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View Poll Results: What Comes First In Songwriting?
For me the music comes before the lyrics..... 17 22.67%
For me the lyrics come before the music..... 7 9.33%
It depends for me....A little of both it seems.... 37 49.33%
I wish I could write music for my lyrics!.... 3 4.00%
I wish I could write lyrics for my music!.... 7 9.33%
I have no talent in either department.... 4 5.33%
Voters: 75. You may not vote on this poll

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  #1  
Old 08-05-2004, 09:36 PM
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Taylor Daly Taylor Daly is offline
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Default Songwriting Poll......What Comes First......?

....the music or the words? I know this is often debated on many forums by I couldnt find a post on here so I figured a poll would be interesting.
Answer honestly!
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Old 08-05-2004, 09:43 PM
bagelsgirl bagelsgirl is offline
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I voted "It depends." It was the only choice that seemed somewhat right.

All my better songs came music and lyrics at the same time. However, I do have books full of good lyrics and a bag of cassette tapes full of good music, but I rarely can "marry" the two!
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Old 08-05-2004, 09:45 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bagelsgirl
I voted "It depends." It was the only choice that seemed somewhat right.

All my better songs came music and lyrics at the same time. However, I do have books full of good lyrics and a bag of cassette tapes full of good music, but I rarely can "marry" the two!
I hear ya!
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Old 08-06-2004, 02:06 PM
BR-183Bob BR-183Bob is offline
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The last one I wrote was interesting. I'd been playing around with a chord progression just because I liked it then one day I was driving on a deserted highway and a bunch of lyrics came to me. I took them home and set them aside for three days and on the Friday of that week I thought, that might go well with that chord progression. In a half-hour the lyrics were matched with a melody and Voila! A song.

Lots of fun when it happens that way.

Bob
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Old 08-06-2004, 03:21 PM
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Stixx Stixx is offline
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For me it is such a simbiotic process one leads the other follows rarely the same way.
I wrote a waltz the words just fell in place with a simple progression and as the words got processed the chords and melody evolved along with it . Because it was such a successful song , the next two followed in similar fashion exploiting the freedom I found in the 3/4 time rhythums. Then a 6/8 upbeat followed that for words that evolved from an open mike experience over the first two

all this happened after Merle came to live with me , so was the muse the Waltz
the 3/4 time experience , or the additon of Merle who seemed to almost come up with the chord changes on his own or all of the above.

Complex things songs , Yet my best ones occur rather than by design, They are already written somehow and I get to be the vehicle they come to life with . Now
that's trippin. But it does happen. I have no other explanation for the way I write.

The praise songs are especially that way. I have no idea how I wrote the last one except that when i'd close my eyes and try to talke through the progression the words came out and melted together in strangely coherent passages.

Esample of a recent one. "Talk to me''

I FEEL AS THOUGH YOUR LIGHT IS SHINING,
DARK CLOUDS BLOCK THE RAYS FROM COMING, THROUGH
SO I TALK TO YOU
SO TALK TO ME, MY SAVIOR
SHOW ME ALL THE WAYS TO YOUR HEART I PRAY,
EVEN HELP ME WITH THE VERY WORDS TO SAY.

YOU HAVE COME TO ME IN MY HOUR OF NEED
AND IT IS YOU WHO PLANTS THE SEED TO HELP ME SEE
THE GIFT OF GRACE, FROM YOU TO ME
SO TALK TO ME, MY SAVIOR
SHOW ME ALL THE WAYS TO YOUR HEART I PRAY,
EVEN HELP ME WITH THE VERY WORDS TO SAY.

BRIDGE
YOU’RE THE ONE TRUE GOD, AND YET A BLESSED TRINITY
FATHER, SON, AND HOLY GHOST, HE VERY ONE WHO LIVES IN ME
AND YOU’RE THE ONE WHO SHOWS THE WAY, FOR ME TO LIVE
IN EVERY WAY EVERY DAY
THEN HELPS ME WITH THE VERY WORDS TO SAY…!

WHEN I LET GO, OF MY RAGE, YOUR LOVE SHOWS ANOTHER WAY
BECAUSE YOU FIRST LOVED ME,
AND PAID THE PRICE ON CALVARY
NOW YOU’RE IN MY LIFE, TO STAY.
TO SHOW ME ALL THE WAYS TO YOUR HEART I PRAY,
AND HELP ME WITH THE VERY WORDS TO SAY!

