Author Topic: Lyrics vs. Music  (Read 2266 times)

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Offline Gril

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Lyrics vs. Music
« on: October 11, 2004, 02:01:30 am »
I find as a writer, and especially a poet, writing song lyrics would be the least challenging aspect of a good song, but I'm usually stumped on the music.  What's your biggest challenge?

BTW, this is speculation on my part.  I'm not much of a songwriter, but I'm basing this on my strengths and weaknesses.  I'm not very creative musically, but I'm creative when it comes to language and construction of verse.
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Offline KiyoshiAkita

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Lyrics vs. Music
« Reply #1 on: October 11, 2004, 03:59:05 am »
I'd say the hardest part is taking something I've already written and putting music to it - like writing guitar to one of my poems that was never intended to be a song...other than that, the hardest part is, for me, probably singing...I have a weak voice and have trouble singing over the guitar sometimes...that and I get nervous when I'm put on the spot, kinda like stagefright...but that still doesn't stop me from playing and singing...
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Offline RebelKat

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Lyrics vs. Music
« Reply #2 on: October 11, 2004, 07:46:18 am »
When I write, I'll usually build a chord progression around a riff that I like. Once I have a chourus/verse structure I'll work out a bridge, and then a solo. Lyrics come last.
Lyrics for me are the hardest part.
Luckily, the band I'm now in, we all have different strengths in how we write material, and have writtern a couple of songs "on the fly" that we are polising up now and they sound great!. It really helps to have people to bounce ideas around with.
We hope to be in the studio by March.




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Offline Drake Blackpaw

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Lyrics vs. Music
« Reply #3 on: October 11, 2004, 09:01:28 am »
Hmmm ... I have difficulties in a couple areas of songwriting.  Lyrics is definitely one of them.  I've written a couple, but it does take a long time and often they need to be reworked when I or the band I'm in tries to put it into music.

The other difficult part of songwriting is taking all the separate ideas I have and putting them together in a way that is interesting but cohesive at the same time.  It's easy to come up with one interesting riff or pattern for a song, but one pattern isn't going to hold attention for long.  Coming up with enough variation to keep someone interested for 3+ minutes is probably the hardest part for me.

As RebelKat mentioned, it's great being in a band where everyone can play off their strengths to create a song.  Our drummer is a prolific at writing lyrics. The other guitarist is good at creating interesting chord changes and I'm good at creating leads and variations to keep it moving.  All together we create something that none of us alone could do.

Offline RebelKat

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Lyrics vs. Music
« Reply #4 on: October 11, 2004, 09:44:31 am »
Yeah... another good thig is that everyone in the band can play other instruments, too. the drummer can play Keyboards, the singer plays guitar and drums, I am Bassing but can also play guitar well,  it really helps the creative process when each band member can hear in their mind the way they think the other instruments could be and can actively relay that info.
Personally,though...I often get writer's block when it comes to lyrics. Guess i haven't really benn inspired lately...
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Offline P_Z

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Lyrics vs. Music
« Reply #5 on: October 11, 2004, 10:53:35 am »
I never put lyrics to anything... To me the melody is 90% and even when i listen to music with lyrics i usually think of the voice as an instrument...

Offline KiyoshiAkita

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Lyrics vs. Music
« Reply #6 on: October 11, 2004, 04:50:25 pm »
Quote (RebelKat @ Oct. 11 2004, 9:44 am)
Yeah... another good thig is that everyone in the band can play other instruments, too. the drummer can play Keyboards, the singer plays guitar and drums, I am Bassing but can also play guitar well,  it really helps the creative process when each band member can hear in their mind the way they think the other instruments could be and can actively relay that info.
Personally,though...I often get writer's block when it comes to lyrics. Guess i haven't really benn inspired lately...

yeah, if you have a band.....I have to play ALL of my own instruments because none of my friends want to put an effort into making music......nobody ever even wants to help me write songs.....it kinda sucks......and all of my friends play guitar or bass, they just aren't motivated....I even gave one of my friends a bass guitar and he never plays it....
I don't need them though, they seem to only mimic other artists and not create a style of their own.....
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Offline Gril

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Lyrics vs. Music
« Reply #7 on: October 13, 2004, 03:31:32 am »
Like I said, I'm not very creative when it comes to writing music so I tend to play other people's stuff.  I'm more creative in the realm of arrangement.  I know what sounds good, and I have a special ear for vocals.  I've only written a few songs, but I threw them away because I'm too critical of myself.  When other people ask me questions about songs they write, I feel like I'm more helpful about lyrics than music.  But once the basic melody has been written I begin hearing the rest of the band behind it--in my head, I mean.

