Writing a song.

Discussion in 'Production' started by WickedKawaii, Mar 20, 2014.

  1. WickedKawaii

    WickedKawaii New Member

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    I've been trying to produce some sort of complete song just as practice, but I always give up after I make a melody or some chords. I sort of just sit down and start to see what I can make and it ends up with me making drum beats and Sound FX. I want to be able to sit down and write out a song, and then hop onto a computer and begin from there. Do you guys have any tips when it comes to writing songs? I've been studying music theory and all that, but some of it is confusing on my own. For example, counterpoint.

    Thanks guys.
     
  2. IV4

    IV4 Currently a newt.

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    Intro,drop, b line, break down, drop, conclusion.

    Write the drop first and build from there. Then go back and add things here and there to make the different part separate. EQ along the way and you have got a song.
     
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  3. WickedKawaii

    WickedKawaii New Member

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    That actually helps me out a lot...As stupid as it sounds, since you managed to put it so simply. But, I always get to the drop and end up making it way different than the rest of the song. So working backwards from the drop might actually prevent me from getting stuck. Thanks man.
     
  4. Mania

    Mania i fukin wot m8

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    yeah starting with the chorus will help a lot wand make things go a lot smoother
     
  5. `Matt

    `Matt Member

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    I like to render all the song parts differently eg your drop, breakdown, intro, outro etc and have seperate audio files for each. then ill work on building around the audio file in a new project. saves having projects with 100+ tracks and is kinda refreshing having a clean slate to work on. also save and folder everything you make. not finishing tunes isnt really an issue imo as long as your learning/building your sound
     
  6. thedjnifty

    thedjnifty Well-Known Member

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    Have to disagree here buddy, the earlier you learn how to finish tunes the better. Otherwise you'll end up in the same boat as a lot of people and have fairly decent production skills and a nice defined sound developing but you've never finished a tune.. not good! No finished tunes means no releases so even when you're learning at the very beginning don't worry if you think your tune's a bit pants, just get it fully finished, because learning to do this is an art in itself and not one you should start trying to learn years and years down the line, trust me!
     
  7. `Matt

    `Matt Member

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    yh man, i know what your saying. its an area defiantly up for debate, personally i think too many people concentrate on trying to get releases to early, and miss out the sound design. ends up with the genre getting ever more stagnated and you not going yourself any favors, first impressions last etc. You defiantly do learn how to finish tunes tho, i just dont see it as a biggy if your finishing 1-100 if you creating loads of unique audio which can be used again. I do go though old tunes and render everything i like and folder it every so offer, so i guess you could almost say there just elaborate sound design sessions lasting a few days/weeks haha.

    My 2 cents
     
  8. thedjnifty

    thedjnifty Well-Known Member

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    It's definitely not about going for releases too early, to be honest I don't really see the point unless you're at a level where your tracks are good enough to get released on a pretty well known and respected label.

    Finishing 1/100 tunes though? Even if you are creating loads of unique audio what are you gonna use it for? A few select bits for the second tune you finish out of the next 100 you make?!

    You can have a hard drive full of the most amazing sounds / presets all painstakingly created by yourself over years and years but if you never learn how to finish a tune what's the point?
     
  9. smoothassilk

    smoothassilk Active Member

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    I don't think you need to know counterpoint, but like most theory, if you learn it, it'll help you improve faster. I wouldn't think counterpoint is important unless you're writing muliple eight bar melodies against classical style chord sequences, which don't come up too much in dnb. That's not to say they shouldn't, if you want to put counterpoint in it might sound really cool, if you did it in the right way.

    If you like you can roughly copy the structure of a track you like. Use different sounds, samples, etc, but do things like: the drums come in here so my drums will too, and there's a variation on the bass every fourth bar, so my bass will do something else every fourth bar too.
     
  10. BrewUp

    BrewUp New Member

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    I'm really stuck in a rut at the minute...

    I write the main up section, get my drums and bass to the point where I'm happy with them and then I just can't take the tune any further than that, which eventually just ends with me moving on to something else. I used to just keep throwing ideas into this 8 or 16 bar loop until there was way too much going on and then these extra bits and pieces would be moved and end up forming the other sections of the tracks, but that just ain't working out for me this time around...

    How do you guys move forward once you've got the main up section down??
     
  11. smoothassilk

    smoothassilk Active Member

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    I'm no expert at all, but I would say consider witholding some bits so you can add them in later. e.g: put your kick+ snare in the build up, then have the drop, then add in some FX, then add in the hi-hats/ride, instead of putting drums, bass, FX and ride in all at the drop and having nowhere to go from there.
    Make a simple little fill every four or eight bars.
    Also look at your drums and bass as instruments rather than loops: you can keep your same bass sound but play a different riff, rather than adding in some other part which just clutters the track. If you've got a wobble bass, make your main loop, then make a second loop with different midi notes and filter automation and switch between the two every 32 bars.