REPEAT BRIDGE AGAIN IF NEEDING MORE TIME

TAG GO TO THE FOUR CHORDTO CHANGE KEY TWO WHOLE STEPS

(F)AND NOW OH MY FATHER (D) AS I GO ON MY WAY
(F)I JUST HAVE ONE MORE LITTLE THING TO SAY (G)-- (A)
(D) THANK YOU FOR SHOWING ME, THE WAY TO YOUR HEART
AND GIVING ME THE(A) VERY WORDS TO (D) SAY
AND GIVING ME THE(A) VERY WORDS TO (D) SAY


this one followed the waltz tune and was done in C form capo'd at the 2nd fret with a partial capo which suspended most natural chords and then the bass line was used as a passing chord change in a 3/4 sort of dotted eighth note almost slow shuffle beat. The whole thing came together one night on only minutes and as much as I have tried to rewrite it I can not seem to screw it up . It just flowed. Now that is something I'd like to learn how to do "on demand" But alas it just has to happen

later
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Old 02-03-2019, 08:06 PM
Dawgrit Dawgrit is offline
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Old thread, but no barriers to music. I use the “Hum” and “Humon” app. Any and every time I get a melody in my head, I go to one of the apps and hum my tune (usually with mumbling words since I don’t have lyrics.) So I have a plethora of usable tunes. Then when I think of some lyrics I will write them and I then find a tune of mine that works best with the lyrics I wrote. I clean it up a bit and start editing
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Old 02-04-2019, 09:38 AM
jaymarsch jaymarsch is offline
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This is an old thread but certainly not an old topic! I attended a guitar festival over the weekend and there were two singer songwriter panels where this topic was discussed at length.

When I first started writing songs 10 years ago, it was mostly the lyrics that came first. As I have been developing my guitar skills and my ear, now more often the words and melody come together. I have written a couple of songs where a groove or a lick came first.

Obviously no right or wrong, just different sensibilities that come into play.

Best,
Jayne
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Old 02-04-2019, 10:09 AM
FrankHudson FrankHudson is offline
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Since I wrote verse before I wrote music, words start first more often for me. But since I wrote verse, there's "word music" already in there before I put down the pen and pick up a guitar.

I've also written lyrics while listening to a song casually writing to that song's structure. For a well-known example the Cream song "Tales of Brave Ulysses" had lyrics written by Martin Sharp while listening to Leonard Cohen's "Suzanne." I sometimes play a version of "Brave Ulysses" to Cohen's tune, and it works well. Eric Clapton on the other hand, wrote a tune that was heavily influenced by the Loving Spoonful's "Summer in the City" for the well-known version.

My current project involves me largely using other people's words that I set to music, but even there I will write pieces of music and then go looking for words that fit them sometimes. Poetry has certain forms and meters that can help this process, but even "free verse" can take new forms as you fit it to the music's phrasing.

No matter what the order words first or music first, there is usually some fitting and polishing that has to happen as you work with the two joined.
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Old 02-07-2019, 06:09 PM
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Initially it was music first, lyrics second. The need to complement the melodies prompted me to spend time writing lyrics. Then, writing lyrics began to move to the forefront and push me into poetry. After that it was whatever happened naturally.
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Old 02-07-2019, 09:01 PM
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Lyrics and melody almost always come to me at the same time (strangely not a poll option). I can, however, write a melody to lyrics and lyrics to a melody.
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Old 02-07-2019, 10:08 PM
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"It depends" was my answer, I almost never complete one part, then add the other. The first inkling of the song may be music or lyrics, but then they develop together.

A song may start with a chord progression or a little melodic riff, or it may start with a few lines of lyrics to a verse or chorus and maybe a general idea of what the song will be about. Then a few lyrics get added to the chords, or some chord changes get added to the lines, and eventually it turns into a song.
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Old 02-08-2019, 08:22 AM
Mr. Jelly Mr. Jelly is offline
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I can't vote ….. it happens any which way. You can't harness a muse.
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Old 02-10-2019, 08:20 AM
jdambrosemusic jdambrosemusic is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DukeX View Post
Lyrics and melody almost always come to me at the same time (strangely not a poll option). I can, however, write a melody to lyrics and lyrics to a melody.
I was rather surprised that this was not an option.

I know personally for me this was influenced by the fact that I write at home where I can listen directly in my DAW and save what I'm working on.
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Old 02-10-2019, 03:53 PM
macmanmatty macmanmatty is offline
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where is the both option? I usually write music and words at the same time.
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Old 02-10-2019, 11:12 PM
byudzai byudzai is offline
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The story comes first for me. The music bubbles up to paint the emotional backdrop of the story. I usually mumble nonsense lyrics as I'm writing just to fill something in for the vocals. For better or worse, those lyrics often end up in the final song!
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