Does a musical instrument influence the way you write a song?

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Elian

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« on: April 22, 2019, 03:04:11 PM »
Which is your go to instrument when you sit down to write a song? Do you think the instrument of choice alters the process in such a way a song might turn out completely different if you were to play anything else instead?

I've always started on the piano, but lately I'm finding that when assigning certain parts I'm happy with it to a different instrument, I no longer like how it sounds although I adjust the dynamics and specifics to suit that particular instrument.

Curious if it's just me or if it's a common thing.  ;D

Dogmax

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« Reply #1 on: April 22, 2019, 05:45:09 PM »
I play acoustic guitar only but when writing a song lyrics comes first and the only instrument I use is the wand in my head, first of all for me the lyrics has to be right I have to hear them sing them or whatever back to me then I pick up my guitar and with the help of that wand in my head my fingers find there way, together we always end up with a song.

Haven't heard anything from you yet   8)

cowparsleyman

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« Reply #2 on: May 09, 2019, 02:25:31 PM »
Well it depends, quite often it starts with a bass line, I'll know what genre I'm after and just noodle for a hook, then brief outline of a song structure comes next, choosing the key to suit my (or another's vocal range) then lyrics are formed, basic instruments then follow and a guide Vocal, all the other instruments come later, maybe then Lead Vocal with usually thing like percussion and hooky fills last.

It used to be piano that I'd write my songs, but not so much now, although I had a couple recently that emerged this way.

rightly

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« Reply #3 on: April 21, 2020, 02:20:38 AM »
I've written only one song on the piano
And admit two hundred on guitar.
Playing the piano song on the guitar I saw clearly that it would be completely  different if written on the guitar.
I hope to buy a good piano at some point, maybe I'll get to understand this thing better.
It's either this or that, then again it might be the other. 

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PopTodd

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« Reply #4 on: April 30, 2020, 11:00:53 PM »
I write differently on an electric guitar than I do on an acoustic.
Electrics, with the lighter strings and lower action allow me to play higher up on the neck, therefore using different chord voicings and different progressions than I would come up with on acoustics.

I really need to pick up a bass guitar; not only because I play bass when I record and need to practice, but also because I would really like yet another songwriting tool.

PeteS

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« Reply #5 on: May 02, 2020, 02:25:42 PM »
I start all mine with an acoustic, but how I use it depends on how I see the lyrics and what sort of song they inspire in me.

I usually get an idea down with the acoustic and then work out how I want it to sound.  Shocks Neil (lyricist) when he first hears an acoustic demo and it comes back as a synth fest  ;D

I can't really play piano, although i can hit a few chords and pick out a melody line but on the odd occasion i've tried starting there it's been a disaster!

So to answer the question, I don't think it influences my final sound but I am a guitarist first and foremost so everything has a guitar influence anyway.

Dazzathedrummer

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« Reply #6 on: July 14, 2020, 10:45:39 PM »
I have noticed over the years that whenever I ask a guitarist to 'send me some of your ideas', most of the time, I hear very straight 4/4 strumming chord patterns using fairly standard chord sequences and 'V-C-V-C-solo-Br-C-C' structures.

When I ask the same from keyboard players they tend to be a lot more 'far-out' with syncopation, modulation, time signature changes etc etc.

It can be quite fun to find somewhere in the middle!

ASecretMeaning

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« Reply #7 on: July 24, 2020, 01:21:40 AM »
I'm a guitarist first, and play keyboard to a basic level.  So in trying to find a sequence it tends to be much more varied using my guitar.  If I start on the keyboard it tends to be based around C.  As someone else said, on keyboard it tends to be a syncopated pattern.

I play in a covers band, and when I first started writing songs I was always thinking about what could be played by the band - this restricted what I could do. Now that I have no intention that it will be played by my band I am free to use as many tracks or virtual instruments as I need to make it sound how I want.

I can tell you that with almost any record you hear on the radio from any band there is more going on than the band could actually do live without additional musicians.


cowparsleyman

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« Reply #8 on: July 24, 2020, 03:02:44 AM »
@ASecretMeaning - very interesting to read, many years ago i went through a phase of recording covers, which was a complete waste of time, my wife said i like your songs much better, i know how those other people’s songs go why do faff about with theirs when you could do better with your songs, so i did and I’m so pleased i took her advice.

The logic is infallible, even if everything goes perfectly, you’d only end up with an exact copy of what’s already there...

5 guys named Lars

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« Reply #9 on: July 24, 2020, 05:27:38 AM »
I'm sure it does have an effect. I think that learning to play a new instrument can lead to happy accidents which can spark an idea or feeling. Think this is true of trying a new guitar or synth too.
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kafla

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« Reply #10 on: August 25, 2020, 11:45:11 PM »
100% in my opinion

I try to write from guitar , keys and occasionally loops

I like writing melodies in my head and then trying to work out the chords afterwards

Even a different guitar makes me write a different type of song 😎👍🏻
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MrBouzouki

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« Reply #11 on: September 09, 2020, 06:13:53 PM »
I'm mainly a strings man but most of my ideas start in my head as melodies. Sometimes just a tune but sometimes singing words that might or might not make sense.
I feel that makes me work in a linear not vertical fashion with interweaving melodies or patterns. Any chords fall out of this way of working.

Having said that, I do get inspiration sometimes from guitar usually using altered tunings, often DADGAD, so modal in nature I guess.

But mostly, it is just melodies in my head. It's always been this way. Maybe I should see somebody about it ;-)