The thing I value about lyrics is that many people throw them into songs just because they're supposed to be there, without putting much care or thought into them.  I love lyrics that have a lot of thought in them, and you can tell they were carefully crafted.  Lyrics that make you think.  That's why I like artists like BNL and Bruce Cockburn.  There are others too, I just can't think of 'em right now.  =P

Anyway, I really envy people who can write good music and lyrics together, but everyone keeps telling me it just takes hard work.  I'm so critical that if I write a crappy song, I get discouraged and don't want to write anymore.  =/
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Offline RebelKat

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Lyrics vs. Music
« Reply #8 on: October 13, 2004, 07:35:45 am »
Quote (Gril @ Oct. 13 2004, 3:31 am)
Anyway, I really envy people who can write good music and lyrics together, but everyone keeps telling me it just takes hard work.  I'm so critical that if I write a crappy song, I get discouraged and don't want to write anymore.  =/

You aren't alone in that way of thinking..

Paul McCartney was recently interviewed and when he was asked why he hasn't retired yet, he replied "I'm still trying to write a really great song."
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Offline Gril

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Lyrics vs. Music
« Reply #9 on: October 16, 2004, 03:20:11 am »
LOL!  Wow, I guess everyone's their own worst critic, as they say...
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Offline KiyoshiAkita

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Lyrics vs. Music
« Reply #10 on: October 16, 2004, 03:48:43 am »
lol..."I'm still trying to write a really great song." - oh, that kills me....
Gril, you shoudn't get discouraged....It doesn't matter if the song is 'crappy' or not because it expresses a certain emotion that was being felt at the moment of creation...The words can spread a message - sometimes the only way to get that message through to people is in music...If you can piece together the words in verse, then you can write a song...Lyrics are the most complicated part of most songs and if you can write good lyrics, then that's a talent...Lyrics should have some sort of meaning and structure.....
You like blues and folk, correct?....blues ain't too hard to sing to, just play an E and an A and throw in some 7ths and sing about what's bringing you down and you got yourself a blues song - and folk, just form a few chords in a pattern and tell a story with the guitar as the background.....
Here's some of the best advice I've ever recieved - A great man and even better lead guitar player, who happens also to be a big fan of blues and folk, once told me...
"YOU are the attraction, NOT the guitar. The guitar is only your backup. It only plays in the background while you sing, so sing above the guitar. Make your voice heard across the room and adjust the guitar to your voice. Anybody can play guitar, but it takes something to play and sing a song."
I hope this is encouraging and helpful as it is meant to be...
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Lyrics vs. Music
« Reply #11 on: November 07, 2004, 12:32:23 pm »
i think the easiest way to write a song is just to start sining about random stuff, eventually, at least for me, Words to my song just start sort of appearing. Then i write em down and i have a song! '<img'>

Lyrics vs. Music
« Reply #12 on: November 07, 2004, 01:34:06 pm »
Haha romper! thats my favorite method.

Lyrics and music can be a very tricky thing. They are two different forms of media/art, and to combine them succesfully while being sincere and relevant to the song can be difficult.

Personally, i enjoy music where the lyrics are integral to the song. I cant stand it when lyrics are an afterthought, or just put on becuase the artist expects that the only way to present a song is with lyrics.

I am a big fan of instrumental music. For me, a well wrtten song can have all the meaning you might need.

For example, modernist composer Olivier Messiean is a perfect example of this. The context is that Messiean was a devoted catholic. He was a synisthete and had visions of christ and the wonder of catholisism. Now, im not religious, but with this context in mind, his organ works convey the dedication and wonder he expirences from Christ. Sweeping melodys, haunting passages, modal manipulation, Attonal terror and release and the overall splendor of the church organ more than project a tiny peice of his vision. A single church organ and nothing more, as with Bach's organ peices as well. Lyrics would be irrelevant, if not damaging to Messieans Organ works.

Lyrics are not a crutch however. Some of my favorite music contains lyrics, and when the message and delivery matches up with energy and context of the song, the results can be quite good.

Make sure that the songs power matches up with lyrical content, and that the rythm of the lyrical presentation will compiment the song, not be seperate from it.

This argument, of course, is abandoning the human voice as an instrument. which is a different argument all together.

The question also remains, is a song just a platform for sung poetry, or is it reversed?

And in the end, who cares? If you can feel it and it stirs your soul, it doesnt matter what you do lyrically. Dig dem Jams!

Offline Chibiabos

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Lyrics vs. Music
« Reply #13 on: November 24, 2004, 04:59:05 am »
My closest thing to 'talent' when it comes to music is writing lyrics.  I never went beyond beginner level in flute, clarinet or piano and I really don't have the heart to try and learn to play anymore.

I do have something of an interest in trying to digitally compose music without having to touch a digital keyboard, but have yet to get the software together for it.  I do have some theme music for my stories I'd like to do or have someone do ... *hint hint nudge nudge*
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