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Discussion Starter #1
Most threads here seem to be of the "musician wants band" or vice versa type, but since this is "The Band Lounge" I am hoping for some feedback from actual complete bands, or people who've been in them... particularly ORIGINAL bands.

My question is: how do you write your songs? I don't mean just the melody, or the lyrics, but the whole thing, like every part that you play on stage/record? It seems to me like there are three options:

A. one or more people come up with the melody/lyrics and the rest of the band (ex: bass, drums, keyboard, etc) just add their parts that follow along.

B. one or more people come up with the melody/lyrics and the rest of the band add their parts, but they each have a certain vision of how the song should be and create their parts accordingly, possibly adding to the original idea.

C. one or more people come up with the melody/lyrics and with specific parts for the rest of the band members to play, which fit in entirely with the original vision and are not simply there to complement it.

I'm sure not all songs are written in the same way, but what do YOU think is the most likeliest and LEGITIMATE of scenarios for a good song. Its just that I get the feeling that option A and B function partially on randomness, or luck if you wish, and depend on how "good" the rest of the band is and how inspired each one is at the time. While option C would be the only option where you could credit the song entirely to the creativity and talent of the artist(s) (though we could say that inspiration also comes by chance). Or maybe a "hit" song through option A and B is a true testament of a great band and how well each member's playing complements the other...

Or maybe this is just a stupid question... your thoughts? (don't worry if you don't want to post a response, I'll get that these are silly thoughts)
 

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Well, what worked best for my band was basically this:

We'd jam, sometimes I'd have a riff or two in my head beforehand, but for the most part we just played, changing things up untill they sounded better. Once we had some rough instrumental stuff that we thought would make a good song, we'd build on it in the same way to come up with extra parts (intro, chorus/verse, bridge, etc).

At the same time, our singer would look through some of the "almost lyrics" we had written, but hadn't put music too, sometimes he'd work with those to fit the song, other times he went from scratch. Once he had something roughed out, he'd grab the mic and we'd just keep tweaking things untill they sounded better.

Obviously, this only worked when we were all feeling creative, the rest of the time, we left it as a jam between "actual practising."
 

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in my first band (with jims here, after we decided we needed another slinger) basically the singer came to us with her ideas for the song, and basically said "ok you play this, solo here, you do this on drums, the bass does this, i play this and sing this, ok done!" and we'd all sorta go "Uh..ok.."

go figure, my current band is liked just as much - only we all chime in, and we do it our own way. basically, someone will have a riff idea (myself or the bassist) and we will jam on it for a bit. the jamming gives our vocalist lyrical ideas, he'll usually start singing/growling/that thing he does after we start. we figure out what we did and didnt like, and keep making changes until we have something designated "verse part thingy" and "chorus part thingy" and we usually stick a "bridge slash solo object" in there too. so far so good!

jamming on song ideas usually helps out a lot.
 

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In my situation, I write the songs. I bring the material to preproduction rehearsals in semi complete form and work with the players to get the feel I have in my mind.

Within reason the guys give me what I want and I encourage them to be creative but at the end of the day I make the call as to the final arrangment.

Different groups work in different ways. There's no right or wrong.
 

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In my situation, I write the songs. I bring the material to preproduction rehearsals in semi complete form and work with the players to get the fel I have in my mind.
Within reason the guys give me what I want and I encourage them to be creative but at the end of the day I make the call as to the final arrangment.
Different groups work in different ways. There's no right or wrong.
...my M.O. is quite similar, because i think my songs always benefit from the input of other creative minds.

but, i have encountered a few obstacles, with virtually every musician with whom i have worked.

number one: the moment i start playing a new song, one which no one has ever heard before, the musicians start soloing, playing along, searching for complicated parts, etc etc etc.

oh, man, what i wouldn't give to work with a musician who knows 1. how to first listen and 2. how to first play the simplest, most basic parts and then (if necessary) build on that foundation.

its the nature of the beast, of course. if i want to work with the kind of musician i'm describing, i need to shell out wads of cash for experienced, pro sidemen.

but i don't want that - i want a real band!]

unfortunately, i have learned that, at least in this context, you cannot have your cake and eat it, too.

the rhythm section i have now is top notch: amazing players with an incredible musical vocabulary and genuine passion and drive. i'm a patient man, so i'll not complain. it all, eventually, works out. they are gold, to me.

but i wish they could "get it". i continue to try, in every way imaginable, and diplomatically, to express these things to them.

on the other hand, they are relentlessly creative, and i would rather preserve that, and get to where i'm going with a song the long/hard way, than risk dampening their creative enthusiasm.

in answer to the question "how do you write songs?"

there is only one answer: you just do it. if you're serious, you do it every day. you write hundreds, thousands of songs. and you keep writing. eventually, like anything else, you will get good at it.

-dh
 

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David, I'm guessing they're not members on here? That might be something less than diplomatic ! ! :D
...oops!

actually, i wouldn't mind if they "accidentally" came across that post.

on the other hand, this is something that afflicts every musician with whom i have ever worked.

and, of course, i look at myself first. am i guilty of the same habits? i hope not. i am acutely aware of the tendency, so i consciously try to fight it.

its also the primary reason i hate jamming. everybody feels they have to play full on - no one ever wants to play the supportive role.

