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songwriting: chicken or egg

Songwriting
gx1327  
5 Oct 2011 12:41 | Quote
Joined: 20 Sep 2009
United States
Karma: 9
i recently began my first real foray into "jamming" / improvising. i think it would be cool to come up with my own licks, riffs, parts of songs, etc. i also think it would be cool to be able to "jam" along to a progression.

i'm just curious what do you find typically comes first? the riff or the progression?

right now i find it easier to just lay down a progression (something simple like a I-IV-V or any other 4-bar progression i make up on the spot), loop it on my ME pedal, and them "**** around" on top of it in the given key.

part of me feels like this is a backwards approach. on one hand, i find myself playing with a different "mood" for different progressions (for instance, I-IV-V compared to vi-IV-V-vi). i do it subconsiously which is cool.

but on the other hand i feel like the riff or melody is the important part of the song, so maybe creating that first might set down the solid part of a song and then work around that.

anyway, i'm just getting started in this. it's fun, but daunting. just curious what others do
case211  
5 Oct 2011 13:08 | Quote
Joined: 26 Feb 2009
United States
Lessons: 2
Licks: 6
Karma: 24
Don't think about it too much. You're not writing to please thousands yet, just you, so have fun with some easy progressions/riffs and jam over those a bunch until you want to start writing full blown songs.
It's basically what I did, except mine were supposed to be songs(in the absolute loosest sense). It got me experimenting and finding my own niche in music with what sounds I like and such. After a while I was ready to start in on my own material that would center around actual song composition with verses, choruses(sometimes), etc. etc. Just keep jamming along with your own progressions for a while until YOU feel ready to start your first real project. While your jamming, try out melody ideas over the progression. There is no more important piece in music since without one, the other seems much less astonishing, so rather than worry about the perfect melody to solo over, lay down a simple A min-C maj-G maj-E min and play around with different ideas and don't worry about finding any melodies when you jam. Sometimes you'll just have a dry spell where you can't seem to find anything you feel is strong. Those go away after a while.
Keep experimenting with different progressions and sounds though man, find out what you really like to play like!
Domigan_Lefty  
5 Oct 2011 20:50 | Quote
Joined: 20 Sep 2009
United States
Karma: 8
Yesterday I used my Multi-fx to loop four bars of a Cmin7 and 4 bars of a Dmin7 chord and jammed over it.
After an hour of switching from C Dorian, D Dorian, C Blues, D blues improv scales, I came up with a few good riffs. Which I promptly forgot before being able to write down.

Main point being, I find it easier to set a rhythm, then improv over it.
(I don't like writing specific riffs, because I forget them easily, I'd rather improv over a funk-style chord progression)
(I love improvising because all i need to remember is the Key Signature. My Blonde mind can't handle memorizing/writing every note of every riff i play)
gx1327  
5 Oct 2011 22:01 | Quote
Joined: 20 Sep 2009
United States
Karma: 9
it's not an "overthinking" issue... i'm doing my own thing, which is kind of what i've been doing for my whole guitar career. it's more of a curiosity factor. just curious how you guys do it. even if i got 99 responses saying "do it x" and 1 response saying "do it y" and i preferred method y, i'd still do method y.

what's interesting is that i'm coming up with more progressions out of the blue. becuase MY method is to lay down a progressin and then "jam" over it. so i'v edone I-IV-V, i did vi-IV-V-vi, so what else can i do? and every time i come up with a new one i get a new "feel" out of my improvisation.

it's neat stuff. also, i realized how much i love unison bends. i know everyone has their own style, and their own influences... i have to say that joey santiago (the pixies) is an influence on me, becuase he used a lot of unison bends and i certiainly share his appreciation...


GO CARDS! go diamondbacks i hate the effing brewers!!!
gshredder2112  
5 Oct 2011 22:43 | Quote
Joined: 03 Sep 2010
United States
Licks: 3
Karma: 22
Jamming has no rules.
You have a ryhthm,Thats it. You dont need to know a key,because
it will draw you too use in key notes,and thats not jamming
thats pre thought out playing.

Take your progression,start it,close your eyes and listen.
Imagine the kind of lick that would sound cool,and try to.create
it.
nullnaught  
6 Oct 2011 00:22 | Quote
Joined: 05 Jun 2010
Karma: 22
Not soloing in key and being obvious about it makes someone sound amateur.

IMO
gshredder2112  
6 Oct 2011 11:08 | Quote
Joined: 03 Sep 2010
United States
Licks: 3
Karma: 22
Well Its a feel thing. You dont know what key
it is,you feel what key it is. You listen for
the "right" notes,not automatically know where your gonna go
cause you know the song is in GMaj.
case211  
6 Oct 2011 12:23 | Quote
Joined: 26 Feb 2009
United States
Lessons: 2
Licks: 6
Karma: 24
actually knowing where you are going to go next is key to better improvisation. It's like getting handed a road map with every single shortcut highlighted for you. There is some guess work, but knowing what chord is next and what you'd like to do over it, that's the secret recipe to good improvisational ability. Luck is also a factor for some(like me).
tinyskateboard  
6 Oct 2011 16:46 | Quote
Joined: 28 Apr 2010
United States
Karma: 11
null: out of key like Coltrane?
nullnaught  
6 Oct 2011 17:18 | Quote
Joined: 05 Jun 2010
Karma: 22
@tinyskateboard....NO!


@gsredder2112.... I played that way for 20 yearts and finally using theory can be like a switch.
gshredder2112  
6 Oct 2011 17:20 | Quote
Joined: 03 Sep 2010
United States
Licks: 3
Karma: 22
Ive already made my point about improv on here.

http://www.all-guitar-chords.com/topic.php?id=5140
pxm  
10 Jun 2012 12:02 | Quote
Joined: 11 Jan 2012
Sweden
Licks: -3
Karma: 4
Practicing to play the scales to an metronome till you automaticly can use them for eazy making licks that you vision in your head at the moment.I donīt approve licks that are learned before as composing in the heat of the moment or jamming/improvising..The definition of imporvising is to compose in hte moment. Charlie Parkr said-"Never play the same thing the same way twice" and thats a good idea to learn how to whit instinct make up variations of a good riff that you just came up whit in hte moment of the session to make it sounds like if that are a head/theme, an intulectual thoght in the improvisation rather than randomly play tones from different scals that fit the progression. Different arpeggios are an easy technique to use that sound good b t w.

Itīs common to imporvise over simple vamps/grooves often build out of two chords.Those the band can improvise whit the chords substitutes while playing to make it sound different and new each time. The two vanilla/orginal chords of will give you a lot of options for different and interseting scale solutions in the key..
Improvising and jamming usally follows very strict rules.

Take a look at different claves (special rythms) too that you can count while the drums go on in 4/4ths and let the whole jammingband emphase those rythms, maybe-lets say every 12 bar. This will make i seem and hear very advanced and if the improvisation are totaly free.

To loop a simple progression in your pedal is an exelent way to practise soloing over a vamp.
A vamp in musical terms is an short progression that repeats over and over, little like an ostinato, for the monster (superior player) to
impovise to.

If you use a part of asong in an imporvisation its called "quoting" and are usually a very short sequence.

Sorry for my bad english but Ill hope you get the basic idea of jamming.

Paxom


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