Writing music? How to get started?

Aug 04

Writing music? How to get started?

Posted by Max Fischer on

Is anyone here musical? If you were just starting out writing songs and had NO MUSICAL experience how would you go about getting started?

I figure if I can't find any decent music outside of the Strokes I better start making my own.. they say when you are studying film, and can't stand watching other people's movies, you are ready to start making your own.. I think that's what's happened with the Strokes.. I went to music school with Julian.. now I'm ready to go out and spawn..

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Very Cool Link, Preggers.

The Strokes are kind of like the the Doors 2.0. Not just because of Jules' and his half poetic poetic, half crazy lyrics ; but also in the mathamatical arrangements of the songs.

The Strokes have different instruments fading in and out; complimenting each other and the vocals, they don't all just play on top of each other like most rock bands. It's almost arranged like classical music in a lot of ways. Bach rock. :lol:

Thank you! What an incredible quote.. though I suspect that is Julian's genius that made his method work.. how cool would it be if everyone did the same thing and they could turn inot musical geniuses too. haha

That obsessive drive is probably why it worked for him.. he wanted it so bad.

Got it from an old Strokes profile in the British publication THE OBSERVER. The original article is still online at this address: http://www.guardian.co.uk/theobserver/2001/dec/16/life1.lifemagazine5

Julian's full quote (about halfway in the article) I referred to is:

[i]'My stepdad sent me this tape of The Best of The Doors,' he remembers. 'That night I stayed in my room and just played it over and over again. I listened really intensely to every instrument, to every word, to the way the choruses fit and then - poof! - all of a sudden it was like The Matrix. It all fell into place. Sounds kind of corny, I realise, but I knew then how music was built.'[/i]

That's so fucking awsome Preggers.. where did you get that info?

Thank you for that.

Maybe I have been doing the same thing listening to the Strokes over and over and over haha.. that's the only music I want to listen to or can listen to..

While living on the beach following his graduation from UCLA, Jim Morrison started making up melodies to accompany his "poems" just as a way of not forgetting the words, and then realized he was almost-accidentally writing songs. He never did learn an instrument, never even thought of singing before Ray Manzarek suggested it.

Julian Casablancas said he learned to write largely from listening to "The Doors: Greatest Hits" over and over, and after repeat listens his grasp of songwriting coalesced in his brain (his words) "like THE MATRIX."

Thanks Mia!

at my case, i have to be emotionally dead.
when something happens, i put it on the paper, but it sounds shitty. it has emotions, but that's the only thing it has. than, when you get into that cold phase (yes, the world is coming down, my friends left me, he/she/it dumped me, my parents are having a nervous breakdown and it's raining whole week, blablablabla- don't give a fuck) you return to that paper and give shape to those first, pathetic lines you wrote. and than, after some work, you can call it a song (of course ,it doesn't necessarily mean you can call it a good song).
i play piano, and it seems to me it's a little bit harder to make music (that i like) that way. my dad has a studio and all that stuffs, but i don't like it like that. when you already have a song, than you can go on fucking around.

and one more thing- DON'T listen to music you like couple hours before you start making your own, you won't be able to avoid huge number of similarities and your creativity will be on the extreme low level.
i swear I'll give it back tomorrow
but for now I think that I'll just borrow
all the chords from that song
and all the words from that other song I heard
yesterday

;)

How funny.. that's cool.

Reminds me of Julian saying he only listened to a couple albums when he made Is This It.. it's amazing how people can absorb stuff.. then it mutates.. very cool.

the Twin Peaks soundtrack is one of my favourite albums ever....not sure I had it in mind when I was making a specific track but they all rub off on you

Very cool, Knowing You. Finally got to listen to it. First the file site was don then this site was down. hah

I did like the most recent one so that's shows you are making good progress. It's very inspirational to listen to something someone you know created.. shows you it's possible. Hey, are you a fan of Twin Peaks or david Lynch? I thought the beginning of So long Shlubs reminded me of angelo badalamenti .. very cool.. Your stuff also reminded me of Bjork a little bit.. she's one of my faves.. thanks for posting your stuff!

yeah Reason is great software, but it's a steep learning curve so just be patient with it

Sweet, knowing you... I will check those out.. I got a keyboard and some software yesterday.. here's the keyboard I got..

http://www.musiconmypc.co.uk/maudio-keyrig-49-keyboard-and-software-p-32...