-dh
 

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...oops!

actually, i wouldn't mind if they "accidentally" came across that post.

on the other hand, this is something that afflicts every musician with whom i have ever worked.

and, of course, i look at myself first. am i guilty of the same habits? i hope not. i am acutely aware of the tendency, so i consciously try to fight it.

its also the primary reason i hate jamming. everybody feels they have to play full on - no one ever wants to play the supportive role.

-dh
LOL, I thought I was the only one.

I don't enjoy jamming much. I prefer to work on music as a craft as opposed to a free form expression...blah blah blah.

I love improv within the context of a song. Shredding over a backing track or twelve bar blues is not interesting to me.
 

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LOL, I thought I was the only one.
I don't enjoy jamming much. I prefer to work on music as a craft as opposed to a free form expression...blah blah blah.
I love improv within the context of a song. Shredding over a backing track or twelve bar blues is not interesting to me.

...to be a little more clear, i actually love jamming when there is some kind of focus, restraint and intuition involved. but i think we would both agree that is too often not the case, and it ends up being more of a competition.

-dh
 

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...to be a little more clear, i actually love jamming when there is some kind of focus, restraint and intuition involved. but i think we would both agree that is too often not the case, and it ends up being more of a competition.

-dh
Competition, yes but more to the point I just don't find most jamming to be particularly musical.
 

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Discussion Starter #13
Yeah, I guess arangement is more what I was talking about, just wasn't sure what it was really called. Though it seems that even the begining of the actual writting can take place within the band.

I wonder though, a question for you more experienced musicians, does your approach to writting/composing and working on the arrangement change as time passes (i.e. as you gain more experience)?
 

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Yeah, I guess arangement is more what I was talking about, just wasn't sure what it was really called. Though it seems that even the begining of the actual writting can take place within the band.
I wonder though, a question for you more experienced musicians, does your approach to writting/composing and working on the arrangement change as time passes (i.e. as you gain more experience)?

...it has for me. in the early stages, i tended to "construct" songs, arbitrarily.

after almost fifty years, i have developed a much more "organic" approach, in that i really try to let the songs write themselves.

the only other thing that has changed is that i have become more rabid: i used to write in spurts, now i write every day.

-dh
 

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When we decide it's time to write a song, we just pick a chord progression, and jam it for a while... See where it goes. If it looks like its going somewhere, we, as a band, write meaningful lyrics. Generally just a verse and a chorus, then we play it with the chord progression, which normally gets warped alot from where we saw it going before. Then we either work on more lyrics for the song at a later date, or we all go home and write a verse and bring it back to the table, and work from there. Once we have our lyrics, we decide on the order, again just by playing the song, and feeling where we think it should go.
:food-smiley-004:
 

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...one of the things i LOVE about songwriting, not to mention all of the arts, is that there are no rules. you are well advised to ignore anyone who tells you that there are.

-dh
 

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...to be a little more clear, i actually love jamming when there is some kind of focus, restraint and intuition involved. but i think we would both agree that is too often not the case, and it ends up being more of a competition.

-dh
then you definitely jam with the wrong people. i also agree with whoever said "dont let someone tell you you're not good enough to start writing songs or starting a band" it is BS - you learn as you go. try a million different ways of arranging the music - it's different strokes for different folks.
 

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Discussion Starter #18
well, to each his own... I guess no matter how "loose" you jam, everyone still has their own prefrences...

Does anyone ever write lyrics for other people in the band to sing? What I mean is, I'm a terrible singer. I ofcourse sing the few songs that I do write, but I sing them rather quietly, and in a more or less talking manner (its not even a question of me just needing practice, I'm really a naturaly bad singer... I cant even talk that loud for that matter). So yeah, I was just wondering how well it might work out if I get others to sing what I write...
 

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Flow

Does anyone ever write lyrics for other people in the band to sing? What I mean is, I'm a terrible singer. I ofcourse sing the few songs that I do write, but I sing them rather quietly, and in a more or less talking manner (its not even a question of me just needing practice, I'm really a naturaly bad singer... I cant even talk that loud for that matter). So yeah, I was just wondering how well it might work out if I get others to sing what I write...
We have three songwriters in our band, I'm the newest member and the weakest singer, I find it interesting to pass a tune on to another and see how they interpret the material.

In the best cases this is very rewarding other times it is a lot of work. Ultimately it is worth it for me. I have also written a song that was more naturally delivered by a bluesy sounding female singer.

I write all of my songs in my limited range and then change keys as required for other singers.

I our band the process is individuals work out songs to various levels of completion then bring them to the band to work out the arrangements. We have been successful with this procedure but, not all songs work out, and some have to be let go. Sometimes the tunes take a radical turn ...

It was really cool recently to take an accoustic song that was in the Cinnamin Girl open tuning and turn it into a full on _KORN_ type of tune.

That one turns head with our old time "folkies":rockon2:
 
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