Important tips to remember for RPM...

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2 weeks 1 day ago #570 by jarrettosborn
jarrettosborn replied the topic: Important tips to remember for RPM...

theporkboy wrote: Does anyone have any good tips for complete noobs for approaching music composition? I've been recording some snippets of song ideas. Mostly it's all chord progression, bare bones ideas but no clear verse, chorus structure. I don't really have lyrics as an immediate goal just yet. I'm mostly wondering what a next step would be from there.

How many people are writing down tablature, chord, or sheet music when they write songs?

As a guitarist I've always had little things here and there I play but I've never intentionally crafted an entire song. I figured attempting this challenge would be a fun exercise but it's also more attainable than a novel for me.

This is a big question. I’ll give you my take in 2 parts:

1. For RPM, don’t get hung up on structure or “standard” approaches to songs. Generally, if it feels like you’re crow bar-ing something into your song because other songs have that thing, then don’t do it. Find whatever musical idea you like and add to it only if it feels natural or if you’re making some specific experiment. That isn’t to say don’t try things out (absolutely experiment), but rather remember that there are no rules to songwriting.

2. For non-RPM when you have endless time, this is where you dive into the general concepts of songs — verse, chorus, bridge, etc. Pop/rock/folk music is about exploring ideas within a certain, non-rigid framework. So, listen to artists you like and pay attention to the structure, to the flow of chords vs melody, the underlying groove. An interesting approach is to write a song “in the style of” an artist or genre. This helps you work out the construct of the song by following the basic framework. After that, you can branch out to your own style, but learning and immersing yourself in good music is how you build your foundation.

As for tab or music notation, it is only a tool to serve your creative process. Despite being able to write out full parts, I rarely do because I find it to be an exercise in penmanship more than composition. However, for someone else this may be a helpful process. I often use my phone’s voice memos to capture simple ideas that I flesh out at a later time. I also have used a blank notepad to sketch out and piece together arrangements in a more loose way.

Sorry for the long winded reply. Best of luck!

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2 weeks 1 day ago #583 by DirtySpirits
DirtySpirits replied the topic: Important tips to remember for RPM...
A great basic song building method for me is "blocking" a song together.For example, i will just figure out how many times through on the verse then chorus in a generic form. I might throw in a bridge. I might play the same chords over and over and make note of when to play with different attacks for solos and louder parts. Let the song unfold as you layer. Add a cool intro. There is no wrong way. But in the past "blocking" has got it done in February. best of luck.

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2 weeks 1 day ago #584 by tonyhogard
tonyhogard replied the topic: Important tips to remember for RPM...

theporkboy wrote: Does anyone have any good tips for complete noobs for approaching music composition?

How many people are writing down tablature, chord, or sheet music when they write songs?


Quantity! Do something a lot and you'll get better at it, and discover processes that work for you. Try different approaches (improv, composition, plagiarism, aleatory methods...) and see what happens.

For RPM, I might jot down chord progressions or melodies or rhythms if it's a good demo I want to go back and add to later, but I'm not spending a lot of time on each piece. I usually only score out big complicated things that need practice.

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2 weeks 21 hours ago #589 by A Beautiful Scene
A Beautiful Scene replied the topic: Important tips to remember for RPM...

theporkboy wrote: Does anyone have any good tips for complete noobs for approaching music composition? I've been recording some snippets of song ideas. Mostly it's all chord progression, bare bones ideas but no clear verse, chorus structure. I don't really have lyrics as an immediate goal just yet. I'm mostly wondering what a next step would be from there.

How many people are writing down tablature, chord, or sheet music when they write songs?

As a guitarist I've always had little things here and there I play but I've never intentionally crafted an entire song. I figured attempting this challenge would be a fun exercise but it's also more attainable than a novel for me.


A lot of the time I record the guitar and layer over that. With a Full band you end up going guitar, bass, Drums, the vocal for the Demos. When you want to record the same You take that demo as a reference track and record Drums first, then bass, guitars/pianos, and lastly vocals. (some of that can change pending on preference)

Writing down what you are going to play will always be beneficial. If you have the time to write down all the tablature then go for it. I find that just the basic chords is sufficient to help jog my memory of what I was going for. Sometimes that does not help either though. Next year I was thinking of recording my demos with a video camera.

As far as song writing goes, if you want to be a better lyrical writer, read. If you want to write better music, listen to other people's music for musical inspiration and keep learning new things. If you are satisfied with only knowing four chords, your songs will only ever be four chords.

