Vote For Ronnie
SoundClick Music Store
Nimbit Music Store
Angie's Creative Writing Blog
Poetry By Ronnie
SongStall Music Store
Listen To The Beatles
Download The Best Beats For Your Music! Just Click On Banner Below
Adult Guitar Lessons! Just Click On Picture Below
I blog all things for the unsigned songwriters, and artists!
If you’re a musician, you probably get asked whether you do original songs or covers. And as unassuming as that question sounds, it’s actually a hornet’s nest buzzing with speculation on your intent, ambition, and talent. Do you have your own thoughts? Do you have something engaging and identifiable to say? Or do you just echo the ideas of other writers?
Originality — the quality of being new, fresh, innovative, or novel — is the difference between a piano player and a player piano. It is the distinction between a painting on canvas and a print from the museum gift shop.
It is the thing that can’t be copied.
No doubt there are more covers of Nirvana’s “Smells Like Teen Spirit” than there are ukulele bands in the world to attempt them. Yet it’s the original version of the song people love most.
Granted, most artists begin their careers by emulating others. But then they grow beyond those constraints. In time they render their work as distinctively as Nature renders a strand of DNA.
Artists often believe their work is original because of something they do. Or because of the way they do it. But nothing an artist does is as distinctive as who they are. Originality isn’t developed as much as it is discovered. Like any coming of age, the process of finding one’s creative voice is a journey.
The novelist Joseph Heller glimpsed the insanity of war in a way that was all his own. William Faulkner drew a map in his mind that only he could navigate. Kurt Vonnegut wrote in a voice that was recognizable without attribution. These writers were being who they were — and “bottling” that originality in their work.
The ancient Greeks said, “know thyself.” When you do, you know what makes your work unique. And your originality shows.
Blending in vs. standing out
You might think, “Nothing I hear on the radio is original. Why would I want to write anything that is?” And if your goal is to blend in with the crowd, then you might have a point. Your chances of writing accessible songs are greater if you keep your ideas “universal” (songwriting code for “clichéd”) than if you set them apart. But cloning the work of other songwriters will also make you easy to forget. Unless you’re ready and willing to do battle with an army of soundalikes — and it’s a big army — you’re better off sticking to your own territory, with your own original style and point of view.
The world doesn’t need you to be a second-rate somebody else.
It needs you to be the writer no one else can be.
#1: You should focus on love.
The greatest hit songs of all time have been written on this theme. No point re-inventing the wheel. Let ideas flow out of your heart. You should not be afraid to write lyrics that say what you feel. Love songs work!
#2: Stop thinking so much about the money.
While this is the music business, you would do better focusing on doing music for the love of it instead of making money your primary focus. If you’re doing this just because you think there is money to be made, when that doesn’t come you will become frustrated and give up. Focus on writing good songs and the money will follow.
#3: Listen to music.
Listen to hits. Ask yourself this question. What has made these songs hits? What tricks and techniques has the songwriter used? My friend, why create mediocrity if you can copy genius? Some people tend to think differently. But I beg to differ.
#4: You should write songs every day.
Writing every day will pay off. You don’t necessarily have to write an entire song each and every day, but a few lines will go a long way. Practice makes perfect. The more time you spend writing songs the better you will become.
#5: Write songs about your own experiences.
It’s probably much easier to write about what you know than what you’ve never been through. It comes from within. You should however think of your market and give your songs a global appeal.
#6: Rewrite and Polish your songs.
You should keep rewriting and re-polishing your songs. What sounded brilliant before may not create such a great impact later. So keep refining these lyrics or melodies which you think need enhancing. Make sure that your song is polished to perfection.
1. Do you have a strong opening line?
The opening line of your song is the first and best chance to engage your listener in the story you’re about to tell. Strong opening lines explain the where, what, and who of your story and will eventually lead to the “why” the story is being told. Make sure your opening line is designed to start your listener down the road to getting involved in the story you’re telling.
2. Are you using concrete imagery?
One of the best ways to put a listener immediately into the middle of your song’s story is to use strong imagery. I’ve also heard this imagery called “furniture.” These images are the details in a lyric that give your listener things to remember and connect with. Generally speaking, imagery is reserved for the verses where the meat of your story is being told. Choruses are designed to state the main point or theme of your song. Another way to think about imagery is to “show ‘em, not tell ‘em.” What that means is that it’s less effective to say, for example, she was a seductive woman but she was bad news than it is to describe her as “a black heart in a green dress.”
