Finding stuff to write about

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  • not even in the summer?
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  • not even in the summer?
    Particularly not in the summer. Prefer to stay at Homme
    I may feel slightly sad, but I won't cry
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  • you got to just go with the flow
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  • Just joshing mate.

    Anyway, I've been listening to Bright Eyes today (the band, not the Arty Garfunkel song) and it has motivated me to try harder and see what approaches above might get me somewhere near that
    I may feel slightly sad, but I won't cry
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  • victorludorumvictorludorum Frets: 286
    edited November 2018
    Films, books and TV, that's where you can get a lot of ideas. For me it can come from the strangest places, but when there's a connection to something that you feel, a song can come almost instantly. We don't have to watch high art either: the idea for my song Ordinary Men came from the film Dirty Rotten Scoundrels, and it's not a song about conmen living on the cote d'Azur. There's a line in there that got me, and hey presto, out comes the lyric. It's not an original idea, but it's an idea, and that's all you need.
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  • We have a song called Lt. Skytree's Bacon Soliloquy that is about a kick ass girl with a scythe travelling into space to claim a ceremonial title that was last held by a guy that exists in thousands of dimensions at once and is rumoured to have concentrated himself into existence, that guy went mad and started writing a book on the cured skin of other dudes that exist in multiple dimensions and that book is known facetiously as the Bacon Soliloquy. Anyway this guy went mad and vanished but the protagonist of the song has to claim the title in order to access the realm of the dead where she can bring back an alternate version of Eva who is the only person that can save the world*.

    So if we can write a song about that pretentious story line...you should be able to write one about just about anything right?

    *more details are available on our wiki...if you can find it.
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  • I think John Mayal told Peter Green to take the first line of a chorus to a song written by somebody else and use it as the first line of the first verse and see where it takes you.
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  • I remember writing verses witth the rhyming scheme AABB and changed them to ABAB. Just to liven things up.
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  • ShrewsShrews Frets: 542
    Peter Kay has built an extremely successful comedy routine based around normal stuff people do.

    So, I'm guessing that keeping it simple,  helps people to relate to the content.

    What do you do at night when you get home? How do you feel about it? How do you see the world around you? Do you think you're in the minority? Etc, etc


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  • You can get away with the following approach once:

    Buy a newspaper. 

    Cut out the names of famous people who feature in it as well as partial sentences within the articles.

    Randomly arrange names and phrases to make the verses.

    Add a catchy chorus.

    Sorted.

    That worked a treat for REM and Billy Joel
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  • Chronicles by Bob Dylan is chock full of phrases that are worth stealing wholesale. Likewise, the prose of Leonard Cohen.

    The working title for one of my music collaboration projects is Starlight. Just last week, I cribbed a bunch of phrases from a radio documentary about pioneer astronomer George Ellery Hale. All that I have to do now is arrange those coherently and add a few rhymes. If that fails to impress my collaborator, I may be forced to read up about Watney's bitter ales.
    "It's no wonder the Pacific Ocean is blue."
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  • Great thread. My band have recently decided we should be writing some original music but it's hard to know where to start.

    Cheers!
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  • Check out the documentary Paul Heaton: From Hull To Heatongrad


    "It's no wonder the Pacific Ocean is blue."
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  • francerfrancer Frets: 73
    edited December 2018
    I think you can take every day situations and turn them into inspiration. For example, today I gave someone some money and advice and they basically ignored me and spent it on a load of crap for themselves and their friends, and left me to clear up the mess.

    Or in other words i gave my teenage daughter some money to go to the supermarket and buy herself some lunch to cook at home. I’m exagerrating for effect (to avoid derailing into a parenting thread), but I hope you get my point.

    There used to be a website by a guy called Axeman Jim who had some really good songwriting tips, it was more metal based, but he gave a great example of turning a dog stealing a dropped sausage at a barbeque into a set of metal lyrics. 
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  • FreebirdFreebird Frets: 1551
    edited December 2018
    Free songwriting course from Berklee College of Music here..

    https://www.coursera.org/lecture/songwriting-lyrics/point-of-view-pUQjV
    “When you strike at a king, you must kill him.” ― Ralph Waldo Emerson
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  • revsorgrevsorg Frets: 560
    I scanned through everyone's answers and didn't see anyone mention Brian Eno's Oblique Strategies

    You don't have to buy the cards, you can get the strategies here


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  • Thanks all for the very useful remarks, thoughts and ideas. Very much appreciated.

    Silly me though not having responded for a while, as in actual fact I may not have been all that clear with what I was asking about. I'm ok with lyrics generally (relatively speaking, obviously I'm still rubbish but less rubbish than at the music bit) but it's actually more the music I was looking for ideas with as nobody listens to my words anyway. As in finding things to represent with the music, caring enough about something to try to find a way to recreate that feeling in the music. The words can just be fit to it afterwards if needs be. 

    Not sure I'm explaining myself very well to be honest
    I may feel slightly sad, but I won't cry
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  • Oblique Strategies cards are intended to introduce semi-random variations into unfinished creative projects. They are of little help if the project has yet to get off the ground.

    I'm ok with lyrics generally ... it's ... the music I was looking for ideas with
    If you have words written down, hopefully, their meter should suggest a basic rhythm and tempo. Once you have that, try to devise a melody. Once the melody is established, the rules of harmony and counterpoint will govern what the accompaniment chords need to be.

