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three minutes song and other rules of thumb

#1 User is offline   porcupine Icon

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Posted 22 February 2012 - 12:15 PM

I've alway been committed to hitting the chorus of a song as early as possible without losing the storyline. I read somewhere about guideliness about this, three of which I listed

1. no more than a 10 second intro before the words start
2. Into the "HOOK' or chorus by 45 seconds
3. try to keep the song under 3:30

Before I read these "guidelines" I was doing it as much as I could, naturally, what felt right, but dont remember where i seen it. a book or something...if anyone knows or have any comments on these guidelines or others you found helpful.

These guidelines can be very inportant to lyricists sometimes, keeps them from going to a 6 minute song.

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#2 User is offline   ScenesFromPalacio Icon

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Posted 22 February 2012 - 01:52 PM

No offence -but all this kinda stuff is such a nonsense - and one of the reasons popular music sounds sooooooooooooooo desperately homogenised n cookie-cutter these days..
Professional songwriters n 'experts' putting the finger up to the art so they can 'help' you get a few crumbs left in the cookie-jar...Important things that you must obey to have a chance to get your snout in the trough..

Life on Mars by Bowie hits the hookline at about 2 n a half minutes.. B)

Anything good musically is done by feel surely...not by forcing the music into some marketing-man defined straightjacket

All these ridiculous rules are of no help to you creatively as a songwriter imo -and can only serve to make you mediocre n bland...and sound exactly the same as everyone else..

#3 User is offline   Alistair S Icon

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Posted 22 February 2012 - 03:04 PM

I'm kinda with Steve on this, though this may be more true in a Country market (I don't know enough to say).

The 3 minute thing is related to radio play and to the physical limitations of vinyl. A lot of successful songs (maybe most) are longer than that and some great songs are shorter. My own view is that a song should go on for as long as it needs to, but should never outstay its welcome with the listener.
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Posted 22 February 2012 - 03:05 PM

I absolutely agree with Steve.
It really is all about having or developing musical intuition.
Some people naturally have a better sense of "where to go next" with music than others. Guidelines are good tools if you're unsure or just developing these skills but they can sound so forced when overused.
Back when I used to write a lot in the country genre (and I found this genre to be the MOST dogged and "fanatical" about rules)I hit a turning point of utter frustration at being critiqued so many times in ways which stripped me of creativity and so I wrote a song called "I can write a country song!" in which I deliberately tried to break as many rules as I could for that genre.
Call it my "sticking the finger up" song of a lifetime. Funnily enough it ran at exactly 3/12 minutes long.(that's the time length people kept quoting me at the time - perhaps peoples attention spans have gotten even shorter these days?) It's the only song I've ever used the "F" word in and despite the crappy production it's still one of my personal favourite songs.
I'm rambling. My point is....I reckon everyone, every once in a while should throw caution to the wind and just write AS YOU FEEL IT.
I'm positive that by doing this it will do more to improve that intuition than anything else you do.

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Posted 22 February 2012 - 03:11 PM

View PostAlistair S, on 22 February 2012 - 02:04 PM, said:

I'm kinda with Steve on this, though this may be more true in a Country market (I don't know enough to say).

The 3 minute thing is related to radio play and to the physical limitations of vinyl. A lot of successful songs (maybe most) are longer than that and some great songs are shorter. My own view is that a song should go on for as long as it needs to, but should never outstay its welcome with the listener.


You know we all say that the 3 min thing is related radio, but if you read books on classical composition they mention three minutes as the length at which most compositional ideas run out of steam and it thus takes more compositional substance to keep songs interesting for longer than that.

To Steve's general point, I completely agree if you adhere to all conventions you will have completely conventional song with nothing to make it special and unique - clearly the MO of the gatekeepers in the Country community is the most dogmatic in this respect.
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Posted 22 February 2012 - 04:43 PM

The days of hearing songs on the radio like "Alice's Restaurant" or "La La" in their entirety are gone.

