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Old 11-08-2012, 02:54 PM
Steve Berger Steve Berger is offline
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Join Date: Jun 2005
Location: Southern California
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Default Neil Young On Songwriting - "Thinking is the worst thing for writing a song".

Not sure the best sub-forum for this, so mods please move if needed.

I ran across this print interview with Neil Young in (of all places) the Costco Connection.

Neil is asked how he approaches songwriting and I found his comments to be not only most interesting, but the comments that resonated the most with me of any I have ever read on this subject. Although I suspect Neil is speaking of how we writes his songs that typically have lyrics, I believe they certainly apply as much to composing instrumental guitar songs

Anyway, here it is - Enjoy:

The Costco Connection: How do you approach songwriting?

Neil Young: "When I write a song, it starts with a feeling. I can hear something in my head or feel it in my heart. It may be I just picked up the guitar and mindlessly started playing. That's the way a lot of songs begin. When you do that, you are not thinking. Thinking is the worst thing for writing a song. So you just start playing and something new comes out. Where does it come from? Who cares? Just keep it and go with it.

That's what I do. I never judge it. I believe it. It came as a gift when I picked up my musical instrument and it came through me playing with the instrument. The chords and melody just appeared. Now is not the time for interrogation or analysis. Now is the time to get to know the song, not change it before you even know it. It is like a wild animal, a living thing. Be careful not to scare it away. That's my method, or one of my methods at least."
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