The best part of this challenge is that you get better just by doing it. When you finish something/anything ask yourself (or your friends) "how could this be better?" Then, do it next year. Or spend the year trying new things.

Always try new things. Just because you nail a perfect tone does not mean that you cannot find something else equally good. You will always get better by trying new things.

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2 weeks 21 hours ago #590 by klandry
klandry replied the topic: Important tips to remember for RPM...

A Beautiful Scene wrote:
Writing down what you are going to play will always be beneficial. If you have the time to write down all the tablature then go for it. I find that just the basic chords is sufficient to help jog my memory of what I was going for. Sometimes that does not help either though. Next year I was thinking of recording my demos with a video camera.

I did this one year... It was VERY helpful.
The following user(s) said Thank You: Ian James

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2 weeks 20 hours ago #591 by GumboStu
GumboStu replied the topic: Important tips to remember for RPM...

A Beautiful Scene wrote:
As far as song writing goes, if you want to be a better lyrical writer, read.


One year I read Faust by Goethe - the penguin classic translation. I was thinking in rhyming couplets for days afterwards!

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2 weeks 20 hours ago #593 by angiefightscrime
angiefightscrime replied the topic: Important tips to remember for RPM...
I started back in September with an idea, then I wrote a few more ideas and played them over and over until I liked the way they sounded, then I wrote a bunch of words to the ideas but didn't record any of them so forgot them shortly after and then continued to work on the ideas until I thought they were in a good place and then re-wrote words for everything and this time remembered how they went and then after I had them basically where I liked them I modified the words a bit to be more consistent and then I recorded everything as they were to listen to structure. currently where I'm at is modifying the structure to remove excess jamming and anyplace there may be a guitar solo I'm writing a lead part to fill in the space. I think I still have too much jamming, but I started very simple, one chord to another over and over until it sounded good to me, and then maybe a third chord for color. one thing I realized by learning a bunch of modern cover songs, less is more.

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2 weeks 18 hours ago - 2 weeks 18 hours ago #594 by Lunarsight
Lunarsight replied the topic: Important tips to remember for RPM...

theporkboy wrote: Does anyone have any good tips for complete noobs for approaching music composition? I've been recording some snippets of song ideas. Mostly it's all chord progression, bare bones ideas but no clear verse, chorus structure. I don't really have lyrics as an immediate goal just yet. I'm mostly wondering what a next step would be from there.


I don't usually write anything down in the advance for the melody or chords.

Often times I'll just throw a jumble of notes into the synthesizer program, and see how it sounds. From there, I'll keep rolling the dice and try this a few more times until I get something I like, and from there, I'll build around it.

From here, I may come up with other parallel melodies that I can run with for a while. That's usually how I come up with song structure -- it's kind 'well, I haven't used this pattern in a few bars' or 'I haven't tried overlying these two synth melodies together yet'.

One other approach I'll take is the 'vocal melody' method. If I'm doing something monotonous like driving, sometimes a melody or a line or two of lyrics will pop into my head. I'll try to get to a microphone and record it as fast as I can before I forget. (I often will program a root note into the music synthesizer to help me stay in tune. It makes it easier to line it up with music later on without having to worry about having sung between the notes.)
Last Edit: 2 weeks 18 hours ago by Lunarsight.

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5 days 1 hour ago #801 by Dweeb
Dweeb replied the topic: Important tips to remember for RPM...
One thing I'd like to add as we get closer to the end of the month - remember that one song has to be the worst song on the album. You might be better off spending your time working on the better tracks that trying to put lipstick on that pig.:whistle:
The following user(s) said Thank You: Aged Machine, Lunarsight, Ian James, rob3rto

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5 days 28 minutes ago - 5 days 27 minutes ago #803 by jarrettosborn
jarrettosborn replied the topic: Important tips to remember for RPM...

Dweeb wrote: One thing I'd like to add as we get closer to the end of the month - remember that one song has to be the worst song on the album. You might be better off spending your time working on the better tracks that trying to put lipstick on that pig.:whistle:

This isn’t bad advice at all, but the times I’ve done this in the past it has sort of backfired. Songs that I think are weak end up resonating more with others and then I realized I half-assed the mix or something like that. I have given up trying to guess which songs may get better feedback than others, as I clearly can’t tell. That all said, when the deadline is looming, you do have to pick your priorities.
Last Edit: 5 days 27 minutes ago by jarrettosborn.

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