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Which comes first when you write a song, music or lyrics?
Poll ended at Wed May 25, 2005 3:46 am
Lyrics, always 7%  7%  [ 1 ]
Sometimes lyrics, sometimes music 43%  43%  [ 6 ]
Music, always 36%  36%  [ 5 ]
The two happen at the same time 7%  7%  [ 1 ]
I only compose music, I don't write lyrics 7%  7%  [ 1 ]
I only write lyrics, I don't compose music 0%  0%  [ 0 ]
Total votes : 14
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PostPosted: Thu Feb 24, 2005 3:46 am 
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Oldie Of The Month
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Do you write lyrics, then come up with music for them? Or do you compose music first, then think of lyrics that suit the musics? Some songwriters do it one way, some the other. Neither is wrong or right; it just seems that one way works best for each individual.

As for me, I think of an idea--a point I want to make, or a story I want to tell, and generate lyrics for it. After I have some of the lyrics--maybe the chorus, or maybe the opening lines, or just a refrain, I'll think up music. Then it's back and forth--add a few lines, then work up music for the chorus or bridge, edit the lyrics, change the music, etc. But the lyric idea comes first.

I've tried the other way, without success. And that's frustrating, because I've come up with some interesting chord progressions and rhythms, but just drew a blank when I tried to find words for the music. So all those musical ideas never get developed into a song. In only one case did I, after writing lyrics, dig up an old musical idea and use it for the song. In the other cases, it just seemed that the lyrics needed a new musical idea than the ones in my inventory.

Just curious what y'all do. Especially those who can create music, and somehow words come to you from the music. How does that happen?

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PostPosted: Thu Feb 24, 2005 3:52 am 
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It's always music first with me. The tunes come pretty easy to me. Lyrics to me involve sitting down with a yellow legal pad and working.


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PostPosted: Thu Feb 24, 2005 5:57 am 
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Music........I might have a theme but the nuts and bolts of the lyrics happen much later for me. The only exception would be blues.....I always write blues lyrics first.

msg

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PostPosted: Thu Feb 24, 2005 8:22 am 
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Generally music with me (sometimes exclusively as I don't really write lyrics). More specifically, it's usually the rhythm first, then the bass, then everything else...

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Last edited by Drum on Thu Feb 24, 2005 12:20 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Thu Feb 24, 2005 9:10 am 
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Until about 2 months ago, my answer would have been that Lyrics always come first. I'm more of a language guy, and love to play with words and meanings.

But I've got to admit, that exactly this approach might have been a brake to my efforts.

I restarted composing about two months ago, and have tried to do it the other way around. I've found out, that it's massively easier for me to write words to existing sounds, chords, rhythms.

For example "Lullaby", the song I posted yesterday, developed out of improvising. I found the chord progression used, and all of a sudden, the first verse came flying at me, really out of nowhere.

I kinda like it this way... maybe this will even lead to a finished song out of my feather :lol: .

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PostPosted: Thu Feb 24, 2005 11:39 am 
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Nice poll, Rob from Denver.

It's first music for me and then see you I can put words to it. But I'm working on my second song so "allways" suggests an experienced songwriter, which I'm not! :lol:

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PostPosted: Thu Feb 24, 2005 5:33 pm 
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Lyrics, then music, rewrite lyrics to fit music, rearrange music to fit rewritten lyrics, eat, drink, sleep, ad nauseam.


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PostPosted: Thu Feb 24, 2005 5:42 pm 
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Much more music than lyrics for me. I'm not really a lyric writer, but am slowly trying to change that. I'm not one to pay attention to lyrics, for some reason (which explains why I've never taken to musical genres that focus on lyrics, such as country). Paying attention to the words when I listen to music is work for me. I don't even know the words to some of my all time favorite songs. Kind of strange that I prefer vocal music over intrumentals :?


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PostPosted: Thu Feb 24, 2005 7:55 pm 
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I usually am messing around with some guitar riff or vamp and some words come to me. I extend the "theme" of these words to a song and and add chords at the same time. My melody just comes out of my head (and usually isn't that great). I've done a lot of improvising solos on the guitar and I usually just improvise the song melody by singing.

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PostPosted: Fri Feb 25, 2005 5:28 am 
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Since I can't sing it is always the music first for me but I do like working on the lyrics when I am working with a group or vocalist.

Right now I am focussing on just intrumentals while I get to know the G but I have some previously written and recorded stuff with vocals I wnat to redo on the G with a singer.

Good idea on the poll Denver Rob but since you said you were voting against the Songwiter Forum I have to ask you to leave now :D :lol: :lol:

BTW

Do you all know what happens when you play country music backwards?

