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StormX
09-19-2004, 09:14 PM
Yeah, I know, you're thinking, another 101 thread. Well, I've seen so many questions pop up here over the past few months about writing songs and putting them together that I figured I'd make this thread.

Intro
It's inevitable. Your in a band, and the band needs to write songs. (unless you're in a cover band.) But where to start?

I've been in a few bands myself, and we faced this problem, as I'm sure everyone does. Everyone decides to write a song, then you all just stare at each other, or the person that you all want to write the song. Normally everyone expects the lead singer to provide the lyrics and the lead guitarist to provide the music. I'm not saying that you're not allowed to do it that way, but you know, other people besides the singer can write good lyrics. In a lot of cases, better than the singer. And all the musicians should have a say in the music.

In this first lesson, I'm going to discuss how to start the process of writing the lyrics for the song. Keep in mind, I don't have experience in all kinds of music, so this advice may not fit you.

Lyrics

You don't have to write lyrics first. In fact, you can write lyrics last. Both ways work. If you write the lyrics first, then you have two choices: make up the melody of how they are sung, and write the music, or, write the music and then sing the lyrics in a melody that fits the music. Writing the music to a melody that you made for the vocals to be sung works much better, because a lot of times, you can't get lryics X to fit with music X. If you do it that way and it works, props. But most of the time it won't. If you choose to make a melody for the singing then add music, you need to think of a few things. First, the melody needs to work musically, you can't have every line be just randomly sung at different speeds in different keys. It's also a good idea, if you have another person singing backing vocals, since most likely they are a musician, figure out that melody too, so they can make their music something they can play and be able to sing what they need to.

As for the actual lyrics, you aren't really confined by anything. But there are some things I want to say, that should help you:

Content
A few different things here. First off, think about what kind of audience will be hearing your music. Don't write music about cutting peoples balls with razors if you're marketing your music to little kids. And the other way around, if you're going to be playing in biker bars, don't write about candy canes and lollipops...unless the bikers around you dig that kinda stuff. And also, unless your a metal band, or something like that, make your lyrics kind of tell a story. But if you are metal band, I'd stay away from the story-telling. Metal lyrics are better when they are just pure emotion, espically if thats anger or hate. But that's my opinion, you can write whatever you want.

Rhyming
You don't have to rhyme. Some songs sound better with rhymes, while others don't. If you can't get a rhyme, don't force it, that sounds bad. Just write something that flows. The worst thing you can do it write a song so it doesn't flow. Anyone, even people that know nothing about music, will notice when the lyrics don't flow. If you can't get it to flow, move on to another idea and come back later.

Alright, that wraps up the first lesson. I know it seems like it would fit better on the songwriting and lyrics board, but it will be important here. For the next lessons, I'll finish up about writing lryics, start on writing the guitar parts, and have some more general info. I'm hoping someone liked this, or at least it helped someone.

j0s1ah
09-20-2004, 07:35 AM
neat-o. i agree about the rhyming. songs aren't required to rhyme.
sometimes i just start writing down ideas, then elaborating on them. fine tune it, and i got my lyrics.
also, sometimes i get a catchy line in my head. i put a melody with it and start writing more. then i add guitar. and boom, theres a my next hit single.

poormorris
09-20-2004, 02:16 PM
Normally everyone expects the lead singer to provide the lyrics and the lead guitarist to provide the music. I'm not saying that you're not allowed to do it that way, but you know, other people besides the singer can write good lyrics. In a lot of cases, better than the singer.

12345 x100

:thumb:

The Spliggity Splot
09-20-2004, 02:25 PM
MORE!!!:thumb: I was expecting to see an amateur, but good first lesson.

StormX
09-20-2004, 06:09 PM
Thanks guys, I'm not the most experienced, but I do write a lot, so I'm hoping to help people. I think I'll put the next one up tonight

Grave Base
09-20-2004, 06:15 PM
just to add......(i guess?)........it always helps me to write stuff down first like someone else mentioned......just put down some ideas or what you're feeling, and then elaborate.......also if you write I or You too many times, the whole song kind of sounds lame and repetitive, so try and use some metaphors or a couple simlies where you can.......hope that helps a bit:thumb:

j0s1ah
09-20-2004, 07:37 PM
^that was me.
lol i thought u said 'smilies' at first. lol, like :)

StormX
09-20-2004, 09:36 PM
Alright here's the next lesson.

