Hey all you song writers out there,
I'm starting to write music for the first time, and it's taking me a little while to figure things out. I'd love some input from other musicians and writers.
I guess I'm trying my hand at my own "rock opera." I've written a story (a detailed story summary, anyway) about a girl superhero. It occurred to me that there was a lot of room in the story for songs, and so I've been struggling to make that happen. I'd never been able to write lyrics before, but now I feel like I have a character that I can identify with, and it's become a little easier.
So, I'd like to hear about your experiences. How do you go about writing a song? Do you write the lyrics first, and then fill in the music? It seems like that might be easier for me, but then again, I like to write. How do you figure out how to structure the lyrics once you have them? Right now I have a "cloud" of lines and no idea how to organize them into chorus, verse, bridge, etc.
How do you go about figuring out a melody? Do you just play around until something sticks? Do you try out riff after riff? What about writing a solo? How is that different than writing the "structured" elements of the song?
How do you merge your inspirations without sounding disjointed? I loved the "Kyrie eleison" from church this Sunday--it was exultant, but bittersweet. How do you make something like that into something "rock?"
What's been your experience with collaborations? I've been thinking of passing off the music writing part to one of my band members, since they're both pretty good musicians. We're in a Weezer cover band, but we've all expressed interest in writing music. All my stuff sounds a little too sweet anyway, and I'd like it to sound harder, like that crunchy guitar sound you hear in some Weezer songs, but I have no idea how to do something like that.
Any help would be appreciated. : )
101 Dalmations says, "melody first my dear then the lyrics.". I have tried to stay with that just for the simple fact that sometimes it is easier to play a riff you like and build off that. Then you can add words that fit in to your riff and decide whether it's going to be the chorus of a verse.
Nirvana has a song called Sappy (aka verse chorus verse). Its the very foundation of music making and they did it so well with straight forward power chords and Boss DS-1 distortion pedal. If you're just beginning to play don't try to write an eight minute song at once, work on a specific part at a time then try to find a cool way to bridge the chorus and the verse that fits with the song.
Also if you have a cloud of lyrics floating around, try sort them out by which make sense together. You don't necessarily need complex lyrics on the bridge. Sometimes less is more. Look at "My name is Jonas", the bridge in it is "the workers are going home." repeated. It just revelant to the story. If the lyrics just aren't clicking, but you like them just have a specific page wrote down for lyrics you like but can't find anything to do with and try to make something out of them.
Writing a solo is the same as writing a structured part of a song, epsecially if you're using scales. If you're playing something in one of the parts of the delta blues scale, you can create your solo out of the chords that go with that scale and vice verca. If you're not using scales, some people go straight from the chorus to the solo or through a bridge in before the solo, it usually depends on the song you are writing, then just play the chorus or bride a few times then just feel where the solo should go and bring it out. After that I usually work with the solo and pick and choose between the parts I don't like and the parts I do, then keep repeating the process until you have something you are satisfied with.