Questions tagged [songwriting]

For questions about writing a song from end to start and the ideas and techniques behind it.

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31
votes
4answers
11k views

What is the difference between 'chorus' and 'refrain'?

I'm trying to learn something about song structure. Reading the Wikipedia article about the subject I came across two terms that looked somewhat similar: chorus and refrain. There seemed to be a ...
30
votes
21answers
6k views

How do I get out of my song writing rut and compose something new and fresh for a change?

I have been writing melodies for my original lyrics since 2008 and have written quite a few songs in that time. But the more songs I write, the more difficult it becomes to write melodies that don't ...
17
votes
5answers
6k views

Song Structure: What's up with Verse/Chorus/Verse 2/Chorus/Verse 3/Bridge/Chorus?

Doesn't matter if it's Rage Against The Machine or Britney Spears song structures are always the same. It always goes something like: Verse/Chorus/Verse 2/Chorus/Verse 3/Bridge/Chorus. Why? Why is ...
13
votes
8answers
4k views

Which would benefit my band the most, learning covers or writing originals?

I've been playing the guitar for nearly four years, and I think I'm getting better at it.My brother plays the drums, and our two cousins play the guitar well. When we had all met last time, we wanted ...
13
votes
6answers
1k views

Lead guitar improvisation strategies for young intermediate guitarists

One of my 15 year old students is progressing quite nicely in her ability, including playing live and playing learned guitar parts including lead lines. She reads music and can play many classical and ...
13
votes
9answers
6k views

Is writing lyrics similar to writing poetry?

I'm having trouble writing my first lyrics for a song. I think the main point I'm having difficulty with is how a lyric sentence is written? I know it's not written like a novel but similar to a poem ...
13
votes
4answers
9k views

The Chords in this progression sound great but don't belong together - so why do they work?

I am a songwriter and compose my own music to go with my lyrics. Most of my chord progressions follow common patterns like using a I V IV or I IV V with an occasional ii or iii or vi chord thrown in ...
12
votes
12answers
40k views

Is it acceptable to change tempo in the middle of a song or is this a bad idea?

I wrote a song that could be classified as Pop or Country that starts out at a medium slow tempo in the first two verses and bridge. Then there is a section after the bridge that can best be ...
11
votes
9answers
9k views

What key could the progression Cm - G - Dm - Am be in?

I'm working on a song (my first ever actually) and I love the chord sequence: Cm - G - Dm - Am I started off working in C-Major, but borrowed Cm from the parallel minor key C-Minor. But really, in ...
11
votes
4answers
8k views

How do I write an original melody? [closed]

I'm trying to write a song, and I keep thinking of a melody, but they have all been taken. How do I find a melody that hasn't been taken?
10
votes
9answers
8k views

Is it necessary to use only notes and chords that belong in a specific scale?

I used to think it is necessary to at least follow the chords of a scale until I came across the Nirvana song "Lithium" and I realized the notes and chords he used in the song don't fit in any scale! ...
9
votes
13answers
4k views

Is making things over-complicated a common mistake for new songwriters?

I've never seriously tried writing a song until this week but I have tried putting interesting progressions together and I noticed I always end up doing something a bit different. Obviously, ...
7
votes
4answers
2k views

A Major Key Song for a Sad Lyrics - a Mismatch?

Isn't it odd that I Dreamed a Dream, a very sad song from "Les Misérables", is written in a major key? Isn't it a mismatch between the lyrics and the music?
7
votes
3answers
11k views

How to make a song with chords and scales?

I play acoustic guitar and have been learning a bunch of chords and scales. I can play many progressions already, and I am starting to write music. I am wondering how you would bridge chord ...
7
votes
1answer
199 views

Creating conga part in lilypond

I'd like to score a congas part in lilypond, but I can't figure out how. I've found the lilypond documentation on it here, but I can't understand it, especially this bit: There are also other layout ...
6
votes
3answers
3k views

When did the anonymous “you” become popular in western pop music?