First, a little more general songwriting/construction advice:

While you can write anything first, I highly reccomend writing lyrics or guitar first. Bass usually backs the rhythm guitar, and doesn't really give you any melody. And writing drums first is probably the worst. They don't give you any kind of melody to write the lyrics or guitar to. You can if you want, but like I said, I strongly suggest you do lyrics or guitar first.

BUT, bass doesn't just have to back the rhythm guitar, playing roots of powerchords. Hell, you could have an entirely seperate bass line, and it can sound totally awesome. Just make sure that it goes with the rest of the song. You don't want a bass line that conflicts with everything else. And the same goes for lead guitar. At least when your starting out, don't just wank it and do whatever. Have something thats pretty close to the rest of the song. I'm not talking solos, I'm talking the lead during the verse/chorus. And yes, there IS such a thing as lead during the verse and chorus. A lot of bands starting out overlook that fact. They have the lead and rhythm do the same thing during the verse/chorus/rest of song, then have the lead player wank some solo. A great lead guitar melody during the verse and/or chorus can turn an ok song into a kick *** song. Keep that in mind when writing guitar parts.

Ok, anyway, here's my ending part of writing lyrics. I may come back to this later, but for the next few posts, this is it.

Lyrics

Ok, so say you get an idea in your head for a line or two, that doesn't really match the song you guys are working on. There are a few things to do about this. I'll approach it two different ways.

A) You don't want to have it mess up the song

So you get an idea for an awesome line, but you're already working on one song with the band. The line you have in your head doesn't really relate to the song you're currently on, so, what do you do? You can't just throw it in and screw up the song. Really the only thing to do here is write it in your notebook, on a new page, and keep it for another song.

B) You wanna stick it in

There's a few things to do here. One is, depending on the kind of music, use it as a backing scream. A lot of people, depending on how it's screamed, won't be able to tell what he's actually saying, and will just think it's some cool thing that goes with the song.

But say you don't have screaming in your music, or don't want to scream it, or don't have anyone that can scream. Another thing to try is having someone else sing it for backing vocals. This works best with a deep voice, and sung quietly. For example. in Brand New's "Soco Amaretto Lime", during the chorus, if you listen close, you can hear another vocal track, sung softly in the background. But guess what, it doesn't have anything to do with the song. It's just random phrases. Try this with your lyric, in a quiet, or at least somewhat calm part of your song, and see if it sounds good.

A third option is to have it background sung, or sung by the lead vocalist, somewhere in the song where it fits in the best. Breakdowns are usually a good place to stick it in, as long as its not too far out. Again, this only works if it kinda is related to the song.

HELP! My song is repetative and boring!

So you write a song, and you find you keep using certain words, or phrases over and over. This usually happens with words, such as "you" and "i", and normally at the beginning of lines. To try to make it not so repetative, try either throwing a word before it, such as "but" or "cause", or cutting it out of a few lines. Most people will still get the point, even if theres not a "you" or "i". Or you can sing it differently than the rest of that part of the song. If it's screaming, sing the word, and part of the next word, then go into screaming. If it's singing, throw in a little scream, or sing it softer, or louder even.

If your song is boring, metaphors and similes work very well in song writing. Try replacing words with more colorful, cooler sounding words. A thesarus works very well for this. Yes, I know, your a badass and don't want to use a thesarus. Well tough. It'll help the song a lot. And it's not just words, try to replace some phrases, with something else that means the same or similar. There's always more than one way to say something.

A few final tips. Don't use other peoples lines, no matter how much you like them. And, don't take a line from a song, change a word or two, and use it either. One more thing, try to keep from mentioning your band, or your name in the song. Usually, at least to me, that comes off as cocky. And if your writing the song about a person, change the name. They'll still get the message it's about them, without telling everyone that hears it.

Starting with guitar parts

Today, I'll address guitar writing if you already have the lyrics written.

Alright, now that you have the lyrics down, it's time to get a kickass guitar part. Before you even start, make sure you think IN KEY. You can't have your singer singing in one key, then have the guitar in another key. Well actually, you can, it just won't go together. So, talk to the singer, if you aren't the singer, and see what key he's going to sing in. Now I can't exactly tell you what to write on the guitar, that's up to your creativity. But, I have a few tips.