    Silly me
    You really need to stop running yourself down like this. It is not conducive to creative work. 
    "It's no wonder the Pacific Ocean is blue."
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  • FreebirdFreebird Frets: 1551
    edited December 2018
    Thanks all for the very useful remarks, thoughts and ideas. Very much appreciated.

    Silly me though not having responded for a while, as in actual fact I may not have been all that clear with what I was asking about. I'm ok with lyrics generally (relatively speaking, obviously I'm still rubbish but less rubbish than at the music bit) but it's actually more the music I was looking for ideas with as nobody listens to my words anyway. As in finding things to represent with the music, caring enough about something to try to find a way to recreate that feeling in the music. The words can just be fit to it afterwards if needs be. 

    Not sure I'm explaining myself very well to be honest
    The Berkley course should help, as it's just a toolbox of methods that can help you forge lyrics to fit any song.
    “When you strike at a king, you must kill him.” ― Ralph Waldo Emerson
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  • Oblique Strategies cards are intended to introduce semi-random variations into unfinished creative projects. They are of little help if the project has yet to get off the ground.

    I'm ok with lyrics generally ... it's ... the music I was looking for ideas with
    If you have words written down, hopefully, their meter should suggest a basic rhythm and tempo. Once you have that, try to devise a melody. Once the melody is established, the rules of harmony and counterpoint will govern what the accompaniment chords need to be.

    Silly me
    You really need to stop running yourself down like this. It is not conducive to creative work. 
    I'm not good at writing the lyrics before the music, only at fitting words to music, if that makes sense. Good poetry doesn't work into good lyrics usually as the metre is too rigid
    I may feel slightly sad, but I won't cry
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  • kinkin Frets: 590
    I've got to disconnect from desire
    Take a break from the then and the now
    Bridges built and burnt
    Just missing the when and the how

    Crap i know, but that took all of five minutes using the oblique strategies @revsorg ; posted above, just get something down, it doesn't have to be the greatest thing ever written , just keep writing until you find something you like.

    The music is the same, take a chord sequence and rearrange it or write a different melody to the original.

    Keep the chords and add something completely different underneath it, a lo fi sparse drum pattern under a baroque classical progression, you might end up just keeping the drum pattern and writing something completely different over it.
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  • I think I was hoping that getting concepts or feelings to represent would bring the music side of it, though this is more than likely on the false and naive assumption that this is how music is written, rather than just trial and error!

    Going to try to get some rhythms together over the Xmas period to try and build from there
    I may feel slightly sad, but I won't cry
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  • steven70steven70 Frets: 89
    edited December 2018
    Hey,

    Get some rhythms, grooves or whatever and start there. As long as you're putting ideas together, you're making music. As other folk have said, you can pick up a line from a book, film, TV ad or something someone says in the street. That might be the hook into the thing and you can build from there. Add words which sound nice and are pleasing to the ear, don't worry too much about what it means, whether it is personal, is it 'what I want to say', just get a first draft down in black and white. Take a break and when you come to edit you'll most likely find the thing has taken on a theme or meaning of its own- tweak a few words and it'll fall into place. The point about this approach is that the narrator is one step removed. It's less personal in the embryonic stages and hence the inner critic will be quieter.

    Maybe...

    Well, it sometimes works other times you just have to smash your head against a wall but that's all part of the process...innit


     
      
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  • FreebirdFreebird Frets: 1551
    edited December 2018
    Words are made of syllables, so you could just enter a single note rhythm into your DAW and add some words and a melody later. It's the idea or concept that is important, so the words don't need to be set in stone before you start the music. There are of loads of little tricks that you can utilise when writing your lyrics/melody, i.e. point of view, line-lengh, chord tones & non-chord tones, rhyming structure, etc..

    All writing styles exist in their own framework which you have to learn, whether it's a novel, film script, news article, poem, academic paper or song lyric.
    “When you strike at a king, you must kill him.” ― Ralph Waldo Emerson
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  • ewalewal Frets: 1035
    I write for my band and I write for my solo project. Although I write instrumentals for both, I apply slightly different ground rules and workflow.

    Band tunes are more rudimentary sketches - it's pointless spending time writing drum parts because the drummer will do his own thing, whereas the bass player and guitarist have good ears and will play a part if I suggest it - although I trust them to write their own parts too.

    Solo stuff - I try to constrain myself to a degree - I have a definite idea of the genre/style I am writing, I have a pre-loaded project template with all the main instruments I typically use including a few signature sounds. I tend to write tunes that are initially too long, then edit them down.

    In both cases, I have learned that while friends and family are encouraging, don't expect them to give much in the way of critical feedback, or even to listen to things!
    The Scrambler-EE Walk soundcloud experience
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  • Read more. Listen to different bands.

    For a great lyricist try clutch or the national

    I feel like this someyimes you have to seek inspiration in new places

    Instagram is Rocknrollismyescape -

    FOR SALE - Catalinbread Echorec, Sonic Blue classic player strat and a Digitech bad monkey

     

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  • kin said:
    There was a very interesting interview with Ryan Adams on , i think, channel four , called "the great songwriters " or something like that.
    It showed him using A thesaurus/dictionary and books of sayings, just randomly opening them up, picking out a phrase here and there and getting inspiration from that. He called the process "stacks" i think.
    Ryan does indeed do that. Somehow the songs are still about girls all the time. 


    Instagram is Rocknrollismyescape -

    FOR SALE - Catalinbread Echorec, Sonic Blue classic player strat and a Digitech bad monkey

     

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  • prowlaprowla Frets: 1461
    A lot of really good songs are little comments about nothing in particular.
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