3. Are your lyrics singable?
By the way, it’s not enough to tell a good story with your lyric. It’s equally important to make sure that the words you use are easy to sing and phrase naturally. I’ve also heard this put as making sure your lyric is “conversational.” Lyrics that are awkward or emphasize the wrong syllables pull a listener’s ear in a bad way. There’s a reason the word “baby” is in almost every song ever written … those long “a” and “e” sounds are great and easy to sing. Another way to put this is that you won’t find the word “Nicaragua” popping up in a lot of hit songs.
4. How effective is your hook?
By way of explanation, the main point and identifier of your song can be referred to as the hook. In other words, it is the part of the lyric that reaches out and grabs the listener. Make sure that along with the story you’re telling, the hook is clear and doing its job. Often the lyrical hook of the song is also its title. It’s that important.
5. Does your chorus have a strong last line?
There are very few places in a song’s lyric more important than the last line of the chorus. This is the place where everything you’ve been leading up to in your verses and the first lines of your chorus pays off. It’s often the place where the hook is and usually leaves the listener satisfied that they understand your message. One important way to make the last line of your chorus count is to set it up with some kind of rhyme in one of the earlier chorus lines. That way, not only are the words important but they complete a rhyme, which adds extra emphasis.
6. Does the overall idea of your song work?
Often when we’ve worked on a lyric for a long time, it’s easy to lose the forest for the trees. In other words, we get so wrapped up in making things rhyme and using imagery that the overall concept of the song loses some of its focus. Make sure after you’ve finished your lyric that the overall message of the song is developed and supported in every line. While you, as the songwriter, already know your song’s story, you need to make doubly sure that a listener who is hearing your song for the first time will know what you’re talking about.
7. Is your verse melody interesting?
Given that the melody of your song is one of the first things people hear and pay attention to (sorry lyricists, but the words come waaaay later), you’ll want to be sure that your verse melody is catchy and unique. This doesn’t mean your melody should be bizarre or uncomfortable but, rather, that it should be distinctive and memorable.
8. Does your chorus melody differ from your verse melody?
So much of what we do as songwriters is about giving the listener clues as to what the most important parts of our songs are. By making sure that your chorus melody is not only strong but differentiates itself from the verse melody, you’ll cue the listener in to the fact that you’ve arrived at the main musical - and lyrical - moment in the song.
9. Does your bridge add to the song?
A bridge is really designed as a moment in the song where you step away from the verses and choruses to make an additional lyrical observation or melodic contribution. If your bridge melody sounds too much like your verse or chorus, even if the lyric is doing something new, the risk is that you’ll miss an opportunity to add something of value to an already strong song. All this to say, be sure that if you have a bridge, it’s musically apart from what you’ve been doing in your song’s other sections.
10. Does your melody flow naturally throughout the song?
Not only should the melody in each section of your song distinguish itself, but your overall melody should flow naturally from section to section. Be careful not to have a melody that is too repetitive. A little repetition is a good thing as it adds to the “hooky” nature of your song, but too much repetition becomes distracting and a bit unpleasant from the listener’s standpoint. And be sure that your melody sits comfortably over the chords you’ve chosen. The harmonic - chordal - decisions you make can serve to either accentuate or hinder your melodic work.
Critiquing your own songs is often a time-consuming and somewhat frustrating experience. That said, it’s essential that you hold your songs up to the highest standard if you’re hoping to have a better chance at commercial success. I do want to remind you, however, that your first - and most important - job is to write the song. Focusing on critiquing your song too early in the process might prevent you from writing something heartfelt and spontaneous. In my experience, it’s always easier to get it all out first and invite your “editor” to the party once you’re done.
Ever wonder why some songwriters get the cool, sweet, make-yourself-famous deals while others, with incredible talent, style and know-how, never even get the slightest nod from industry professionals? As if talent and know-how weren’t enough, today’s writers are faced with the ever increasing challenge of partitioning their writing styles from the endless barrage of production makeovers of what would otherwise be mediocre songs at best. Read on to learn how to get your songs published!