Don't make a riff that is, is close to, or sounds like an already existing song. That just sucks. I'm sorry, but if you do that, then you really don't have talent. You need to write completely original material. I'm not saying you can't use those chords, or those notes, but make sure they sound entirely different. We don't need any more bands like the darkness.

Don't have every riff in the song be different. Or in different keys. try to keep it close. That doesn't mean everything has to be one riff. But for the verse and chorus, change up the order and rhythm that the chords are played. Give it some varity.

Sorry, that's really not that much for guitar, but I can't thing of much right now. Next time, I'll give a little more on guitar, and begin to touch on bass and drums.

Blink_Fan315
09-20-2004, 09:59 PM
Hey i like it so far, but i think u should tell them about the structure of lyrics,

some tips: Dont try to be somone else while writing lyrics, each person has there own style to writing lyrics, some people like to write poems then tweak them into songs, others just like ryhming, personally i like having a note book around to write stuff in if its catchy then eventually build up a song around some lines i have in my note book.

Also i think everyone here should read the lyrics part last, because chances are now a lot of you are writing songs after u read that. Songs usually sound quite a bit better when u start with drums and guitar then add bass or whatever else... THEN LYRICS LAST. I cant stress to u how many times ive written a song and couldnt write a melody to it, its tough, same with writing... your first songs might suck (and probably will) but dont let that stop u, just keep writing! ive been writing for 3 or so years now and i look back at my songs and think my god what was i on... anyways keep up the good lessons!

j0s1ah
09-20-2004, 10:23 PM
good stuff.
you can write the song in any key, and transpose it to another later.

StormX
09-22-2004, 12:26 AM
Alright, next big post will be tommorrow night. Thanks.

hybridreality
09-22-2004, 11:26 AM
A good website to help with songwriting (if your into rhyming lyrics) is www.rhymezone.com it has loads of useful things, synonyms, rhymes, similar meaning etc. This has really inspired me when I'm stuck for words, as it gives a list of words that rhyme, which gives you ideas of what to write. Hope this helps someone. :thumb:

BassMan182
09-22-2004, 11:36 AM
excellent topic. i'm glad you didn't mention a bridge (although i only skim-read it). a lot of people don't like the traditional verse, chorus, verse, chorus, bridge, chorus progression, for whatever reason.

StormX
09-28-2004, 09:30 PM
Well, sorry it's been so long, I've been gathering stuff. This is just a general info post about everything.

Song Structure
Since someone posted about this, I'll start off with this. So yeah, the majority of songs are put together in two ways. Verse, chorus, verse, chorus or verse, chorus, verse, chorus, bridge, chorus. It's not really bad to make a song this way, but it's refeshing to hear a song that's not like that. A lot of emo bands had different structures, a good example is Saetia's "venus and bacchus". And a lot of other songs in that genre. It's just kind of, starts off slow, builds up, explodes, gets really quiet, explodes. But you can make it any way you want. But for most kinds of music, you want some kind of loud/soft dynamic in the song. It' just sounds good, or so I think. Unless your doing pop, or something along those lines, pop is generally verse/chorus and they sound the same.

Again, it's kinda hard, cause I don't want to tell you exactly how to do your song.

Drums
I'm not a drummer, so I can't give you details into writing drums. But I'll give some good general advice. First off, you don't want to make any beat that sounds like another song, cause your whole song will sound more like that song. Defiinatly try to be very original, because I know a lot of people, me inculded, really like an awesome drum beat. Just don't, please don't, overdo the double bass. That turns your song into instant sh*t. Yeah, double bass is cool, but not the whole times. Throws in a few bursts or short sections, it sounds much better. Unless you just have a totally chaotic part, then the double bass works well. And DON'T overlook cymbals. I've seen a lot of bands that barely use cymbals in their songs. Cymbals can add a lot to the song, so don't skip them.

Bass
And you can't forget bass. Bass can really make or break a song. Like I said before, try not to just do the root note of the guitar chords over and over, like blink 182 does. I already said it earlier, pretty much everything about bass, try to write a unique bass line that stays with the song, but doesn't just follow the guitar.

Guitar
I'm going to try to go into a lot more details about guitar than I did last time. And give some different ideas for writing guitar parts. These are things I've picked up from talking to people, and in lessons.

