have some trouble
When they try to say my name

Herman the German Sniffer Dee-Dee-Pie Boopsie Honey-Boobles Stupido Cupido Carroll the First Esquire from Breslau …..in the County of Waterloo

Sing the story proud and true
Here boy! Here!
I'm a dog from the County of Waterloo
And I come with a waggling tail-o
Woof…..


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Songwriting Under Pressure
From: black walnut
Date: 10 Jun 01 - 08:47 AM

P.S. We sang it into a tape machine at Song Circle last Friday night. I did the verses, everybody sang on the choruses. I'm giving it to my dad for Father's Day. Bengy, the hosts' dog, seemed to love the song....and came running when we sang "Here boy! Here!"!

~b.w.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Songwriting Under Pressure
From: GUEST,john c
Date: 10 Jun 01 - 09:43 AM

For me there are two completely different ways to write. The first is sitting down with the sole purpose of writing a song. These can turn out to be good, ho-hum or totally useless, depending on the inspiration level.
The second is when you pick up your guitar and all the frustrations and all the crap you´ve had pent up inside of you just comes pouring out and the words seem to flow and the tune just appears out of nowhere. These are the killer songs - they dont have to mean anything to anyone else but, for whoever wrote them, this is what making music is REALLY all about.
J.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Songwriting Under Pressure
From: black walnut
Date: 10 Jun 01 - 10:33 AM

"Herman" is the first type, obviously. I've been told I've written one or two of the killer variety. They're the ones I simply HAD to write. Nobody told me to do them...I didn't really have the time to write them, so they came out of me in a big hurry...the pressure came from inside me. Writing them down was a bit like remembering a dream and then telling it to someone else. If I hadn't caught them on paper (in one case, on a paper napkin in a dark car), they would have disappeared.

Singer/songwriter/guitar maker Grit Laskin said that once these 'killer' songs come out of you, it's harder to write songs after that. It's as though those ones had been in there all along, already written, and after that songwriting is mostly a lot of hard work and discipline.

I'm such a beginner, but I wonder if it's like that for prolific songwriters....do they tangle themselves in their own lousy lyrics and melodies, while they wait for the muse?

~b.w.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Songwriting Under Pressure
From: Ebbie
Date: 11 Jun 01 - 12:29 AM

black walnut, your song's great fun! This one's a crowd pleaser, I have no doubt.

Ebbie


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Songwriting Under Pressure
From: KingBrilliant
Date: 11 Jun 01 - 05:18 AM

BW - that's a great-fun song! I bet it gets people listening as its an entertaining story well told. With a singalong chorus. Getting & keeping the audience attention is a pretty clever trick - I'm dead envious of that song.
Got any more?

Kris


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Songwriting Under Pressure
From: black walnut
Date: 11 Jun 01 - 09:44 AM

Thank you so much, guys! I find it very odd to share a song without the melody. Lyrics and tunes are so intertwined.

Angels of the Wild is a song I'm very happy with. This coming Saturday night JeffM and I are opening for an Eileen McGann concert. One of the songs we'll do is Angels of the Wild. I love to sing this song for other people, and I look forward to singing it on the weekend. I'm tempted to share the words with you on the 'cat, but to me this song isn't a WHOLE song without the words, AND the tune, AND the dulcimer, AND the guitar. So I find it difficult to share the words, separate from the rest. It's the whole package that contains the strength of the song, in my opinion. Does that make any sense? Do you feel the same about the songs you write?

~b.w.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Songwriting Under Pressure
From: KingBrilliant
Date: 12 Jun 01 - 04:40 AM

bw - yes. I posted a couple of songs to Aine's songpage & it does seem weird divorcing them from the tune. I put in a comment about the style of tune & hopefully that helps.
However my songs are just words + melody line + chords, so there's not that much lost. I would imagine that if you have proper arrangements & different instrument parts etc etc that the non-word bits must become much more integral to the song.
So the question is - is it better to share the words in isolation and thereby out of their proper context, or should it be all or nothing?
I imagine its a personal decision and depends on how much control one wants to retain over the song? Some people feel that once its shared it has a life of its own, and some don't. If one shares just the words then does that mean one's happy to allow other people to use those words to any tune that occurs to them?
Its quite an important decision really, because once its done its done.
(I'd like to read the Angels of the Wild lyrics though.......)
Sorry - I've burbled without any conclusion again. Oops.

Kris


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Songwriting Under Pressure
From: black walnut
Date: 12 Jun 01 - 08:00 AM

Interesting burble, though....

~b.w.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate
  Share Thread:
More...

Reply to Thread
Subject:  Help
From:
Preview   Automatic Linebreaks   Make a link ("blue clicky")


Mudcat time: 4 December 9:44 AM EST

[ Home ]

All original material is copyright © 1998 by the Mudcat Café Music Foundation, Inc. All photos, music, images, etc. are copyright © by their rightful owners. Every effort is taken to attribute appropriate copyright to images, content, music, etc. We are not a copyright resource.