Read Article At: http://www.wikihow.com/Write-and-Sell-Your-Songs
Original Post From http://www.songwriting.net
The Beatles are known as the most successful music group in music history, selling over a billion records worldwide. The songwriting partnership between Lennon and McCartney is legendary. The Beatles collectively were also songwriting Ninjas, but they employed many tricks that anyone can add to their songwriting tool box. Here are 5 less obvious examples:
1. Mutate Your Chorus As well as starting songs with the chorus, some of The Beatles’ greatest hits open with a chorus hybrid that previews the title and hooks. The intro to Help has the same chord progression as the chorus but moves twice as fast and features the title 4 times (to the chorus’s 3). Use this trick and by the time you reach your chorus the listener will be hooked by the reassuring feeling that they’ve heard your song somewhere before.
2. Bluesify Your Melody We expect to hear blue notes like the b3, b5 and b7th in rockers like Back In The USSR but the Beatles often added these notes into more melodic material too. In Blackbird the final phrase uses the b7 on inTO the LIGHT and the b3 on dark BLACK night. Tricky to pull off if you’re not a confident singer — you might want to insert the blue note into your chord until you’ve learnt to pitch it correctly. Using it will add a soulful edge to your melodies. Also used on: Ticket To Ride, From Me To You.
3. Delay The Root Chord Starting a song on the tonic chord is a rut the Beatles managed to avoid a surprising number of times. Eleanor Rigby starts on C major (the bVI of Em) before heading to the home chord. It’s one of the many things that gives the track such an immediate sense of tension. Using this trick will give your progressions more forward momentum. Also used on: All My Loving, Hello Goodbye.
4. Utilise The Outside Chord Many of us employ ‘out of key’ chords (whether we realise it or not!). But out of 186 Beatles compositions only 22 remain in key! In Strawberry Fields Forever, Lennon pulls the rug from under the Bb major tonality by replacing the F major chord with an F minor . Bb Let me take you down ‘cos I’m going Fm to… It’s like the stomach drop you experience on the crest of a rollercoaster. Later he creates a disorientating momentary high by replacing the Gm with a G major. Eb Nothing to get G hung about Outside chords will surprise your listeners and freshen your melodies. Also used on: I Am The Walrus, Fool On The Hill.
5. Restate Your Lyrics The Beatles didn’t make their lyrics memorable just by repeating sections wholesale. They also repeated and adapted words, phrases and sentence structures. Take A Day In The Life. 4 verses, a middle 8 and only one repeated line. And yet it’s memorable (in part) because of lyrical links like these - I read the news/saw a film today, oh boy and though the news was rather sad/holes were rather small found my way downstairs/coat/way upstairs I just had to laugh/look Using this subtle trick will make your lyrics sticky and give a sense of unity to a track.
Click On “Original Post”
Most songs have several climactic moments, and where you place them can be crucial to a song’s success.
A song’s climactic moment is hard to define, but it’s usually fairly obvious when you hear it. That’s because a climactic moment isn’t just a melodic issue. In fact, a climactic moment may actually occur when a melody isn’t at its highest point. In reality, climactic moments in music happen as a result of interplay between melody, harmony and lyric. Once you’ve got a song working well, you’ll notice that the climactic moment often plays a big role in its success.
A climactic moment can actually be happening when the melody is quite low in pitch. Basically, you can make the case that the end of every major section of a song (the end of the verse, the chorus, etc.) represents a climactic moment, even if it’s a small one. Again, this is a difficult thing to define, and it’s often best to listen to an example.
One of Frank Sinatra’s biggest hits, recorded more recently by Michael Bublé, “Come Fly With Me,” is a great example. Written by Jimmy Van Heusen, with lyrics by Sammy Cahn, the melody demonstrates a shape that’s not all that common in popular music styles: a melody that keeps descending as it progresses. The song is in ABA form (a melody is presented (“Come fly with me, let’s fly…”), then moves on to a new melody (“Once I get you up there…”) before returning to the original melody (“Weather-wise it’s such a lovely day..”)). Interestingly, the verse melody of “Come Fly With Me” ends with its lowest notes. But that’s not to say that the verse (the A-section) ends unsatisfactorily. You hear a coming together of a melody with great structure, chords that move enticingly back to the tonic chord, and the lyrics offer symmetry with the return to the “Come fly with me” line.
But that’s not the song’s main climactic moment, so ending melodically low won’t cause problems. And in fact, the melody ending low as it does seems to create a sense of expectation; you want to hear more. You can tell the song has more to offer, because you subconsciously are looking for some sort of move into the upper register. That movement upward happens at the end of the return of the A section, when the melody jumps up an octave and finishes with the song’s highest notes. Because the same moment in the first A-section was low, it creates a very satisfying moment to have that upper octave appear as the melody ends.