    You can copy structure ideas from your fav producers too, look at where they bring in parts in and out and also how individual parts are varied throughout a track.
     
    Last edited: Mar 20, 2014
  12. MARKLAR

    MARKLAR International Tracksuit Salesman

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    could make sample packs and sell em?
     
  13. thedjnifty

    thedjnifty Well-Known Member

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    Rock n roll ;)
     
  14. `Matt

    `Matt Member

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    1/100 is an exaggeration, was just making the point that its not a massive deal in my eyes . I wouldnt be fussed at all if i had a hard drive full of gold, if you have enjoied doing it its cool. Reckon you could make a bad ass pack aswell when/if you ever got bored of it all.

    Horses for courses really. were not gunna see eye to eye haha

    Edit: also in this age and age midi triggered loops and all that are gunna be getting more and more popular. could even use your audio in that way, could you not?
     
    Last edited: Mar 20, 2014
  15. thedjnifty

    thedjnifty Well-Known Member

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    I feel like we do not share the same goals..
     
  16. WickedKawaii

    WickedKawaii New Member

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    Thanks for the input guys! I'm not really too interested in making sounds for right now. Of course I do it time to time, especially when I get stuck on a song. But for right now I'm just trying to learn song composition so that I can make a song that sounds good regardless of what samples I use. Obviously samples,instruments, and all that are extremely important, but they don't mean anything if I can't use them...
     
  17. MARKLAR

    MARKLAR International Tracksuit Salesman

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    if you overthink it
    it wont be fun
    just go for it make anything you like

    a lot of my mates did music courses or studied music theory and they are either shit or dont enjoy making tunes
    so yeah dont be like them :teeth:
     
  18. Billy Phase

    Billy Phase New Member

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    Been trawling this site for months and never posted so first things first; mad respect to all the regulars, great community vibe and incredible pool of knowledge…

    Having a similar issue atm with composition / finishing tunes, building the busiest section first and then stripping it back for intro/breakdown etc makes perfect sense in my head though in practice I always lose it around the halfway mark. Been researching this over the past couple days and literally just found the following post on another site.

    Credit to the OP Brendan Brady

    *** apparently is too long for one reply so… Part 1

    “My favourite trick is the doubling technique - the only tunes I've made and liked have been done this way (and it's how things like Modus Operandi were written afaik)

    I actually hate thinking about music as layers on a horizontal timeline - it really messes with the way I hear things and makes me tire of things very quickly

    So in the doubling method, you start with a simple loop that you like ... you then copy/paste it once, so you've gone from a 2 bar loop to a 4 bar loop, and add a variation or element ... double it up again, so you've got an 8 bar loop, and do the same thing

    Eventually you get to maybe a 128 or 256 bar loop, and you can then edit it a bit more broadly and stick an intro and outro on”

    - - - Updated - - -

    Part 2…

    “Main thing is, at every stage, you're only thinking about the track being as long as it is ... You might add a variation to the snare pattern on the 2 bar loop; double it up to 4 and decide it gets tiresome the second time around; so you take the variation out on the 4th bar ... You build and think and use your imagination and judgement at every stage ... You might have a 32 bar loop, and decide that the 2nd 16 bars need a pad to come in - so you add an element ... and the whole arrangement sort of intelligently constructs itself, an evolves like a fractal out of your original loop

    And the best thing is you never really go from loop to arrangement, you just keep working on the loop ... Sit down at your sequencer: double it up ... It's simple ... And you can have 50 projects on the go at once and just chip away at them

    Tunes I've done this way have definitely had a flow and in-the-moment quality, because I know that every change and idea has basically suggested itself, and influenced every other change and idea ... and you may find you began writing your track from the middle, or from the end, and it only becomes clear as you progress”
     
  19. `Matt

    `Matt Member

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    agreed
     
  20. WickedKawaii

    WickedKawaii New Member

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    I'll have to give that a shot actually. I never really thought about it like that. What about chord progressions? Well...I guess with those you kind of just lay those out, and then build everything else on top of it.

    Anyways, thanks for the post man. It's good when we actually get different techniques in one place, so we can look at them all at once. That way, you don't have to just stick to one technique all the way through a song; you can use the doubling technique for part of the song, and then whatever else we can come up with for the other parts. I find knowing your options to be extremely important when composing a complete song.