Different types of songs, based on starting instrument/lyric?

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  • @siebass  7 weeks

    I find in songwriting for me, when I start with my acoustic guitar, I'll get certain types of songs, that are different from if I start with my bass, my electric guitar, drums, keyboards, or synths, when building a song. When I start on a given instrument, the track usually keeps what I started with as a central focus for the riff or melodic line. I am also often pleasantly surprised by how different the songs are when I start off with, say, my drums or bass, instead of my go-to acoustic guitar. I also start some songs from lyrics as well, and I end up with songs in a variety of genres, very different from if I start with a riff on an instrument and build from there.

    How does it work for you all? When you start with a different instrument, do you get different kinds of songs? When you start with lyrics, do you trend towards certain types of songs?

  • @johnstaples  7 weeks

    Usually I start with guitar but lately I've been more experimental! This FAWM I tried out some drums and elements from India and came up with one of my favorite songs, https://fawm.org/songs/116793/

  • @nadine 7 weeks

    Well, I have a vision and start with the most striking element. In "Wrench in the works" It was that drum pattern, in "Going my way" the piano, in "Pyromancer" the gurdy etc.Then I build the arrangement around this until I matched my vision.

  • @andygetch  7 weeks

    Initial disclaimer I feel like I do find differences when I start with lyrics compared to a chord progression. On guitar in fingerstyle I tend to have a melody based on chord notes. Strumming I gravitate to the root note. MIDI keyboard takes me to all sorts of places. Uke, banjo, mandolin, cello, or dulcimer anything goes. Slide is rare for me and goes to odd places. I rarely start with a melody but it is usually when I hear someone else singing the song in my head, weird huh?, and always different when I do.

  • @chipwithrow  7 weeks

    Good questions, good answers so far.
    For the past several months, my go-to instrument for writing has mostly been ukulele. For many years before, it was acoustic guitar.
    The first instrument I learned, as a kid, was piano. Last FAWM, I decided to do mainly piano songs. They wound up being mostly piano songs that could also be played on guitar.
    One FAWM years ago, I tried writing lyrics first for most songs. But I think melodically - when lyrics come to me, there is usually a tune, too.
    I've written banjo songs, mandolin songs, a cappella songs, even harmonium songs. Most of them wind up being songs I could also play on guitar - but in all different genres. I can do funk on a banjo and blues on a harmonium.

  • @yam655  7 weeks

    The easiest way I know to get different types of songs is to vary the tempo. A 30 BPM song is guaranteed to be radically different than a 130 BPM song, even if everything else is the same. Changing the key can also help, but when folks change instruments to change key... it can be a lot easier to just change the tempo.

    I usually (but not always) start with lyrics and melody. I like to think I've managed a variety of different styles of music even when it all starts with the same process. There are definitely impacts, though, as my usual lyrics+melody approach rarely has much space for instrumental breaks.

  • @ustaknow 6 weeks

    Another great topic by mr sie..., for "me", since you ask 😀 - if I don't get some-kind of body high when I play something, first-pass, one-take, it does not get developed.

    This, what I say, is part of another conversation not happening here, but in terms of the op thesis. It keeps me from having stuff being engaged, that people hear, - has no "soul" in it, to it, the feel of it.
    - When I look at my BC page, if even not great stuff, so diverse, and beyond my understanding. (So may "feelings", and *opinions we have as "songwriters"?, or thought diary journaling folks? Thought police anyone 😀 hahhh!)

    I've engaged this topic with a number of friends, over time, - they are, all, very accomplished, but for some, no soul, stiff, and I hear it, (and they asked, what's possibly wrong, so hard to tell). They say, they feel *nothing when playing, - they're just laying bricks, playing, what else?

    As some may understand ? and was discussing with someone just recently, the first time I was playing a 1/2 stack, in a close, closed venue via 100w amp, I wet my pants from the body high I got from the controlled feedback, clear tone I was getting and just could not let go of it, until "done" done 😀
    (I hope there's some guitar player here who gets that? If not, oh well 😀 )

    Some say to that, "wtf"?
    - Yeah, well, explain the color Red to someone, even w/o having any "vision" (?) issues 😉 It effects/affect/fx you, or it don't 😀 Punk Rock, Elevator Muzak?

    So, it's not the instrument, or even the lyric, and why I try to capture the "all" of the moment (for "me"), - since if don't, the lyric or lead-sheet will be like ancient greek later on, as to what I was thinking at the time, - lost, if the sense memory is not captured.

    Try to play a song from a "Fake Book" you've never heard, if even has token, word/melody spoken word Notation. It'll sound like dog-scheit and you'll write your own music if like the words, - or, what I do, esp with pub dom!

    And tso, derUgo! 😀

  • @zecoop  6 weeks

    Yeah @siebass - great starter! I purposefully try to start songs without different instruments and in different ways (DAW versus 4/8-track cassette) to give me different and interesting results. Since I don’t write lyrics, I don’t ever have any idea where a song is going to go or sound like in the end, which I love. I have really enjoyed writing songs to a ‘song’ written on drums first. It can be hard to count measures correctly while drumming and composing on the fly, but those inconsistencies and ‘mistakes’ often become the more interesting parts, it can be nice transition measures. There isn’t a bad way to write a song - just different ways and I enjoy trying lots of methods!

  • @dzdandcunfsd  6 weeks

    Great topic! This is a big yes from me. I don't always end up with a different sounding song per se, but it's usually one particular instrument or even just an effect or one sound in particular that triggers an idea. So it will always be leaning towards that catalyst being the driving factor in the outcome.

    Like @ustaknow said I too usually try to capture the whole thing in one sitting as it will all have its own mood and I've always felt that was important to capture, or things do tend to come out if not fully souless definitely devoid of something at least to my ears.

    @zecoop I don't ever count when just doing drums first, or guitar/piano much for that matter, but I tend to have an internal clock that tends to work itself out more on guitar/piano and will tend to fall into a pretty recognizable tried and true pattern than it does on drums, but I tend to love the things most that I started with a drum or percussion track on for that same reason you stated.

  • @estebanlartigue  6 weeks

    it happens to me as well. like my guitar songs are more fun, but my piano songs are more ballady

    also in the past sometimes I start a song with 1 instrument, make 1 take. then next week for fun I just play it in a different instrument and i found out a different depth of the same song and it gives me ideas.

  • @coolparadiso  6 weeks

    Never really thought but maybe its because i normally write lyrics first. I then “think music” and the kind of music my brain says usually determines the instrument i pick up. If i do pick up instrument i think it would effect the style of music.

  • @zecoop  6 weeks

    @dzdandcunfsd - Right on! When i do the zecoopdrums for FAWM, I use a click, because I am TRYING to be nice to people. lol. That said, I know that I swing and sway on and off the click. 😉

    When i record drums first songs for myself, I don't use a click and they definitely feel have that human feel with give and take. Beyond that, I love that I often end up with uneven parts - 3 times through on the second verse, or an extra measure here and there. Straight-forward songs have their place, but I find it more fun to have some adventures. As you do - so cheers to you!!

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