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Digital Subscriptions > MusicTech > Jul-16 > Songwriting SOS

Songwriting SOS

We’ve all been there, struggling to finish that future classic hit or even just to get started on the first note… Sometimes, a dose of inspiration is needed to beat the block. Andy Price takes a look at the best songwriting stimulants out there

MT Workshop Music Composition Tutorial – Part 2

Last time, we dissected the basic rudiments of songwriting – from the gear and equipment you need to get your song ideas down, the idea of hooks and top-line melodies and the artistry of songwriting. However, all that assumed that the person reading was an explosive volcano of creative ideas – with a new song or three already conceptualised.

We all know that songwriting isn’t that easy, and indeed, most of us will take several months (maybe even years) off creating anything new. There are many reasons for this. The ‘drive’ to create is quite an overriding, important factor that comes and goes, which is particularly frustrating when midway though writing a song. Perhaps you’ve crafted a brilliant verse, one that you’ve spent some time mixing and enhancing to perfection, yet the chorus completely eludes you, creating an unbreakable wall that prevents you from writing anything else?

Whatever the reason, writers’ block affects all of us in different ways. Even the most lauded of songwriters run into it. David Bowie dealt with creative blocks by cutting apart lines and quotes from books, rearranging them in a different order and creating songs either using those words, or lyrics inspired by the words.

The principle behind that example is that occasionally presenting yourself with words (or indeed sounds) that you wouldn’t otherwise use can be very inspiring, and refreshes your creative palette. Luckily, we’re no longer in the 1970s, and digital songwriters have so much assistance at their disposal that writers’ block should be consigned to the past. But still we struggle… The problem is, many music makers tend to get used to writing songs in a certain way, becoming tied in to a methodical writing format which – though it may produce very worthy material – if you’re not aware it’s happening, then before too long, it can make you always aim for the same chord patterns, song structures and melodies. Challenging yourself by presenting obstacles and fresh approaches can really inspire you to bypass your tried-and-trusted songwriting approach.

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