I got a cheap one and expensive software to use with it because I heard this keyboards software was terrible. But the important thing is the software anyway someone told me so I figured I would put more money into that. I got Reason 4.. which is pricey.. but you can do a ton of stuff with it.

[quote="julia06"]
haha i still have some of your old stuff saved on my old computer on iTunes![/quote]

Oh god, I can only assume it's awful.

[quote="Max Fischer"]
Hey, thanks KnowingYou. Someone was telling me about Fruity Loops.. and Reason 4. I have been researchign those today. You should post your stuff I would like to check it out. It would be inspirational![/quote]

I just finished [url=http://www.mediafire.com/?qz8j2ryu8qk]this one[/url] so listen away

and two old ones:
http://www.mediafire.com/?zcno4uujiit
http://www.mediafire.com/?3duye51utv4

and a Radiohead remix:
http://www.mediafire.com/?rbolrgyiaib

Plenty more where that came from

if its guitar you want to play, maybe start just learning some scales and stuff and messing about with them. Get some simple chord progressions down or even just play to the radio or whatever using what you've learnt from the scales. Alberts solos are mainly blues scale orientainted so maybe try a bit of that. It's a bit tedious learning all this stuff but it's worth it.

Hope this helps.

Do you play an instrument?
what do you play or are you wanting to play?

ik can pyla polliuy wolly diookldle wisjth myh arimkpit ../

when i started to get the urges of music and i want to write it, i started to make simple catchy tunes in my mind and then i would write it down on paper along with the lyrics. after that a friend of mine told me he wanted to make a band. i asked if i could join and he said sure. after that happened i ended up to be the main writer.. the materieal was good bt not great. i knew what i was talking about and i would humm or sing out the parts to my fellow band member of how the song would go. but after 3 months i decided to pick up the guitar. i went to my local wal-mart and bought a first act acoustic. i had no fucking idea what to do or what each string meant. but i read the little insttructional paper that came with the guitar , after all it only said how to tune the guitar. the first 5 months i tought myself how to play guitar and i learned many songs by ear. then i found out about tabs. and i was ike WHOO~!!!
2 years later im in the same band. and i have really found the language of music and how it works with no formal teaching. just experience and really researching shit online and with ppl. but i know if i want to be a better musician i must study music at a higher level such as theory and chord progression. wether ppl like to admit it or not. thats what makes you a much better musican. and that is what im aiming for soon. i hope to make it big with my band and i have gained my full respect to the strokes for have making it so far.

[quote="Max Fischer"][quote]

[img]http://www.blogmeanies.com/wp-content/uploads/2008/04/jimi-hendrix-poster.jpeg[/img]

yeah, ok. :roll:[/quote]

Elle... I was talking about the people who take lessons aren't any good. :D[/quote]

lol, i wasn't replying to you there!

the whole structure and formal-ness of piano lessons put me right off the idea so i just taught myself guitar and now i'm in a band and it's all good... but my uni are trying to make me take guitar lessons now for some retarded compulsory reason.

You know, as someone who went through the same thing a while ago, I'll tell you how it went for me.

I wanted to write songs long before I played any instrument, and I didn't want lessons. I didn't even like playing anything or learning it, I found them far too frustrating. I tried writing some things, but found it was near impossible to translate into writing or tell other people about without any musical experience. This turned me off big time, and I pretty much gave up. About two years later, I decided to pick up the guitar again, this time getting "lessons" from my father and brother (not formal lessons). I now love playing and writing, and have picked up bass, drums, trying vocals, and keys. By this point, I'd say some form of musical experience is somewhat necessary, even if it's just practicing lyricism. Also, what I've found throughout my many years of playing is that I have far more trouble writing when I'm TRYING too hard to write. When I sit back, relax, and play, some sort of inspiration will find its way to me, and before I know it I'll have something noteworthy written. Don't get too focused on writing or you'll get a writer's block, just have fun, and draw inspiration from things most people would overlook.

Hope that helps!