If the song is still alive and kicking after the the 3:00 or 3:30 mark, why would anyone want to stop it before it was finished? I have a favorite Indie station I listen to on the radio and am constantly frustrated when a song I'm really enjoying comes to an end. I easily could have continued listening.

But I think the "general listening audience" is assumed to have a short attention span and maybe they do. Or maybe they do because they have been treated as if they do and know nothing else.

Though radio is not as great a disseminator of music as it once was, I do think it may have set a standard based less on the musical viability of a song after 3:30 than the need to shove 3 - 4 songs into a musical set before a sponsored ad.

My theory, anyway.

A great song done in 3 - 3 1/2 minutes is no more or less enjoyable than a great song done in 4 or 4 1/2. Though sitting out in my car before work waiting for a great song to finish has gotten me into a bit of trouble in the past. :)
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#7 User is offline   R-N-R Jim Icon

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Posted 22 February 2012 - 04:45 PM

Hi Porcupine

I guess if you want to get to the chorus sooner, why not just start with the chorus like the Beatles did with "She Loves You". If you study the Beatles and how they wrote and arranged alot of their earlier hits you'll notice they did alot of different things in arranging a song. Again "Help" starts off with the hook line word as the intro. You see, they broke alot of rules and that's what made them fresh and sound great.

You can use three minutes as a format (I myself prefer just over two minutes) if your writing for commercial songs. But really, a good or great song will get played regardless of its length, "Hey Jude" ,"Band On The Run", "Bohemian Rhapsody", "YOU'VE LOST THAT LOVIN FEELING" just to name a few that got air play regardless of their length. So, if your writing for airplay, you might want to stick to under three minutes. But if your out to write a great commercial hit, time shouldn't play a major influence in the song your creating.

just my two cents worth
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#8 User is offline   Alistair S Icon

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Posted 22 February 2012 - 04:52 PM

http://www.newrockst...n-2011-edition/ (Mind you, there are a lot of sites giving statistics and they all give different numbers!)

Of course, if you hit all the averages, you may just have an average song. Maybe that's pretty good, too.
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Posted 22 February 2012 - 05:30 PM

Surely the brain must react, and become conditioned to the familiar so if you're an avid listener of three minute songs (radio play?) then if one stretches to four or longer the brain says "hey, what's going on here!"
I think maybe we are becoming more conditioned to having a shorter attention span in general.
So much stimulus is thrust on us these days that perhaps our brains can only take so much - in shorter bursts.

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Posted 22 February 2012 - 05:44 PM

The '3-minute rule' is driven by radio, not by those on the creative side (speaking for the country market). Country radio (and many other formats) in this day and age is no longer interested in breaking and discovering new acts and new music. There was a time when PD's and disc jockeys took great pride in being the first person to play, and therefore break, a record. Unfortunately most stations are now owned by large corporations, and in many cases their programming is done by someone who doesn't even live in the same time zone much less the same city.
The bottom line is that radio doesn't make money off of music, they make it off of commercials. The shorter the songs are, the more commercials they have time for. It's economics.

#11 User is offline   ScenesFromPalacio Icon

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Posted 22 February 2012 - 06:34 PM

Quote

I think maybe we are becoming more conditioned to having a shorter attention span in general.
So much stimulus is thrust on us these days that perhaps our brains can only take so much - in shorter bursts


I agree there's a shorter attention span people have nowadays -but its a shorter attention span for suprise musically speaking i think..
A shorter attention span for anything that steps even a little out of the familiar axis of awesome 4 chord familiarity and sleepy on-the-beat harmonic predictability people have been increasingly numbingly accustomed to in recent times..Add that to a shorter attention span for anything that steps out of a quantised 4/4 rythm - anything that strays slightly pitch-wise from auto-tuned perfection and you've got a recipe for modern popular music ..