One powerful technique for writing heavier music is using the blues scale. Yeah, I know, it's called the blues scale, but it's much more useful than just blues. When used right, espically with some bad sounding distortion, the flatted 5th can sound pretty..."evil". This can be used for riffs or solos, but I think it sounds better in riffs. try using sets of 3-5 notes using a flatted 5th. Mabye throw in a slide or some kind of harmonic.

But you may also want to use the blues scale for writing solos. Most of the solos in heavy music are written with the pentatonic scale. But you can also use the blues scare. As with any solo, try not to make it sound too scaley. What I mean by that is, don't go up the scale 3/4 of the way or something, so it sounds like the scale. Again, the flatted 5ths make everything just sound more evil. Bends, and rock bends are good, when not overused, and so are pinch harmonics, just don't use too many.

I'll have some more guitar stuff later on.

Alright, that's it for today, more in the next few days. Hope im not just wiriting everything everyone already knows.

Seafroggys
09-28-2004, 10:45 PM
I could help you a lot on the drums part.

IMO, people use cymbals WAY too much, and not enough drums.

I personally hate using double bass altogether (unless its single pedal doubles), but thats just personal.

Cymbals really wash up the mix. Don't use cymbals too much.

There is nothing rock with a basic rock beat. B...S...B.B.S... Especially for slower 90 bpm songs. If done well, I think it sounds cool.

But if you can, syncompate the beat with the song itself, like funk or jazz.

StormX
09-28-2004, 11:08 PM
Thanks.

About the cymbals, just most of the bands I've seen (i'm talking local bands), only have the cymbals in once or twice in the whole song, so you barely ever heard them.

StormX
10-04-2004, 01:06 PM
Alright, it's been a few days, so I've thought of some more stuff to post.

Rhythm Guitar

Never overlook the rhythm guitar. SO many bands just have the rhythm guitar just do sets of 8-16 palm muted (or not) powerchords. I guess, they think thats all they need to do with it. But rhythm guitar can be a very powerful part of the song. Try using triplets, or something that like, to make up a more energetic beat for the song. Don't palm mute everything either, a good example of what I'm talking about is the rhythm for the verse of "ain't love grand" by atreyu. One or two palm muted notes between chords. And it's not just a generic pattern. Look at some other atreyu songs for more of what I'm talking about.

Another thing to do with rhythm guitar is play the same part as lead, but a counter melody thats lower. Sorry to keep using atreyu, but in the intro to "lip gloss and black" how the rhythm guitar comes in playing a counter melody. When used right, this is very powerful, and sounds awesome. Counter melodied pinch harmonics also sound very good. But don't overuse this.

Yet another thing, is to use octave chords instead of powerchords. You can do this with your own pattern, or the normal sets of 8. Octave chords give a sense of urgency, and it can totally change the sound of the song. Don't overuse ocatve chords either, but they work well replacing powerchords in parts of a song. Another thing to do, is make a small interlude/soloish part using single octave chords. Heh, another atreyu example, the interlude of "ain't love grand".

Vocals

I don't think I've really touched on vocals as much as I should have, and they are the main part of most songs. This is pretty hard, because vocals are different for every kind of music, so I might be a little partial in this part, but bear with me.

When playing live, and recording, NEVER mix the vocals a lot louder than everything else. A lot of times you get an egotistical singer that wants to be WAY louder than everything. Just tell them to suck it up. It makes the song sound bad. BUT, don't mix the vocals too low either, espically playing live. Too many shows I've been to sounded really bad because you couldn't hear the singer.

When actually coming up for the vocals of the song, a few things to keep in mind. Don't overuse screaming if it's in your genre. Try to keep screaming to backing vocals, but if it's your main vocals, DON'T overuse it. Just look on these forums, a lot of people don't like constant screaming. Try just screaming every other line, or every few lines. And try doing parts where you're screaming, then kind of drop out into singing in the middle of a word, then sing the first part of the next word, and push back into a scream. I personally think that sounds pretty good. Check out some of underoath's songs off "They're Only Chasing Safety" to see what I mean.

For those of you that don't have screaming in your genre, you can still make your vocals interesting and unique, espicially if you have a singer with unique voice. Try singing the vocals...dynamically, and put a lot of energy into them, unless it's a slow/acoustic song. But you don't have to have slow vocals for an acoustic song. Check out "Emily" by From First to Last, it has very powerful vocals, yet it's an acoustic song. And it goes well too. Try this out sometime to see how it sounds.