[quote="knowing you"][quote="Max Fischer"]Is there some PC program that makes your PC into a keyboard or something? That would rock.. you could create some sounds and music on there..
[/quote]

There are lots of Digital Audio Workstations (DAW) that allow you to make music from your computer using soft synths, drum sequencers, that kind of thing. You don't need any knowledge of music theory (but it really does help). The one I use is called FL Studio, which is the one I started using about 2 years ago. I always said I'd move on to something better but in the end I never did. If you have a Mac you can use a program called Logic which is meant to be pretty great, or even Apples own GarageBand. Other ones include Sonar, Cubase, Acid Pro.

It takes a while to learn how it all works but I taught myself everything. I mainly just make (bad) ambient music, techno, that kinda stuff, but it's fun to mess around with since I haven't got the patience to learn the guitar and I only seem to be able to play classical stuff on the piano. You can find pirated torrents of all these programs on any decent torrent site[/quote]

Hey, thanks KnowingYou. Someone was telling me about Fruity Loops.. and Reason 4. I have been researchign those today. You should post your stuff I would like to check it out. It would be inspirational!

[quote="knowing you"][quote="Max Fischer"]Is there some PC program that makes your PC into a keyboard or something? That would rock.. you could create some sounds and music on there..
[/quote]

There are lots of Digital Audio Workstations (DAW) that allow you to make music from your computer using soft synths, drum sequencers, that kind of thing. You don't need any knowledge of music theory (but it really does help). The one I use is called FL Studio, which is the one I started using about 2 years ago. I always said I'd move on to something better but in the end I never did. If you have a Mac you can use a program called Logic which is meant to be pretty great, or even Apples own GarageBand. Other ones include Sonar, Cubase, Acid Pro.

It takes a while to learn how it all works but I taught myself everything. I mainly just make (bad) ambient music, techno, that kinda stuff, but it's fun to mess around with since I haven't got the patience to learn the guitar and I only seem to be able to play classical stuff on the piano. You can find pirated torrents of all these programs on any decent torrent site[/quote]

haha i still have some of your old stuff saved on my old computer on iTunes!

[quote="Max Fischer"]Is there some PC program that makes your PC into a keyboard or something? That would rock.. you could create some sounds and music on there..
[/quote]

There are lots of Digital Audio Workstations (DAW) that allow you to make music from your computer using soft synths, drum sequencers, that kind of thing. You don't need any knowledge of music theory (but it really does help). The one I use is called FL Studio, which is the one I started using about 2 years ago. I always said I'd move on to something better but in the end I never did. If you have a Mac you can use a program called Logic which is meant to be pretty great, or even Apples own GarageBand. Other ones include Sonar, Cubase, Acid Pro.

It takes a while to learn how it all works but I taught myself everything. I mainly just make (bad) ambient music, techno, that kinda stuff, but it's fun to mess around with since I haven't got the patience to learn the guitar and I only seem to be able to play classical stuff on the piano. You can find pirated torrents of all these programs on any decent torrent site

I have no idea what you're talking about. I'm not a troll just because you didn't like the answers to my questions.

And for the record, Jimi Hendrix did take some guitar lessons when he was young.

I don't know what happened.. Celtic was feeling lonely, I guess, so I gave him some negative attention. I think it did the trick! :D

He gave me a great idea for a song though. ;)

what the hell, you all are obtuse!!!! lol, where did this thread lead to...

[quote="Celtic Thunder"]"Most" is a qualifier. And Jimi still picked up a guitar. Max here is sitting on the internet more concerned about his myspace recordings than about the music itself.[/quote]

Troll.

Do you need attention that fucking bad? lol

I feel sorry for you now..

[quote="Celtic Thunder"]Why are you being such a shit? You said you didn't have musical experience. I advised you to get some.[/quote]

You are good at being obtuse.. it comes really natural to you I am sure.. :lol:

[quote]

[img]http://www.blogmeanies.com/wp-content/uploads/2008/04/jimi-hendrix-poster.jpeg[/img]

yeah, ok. :roll:[/quote]

Elle... I was talking about the people who take lessons aren't any good. :D

Why are you being such a shit? You said you didn't have musical experience. I advised you to get some.