Most pop songs in the 60s were often only 2 -2 1/2 minutes long -but they were regularly so suprising creative,memorable n vital !!!!!l

#12 User is offline   R-N-R Jim Icon

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Posted 22 February 2012 - 07:03 PM

Hi again

I think SFP hit it on the head about the variety we had in the 60s and 70s for what was then called the top 40. You had such a diverse array of songs that played on the same radio station. The days of hearing "Sunshine On My Shoulders"(John Denver) followed by "My Woman From Tokyo" (Deep Purple) seems rather surreal today. But yet, on the oldies station, that still happens :)

Another reason why the "older stuff" still survives on the radio because new ears are hearing it for the first time and "digging it". So, in a sense, the old songs have never died, but the new stuff just doesn't have the creativity, shine or luster that the old stuff has. There have been just a handful of bands that have scored with the retro sound, Motherwolf for classic rock fans and Jet for pop rock 60s. So, the sound does recycle itself and find its way to the charts, but you know, its this marketing vibe thing that has taken over the music scene rather than the music itself. Jet wouldn't have been discovered if it wasn't for a TV commercial(IPOD) using their song in it.

If anything, the indie market is still thriving and I think their is so much more product to choose from(again not all good) that it may be abit daunting a task to sift through. I have used cdbaby at times as a listening point for new artists. I type in the "sounds like" and then it leads me to a certain genre of music which is a nice feature. ScenesFromPalacio could easily fall into that retro market and do very well. He takes a familiar path but has his own spin on it. Something Ive been attempting to do for years :)

regards
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Posted 22 February 2012 - 08:12 PM

Of course, there are times when a good 10 minute song is like being blown away watching a dynamic thunderstorm with the reward of seeing the sun break through and a rainbow appear at the end.

"Maggot Brain" by Psychedelic and Pink Floyd's "Echoes" have always been favorites of mine.

http://listverse.com...0-minutes-long/

Agh..seems a good number of these songs have been taken down.
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#14 User is offline   MABBO Icon

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Posted 23 February 2012 - 12:38 AM

I think every writer owes it to themselves to make a trip to Nashville where you can go to a dozen writers nights, hear 30 people doing three songs each, 90 songs and about half of them be around 5-6 minutes long and say virtually nothing. And every kind of style, subject imaginable. you can hear ACSS. (Angry Chick Singer Syndrome) and PODS (Pissed Off Dude Syndrome) songs all night to your heart's content. You can get your Alayniss Morresette and John Mayer Wanna be's and hear anything but cookie cutter. It is all over this town. Multiply it by thousands and you have New York and LA.

There are thirty million artists on You Tube and the Net. You have one billion songs uploaded a month on the Net. You have Pandora and dozens of other podcasting that you can get anything you want to. It is out there.

I always find it interesting the entire "cookie cutter" comments because of course Rascal Flatts sounds exactly like Keith Urban, who sounds exactly like Jason Aldeen, who sounds exactly like Brad Paisely who sounds exactly like Lady A who sounds exactly like Taylor Swift who is a mirror image of Zac Brown, who sounds exactly like Montgomery Gentry or Dierk's Bentley who sounds identical to Alan Jackson and George Straight who sound mirror image of Blake Shelton who is identical to Toby Keith who is almost a twin of Kenny Chesney and Tim McGraw. You are right, it all sounds so much the same. Glad I could get some hip hop and rap that sounds so different.

Look, there is going to be similarities in all music and there is going to be many differences. It is ridiculous to paint any form of music as "all cookie cutter." And as far as writing within a 3 minute format, try it. Try to come up with a beginning middle and end in a story that engages people, have them singing a long with every line by the time the second chorus comes around, that has a twist on the tale that you didn't see coming,hear consistant multiple meanings that you hear something different each time you hear it, "elbow moments" that stand out and become bumper stickers, and have people want to download the song and pass it along to every friend they know. If you don't get out of your living room and find out just how fast people will tune you out, walk out on you, go to the bathroom, pick up their phone to text,so that you see the glow in their faces throughout the room, you owe it to yourself to take those ten minute songs on out there.