Click On “Original Post”
Original Article From http://songwriter101.com
As passionate as we are about our songwriting, the reality is that sometimes it’s difficult to motivate ourselves to write. Whether it’s the fear of plumbing our emotional depths or just good old fatigue after a long day, there are often obstacles to overcome when it’s time to write. While flashes of inspiration are great, we can’t always count on the muse showing up on our schedule. Instead, we’ve got to make our own inspiration. I’ve put together a list of a few things that should help you keep your creative fires lit.
1. Set up a place at home to write. As simple as it sounds, having a place to go where you can focus and be creative can be motivating. Even if it’s just a small desk and chair in a corner of your living room, the fact that you’ve dedicated it to your art will serve as that little push you might need to write. Keep your writing tools — rhyming dictionary, guitar, laptop, etc. — out and easily accessible. It’s amazing what a difference putting your guitar on a stand versus keeping it in a case can make. Make things as easy as you can for yourself and you’ll be much more likely to dig in.
2. Set up a time of day to write. Routine can be a good thing even for something as artistic and creative as songwriting. If, for example, you know that every day at 7 p.m. you’re going to write for half an hour, then you’re more likely to do it. They say it takes a few weeks of consciously making yourself do something before it becomes a habit. Setting up a daily time to write will go a long way towards the healthy habit of songwriting.
3. Keep a file of unfinished songs. One of the hardest things about writing is starting with a blank page. By keeping an organized file of your unfinished lyrics and rough recordings, you won’t have to climb the mountain from the bottom every time you sit down. While sometimes it feels good to start with a fresh idea, don’t forget to check your unfinished ideas from time to time. It’s remarkable how a few days or weeks can add the perspective you need to see a partially finished song in a new light and finish it.
4. Find a co-writer. Nothing motivates more than accountability. If someone is counting on you to show up and work, you’re more likely to do it. Not only that but halving the burden can make writing a much more approachable pursuit. This is one of the many benefits of co-writing. Other advantages include having someone whose songwriting gifts complement your own in such a way that you both get a better song than you would have separately. If you haven’t co-written yet, this is as good a time as any to give it a try. Even if it’s not a perfect experience, we all benefit from observing firsthand someone else’s writing process.
5. Give yourself an assignment. Sometimes the idea that you can write about anything offers too much freedom. Often, it’s easier to write if you have some guidelines. If, for example, you tell yourself you’re going to write a song with one chord you’ve never used or a song about a topic you’ve never covered, you’ll find it’s easier to get to work. Anything you can do to give shape and structure to what you’re attempting to write will make the task that much simpler.
6. Tell yourself you’ll only write for five minutes. This is one of my all time favorites. On days where you’re really struggling to make yourself write, tell yourself you’ll sit down for five minutes. That way, if nothing is happening after five minutes, at least you’ve tried. It’s astonishing how often those days are the days where the breakthroughs happen. Taking the pressure off of yourself may be all that you need to get on a roll. That being said, if it’s just not coming, stop. There’s no point in making yourself miserable. There’s always tomorrow.
Click On Original Post
Original Article From http://measureformeasure.blogs.nytimes.com
By SUZANNE VEGA
Once upon a time you dressed so fine
You threw the bums a dime in your prime.
People’d call, say “Beware doll,
You’re bound to fall,” you thought they were all
Remember that song? I’ll bet you do. What’s the melody? Pretty much one note from the beginning to the end of the phrase, with a lift at the end. Is it a cool song? Yes, very. It’s Bob Dylan — “Like A Rolling Stone.” A classic. As classic as “My Way” by Frank Sinatra or anything by Rodgers and Hammerstein.
How about this one?
Holly came from Miami Fla
Hitch-hiked her way across the USA
Plucked her eyebrows on the way
Shaved her legs and then he was a she
She says, hey babe
Take a walk on the wild side
Said hey honey
Take a walk on the wild side.
That’s Lou Reed, “Walk on the Wild Side.” It’s another classic. What’s the melody? A couple of notes here and there in close proximity to each other.
Imagine either of those songs with wide intervals and sweeping melody lines. I don’t think so. Both are served up the way they are meant to be. And they are great songs. So a great song does not need a well-crafted, “memorable” melody to work. There are a million examples of this — blues songs, folk songs, three-chord rock songs, rock poetry, rap music. So what is a melody for? I used to think of a melody as a kind of serving tray for the lyrics and the story within the song.
