this article, I've expanded upon the list of ideas for each concept.
Before getting to that I want to point out most of these ideas are
entry strategies for songwriting/composing. That is to say, these
concepts (as well as most of the ideas listed in Songwriting techniques -Part 1)
are usually best suited when beginning the songwriting process of a new
song. They can also be useful in beginning a new section of a song.
That being said, there are other ideas and techniques that are
generally more effective for solving compositional problems (such as
transitions, modulations, economy, climax, etc.) but not to worry,
these things will be presented later.
After you have written a melody, begin to write the chords around
it. It may help you to compose the chords for this melody if you record
the melody first, listen back to the melody while writing the chords.
Ok, after you have your new chord progression written, record it.
Listen back the recording of the chord progression only (without the
melody). Using the chord progression you wrote for your original
melody, use your guitar to improvise/compose another new melody for
these chords. Compose several different melodies. Sometimes the
original melody may not be used in the song because one or more of
these new melodies may be better than the original. It is always good
to have options to choose from.
If, after composing several melodies, your original melody is still
your favorite, don't think you wasted your time by writing new melodies
that are not as good. Many times you can still use at least one of
these other melodies with the first melody. For example, your favorite
melody may be used for the vocal melody, but you might want to use
another melody as a counter melody played on another instrument under
the primary vocal melody, or you can use the second melody as another
vocal melody sung by a backup singer(s).
Yet another option is to use the original melody as the first half
of a much longer melody and then use one of the other melodies as the
second half of this new long melody. In this case, the second melody
serves as an extension of the first to form a new long melody. Although
this can be a very useful technique yielding more original results, it
rarely works out perfectly the first time you try combining two
melodies together to form one. You will probably need to make at least
some minor adjustments (alterations) to one, or both, melodies to get
them to connect in a cohesive way.
A variation on the last idea is to use two different melodies in the same section of the song in an AB form, ABA
form, ABBA form, ABAB form or some other variation. It is important to
understand the difference between this idea of separate formal sections
and the last concept of making a single long melody. The long melody
idea has a simple formal structure of "A" (it just happens to be long),
vs. "AB". In both cases you are using both melodies one after the
other, but in the long "A" idea (from the paragraph above) you
typically need to make alterations to make both melodies fit as "one
continuous melody". The "AB" form idea does not need to have the same
level of cohesiveness. It is not seamless, the "AB" version has two
distinct parts and can be rearranged in many different combinations
(AB, ABA, ABBA, ABAB, AABBA, etc.)
Even if you finally decide to stick with your original idea and
throw away everything else that was suggested here (sometimes this
happens to me too), the process of going through all these techniques
will make you grow as a songwriter, so itís well worth the time and
effort you invest.
Bear with me as this next set of ideas begin the same way as the
last set, but the benefits and results will be much different. After
you have written a chord progression you like, write several different
melodies to go over the chords. Once you have composed a few melodies,
record each of them without the chords. If you need to, listen back to
each recorded melody and compose NEW chord progressions for each
melody. If you wrote 5 melodies over the original chord progression,
you will write 5 new chord progressions (one for each melody).
As you can imagine the same variations and combinations that were
suggested above in the Beginning with Melody first, can be applied
here. The same ideas and variations can be used for the "Beginning with
Chords and Melody at the same time" (discussed in songwriting techniques - Part 1.
The point here, in the above examples, is to keep you thinking about
"developing" your ideas further and further before settling on the
first good idea you come up with. Often times the process of developing
your ideas will result in far superior results than you may have
achieved without it. Of course, sometimes you may like your first ideas
best for the current song, and use the newer ideas in a totally