This question might sound a bit facetious but I have been wondering for a long time. Many western pop songs are addressed to an anonymous "you". Presumably the song writer wants to write a song that ...
6
votes
6answers
5k views

How to convert what I'm singing to notes

I've been trying for months to get the songs in my head down to piano. But whenever I try none of the notes seem to fit what I'm singing. I'm guessing this is because I'm either A: out of tune or B: ...
6
votes
2answers
482 views

How do I transpose an orchestral piece if it will push some of the instruments out of their range?

Chord inversions seem to be the obvious choice, but sometimes it changes the overall harmony or disturbs the voice leading. Am I stuck with that key of whatever the orchestral piece is originally ...
6
votes
3answers
2k views

How do bands take notes of their songs?

I've never been in a band, and I'm trying to imagine how the songwriting process goes in a band. Most importantly, I wonder how does a band take notes of their songs and ideas during jams and ...
6
votes
4answers
795 views

Lyric writing - books or essays?

Musical friends, I'm a competent writer of all forms of prose, dialouge, screenplays, and so on. But I have a secret desire ... I've always wanted to be able to write songs, that is to say song ...
6
votes
2answers
1k views

What is the difference between harmony and consonance in music?

I am new to music theory and I was wondering what the difference is between harmony and consonance/dissonance. What are the reasons behind these terms and how can you apply it in practice if, for ...
6
votes
3answers
7k views

Layering multiple instruments

I am very new to the song writing process. In a section like the chorus, how do you get the layering of many instrument to get that full and rich impression? For my first composition, I just had ...
6
votes
1answer
227 views

Is writing important for electronic composition?

I am an electronic producer, and I was wondering if electronic music producers even write down their music on scores? Is that important enough to do for this category of music genres? Or should I do ...
6
votes
4answers
9k views

Identifying Vocal Harmonies

I have been trying to improve my songwriting, and have hit a block when it comes to vocal harmonies. To train myself in this regard I have been listening to a lot of Beatles tunes and other rock ...
6
votes
1answer
148 views

How do you accredit producers if you remix a remix?

If a producer remixes (b) a musical piece (a) by another producer, they are often (in my experience) accredited as follows: Original Producer - Original Title (a) (Remixing Producer's Remix (b)) ...
5
votes
4answers
1k views

Does a vocal melody have any rhythmic responsibility to the underlying arrangement in pop music?

Another way to ask the question would be: Does an arrangement built for a vocal melody adhere in some way to the rhythm of the vocal or are they independent rhythmically speaking? I have a melody and ...
5
votes
6answers
1k views

What are some effective ways to use a key change during a song?

In my own songwriting, I might change keys to reinforce a change in the direction of the lyrics. For example if the first two verses are first person but the last verse is 3rd person, I might ...
5
votes
4answers
237 views

Subconscious Plagiarization in Music Production

I have effectively no training in music theory, and have only ever produced a handful of "songs" (unpublished files on my hard drive, resulting from aimless experimentation with production software). ...
5
votes
5answers
576 views

I delayed a chord progression on a song I'm writing by an eighth and it made it sound different but better? What have I done?

I've recently started learning and composing music. I was writing a simple melody and chord progression in 4/4 in some music software. It was just a basic 4 bar melody with 4 different chords one on ...
5
votes
3answers
121 views

Using V and v chord when melody alternates between harmonic and natural minor

When using the harmonic (or melodic) minor scale for a melody, it is often combined with the natural minor, depending on whether the seventh is a leading tone going up to the tonic (in which case you'...
5
votes
2answers
348 views

What do we call it when everything—pitch, chords progression, etc.—changes in a song?

There is a technique that I don't understand in some songs where everything changes—the pitch drop, the chord progression, the melody, etc. The only thing that stays the same is the vibe. Here are ...
4
votes
7answers
757 views

Tricks and techniques for memorising songs

I've been googling and, unfortunately, coming up short in search of techniques, methods, systems or just simple tricks for how to memorise songs. I'm currently on a writing spree (I play the guitar ...
4
votes
4answers
8k views

Is there any rules to choosing appropriate drum pattern for a melody?

I'm just a beginner in writing music. and I am learning this just for fun. I had read some books about writing music, but still confused with some questions, this is one of my question. I had tried ...
4
votes
4answers
511 views

How to improve the process of transcribing my music into notation?

