Hello, does anyone have any tips for songwriting, perhaps in terms of structure and rhythms? I'm an amateur pop/folk musician and I'm always looking for more insight into music theory without having to put my head in a book, so just any ideas or any tips you have would be very welcome. Please contribute whatever genre, maybe you could tell me how you go about writing a song, or what inspires you to write most songs. 

 

Also, what's your view on lyrics. I often find there is atheist and heretical messages and themes in my lyrics, in fact I find it hard to avoid (it's not always intentional). How do you write your lyrics and do you think that its appropriate to put political or non-theist messages in your music? I'm sure there are both negatives and positives to doing so.

Tags: folk, lyrics, messages, music, pop, songwriting

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haha, cool. I agree with your take on lyrics too, I think people often put too much distance between song and poetry. It's also true that a lot of popular music now repeats cliches (although its hard to avoid), I think it's good to try say something or tell something that hasn't already been said. Music always has a purpose whether intentional or not, and lyrics always have a message, it's unavoidable because language is non-nuetral, in other words, if there are words in a song there is a message. I really admire how you embrace the message you want to spread in your music, in a way it's something I wouldn't have the guts to do. I don't mean to sound like an eager capitalist, but I worry about putting certain audiences off, thus potentially loosing their money and interest.

I would spout similar view-points to you but instead I try to conceal un-avoidable messages in my lyrics by making them cryptic (although this can mean they are pretentious or bizarre). Why did you decided to make a concept album like this? did you face any problems, in terms of venues or just finding collaborators or band members?

 

Also, I know exactly what you mean in terms of writing melodies and lyrics, I think theres a lot about the sounds of words and the intonation is key. oh, and what's it like not playing an instrument, i mean how do you go about writing songs, does it mean you have to write songs with you band? A fundamental way in which I write music is with a guitar or piano at my fingers, I would recommend learning to play something, just because of the independence it can give you, and also the time it gives you to fiddle with and create melodies. 

 

"insisted most musicians just don't care what lyrics are about." My band mates don't care much for lyrics either, I find it strange because when I listen to music the singing and the lyrics are often the most prominent and enticing feature. I'm not sure whether they listen to music differently, which is possible, or perhaps they just emphasise the role of other instruments which they play. I can see your point with not wanting to become to immersed in your music, especially since you have other priorities, there's only so much you can give when the music isn't highly profitable. Although, learning to play may no be as time consuming as you think, chords are all you need to play and create music on guitar, a lot of people learn without lessons and in a short amount of time. If you can write an album i'm sure your more than capable, and it could solve your lack of collaborators problem(because you wouldn't need them so much). 

 

I think I would be interested in sharing some music with you, I might need some time to make something to send, I can't promise i'll incorporate it into a performance, but i'm sure something original and useful would come of doing that. It's just interesting to see how other people write.

Knowing more about your personal tastes in music would help.

I listen to everything from classical to hip-hop, folk music from many countries and just about anything I can plug my ears into. Diversifying what you listen to can broaden your own output. I have also found that reading poetry helps with rhythmic construction.

However, I would advise picking up a couple of books or DVD's on music theory. It can help with alternate chord voicings and progressions which can vary the sound of your music.

The content of the lyrics is reflective of where your head is at any given moment. Naturally, if the bulk of your songs is anti-theist or political you may turn off some potential fan but what you produce should be what you feel. We can't please them all so just express yourself. The right ones will hear you.

Hope that didn't come off as too preachy but I am a reverend, y'know.

Peace,

Rev

thanks Rev,

My aim is to create sophisticated and intelligent pop music, which means i'm often wading through the Beach Boys, The Shins and the Beatles kinda area, although this is pretty standard for a lot of musicians. I'm interested in pop songs with multiple section in 'Good Vibrations' structure, and also folk music and rock music old and new, although I often categorise it as some kind of 'pop', because it often has a slow to medium tempo and a strong melody. I agree that listening to different genres can broaden your horizons when song-writing, although, it soften hard to come by new and unconventional song structures, is there anything you could recommend? 

 

Hi, Good idea for a discussion. I've been writing songs in the same pop/folk genreas you since I was a teenager. Never tried to or have made any money out of it though. From a song content point of view I think anything goes. Dylans early songs were very political and it worked for him. The idea of Atheist themes is not one I've thought of from a song writing view point but maybe is a nice challenge. How 'bout an Athiest nexus/musicians song contest? I'm up for it!

"How 'bout an Athiest nexus/musicians song contest? I'm up for it!"

 

It's possible, we'd have to discuss how it would work though, I think also it would have to run for a few months just so everyone can get something created.

cool stuff, I was enjoying some of cosmic gigolo.

Similarly to what I asked Rick, how did you feel making an album with, not necessarily a message but a considerably ideological slant? Did you face any problems along the way because there a secular themes within your music? do you feel weary or putting off potential audiences, and have you had a good reception from non-thiest groups?

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