Hmm, thats all for now....how about, you guys tell me what you want to see in the next post.

thereformant
10-04-2004, 05:04 PM
This thread has been pretty **** comprehensive so far but ive got a couple of things to add to help you with your drums.

First:
First off a great technique is using the snare on different beats than usual, changing it up every fourth bar for example creates a similar effect to using different chord inversions on guitar..basically a lot more interesting.

So for example lets say you are playing a standard beat with the snare on beats 2 and 4, change it up every now and again and throw in a bar with the snare on the on beats, or maybe make it even crazier than that.

This technique is what makes that opening fill on nirvana's "smells like teen spirit" sound so memorable but you can hear it in loads of other bands

Second:
The anti-fill is another very underused technique. When moving between parts it seems like everyone wants to prove how quickly they can tom roll around the kit. To mix it up a bit try slowing down a bit as your fill (hence why its called an anti-fill), so instead of doing sixteenths say around the kit just hit a tom on each quarter..maybe with a flam to make it a wee bit less predictable.

The third and final technique i want to add is:
Try half-timing and double-timing certain parts of the drum line with respect to the others. For example in a straight beat with 16ths on the hat or ride slowing down to 8ths or even quarters gives a completely different feel. Use this on sections where an often repeated riff is used to give maybe the middle verse a different character than the others. Alternatively double up the timing on the bass and snare while keeping the hats the same to create urgency in the bars before the chorus.

hope you guys liked my first ever post!!!

TheBouncingSoul
10-04-2004, 07:16 PM
for the bass...

I'll try and keep it short. My band backs the rhythm guitar with the bass, but i add little fills in to keep the line interesting. Roots of chords can be good if used correctly, but also can be very repetative. Try adding fills, and octaves in bass lines. Hell, even try a harmonic every once and a while.

pinkboxers
10-04-2004, 09:01 PM
great thread...awesome..i can see that the threadstarter is an emocore/metalcore fan...its cool though...cause i am as well...sorry if i am crappy..keep it up!!!good stuff

thereformant
10-05-2004, 10:43 AM
Ok here's another tip for the bass.

This is gonna take a little practice before you can just work these out off the top of your head but if you have a descending guitar line try to write an ascending bass line for it or vice-versa. I think this is technically called counter-point but im not exactly sure. Try to resolve on the last beat to the root note of whatever the guitar is playing, this makes it feel a lot more coherent.

StormX
10-05-2004, 01:10 PM
Ah, yes I forgot fills for bass. Well anyway, next post will be tonight.

EDIT: Yes, I'm an "emocore/metalcore" fan, but thats not all my music. The band I'm in now is acoustic. I'm just using the first examples that come to my head.

j0s1ah
10-05-2004, 05:48 PM
this thread is better than i thought it would be.

StormX
10-05-2004, 07:27 PM
Thanks j0s1ah.

Alright I'm writing my post.

StormX
10-05-2004, 08:23 PM
Putting it together

Now I know I haven't covered everything about writing a song, I'll get to more of that next later. This post is going to be about putting it together, for those of you that need to know.

So, you have some lyrics, a few guitar riffs, a drum beat, and a bass fill or two. But how do you make it into an actual song? It takes some work. Lets start from the beginning. But this doesn't mean you have to start from the intro. Start working on the strongest part of the song first, the part in your opinion is the best. Once you get that down, you'll find it easier to piece it together. For example, say you really love the chorus of your song. Get that all put together, and completly down, then it'll sound good, and get you pumped to put the rest of the song together. Never start with the weakest part, cause more likely than not it will discourage you. It you get stuck on a part, don't force it, move on and come back later, when more of the song is done. If you get the parts around it done, it'll be easier to work with it, because you know what your flowing out of and in to.

Once again, I can't stress enoug, DONT force anything. You'll end up regretting it. If the song just totally has you stuck, work on another one. Forcing a song together is pretty much as bad as you can do, when it comes to this whole process. Forcing anything is bad really.

Anyway, just a little tip for when you get the song done, and your thinking of a name for it. I myself find a name much more interesting if its not just the hook line of the chorus. Come up with something creative and out there, but still retains relavence to the song somehow. But thats just my opinion.

