Bad songwriting habits?

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  • @mistermann  1 week

    When you write your songs, what bad habits creep in and make your song difficult to record?

    Me, no matter how conscientious I try to be I still find myself writing melody lines with more jumps than a hurdle race. And for a bonus I usually put things RIGHT at my vocal break. Then I wonder why I can’t get a nice-sounding vocal take 🤦‍♂️

  • @haim  1 week

    Perfectionism is my enemy right now. I want it to sound very good, but I am still not there, especially not in Fawm time table, so I just need to finish songs with what I have in time for the end of February.

  • @jessi14  1 week

    @Haim , same here. Just to critical with myself sometimes. Then I try to remember that this is supposed to be fun!

  • @thelostcartographer  1 week

    Rhyming couplets. So many rhyming couplets.

  • @adforperu  1 week

    lose interest far too early into the process - I just want it done and out of the way half way through

  • @skipscada  1 week

    Thinking "this isn't as good as <<insert one of my favourite tracks by world famous artist>>, so I'm not going to post it".

    Starting the recording stage without having finished the songwriting phase, and starting the mixing stage before finishing the recording stage.

  • @leah0k  1 week

    I tend to write music and melody first and then I feel like it takes longer to write lyrics to fit every syllable that has already cemented itself into my brain! Is that backwards? I feel like it must be backwards...

  • @rainchaser  1 week

    - Whether I should keep this part or not on the first song.
    - Every word has to sound good.
    - Writing a chord progression that needs to resolve
    - whether I should rewrite the melody pattern or not
    - shortening the syllabel count to fit with the chord progression.
    - when coming up for lyrics, going against my mind's suggestions.
    - writing shorter lyrics is better for fitting the chord progressions.
    - not thinking of myself when writing lyrics.

  • @mikeb 1 week

    Way too many words per line. I have to make a real conscious effort to keep things briefer.

  • @tseaver  1 week

    @leah0k Yup! I think I can count the number of songs where I've successfully fit lyrics to an already completed instrumental on the fingers of one hand (versus starting with a musical idea).

    My worst habit of late seems to be working out an arrangment on guitar / banjo without regard for the key that I should be singing in, and then recording that anyway, as though touching a capo would send me into anaphlyactic shock or something.

  • @klaus  1 week

    @leah0k I almost always do melody and music first. After that I don't want to change the melody at all. But sometimes I do change it a little bit.

    Anyway, fitting the lyrics to a melody is actually one the most traditional way of doing things. The other way is to write the lyrics first, but even then the lyrics have to have matching verses or A and B sections etc, to have the same syllable count and have the stresses fall in the same place. That takes time too.

    This was the Tin Pan Alley way of doing things, the Irving Berlin, Cole Porter and George & Ira Gershwin way of doing things.

    I think you are doing it the right way alright.

  • @stevenwesleyguiles  1 week

    Playing the same three or four chords over and over (but in different keys). I have to force myself to break out by using a chord progression from an existing song. A progression I wouldn't normally play.

  • @suzimuzi 1 week

    My overriding automatic rhyming engine always kicks in. I need to write less rhyming lyrics!!!

  • @moonraccoon  1 week

    I always wait for inspiration, which is the opposite of just about all the advice out there. I never force it. Because when I do force it, it's crap. Every single time. Oh well.

  • @quintonbarnes  1 week

    Repeating lyrics with slight variations because I'm lazy.

  • @aneil 1 week

    Static structure v1chorus v2 chorus bridge chorus and been too wordy and not repetitive enough

  • @lvgd09  1 week

    @leah0k It definitely is harder for me that way. However, I want to be able to write lyrics to melody when needed. There may be a balance between doing it both ways.
    @klaus Interesting and I will try working off of melody today.

  • @sapient  1 week

    I like 180 - 210bpm too much...

  • @dragondreams  1 week

    @sapient - I just sprayed milk all over my keyboard! 😁

  • @candle  1 week

    @dragondreams & @sapient , that's too funny 😁

    Anyway, I think I catch myself using the same modus operati way too often. My hands fall into the same positions on the fret board way too often. I use the same reverb & other effect settings way too often.

    I need to break out of my safe shell more often.

    Maybe I need to write a song at 210 BPM. If it works for @sapient , it could work for me, right?