1. Your dad gets out of prison.
2. Your X wife/girlfriends or lost dog comes back.
3. Your tears come out of your beer. :shock:

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 Post subject: Lyrics or Music
PostPosted: Tue Aug 23, 2005 4:47 pm 
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Sodbuster

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I was browsing the forum, and I saw this Qestion?

Lyrics or music first,

Well, I have written most of my songs with the Lyrics first, then
I fit the music into mainstream of the song, work out the Bridge,
and usually the Chorus, will follow. Most of my songs are
not what you would say, traditional written, sometimes the
chours is first then the first verse, or vice versa,

It all depends for me on what the story is about, If it is a love song,
then it would be traditional 1, 2, chorus then 3, then 4 chorus and ending ,if there is a
four, but I usually have an 8 bar instrumental bridge, plus in the
beginning I have an 8 bar intro, with some hot licks on the guitar
bass and drums.

If it is a story song, then it could be arranged for a completely different
type of intro, verse and chorus.

It all depends, on the song, and what you are trying to say in it.???

If you listen to my cd on tower records.com look for John Stuart, and
you will hear the difference in my songs compared to what is on the
air today.

My songs are not traditional at all. you be the judge after you listen to them.

Respectfully

John Stuart, aka John S. Perrault


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 Post subject: It depends
PostPosted: Tue Aug 23, 2005 5:03 pm 
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Howdy ya'll,

90% of the time I write music first. The (maybe) interesting part about my writing process is that I "hear" an entire arrangement from the beginning....every stinking instrument.

This is a blessing and a curse for me because I sometimes tend to hear parts contributed by others as "wrong". The good part is I'm aware of this so I force myself to be more open minded. At the end of the day the parts others contribute are usually better than my initial conceptions.

When it comes to writing lyrics for music I have written I can often put the entire song together in one short sitting.....often at the oddest times (wake up in the middle of the night, in a meeting at work, etc...) But give me someone elses material and I struggle.....

A while back Ross sent me cool a tune Eric had written to have a hack at some lyrics and a melody. I nailed a groovin' chorus and bridge complete with vocal harmonies for the song in about 2 days. Problem is that its been several months and I still can't come up with a verse......Aye caramba!

My $.02 worth....

Gary


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PostPosted: Tue Aug 23, 2005 5:55 pm 
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I've had it go every which way. Sometimes,words first; sometimes music first; sometimes, words. then music, which influences and calls for more words, which leads to more music, and still more words.

But the most magical (and very rare for me) is when they come out simultaneously. On those occasions, I feels like "a conduit from somewhere or another else" and I have to ask go around and ask everyone, "did I make this up, or is a song someone has already written?"


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PostPosted: Tue Feb 12, 2008 12:41 am 
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Geez, two and a half years later, here I am replying...That's like me I guess...

I can't think of a single song I've written that started with a lyric, though many have begun simultaneously...

I generally seek prosody, and my mind tells me that the way to the ambrosia of musical/lyrical fengshway (sp) is in the forging of the lyric around the emotional feel of the music...Though the music is created via a theme or subject, and the words, to me a more plyable thing, get to conform...

I bring this up because I've finally got around to intitiating a project with a band...And a collaborator...A collaborator who has no concept of prosody...A words-first kind of guy, in other words...

We plan to do a lot of basic tracks on the 1600, then (when and if the grants come in) we'll finish up vox and mixing in one of the many local higher-end studios...I don't even know if it's worth it to burn CDs and print covers, will likely whore the work on the myriad download sites online...

'Scuse my excitement, I'm damn near 50 and finally getting around to something serious...instead of just fun... :mrgreen:


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PostPosted: Tue Feb 12, 2008 12:44 am 
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Robbie The Botkiller
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You can revive any topic you want Eric. No matter how old it is.

Good to see you.

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PostPosted: Tue Feb 12, 2008 12:46 am 
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Heh heh, hi Rob...Gettin' to be a theme between you and I, ain't it? I come in late and bedraggled, you welcome me in and ask if I've had cheese lately... :D

Eric


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PostPosted: Tue Feb 12, 2008 12:47 am 
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Robbie The Botkiller
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Want some? I'm still making the slices...

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PostPosted: Tue Feb 12, 2008 12:48 am 
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Stick some ahi in it and I'll eat any kind of cheese you can "dig" up!


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PostPosted: Tue Feb 12, 2008 12:49 am 
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Image

If you ever run into Leerdammer, take it!

Never take anything in red wax.

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Don't judge the coffee by its cup.
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PostPosted: Tue Feb 12, 2008 12:52 am 
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No red wax, got it...I think I've been safe so far.

Leerdammer, what? a Swiss? Brie? What?


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