Composing!!!

Discuss playing styles and techniques, or share your own here.
eXor
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Hi, I want to write a song, not a simple GAD song but a real composistion like (but not as good as :roll: ) Steve Vai, Satch: Instrumental Melodic Guitar "stuff" I've tried to do this before, but I never really like the final result, if I just finished my song, I like it very much, after a few days/weeks I think "meh" and after a month or so I think "wow, did I write this crap? :x :( " So I really want to write something that is very carefully planned and that I still like when I'm 65 :)
So it would be really great if someone posts a sheme, or method or something like that, that is really helpfull with composing.

Thx in advance 8)
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prman
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My teacher once said to me (about composing) that: "What ever you do and whatever you think about it during the process, FINISH IT!". I think it`s the best advice one could give about composing and I`m grateful that he told me that.
matthias
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i'm not that experienced in really composing songs, but don't be to hard with judging yourself, don't try to "compete" with others, such as vai, satriani and so on. Do your best and try to compose as often as you like and you will get better!! also, record many little ideas everyday or whenever they come along and after a month or so pick the best and use them for your composition. that's aslo what steve does!!
good luck,
matthias

www.myspace.com/matthiasjansen
PureVa|
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eXor wrote:I've tried to do this before, but I never really like the final result, if I just finished my song, I like it very much, after a few days/weeks I think "meh" and after a month or so I think "wow, did I write this crap?
All that means is that your evolving into a better musician. Your brain two months ago is different than your brain now (when it comes to music anyway). Artists like Vai and Satch have basically reached the apex of their musical abilities/ideas; meaning that they know basically all they need to know which allows them to write songs that still sound great years later. Its really rare for a "beginer" to write a GREAT song because they still have a lot to learn (assuming you're a beginer). It's only natural to think that way about your older songs...it takes time to write really great songs.
Vaiagra
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You could try this..

1. Pick a topic. Any topic. Jot down your opinions of that topic down on paper, in words, but make sure you "write what you know" so its authentic and believable (to you).

2. Try to express the same point of view and idea, only this time -- through music, sounds, sound effects. Aim to keep it structured within a pleasant atmosphere (death metal can be pleasant too) so you can work on the piece every day and not get fed up with it.

An "atmosphere" can be created by using a specific arsenal of chords, modes, sounds, technique, timing.. etc..

3. Take the "musical sketch" you've created and map it out into lead melodies, harmonies, phrases and motifs. Try to keep all of the ideas within the same atmosphere so the song doesn't end up "all over the place".

4. EDIT what you've composed until you come up with a SOLID piece of music. Then edit again. And again.

Spend a few days humming it to yourself -- you'll see what parts need to be fixed, changed or taken out (don't be afraid to take out that cool tapping bit. If it doesn't serve the purpose of the song, it's useless.)

5. RECORD the piece (computer, 8 track, etc) and submit it to the "self promotion showcase" for feedback. See how people respond to your piece and where there's room for improvement.

Just remember, it's about the music itself. Don't write to impress.
Your audience isn't stupid :wink: .

Good luck,
Vaiagra
vinccenzzo
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Check out this link from Dave Weiner's website, scroll down and look at the section called "composition of a song".
http://www.daveweiner.com/rotw.html
This might help you a bit but it might not solve your problem.
alfa
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I think the best way to compose music is just let it flow, go with it, what ever comes to you mind, just make it happen.

Then just pick the best parts and rearrange 'em.
the_grod
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well guys even though im a beginner in about my first year of playing, i started playing around with melody and composing...i actually managed to create some awesome messages expressed by the guitar...much like vai...i tried to be emotional

i like the idea of the other guy that said, record your ideas because they could become something awesome...i know i lost a lot of my ideas because i didnt record them...o well

yet as i tried to compose i found a style of playing...
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CymbalSplittingSkinbasher
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If you're going for the "very carefully planned" approach, definitely record whenever, & as much as possible.

Sometimes it kinda difficult to just sit down & write a single song. Instead of just concentrating on a single song, another approach is to just jam, let the tape roll & then go back in a month or two & listen to everything you recorded, take all of the cool stuff & structure songs out of those ideas. Figure out cool ways to bridge ideas together, whether the transitions are smooth or chaotic is up to you, pretty much depends on what you're going for in any particular song. I don't know how many times I've thought that I did something really cool, & then when I go back & listen to the recording it's like, "Oh boy, that's not very good at all," & vice-versa I've also thought nothing of something & then when I go back & listen to it, it's like, "Wow, that's actually pretty good."

Quite frankly you can do whatever you want to, whether it's chaotic or regimented, free-form or structured, it's whatever comes from inside of you that counts, whether most people like it or not, just let your soul speak through your music.