    See You In The Shadows…

  • @dragondreams  1 week

    @candle - go for it! What's the worst that could happen? 😂😎😉

  • @candle  1 week

    @dragondreams : A pile of $#!t rolling down a hill way too fast 😉

    See You In The Shadows…

  • @sapient  1 week

    Tell you what then @candle... Let's do a really simple BPM swap challenge!
    You pick somewhere between 180 and 220, and in return,you give me one that you would typically fall into. Oh, and I should tell you that around about 140 is my mortal enemy. Nothing works for me at that tempo. Nothing, I tell ya.
    But hey, if your top default tempo happens to be 138 then I'm game 😎

  • @candle  1 week

    Alright @sapient , I'm game. I'll hit up 210 BPM & you give a go at 127 BPM (the default BPM in my DAW - that I often neglect to even look at never mind change). Meet back here later to compare results?

    See You In The Shadows…

  • @dragondreams  1 week

    Where's the like button? 😉
    @candle @sapient - gimme a heads-up if this swap happens. I have to hear the results!

  • @candle  1 week

    I'm sure @sapient & I can keep you in the loop @dragondreams 😀

    See You In The Shadows…

  • @spingo  1 week

    I need to tighten up my scansion - I have overhanging "the"s etc. all over the place.

    I'm not a singer, really, so I'm certain I flatten melodies that really should go up higher or lower and maybe they do in my head but I get used to how they come out of my mouth.

  • @boyatheart  1 week

    Writing the same song that I've already written before and not realising it until it's pretty much finished.

  • @radioovermoscow 1 week

    I write melodies on the keyboard usually, resulting in tunes I can't sing. Thank god for Melodyne! But I do need to start offloading those tunes onto instruments and coming up with simpler vocal lines.

    My other bad habit is dropping from a major chord to the minor, or dropping from the root note to the one below it, to give it that unsettled feeling. I must have used that trick in about 20 different songs now...

  • @cblack  1 week

    Too much repetition, I think. I get halfway through a song and then think, "copy paste". It's rare for me to have something new appear in the latter 1/3 of a song...

  • @timfatchen  1 week

    Favourite chord progressions and a tendency to write in Cm/Eb, or Em/G, or Dm

  • @ustaknow 1 week

    Paying to much attention to what is "liked", then keeping in that vein. Heck, I'm absolutely not doing "this", life long, to "sell" them. For me, the greatest way to not "get liked", so to speak, -- plastic top-40.

    So, anyway, what I did this last song, and not yet posted, I don't think it is... anyway... I had a lyric and every phrase change, I went to the Fifth of the last chord played and proceeded as the new Key. I've done that previously but never with the intent to not stop and come back 😀

    I think, I got to the third change, and then kinda had to come back. But, arguably, it worked 😝

    And outta da box I went...

  • @sapient  1 week

    OK @candle and @dragondreams, here's me hacking away at 127bpm 😉

  • @headfirstonly  1 week

    I-IV-V blues progressions. They're like crack. Can't stop. 😀

  • @candle  1 week

    And to share my half of the challenge as well, @sapient & @dragondreams . I present this little EDM thingy (I know, me doing EDM, WTF right?)

    See You In The Shadows…

  • @philkmills  1 week

    Everything is a ballad. Every note must have a syllable sung when it is played.

  • @philkmills  1 week

    @boyatheart Aaarghh! Yes! One year I actually wrote a song about doing that. 😀

  • @dragondreams  1 week

    @candle - @sapient
    Jolly well played, the pair of you!
    And in my self-appointed role of arbiter to that challenge (arrogant bass-playery-type that I am), I declare it a draw!
    Both tracks are awesome in their own right. And I love the humour and camaraderie behind the whole thing.

  • @candle  1 week

    @dragondreams & @sapient

    It was a pleasure. Thank you both for being such good sports!

    See You In The Shadows…

  • @jongold 1 week

    - IV-I-V choruses
    - rhyming couplets
    - have verses I love but no inspiration for choruses, and vice versa (but I'm getting better at this)
    - turning the initial seed (or even a developed verse / chorus) into a full song. I think I might be overthinking this though - I tend to want to go for relatively long songs and I need to remind myself that two short verses is fine!

