Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Writing songs

It can take me anywhere from 10 minutes to over a year to write a song. But even the songs that take over a year, typically only take around 30 minutes to an hour. It's just that it will be 10 minutes and 20 minutes and 15 minutes and 8 minutes... separated by over a year of space...

I read somewhere that Rivers Cuomo said the best instrument for songwriting is the piano. I think Daniel Brummel from Ozma said that in an interview, too. Most of my songs are written on guitar. I almost always write melodies first, and use basic chord structures as the backing arrangements. I have yet to write down actual chord structures or even tablature for any of my songs.

I've written a couple songs on piano, but they've since gone the way of the dodo. For whatever reason, I can never remember the songs I've written on piano, most likely because I play the instrument to infrequently to internalize anything. Also, it's a lot easier to remember barre chord placement on a guitar than actual chord placement on piano. The voicings of chords on a piano are much more numerous than on guitar. Or maybe I just think that because I only use barre chords and a couple open chord structures...

Lyrics tend to come second. Although lately, especially since starting Oh Girl with Adrian, auto-writing is the lyric writing method of choice. I didn't even know that Rick Rubin had been using auto-writing during his production sessions until Linkin Park talked about making their last album with him. Not gonna lie. Part of me is bummed that I share a lyric writing process with Linkin Park. (oh, you wannabe music elitist, you...)

In a perfect world, I'd post a video of one of my latest songs here as evidence of my songwriting style. Alas, it's an imperfect world, and I'll have to settle for the faint promise of a youtube video of a new song some time in the not too distant future.

"Would that I could write like this more often"- Calvin...

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