Then thanks for the great info Celtic.. very insightful.. I never would have realized taking lessons for music makes you a good musician.. you are a visionary thinker.. :lol:

"Most" is a qualifier. And Jimi still picked up a guitar. Max here is sitting on the internet more concerned about his myspace recordings than about the music itself.

[quote="Celtic Thunder"][quote="elledriver"][quote="Celtic Thunder"]Take lessons. How would you feel about a band whose members never took guitar lessons?[/quote]

lol, a lot of bands are comprised of autodidactic folks that never took lessons.[/quote]

And most of them aren't any good.[/quote]

[img]http://www.blogmeanies.com/wp-content/uploads/2008/04/jimi-hendrix-poster.jpeg[/img]

yeah, ok. :roll:

What the hell are you talking about? I'm not being obtuse. The best way to get good at composing music is by learning how to play it. You don't know how much you don't know until you learn about chord progressions from someone who's spent his whole life studying them.

Or you could learn 3 chords off Ramones tabs.

Where's your music.. let me be the judge..

Face it.. you were being obtuse.. I'll give you some attention if you want.. you don't have to work so hard for it next time.. just ask nicely.

I told you the best way to learn how to write and perform music. I was taught how to compose music, write lyrics, and perform by people who worked with Dylan and Lennon. Surely that's better than teaching yourself how to play piano on your computer keyboard?

[quote="Celtic Thunder"]You asked questions and I gave you good answers. You just want people to tell you that you can cut corners.[/quote]

So you thought I didn't realize you could go to school to learn music?

I'm not cutting corners.. I'm cutting out the middle man..

You gave answers.. but not good ones.. :lol:

Better than nothing though! I guess!

You asked questions and I gave you good answers. You just want people to tell you that you can cut corners.

[quote="Celtic Thunder"][quote="elledriver"][quote="Celtic Thunder"]Take lessons. How would you feel about a band whose members never took guitar lessons?[/quote]

lol, a lot of bands are comprised of autodidactic folks that never took lessons.[/quote]

And most of them aren't any good.[/quote]

Most the people who study music suck too.. :D

The problems with schools too is that if you go to school or learn from someone els you come out making the shit everyone else makes..

I think you are making it more complex than it really is Celtic.. taking the fun out if it.. :lol:

You don't have to know what you are doing to have fun.. it's like sex.. no one taught you how to do that.. but you still did it anyway,.. and it was still good! haha

[quote="elledriver"][quote="Celtic Thunder"]Take lessons. How would you feel about a band whose members never took guitar lessons?[/quote]

lol, a lot of bands are comprised of autodidactic folks that never took lessons.[/quote]

And most of them aren't any good.

[quote="Celtic Thunder"]Take lessons. How would you feel about a band whose members never took guitar lessons?[/quote]

lol, a lot of bands are comprised of autodidactic folks that never took lessons.

Or you could just learn how to play keyboards. That is, if you intend to make music you can play live, and not just upload to a myspace page.

You need to have a structural arrangement in mind before you start writing a song.

Thanks Elisha.. that does help a lot because I don't even know how you get started. So that does help a lot. Doesn't Julian use a keyboard to write his songs?

Is there some PC program that makes your PC into a keyboard or something? That would rock.. you could create some sounds and music on there..

haha.. I sound so retarded.. haha

baby steps.. baby steps..

All I can say is if youre trying to write music, just write everything down like in a journal, all your feelings, emotions, experiences, people, etc. Come up with a lot of stuff and at the end just try to put those ideas fluently together in a song that kinda rhymes that includes verses and a chorus. Also when writing, try to write with the instruments in the back of your mind and how it will all sound together. Good songs usually have a killer hook, so maybe start with that and try to perfect the hook of the song, hope this helps at all......

I like to teach myself how to do stuff though.. for example I like to sculpt. When I first got into sculpting I just went and bought some clay and started fucking around with it..

in my experience when you go to school a lot of times it takes the fun out of it.. and fucks you up more than anything.. especially with myself.. that's just how I roll..

But visual arts come more naturally to me I think.. so that's why it is kind of weird for me to wrap my head around getting started with music..

writing poetry doesn't come naturally to me either.. but it's weird.. all of a sudden I feel some music percolating in me. gestating.. but I can't get it out!

Take lessons. How would you feel about a band whose members never took guitar lessons?