  • @stickyfingers 1 week

    - sticking to unadventurous chord changes that I know to be "safe"
    - not finishing songs, often abandoning them after the first verse and chorus
    - either putting too much effort into the music or into the lyrics, not properly balancing

  • @stickyfingers 1 week

    @timfatchen ah I do that too! I have a tendency to always try to write music in the key of Eb. I consider it the 'magic key'

  • @timfatchen  1 week

    @stickyfingers Ha! _!_ used to run in Em, that being the magic power chord of Guitar For Incompetents, but I can't hit high G easily now, so I slid down to Cm/Eb. it just...fits the fingers on a piano. A honey-trap!

  • @mistermann  1 week

    @jongold Go verse-verse-verse! I actually started that way in FAWM because it saves precious time sorting out an alternating structure. I love the snot out of some of those songs and other people did too.

  • @mistermann  1 week

    “Everything is a ballad. Every note must have a syllable sung when it is played.”


  • @kenjku 1 week

    Finishing lyrics or have trouble finding the words to a melody. Finding which key I should use for a melody with a capo haha. I can be a perfectionist with writing so that slows me down. But I’m trying to keep in mind just have fun and go with it

  • @loveonamixtape  1 week

    - adding in a verse or bridge that overly explains the whole idea of the song. I've gotten WAY better at this and giving my lyrics more "space" and trusting them more, but I have to watch myself still from adding in some stanza that's basically "YOU SEE THE BIRDS ARE A METAPHOR FOR MY SADNESS"
    - Too many words to a line sometimes. I like to play with different word sounds, rhymes and rhythms, and sometimes it's almost like a challenge to see how I can navigate a verse full of words, but goodness knows I push it a lot.
    - Ha, too many words in general! I often can come up with a Really Good Line that would benefit from being repeated over and over or at least revisited more than once, but instead I create a whole complex narrative scaffolding around the idea or story of the line and maybe get back to what could/should be the hook, like, maybe twice.

  • @complexissimple 6 days

    I noticed during 50/90 that I was writing everything right at the bottom of my vocal range, which is not only a strain for me to sing but leaves me feeling like I haven't gotten to *really* sing during the whole challenge. The singing should be half the fun!
    I also have a tendency to work on/practice the same melody bit too much all at once and wear out that part of my voice before I get to recording.

  • @evinwolverton  6 days

    Getting too comfy with your chord library. Use more 7ths. Use more 13ths. More augs. Yeah, you (me).

  • @elliottlawrence 6 days

    I hate writing lyrics, so I end up writing lyrics that don't have enough words, so my melodies tend to have a lot of long drawn out syllables. To anyone who's good at lyrics, props to you! Figuring out words that fit the beat, make sense, and possibly rhyme is difficult!

  • @coolparadiso  6 days

    Sometimes i run out of steam! I have 2 3 4 good verses then i just want to finish dont have great 4 5 6 at that time and it leaves it open to weak or poor finishes.

  • @wobbiewobbit  6 days

    I-IV-V, same cadences (can you even have a punch line on anything other than V-I?) always going to IV for the bridge, some bad habits I embrace as trademarks. @klaus's comment that the syllables must be the same is something i have totally abandoned and just try and get the stresses in the "right" place and it have a natural phrasing/flow, and sometimes i make a feature of it not fitting at all and break out of the structure completely, sometimes that gets the most "i like that bit" comments. another bad-habit-turned-into-a-trade-mark is repeating words consecutively (eg is it "really really really that long ago?" and "my seats are very very very very hairy") i think a lot of our bad habits can be idiosyncrasies that make our stuff OUR stuff. one practical bad habit i have is not writing the chords down when i have finished a song and having to work it out when i come back to it. i vowed to write them down this year, it's not hard surely, but so far i havent done that.

  • @twyllodrus 6 days

    We tend to write about animals or strange fruit all the time. Then, no one understands. This is sad.

  • @dasbinky  6 days

    For what it's worth, most of these sound less like bad habits and more like personal style. Push your boundaries when you want, but let yourself be you.

    "Man, I have to kill a guy whenever I use three different lines that try to rhyme with 'say'" is a bad habit. "I use I-IV-V too often" just means your write songs like the rest of us.

  • @scottlake  6 days

    All of the above, except for @sapients bpm.

  • @wobbiewobbit  6 days

    wise words @dasbinky 😀

  • @pearlmanhattan  6 days

    @dasbinky I laughed so hard. Thank you. Perspective is a good thing.

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