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32

I'm going to go with "it was always common". Certainly many Renaissance madrigals are written to "you" (or "thee", as the case may be): Come again! Sweet love doth now invite Thy graces that refrain To do me due delight. To see, to hear, To touch, to kiss, To die with thee again in sweetest sympathy. Come Again, John Dowland, c.1597 ...


25

As the other answers have correctly pointed out, you can do what sounds good to you. But this might leave you with a feeling of not knowing where to start. That's why I would like to let you know the little trick used in Lithium and zillions of other songs: you can mix the chords from the major scale and its parallel minor. In the case of Lithium you have ...


21

You should do both! When I just start working with other musicians, I like to get a cover or two under our belts so we can feel each other out and learn to play as a group. Literally at the same time, I like to meet for songwriting sessions to start putting stuff together for originals. Both covers and originals will improve your skills, but perhaps in ...


20

Theory is not a set of rules to be followed or broken. Theory is a set of explanations for why things sound the way they do. As a composer you use theory to help inform your choices, but it never dictates anything.


17

Listen, listen, listen to lots of new kinds of music. Regularly. Not just your style or your favorites. Don't just listen. Marinate. Challenge yourself. It'll be tough initially, and it may not hold your attention, but the exercise does pay off. You'll start to hear things "out of the box" that you didn't before and you'll have fresher perspectives on your ...


17

TLDR; Listen to new music, play in new keys, try to emulate other styles/genres, choose new chord progressions and approach your writing from a different perspective, ie, which instrument you write on, both for accompaniment and melody. What you are experiencing is entirely normal. As humans we have managed to survive and evolve due to our recognition of ...


16

Is changing tempo during the song and back again a common device used on modern popular music? Or is there a good reason to avoid this type thing? No, it is not a device commonly used in popular music. However, this technique is extremely common in other forms of music. There are no good reasons to avoid this technique, band musicians are still ...


13

Nope! It's not necessarily a mismatch. The major or minor quality of the key a song is in is only one of many, many qualities that determine its emotion. It gets to the point that a major song can be very sad, and a minor song can be very happy, depending on the context. For concrete examples, "Last Train Home" by the Pat Metheny group (listen on Spotify) ...


13

TL;DR: No. You can use anything you like, as long as it sounds good to you. You can use many scales or not use any; you can use chords from some scale or use chords outside that scale. Just experiment with the theory knowledge you have and you'll see that the rules are made to be broken. You can use them when you want (or need) to, but when you are ...


13

It gets more complicated. The term 'refrain' comes from a time when poems were routinely set to music, and it is more appropriately left for the discussion of Classical and Romantic songs. At the turn of the nineteenth century, a popular or 'parlour' song was likely to have a verse and a chorus (or according to some old sheet music, the refrain). The verse ...


12

I agree 100% with everything Todd Wilcox stated in his excellent answer! To add to what he said - as a songwriter myself, I find that learning covers is a great way to improve not only my skills as a musician, but also my skills as a songwriter. First of all, when I write my own songs and musical arrangements, I tend to use chords and riffs that I am ...


11

Do you need lyrics? If it is hard to write them, it's easiest to skip them and compose instrumental music. If this is not an option, do you have a friend that can write them? Not all musicians write lyrics. In a band it is common that many members contribute to the music, but only the singer writes lyrics. I you want to "learn" how to write lyrics, then ...


11

The verse-chorus (sometimes with a bridge) form replaced the AABA 32-bar formula in popular music at around the sixties. And the 32-bar form replaced the strophic form (verses sometimes with a refrain) which most earlier folk songs were based on. So it represents the current taste and is by no means timeless or universal, just a current tendency. But ...


11

Whilst on a major scale ,borrowing chords from the minor scale with the same name is common (and vice versa). Really common to be honest. Some of the most common borrowed chords are the V (dominant), IVm and bVI. Now for your progression. Since you said you were on C major, we have: Cm (borrowed) G (V) Dm (II) Am (VI) Or if we are on A natural minor, we ...