More on guitar

Well I think that earlier i was a little narrow when posting about guitar. Having just started an acoustic side project, I think now would be a good time for me to give some insight into making acoustic guitar parts.

Before we get into full on acoustic, never overlook putting an acoustic outro or passage in a eletric song. A lot of people think, oh no, thats wussy, or oh no, it sounds bad, but it doesn't. An acoustic bridge that normally would have been a slow paced eletric part could show more emotion and be more powerful than eletric. I'd steer away from acoustic outros, they've been overdone. Unless you have a good one.

As for acoustic, most of you reading this are probably in a band with two guitarists. No, I'm not going to tell you to play the same thing. Have your rhythm guitar play the normal chords, and your lead player make up a cool sounding lead part. A good example is "emily" by from first to last. I love the intro lead, as well as the verse lead. Be careful, as with any lead, not to make it sound too scale-ish. If you don't want a lead, try playing the same chords, but have on guitarist play them at their octave position near the 12th fret. Or, play them as barre chords, anything just to make it different than two guitars doing the exact same thing. Also, the counter melody could work well here as well, I've never heard a counter melodied acoustic song, to tell you how it sounds.

A little more on bass

As someone else said in the topic, there are a few options to do with bass. You could follow the rhythm guitar, and throw in some cool sounding fills every now and then. You can also play the octaves to the chords as well. Mabye make up a line that switchs between octaves and roots, for an interesting sound. Hell, you could even play the counter melody on bass, instead of another guitar. If you have a good bass player, you could throw in some harmonics, as was stated in the topic. If you have a really good bass player, mabye have a tapping lick on bass, that might be cool. Don't look past bass solos either, some great songs have awesome bass solos. Just make sure your bassist doesn't suck.

Well, there's some more, tell me what you think of how everything's going so far.

GreendayIdiot
10-05-2004, 08:34 PM
yo stormX, the bikers around me totally dig lollipop songs and candycane melodies! I would say that a good pecent like loli better but,.. I myself like candycane. Idk if its just me or nething but...pshhh.
When i wright music i just write what comes to me in my head, and i go into like my sister's room or my firends and look around for good ideas, or get inspiration off t.v
(P.S.--- we live on 27 Candy cane ln.--- )

StormX
10-05-2004, 08:37 PM
Yeah. I don't want to tell people exactly what to do, I'm just giving some general advice on putting stuff together. I might expand to giving advice on other stuff. So if anyone wants advice on anything, tell me.

Blink_Fan315
10-05-2004, 09:38 PM
back to song structure just to help people songs usually go verse chorus verse chorus break chorus, or they can go verse pre-chorus chorus verse pre chorus chorus break chorus, or they can start out with a chorus, having structure to your song is very important because without it songs can be rather dull, those examples up there are the most commonly used structures works everytime!

StormX
10-05-2004, 10:16 PM
you don't need a set verse chorus verse structure as I said. I think it's way overrated. Songs that are just a song, rather than put together of parts are amazing. Check out some real emo, such as saetia, to see what im talking about.

FourTouchCombination
10-06-2004, 08:35 AM
Question: I can write lyrics and I can write guitar but I can only mix them on chords. For example, say i'm singing the lines:

I love the way, you look at me,
I love the way you smile.
I love your smell, of potpourri,
The waiting was worthwhile....

The only way I can put that to music is if I play a chord at the start of the line and again at the end. I can write string-riffs but I can't write them so they fit my melody. Any advice you can give me?

StormX
10-06-2004, 10:12 AM
Hmm, so do you want to write "string riffs" to use when your singing those lines?

Let's see..it's really just a matter of figuring it out. Don't actually sing it, try picking up your guitar, and just huming the melody that you sing. Instead of writing a riff to fit it, build a riff around it. While your humming the melody, just start playing the guitar part to the melody that you're humming.

If that doesn't help I have some other ideas.

thereformant
10-06-2004, 12:01 PM
Ok looks like everyones been talking about structure today. Well first off theres nothing wrong with verse/chorus/verse/bridge/chorus/verse/chorus or whatever traditional structure you want to use but you by no means have to stick with this.

