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Old 07-24-2006, 03:46 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Default Songwriting Tips Thread

k, people post whatever & we can argue out certain things.

1. Repeatin words

Its not really that bad I suppose, but if I see one word multiple times in a poem/song when another word can replace it, it just makes it sound less pretty. It works sometimes, (for instance in the goo goo dolls name "a tired song keeps playing on a tired radio) but alot of the times, it doesn't.

2. Revising

Alot of people don't do this, but typically after I write something I let it sit for a day then I go back and make notes on random verses "change word, make this flow etc..). Then I go back the next day and fix it, just so it can be more finished when i posted. I don't always do this, but it typically makes the lyrics better.

3. Writers Block

If i'm in a writers block, I don't just stop writing till I feel like im out of it. I try and write a bunch of things every day even if they suck just to keep in practice and to have some things to look back on.

I also try and get inspired, after reading a book I typically have something to write or if I walk through nature and take in the trees and the water and other such things. 'Cause alot of times, at least for me its not so much a writers block as a lack of inspiration.

4. Influenced


Alot of people draw influences from certain writers (I do), and I use to just draw influence from writers in certain genres. Like, you can be ignorant of being influenced by a songwriter that you listen to alot, just cause you don't see it, it still could be there and if you just keep that to one genre, your writing is most likely just going to read like lyrics from that one genre. Which is why you should broaden your horizons.

5. Writing About Your Feelings

Something that I do myself sometimes, & kind of annoys me. Is when you just say your sad over something, and don't really go into it. Explain why your sad, what made you sad and stuff. Actually get into and let the reader expierence what your feeling.

6. Originality

First of all, you wanna avoid cliche lines, and to be honest just nu-metal lyrics for the most part to see cliche lines. Linkin Park, KoRn, Slipknot and all that. Like, "walls are closing in", "im falling" and pretty much any metaphors where you use the word 'darkness' are cheesy and cliche. Being cliche can work, but most of the time it just doesn't.

If you wanna be original, don't describe the way someone else would describe a certain emotion. Write about how you feel about a certain thing, like how would you describe being sad or being dumped or something? Not how Green Day would describe it.

7. Language

Swearing for swearings sake, is kind of weak. It can really add feel/emotion to a song if used right 'cause whenever I read a swear word I attack it to a feeling, anger or something.

When you write, you don't have to use big words, 'cause they don't automaticaly mean intelligence. If they're used wrong, then it just looks out of place and with small words, its kind of bland to read just words you hear frequently or are just well your typical words. You can still use little words and stray from every day words. Like, instead of saying "the chair broke" say "the chair splintered" or shattered or something. Its not some complicated rare word, but its not so overused.





I'll add more laterr, I didn't touch on lyrics/flow 'cause I have a warped opinion on that and I could easily see hobo writing something way better on it.
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Old 08-14-2006, 04:52 AM   #2 (permalink)
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8. Know exactly what the song is about

When compared to most poetry and other creative forms of language, songs are short and sweet. As lyrics must be singable and need to leave space for the music, a song will typically contain no more than a couple of hundred words (I would estimate my songs have about 150 words on average, some maybe reach about 300, but not much more).

This limit benefits the musical side of the song and it means that there is very little room for faffing about when it comes to getting your point across. You have a few hundred words to tell your story, or to convey your emotion, or to paint whatever picture you want the listener to get.

Thus it is vital that you know exactly what you're going to write about before you start writing the lyrics, so that you're well prepare to communicate the message you want within the short time available. If you have a clear idea of what you want to say, then all you need to do is render this idea into the form of a song. Plus, if you have a clear idea of what you're saying, the listener will be more likely to have a clear idea of what is being said to them. If you aren't sure what your song is about, the listener has no chance.


9. Choose a worthwhile subject

Is there a topic you genuinely want to sing about and which you would really, truly want to hear a song about?
No? Then give up songwriting right now.
Yes? Then write a song about that subject.


10. Don't just write lyrics

We write lyrics with the intention of singing them, or maybe getting somebody else to sing them. It can be helpful to try singing, or at least reading aloud, lyrics while writing them. How good a phrase looks on a page often has no relation to how it sounds when read aloud. Many lines which look poetic when written down become clumsy within a song. A lot of lines which look too basic in text can be very well suited to being sung (this is particularly true to words with a lot of vowel sounds). A good guideline here is "if it doesn't trip nicely off the tongue, ditch it". If its difficult to read aloud, its going to be a nightmare to sing. And if its a nightmare to sing, its not a particularly good song (unless you really like Gilbert and Sullivan)...
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Old 08-14-2006, 05:52 PM   #3 (permalink)
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I'm not very good at writing rules but I'll take a shot at it.

