How I Write Songs

By songsofdave, 2013-08-20

1. Sit on the sofa watching telly with acoustic guitar in hand, picking and strumming until I find some progressions I like. Normally takes a few minutes.

2. Turn the telly off. I haven't been listening anyway.

3. Start building melody around my chord sequence. At least to the point of identifying anchor notes and any special (non-standard) melody/chord combinations

4. Move to computer and write the melody/chord score using guitar pro software to create midi rendition (I always assign piano sound to the melody). Decide if what I have lends itself to verse or chorus (or neither)

5. Having decided what I have, that becomes the context for creation of the missing parts. At least to the point of knowing if I am going to take it up or down from where I am. I normally compose the other parts with combination of acoustic guitar, vocal gobbledygook and direct score writing.

6. Once I feel I have the necessary parts, I move on to deciding song structure and arrangement. All within guitar pro. In order words composing guitar parts, bass guitar part, placement of bass drum and snare etc.

7. Probably I have recently been thinking about some subject matter. I decide if the type of song that is emerging is an appropriate backdrop to explore that subject within the lyric. I generally don't write lyrics until I have decided what I want to say because it is too easy to become attached to 'clever' rhymes and double meanings that do not necessarily serve the song. Once I know what I want to say, writing an initial draft lyric becomes focused and easy. The song melody/meter might evolve during the lyric writing phase.

8. I allow the lyric to mature over a few days, revisiting for short sessions of editing.

9. I begin the record process by generating temporary bass/organ/guitar tracks from guitar pro (these are midi sound tracks) .. initially this gives me an effective framework for building the drum part (programmed or loops).  Then I move on to record the vocal and the various instruments (replacing the midi tracks). Then comes mixing/mastering.

10. Done ... ready for the next song!



The Song is the Boss

By songsofdave, 2010-12-05

The way I see it is that songs are like gifts ... they sort of fall out of the ether into my lap ... and so my role is to understand, serve and respect the song for what it is ... and try to not bugger it up with my arrangement and performance!