11

First, you play a toy xylophone, and it has 1 octave of the notes in a major scale. And you can play a lot of nursery rhymes. Then you pick up a recorder, and there are some more notes in between the ones you used to play, and now you can do more - sometimes it sounds dissonant when you pick a random note or miss the one you meant to play, but you are now ...


11

You really have two questions there. I'm going to answer this one: In a section like the chorus, how do you get the layering of many instrument to get that full and rich impression? Playing a bunch of instruments at the same time can easily lead to a big mess, even when the instruments are playing compatible notes. Playing the exact same thing on the ...


10

No. It doesn't have to. If you want, it can; but if you don't want, it doesn't need to. I think the best thing you can say is that the good ones add up to a significant whole - something greater than the sum of the parts. Imagine a reggae version of Happy Birthday - you know the tune so well that no matter what is done to the arrangement rhythmically, it's ...


10

Your playing needs to be in the same key you're thinking about i.e. singing in, and there are basically two different approaches to do the coordination. A: playing adjusts to singing: find the key you're singing in B: singing adjusts to playing: give yourself a harmonic reference before starting to sing, in order to try and force the singing to be in a key ...


9

There really isn't a set of rules a composer/songwriter is bound by. Modulation has a certain effect like anything else at times may be desired and at others may be undesired. It is up to the composer/songwriter to decide if it will improve the song itself or not. The are many reasons why or why not to use and effect or technique and modulation is no ...


9

Intro: G to E This could work chromatically. It doesn't really belong to any scale. You play G and by chromatically changing G to G# you go to E. Beatles had a similar progression on the verse of their song 'Honey Don't': They start with an E major chord that is followed by a C major chord. It creates a nice sound because ...


8

That depends on you. Just write first what comes natural to you. If you grab your guitar/play piano and you see that you can work your way in a harmony you like, start with that. If you are thinking some lyrics without having any harmony, write them down. There isn't any specific order in which to do that. Usually when I write a song, I first write the ...


8

You know what used to work for me? Take the chords off a popular song and write to those. Or take the rhythm of a melody and see how it works with other chords - maybe in another mode. You know the Mickey Mouse March? Dam-dadam, dam-dadam, dam-dadam-dadam? Nice, now find an interesting sequence of chords. In minor, even. Now try to come up (in your ...


8

It's somewhat like writing a story, or a book. One of the first things to consider is - what is the audience, who am I writing this for? A lot of the best known/loved songs are quite simple. That's because they appeal to a bigger cross-section of the listening public, who can understand and appreciate them. Songs with lots of cool chords, etc., appeal to me, ...


8

To put it simply, in a song, there's melody and there's chords. They do have some relation (certain notes do not sound good with certain chords, to various degrees) but they are two separate things. In order to play the guitar you should know the chords (you already have that), in order to sing the melody you should find the notes sequence that consist it. ...


8

Harmony is a noun that means "simultaneous sounds." Consonant and dissonant are adjectives that describe harmony; think of dissonance as "tension" and consonance as "stability/release." In terms of composing a song, you'll often want your harmonies to match what's happening in the lyrics. If a song ends "happily ever after," it doesn't make much sense for ...


7

Someone said that music is about the balance between surprise and the familiar. This balance is different for different people, some people want to hear new things all the time, while other want the same thing over and over. The popularity of the structure in the question is likely due to that it's a balance that many people find pleasing. If you find this ...


7

Use a random number generator to come up with new chord progressions. If you play guitar, put your fingers at random spots on the fretboard and see what happens. If you play piano, put your fingers on random keys and see what happens. Listen to your favorite song backwards. Listen to your least favorite song backwards. Write out the sheet music for one ...


7

It's not that common, but that's why it can work very well to make your song stand out. Often it's important to prepare the listener's ear for the change. Three great examples are Billy Joel's "Scenes from an Italian Restaurant" Queen's "Bohemian Rhapsody" Lynyrd Skynyrd's "Freebird"


7

Not being completely sure what you are asking - I will answer the question as if you are writing a melody for a song based on a pre-determined chord progression. If you were to approach writing a melody by first defining a chord progression, you would probably want to start with chords that fit within the key you decide your song should be in. So let's ...


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