11. Trust yourself

Pretty simple. If you think something looks bad, then it probably is bad. BE hard on yourself. Know what your style is and go at it. Don't try to copy someone elses style, allow your own style to manifest through your writings. Allow influences to open your creativity... don't allow yourself to "take things" from another artist. By take things I don't mean plagiarize *which you shouldn't do* I mean, don't take their style... it's not YOURS! Trust that you can make something on your own... trust yourself.

12. Experiment

I know this helps me when I'm in a writer's block, which I get... this also kind of goes with Crowquill's "broaden your horizon" statement. Look at music that you just don't hear a lot of... that is culturally different... I really like a group called Ladysmith Black Mambazo... an african choir. Now, I have to translate their stuff - but it really is beautiful and it gets my creative juices flowing like no other. Read/listen to OPERA! Magnificent stuff! A lot of my writings are influenced by part of plots I hear in an opera... better yet, listen to classical music. What does it make you think of? Go at it!

13. DON'T SETTLE

FFS, I have seen many songwriters settle with a line because it fits... or settle with a line because it helps move the story of the lyrics along. If you don't like a line but you like the stuff around it, you need to fix that line, you might need to change the form of your song. Settling drives me nuts. I know songwriters on this forum settle, because you say, "I don't like this line" or "I might need to change this" - if your original post has that sentiment included in it... you need to change the song then. Unless you are asking for help, of course. Every line of your song should be your best work. Every line is like a puzzle piece, and to make that piece fit, it needs to be shaped accordingly. Love your lines.

14. Don't be LAZY

This kind of goes with my above rule... if you need to change your song, just get on with the change. Don't piss and moan because you worked so long on it... don't you want your work to be the best? Do you have an AWESOME line, or stanza that is surrounded by ****e? But you don't want to change the song because, yes, that part is awesome... the whole song needs to be awesome. Don't be afraid to scrap something... you don't have to pay to write new songs... unlike most things, the only thing that limits you from writing is yourself. Otherwise... you are in the business that deals with infinite possiblities. Hurray.

15. Be a gracious critic, recieve criticism with grace.

Self explanatory, but I'll elaborate. Don't go into a thread, or tell a person or whatever... YOU SUCK. Try and help them. If you are too lazy (read rule 14 for this) to help someone, don't write anything at all. Changing someones line for them is generally a no no.... but even I do it sometimes. If you disagree with someones critique... don't be afraid to tell them... on the otherside of that, if someone doesn't agree with you... don't take it to heart, don't stop trying to help them, etc etc. Be a good person. This is kind of like the golden rule, treat others how you wanna be treated and all that jazz.
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Old 02-02-2007, 01:21 AM   #4 (permalink)
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12. Experiment

I know this helps me when I'm in a writer's block, which I get... this also kind of goes with Crowquill's "broaden your horizon" statement. Look at music that you just don't hear a lot of... that is culturally different... I really like a group called Ladysmith Black Mambazo... an african choir. Now, I have to translate their stuff - but it really is beautiful and it gets my creative juices flowing like no other. Read/listen to OPERA! Magnificent stuff! A lot of my writings are influenced by part of plots I hear in an opera... better yet, listen to classical music. What does it make you think of? Go at it!
Another thing to add to "Broaden your Horizon"

Try listening to Comedy and as practice, write your interpretation of what the Comic is talking about.


For Example, Mitch Hedburg is a great one to try. He is very clever how he places words. He talks about everyday Thoughts and Situations.
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Old 02-05-2007, 09:43 AM   #5 (permalink)
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Don't be sacred about lines
Basically sometimes I write a line that I really like the sound of but I can't develop the idea beyond it. Its usually because the whole meaning of the song is in that one line. Sometimes you have to put a line aside before you can make up the rest of the lyrics. Don't worry about this.
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Old 02-05-2007, 10:01 AM   #6 (permalink)
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1millionSixHundredand2. Don't post it on MusicBanter.
Nobody cares...jk.

Last edited by right-track; 02-05-2007 at 11:57 AM.
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Old 02-05-2007, 10:56 AM   #7 (permalink)
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Don't post it on MusicBanter.
Nobody cares...jk.
haha. nice.
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Old 02-05-2007, 10:58 AM   #8 (permalink)
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Delete These Posts. Anything Without A Number Before It Is Spam.

In Particular, Delete The Latest Posts By Crowe And Right-track. And Delete Some Of Their Other Posts For Good Measure. A Random Selection Will Do.
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When Pete plays it is 100% live , your music if that's what you call it doesn't sound so good either? so you can't really critercize can you ?
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Old 02-05-2007, 11:57 AM   #9 (permalink)
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[B]Delete These Posts. Anything Without A Number Before It Is Spam.
Fair enough.
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Old 02-05-2007, 10:47 PM   #10 (permalink)
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4. Why Teh Hate??
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