I generally don't concern myself with the notation when I'm producing a new song; basically I just make sure everything's on beat and in key and sounds good. Writing the song down seems like such a ...
4
votes
4answers
3k views

Is it common in song structure for a “Bridge” to be shorter than the verses?

I am a songwriter. I write Western Music - mostly in the Country genre. Every song I have ever written has at least two verses and a chorus. I don't always add a bridge as I recognize that a ...
4
votes
4answers
199 views

Help me understand the chord progression I just wrote?

I'm a guitarist who tends to write by ear but is trying to understand more theory. I came up with this progression I'm using for a song while noodling around with variations of the classic I-V-IV-V. ...
4
votes
3answers
869 views

how can I develop my top-line melody writing style?

I'll try to use definitions from writing speech, in order to explain my question. In order to write an essay, you need to know the alphabet, some vocabulary, grammar, syntax and combine the words in ...
4
votes
2answers
140 views

Musicians' jargon, on-stage communication

I’m translating a documentary about a Hungarian folk-jazz musician into English and there are a few words, which I am sure are very simple, yet which I simply cannot find a solution for anywhere on ...
4
votes
1answer
402 views

How to add lead guitar part to basic vocal/rhythm guitar song?

If my friend wrote a basic (rock/country ish) song over some guitar chords, any advice on how to add a lead guitar part? I.e. more than playing a pentatonic scale in same key as rhythm? Sorry it's a ...
4
votes
1answer
139 views

What are some common ways for songwriters and lyricists to find each other online?

Let's say I'm pretty comfortable at composing but bad at writing lyrics (or vice versa). What are the best ways for me to connect with a proficient lyricist online? Are there any "songwriter expertise ...
3
votes
6answers
7k views

Why does most “Country” Music use mostly major and minor plain simple chords?

Rock and Roll features power chords. Funk features 9th and 13th chords. Blues features 7th chords. Jazz features all kinds of strange diminished and augmented and suspended and flat 5th and other ...
3
votes
5answers
780 views

what are the characteristics that define a “good” melody?

When composing a song, I think it might help if I understood what some of the characteristics of a good melody might be, and do those characteristics apply generally across the board or are they ...
3
votes
4answers
2k views

How can you retain the melody or tune you come up with in your head?

I was trying to create a song and figured out what the melody would be like. I played it on my guitar and jotted down the chords in a notebook. The next morning i tried playing it, but i completely ...
3
votes
5answers
46k views

What notes to sing with chords

Ok, lets say you are playing a guitar and you have a song with 4 chords ( C D Am and F ). Should I sing the C note for C chord and D note for D chord and A note for Am and F note for F chord ? Or ...
3
votes
4answers
5k views

What is the job title of someone who comes up with lyrics and a beat, but not instrumentation?

In a songwriting session, if I'm the one who came out with the lyrics and the beat of the song but didn't make the musical instrumental (can't play any musical instrument). What am I?
3
votes
3answers
602 views

start with lyrics or harmony?

I want to compose a song. I have composed some music harmony and lines. I need to write some lyrics but I have a question: When creating songs, generally we write the lyrics and then compose a ...
3
votes
6answers
325 views

Are all triads of a key, composed of notes in that original key?

If you go through each note of a key, and create a triad with a root from each note. Are all the triads composed of notes exclusive to that original key? For example, walking through F Major: I - F ...
3
votes
3answers
500 views

Way to lower key of song without changing sound of chord progression (like the opposite of a capo)?

Capos heighten the pitch of the guitar. Is there a thing that lowers the pitch of the guitar? I've been having problems playing a song on guitar and also singing it. For example, a song's chord ...
3
votes
3answers
1k views

Tips for writing an aggressive/violent orchestral piece?

So I'm writing an orchestral composition, and it is supposed to sound aggressive and violent, however I'm not sure how one can accomplish this. At first I assumed it would have a fast tempo, and would ...
3
votes
2answers
76 views

When should a phrase-final long note be tied to a shorter note?

I note a common practice in vocal lines, where a phrase ends with a long note: in many cases such a note is written not to go up to a strong beat, but to extend a short way beyond that. For example it ...