Some people place a premium on primarily, melodic-based song structures, some on rhythm-based stuff, some more on improv, some a combination of them. Somebody like me could care less how the song is structured, if it sounds good to my ears I'll like it, regardless of the nature of it's substance. :wink: 8) :peace
solodini
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The way I compose is:
I start with one instrument line started from a particular idea or phrase. I let that follow on with other ideas which fit but make different sections.

I then look at what chords the 1st instrument line imply and find a way to make the 2nd instrument line compliment the 1st. Sometimes, to add a bit of change I use superimposed chords ie. make the 2nd line(for 1 bar/chord) imply the chord a third up from the 1st.

I follow the same type of procedure from then on. However, i do not reccommend more than one superimposition (IE stick with CMaj7 w/Emin7 on top. Do not put a G maj9 on top of that unless u are VERY careful with voicings).

Having Bass or drums double a particular part can be very effective for emphasising an important passage.

Hope that helps a bit
Sweepinchord
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prman wrote:My teacher once said to me (about composing) that: "What ever you do and whatever you think about it during the process, FINISH IT!". I think it`s the best advice one could give about composing and I`m grateful that he told me that.
I totally disagree with that. If you sit down with your guitar ready to write a song from scratch, and finish it that same session, you're going to end up with a thin song. A song is much like a story, you build on it... it has a start a middle and an end. What I do, is to jam on pieces... scales, licks, riffs and whatnot. I remember them, and I file them away, taking note of which note they are played in. The next time I find a new riff... say it mainly goes in G, I can take that G scale out from my drawer and connect it to the rest of the song. Thats just a simple example of building...

Also, if you want to finish the work pretty fast. You'll discover you have empty "holes" along the song, and you'll just want to fill them in to finish it.

In my opinion, building a song piece by piece is better than finishing a sketch.
Alex Smith
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My personal advice is to write a melody, and a bassline. Don't worry about scales, the more chromaticisms you use between the notes in a scale, the more tension is built and released in the song, creating those moments where the release runs through you and you laugh out loud at your enjoyment of the music...

...maybe that's just me.

Once you've gotten your melody and bassline, construct chords underneath them. If you want progression in your song, you could always write another melody to harmonise with your original, that comes in halfwya through the song and adds something new. Choice is yours, but it's the easiest way to write a gorgeous chord sequence with a melody you like on the top and a bassline you like on the bottom. In fact, the melody is the hardest bit.
MR4Y
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eXor wrote:Hi, I want to write a song, not a simple GAD song but a real composistion like (but not as good as :roll: ) Steve Vai, Satch: Instrumental Melodic Guitar "stuff" I've tried to do this before, but I never really like the final result, if I just finished my song, I like it very much, after a few days/weeks I think "meh" and after a month or so I think "wow, did I write this crap? :x :( " So I really want to write something that is very carefully planned and that I still like when I'm 65 :)
So it would be really great if someone posts a sheme, or method or something like that, that is really helpfull with composing.

Thx in advance 8)
My main advice is: Don't write a song like satch or Vai. Why? Simply because if you get much focused on what you want, you'll not write the kind of song that you want. Or you can do like Scott Henderson: like he said "It took maybe months to finish a song. But the result is: I put all the things that I want on that specific song."

Composing a good piece is not about self-critique that much. And think about jazz guitarrists: Instead of trying original stuff, do compositions based on simple ideas, so you can build a nice "structure" over the simplicity. Believe or not: even Vai and Satch songs were composed on this way.

A good way to improve your compositional mind, is singing what you're playing. So you can nail any song that your mind is thinking.
Bold_As_Love
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Sweepinchord wrote: I totally disagree with that. If you sit down with your guitar ready to write a song from scratch, and finish it that same session, you're going to end up with a thin song. A song is much like a story, you build on it... it has a start a middle and an end. What I do, is to jam on pieces... scales, licks, riffs and whatnot. I remember them, and I file them away, taking note of which note they are played in. The next time I find a new riff... say it mainly goes in G, I can take that G scale out from my drawer and connect it to the rest of the song. Thats just a simple example of building...

Also, if you want to finish the work pretty fast. You'll discover you have empty "holes" along the song, and you'll just want to fill them in to finish it.

In my opinion, building a song piece by piece is better than finishing a sketch.
Once a song is finished does not mean it can't be re-written or made better. The point of finishing a song is to finish the song. Not get caught on little details.

Even John Mayer points out that the most important part of songwriting is finishing the song, no matter how much it sucks. And given his accolades and income I'd take the advice. But then again John Mayer only has what, three grammys? How many grammys do you have?

Your right, we should listen to you.
munchocruncho
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Also, he never said finish it right away.
He just said make sure it gets done.
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