Ok so a lot of people maybe start off writing pretty simply structured songs and are looking for tips on making songs with more engaging structures. Well a good start is not always working on repetitions of 4 or 8 riffs. Start first by using six riffs before changing parts just to mix it up. The next point is that an overall part can consist of more than one riff, for example in one of my songs the chorus consists of 3 riffs.

The first (A) is a clean gentle riff, the second (B) is a powerchord distorted type riff and the third riff (C) is a variation on (B). The structure of the chorus is ABCABC, notice that none of the riffs are repeated next to each other and also that the main repetition is in patterns of 3 bars.

Ok, that was pretty simple right but lets say you want to do something a little bit more. This tip borrows on the idea of a theme in classical music. Basically a theme is a short riff usually with a set of variations that keeps popping up in the music. Now the trick to this one is not to necesarily always play it in the same way or on the same instrument and then evolve rhythm parts around the theme (note that the theme can be played on practically anything..even drums if it has distinctive timing so using this everyone needs to take turns playing rhtym). Im not sure if ive articulated that last one very well but if your familiar with any classical music at all (even if only from ads) you should be able to identify where this has been used.

Right then..im far too drunk so will prob come back and edit this into proper sentences and such like tomorrow

btoto
10-06-2004, 02:25 PM
Great job Threadstarter :thumb: I'll try to help too

I don't know if anyone wrote about this, but........anyway

Another good song structure is completely changing the song. But be careful ! You must be very keen on it otherwise you'll ruin the whole song.

If you listen to Megadeth's "Peace Sells" album (not a big metal fan by the way), you'll understand what I mean. It has a couple of songs which completely change after secong chorus or bridge or solo. It's like a new bridge but it completely differs what was before it and ends without coming back to the begining. In the same time it sounds great..........But again, it demands hard work on it, so it's not that easy.

Try these songs from the album to understand better:

-----------------
Peace Sells
Wake up Dead
------------------

Hope I could help a little :wave:

btoto
10-06-2004, 02:43 PM
I'm not that good when it comes to vocals and I started singing simply because I couldn't find a guitarist/singer to form a band with (yes, I didn't want just a guy with microphone, no offence please :thumb: ), and mostly because the songs I wrote were kind of personal and I didn't want anyone else to sing them...........no jealosy......I just thought I can do it better because I wrote them.......ah anyway

I'll try to give a very good tip about singing. If you're playing something very heavy then it's for you........I play kind of a grunge/rock thing but it's good for me too.

What I want to say is that even if you're playing something very heavy, don't try to sing like straight to the chords like a robot. Yes I know it can sound good but if you take music away, it will sound as if you're telling a boring poem (Rammstein is a very good example......try to take music away and you'll hate it.........although they have a few good songs......maybe).
That's what I do. Instead of telling an agressive poem, try to sing that agressive heavy thing melodicly. The best fit would be singing in 70's Rock'n'Roll, Blues or Country style. I know it may sound stupid but it works great for me.

Also istead of boring screaming try to sing more uhhhhhh's and aaahhhhh's. You know what I mean. Just listen to Classical Rock'n'Roll and Country.

Thanks for reading till the end :wave:

StormX
10-06-2004, 06:14 PM
Yes, vocal melody, as I call it, is a really good thing to put in a song.

thelizardkingcc
10-08-2004, 01:00 PM
I think a crucial part of songwriting is building up a climax, which is why I love long classic rock songs as opposed to 3 minute radio-friendly pop songs. changing the tempo of a song to build up to the climax and then going nuts sounds awesome when done right and well.

StormX
10-12-2004, 05:35 PM
Ok, sorry everyone I haven't been around for a while. Thanks to btoto for his help earlier.

Ficus
10-16-2004, 10:32 AM
I think a crucial part of songwriting is building up a climax, which is why I love long classic rock songs as opposed to 3 minute radio-friendly pop songs. changing the tempo of a song to build up to the climax and then going nuts sounds awesome when done right and well.


Amen to that.

StormX
11-15-2004, 03:56 AM
Amen to that.

*bumps month old topic*

is anyone still interested in this? anything think I should do more?

killfile
11-15-2004, 08:33 AM
I'd like to see a little more on writing guitar parts - like going into detail, how to make '4-chord songs' sound less boring, appergiating chords, being creative, etc. I know you've already said a lot on the subject, and thanks for that because its been helpful, but if you have any more advice to offer on the topic I'd love to hear it.