Click On“Original Article”
Songwriting uses the chord progression as the setting for the song, kind of like the set and scenery in a play. Just like the actors move and speak and have their being upon the stage, set, and scenery, so do the words and melody dance on that very stage that is created by the progression of chords. If you have a deep understanding of how the lyrics, the melody, and the chords interact, and you can select the chords to elicit the same mood that the words are depicting and the melody conveys, then you have a great shot at creating a powerful song.
If you’re very observant, you will notice that a whole lot of songs use very similar if not identical progressions. That similarity is what allows the songs to lock into their genre and styles and be seen as in the pocket of the style they are competing in. Some progressions have a harder edge and are perfect for hard rock, metal, and strong blues. Others are way more relaxed and support strong, singable melodies, and as a result, are more pop and light rock sounding, even folky sometimes, although that depends more on the arrangement than the song itself.
We have cycled through the use and borderline overuse of several main progressions over the years. The I-vi-IV-V progression was everywhere in the 1950s and 60s. In addition there were hundreds, maybe thousands of songs written to the I-IV-V-IV progression , like Twist And Shout, La Bamba, Good Lovin’, Hang On Sloopy, Summer Nights (from Grease), Louie, Louie (with a modified V chord making it minor), and a whole lot more. I’ve included a video here by the Axis of Awesome demonstrating the current popularity of the I-V-vi-IV progression in today’s music. There’s a little bit of swearing, but it makes the point really well about how many songs can very creatively use the same progression, and yet sound completely original.
Click On Original Post
Songwriting is art. Like all art, songs require a healthy dose of inspiration, which is nearly impossible to predict or control. In that way, the spark that results in the creation of a song is a gift but the rest of the process is nothing more (or less) than good, old-fashioned work. By following through in a variety of different ways, you stand a much better chance of achieving the goal of getting your songs out in the world and hopefully generating some income for you.
1. The Song Gets Finished. We all have them: bits and pieces of what seemed like a good start to a song that have languished in notebooks or lost folders on our laptops. This is an unavoidable and necessary part of the creative process, but there comes a time when some of these ideas should be finished. Not all songs come easily and, on occasion, some of the best ones are ideas that just needed a little elbow grease to finish up. By reviewing some of these orphaned ideas from time to time, you’ll often find that there’s something well worth finishing. By following through in this way, you’ll end up with songs that might not otherwise have happened.
2. The Song Gets Demoed. Having a finished song is a victory in and of itself. That being said, the reality of our business is that these finished songs need professional demos in order to give them (and you) a fighting chance of being acknowledged by the decision-makers in the music industry Having a bunch of great songs that aren’t presentable isn’t a viable way of pursing a professional songwriting career. By the way, not every song you write will be demo worthy but for those that are, following through with a plan on how and when to make high quality recordings of them is a big step towards having your songs generate income for you. Like any business, you need to invest money in order to eventually make it.
3. The Song Gets Cut/Placed. Okay, so you’ve got a great song and a beautiful sounding recording of it. Congratulations. However, if only a small group of family and friends ever hear it, then it might as well not exist in the eyes (and ears) of the industry. I’ve talked about this in previous articles, but there is nothing romantic about pitching your songs. It’s work. Still, it is an absolute necessity if you’re hoping to sell your music. Follow-through can take a variety of forms here, including reading industry pitch sheets to find artists looking for new material, seeing which music supervisors are looking for songs for a film or television show and even making sure that an up-and-coming artist in your community (without a record deal) has a chance to put their vocal over the instrumental mix of your existing demo. In other words, get your songs out there. By the way, just in case you think sending your song to someone means your work is done here, it’s the follow-up (and follow-up and follow-up) that separates the pros from the novices. Never assume that just because you’ve sent in your song you can sit back and wait for your phone to ring. I highly recommend placing a note on your calendar to follow up with an email or phone call two weeks later and two weeks after that if you still haven’t heard anything. By following through on your pitches and following through on your follow-through (getting my point?), you’ll give yourself a fighting chance of getting your songs heard — after that, the sky’s the limit.
Talent is a wonderful thing. On some level, we’ve all got it. However, what separates the success stories from the tragically unrecognized geniuses is what you do after the inspiration is over. By digging in, doing the work and following through you’ve got a much better shot at the kind of songwriting success we all dream about.
Click On SONGWRITER101