Songwriting: Next Step

On February 27th I shared some lyrics to my first song attempt since the Great Fire that changed our lives.

I also provided some visuals that I had in my mind – I write from images, not words, which I guess is why I am not very literary in my writing. It is sort of like the difference between writing music on a guitar versus a piano. The songs come out differently.

So as I move from the lyrics, the next thing I do (which usually happens simultaneously with creating lyrics) is to find a chord progression on the guitar and some melody that seems to match the lyrics. This is the magical or mystical portion of creating music. Where it all comes from I tend to think is a sacred place where even the angels go to for their hymns. It is all around us. (Neil Diamond wrote a song once called A Beautiful Noise. He reflected upon the sounds he heard in his daily life. I love that song.) Now I move to a basic recording of it all.

Usually when beginning recording, I find a click track that beats at the tempo I feel is right for the song. It is amazing how different 104 beats per minute is  compared to 108 bpm. It is about finding the right groove where the words and melody can slide right into.

Next, my recording partner and I find an electronic drum pattern that is good enough to get us started recording. With this new song, we recorded with two microphones, my friend strumming his Martin guitar through all the chord changes throughout the song. This can be harder than it should be at times – without the vocalized lyrics or melody to help keep your mind sharp.

Next up is my vocal lead track to record. This too can end up being harder than it should be. With this new song I don’t start singing on the down beat of each bar instead pausing to end on the last beat of some of the bars. It changes things up a bit and makes it a little more interesting.

I took what we recorded and sent it to violinist, who I researched on Fiverr, told her the mood and where I wanted to try to add some violin/fiddle under the words and a solo over an instrumental break. I loved what she came up with. Also, I love sharing in the creation of music with people all over the world.

Then we do a rough mix and it all sounds like the file below. On Friday we will add an electric bass on this song, find the right drumming pattern to fit the song, and maybe on this one add a 2nd voice to harmonize over the chorus and then begin mixing everything all over to get the right soundscape. It is all just for fun and I really enjoy doing it.

Here is a raw version of a work in progress. (There is 7 seconds of silence in the beginning.)