Writing A Song – Part 2

Ok.  I picked up the guitar and somehow settled on this as the basic chord progression for the verse…

E  C#m7  A  B

I really don’t know how I came up with those chords other than its a fairly common chord progression and I was trying to come up with a key that I can sing in.  As soon as I came up with the chords, the next thing that popped in my head was how I wanted to play this rhythmically.  Should it be acoustic strumming?  Or more of a clean, on the beat, pop sort of rhythm?  Which got me thinking, I’m really not thinking about rhythmic patterns as much as I am thinking of how I ultimately want to record the song.  Is it going to be more of live band type of arrangement, or more of a pop song?

All of this I found kind of crazy.  I have four chords, no melody, no lyrical content, and already my mind is jumping to what genre of music I am going to record it as.  Is this how the creative process is supposed to work?  I always thought the song came first, and the arrangement and recording were secondary.

To make matters worse, not only am I thinking about genre of music, but I find myself thinking about what existing songs I want my song to sound like.  I promise you I’m not straight up copying anything, but where do you draw the line between being influenced by another song, and plagiarizing it?  Certainly its ok to be influenced by other songs, right?  Isn’t everything derivative of something else to some degree?

Well, wrong or right, I’m not too worried about it.  Actually, I’m quite happy because my creative juices are flowing, and that is way better than being stuck.  However, I do think it might be interesting to keep track of the various influences that I am consciously bringing into my song.  So here is a list of deliberate decisions on my part – kind of like a game plan for writing (and recording) the song.  This list will surely change, but as of right now here it is…

  • Definitely want this to be upbeat and not dreary in any way.
  • For some reason I have Firework by Katy Perry and Dynamite by Taio Cruz in mind as songs I want to emulate.  Two pop songs that I think are superbly produced and kind of infectious.
  • Since I don’t have much in the way of professional gear, my recording is going to have to make use of less than ideal instruments, mics, effects, etc.  I’m going to try to embrace this and use it to make my recording sound unique (hopefully in a good way).

Lastly, I said that I would have some audio of what I came up with.  Its only 4 chords and just a guitar, so it’s not much, but here it is.  As the song develops, these should start to sound a lot better.  Also, please excuse the audio quality, this was recorded with the built in mic in my MacBook.  I’ll break out the gear when the song takes more form.

Writing A Song - Part 2     

 

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