We are in a fast paced society. It is in everything. You can complain about it, but no one cares. You are not going to get them away from their texting, twitter, computers, cable, podcasting, so you need to learn to deal with it. Country might not be everybody's cup of tea, but cookie cutter is not one of the things it all is. A visit to the town might show you a little something different. And be careful because while you are here, you might run into some of the other people that are coming here to visit and live and soak up our culture and craft. People like Robert Plant, Sting, Bret Micheals, James Taylor, Carol King, Neil Diamond, Peter Frampton, Richard Marx, Bob Dylan, Paul McCartney,and others who seem to be lurking around in the resturaunts, studios, bars, and writers rooms all over town. Never know who you might see playing down on Lower Broad sitting in with Vince Gill and Sting.

It is out there and all over here. All you have to do is find it. You might find some things you like. And if you don't, that is fine too. But it's not one size fits all. At times it might superficially seem that way. Come spend a day with me. I'll show it to you.

MAB

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Posted 23 February 2012 - 06:44 AM

View PostMABBO, on 22 February 2012 - 11:38 PM, said:

I always find it interesting the entire "cookie cutter" comments because of course Rascal Flatts sounds exactly like Keith Urban, who sounds exactly like Jason Aldeen, who sounds exactly like Brad Paisely who sounds exactly like Lady A who sounds exactly like Taylor Swift who is a mirror image of Zac Brown, who sounds exactly like Montgomery Gentry or Dierk's Bentley who sounds identical to Alan Jackson and George Straight who sound mirror image of Blake Shelton who is identical to Toby Keith who is almost a twin of Kenny Chesney and Tim McGraw. You are right, it all sounds so much the same. Glad I could get some hip hop and rap that sounds so different.
MAB


A bit off topic, but an interesting point. If you are particularly interested in any subject - or a musical genre or style - all the shades of a relatively monochromatic pallette appear dramatically different. Actually, in a study done with a Finnish population (that I heard of second hand) all 12 bar blues-based songs sounded like the same song, while different pianists' (relatively narrow) interpretations of Bach's Goldberg variations sounded like different pieces. Most people don't realize that "Twinkle, twinkle little star" "Baa, baa Black Sheep" and the "Alphabet Song" have essentially the same melody. And AFAICT whole genres of EDM are differentiatiated primarily by small differences in BPM of the track. Of course the artists you mention "sound different" if only because they have different voices - speaking anatomically, not artistically. If you control for that, and the fact that some tend to go louder vs softer or faster vs. slower, to a listener with a much broader listening spectrum, musically they are pretty similar. I don't think you can make a case that musically - or in the poetics of the lyrics - any one of those artists has taken an innovative step away from the others. While the Hip Hop - rap thing seems to be a continuum, actually Rap - HH - Soul/R&B as a continuum, that particular afficianados would argue represents musically a dramatic difference from one end to the other, while someone that has a diet of primarily country music would think all sounds the same, and a lot like noise.
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Posted 23 February 2012 - 10:30 AM

The funny thing is, 90% of my songs are between 3:30 and 4:40, with the exception 2 two epic 15 minute whoppers. and a few stragglers under 3:00

RandR Jim- I have done the "chorus" first and I'll post that song in the critique section soon, I have to re-record it, but gives me the opporunity to see what it needs.

Alistair - I read those "standards" or trends in music. It's interesting to know how music is changing that way.

I think if Im trying to write a song for the industry, thats helpful, but if Im writing songs as a outlet of emotion and strictly for my self of loved ones/close friends, then those rules are out the window.

Scenes, Man you are right about how its changed. I remember bills in the 60's/70's that had the greatest lineups. bands from ALL differnt genres on one ticket and I think it's because people were fans of MUSIC not of genres. today you get catalorized pretty quickly.."you're folk, you're country, you're jazz" , so if your writing for others to become a fan...that labeling almost forces the hand.

Some of the chord changes I use are not in the pop rock format, which as others stated, is my stamp on the music. It comes from a lot of useless music knowlege (my brains surely full by now! :).

What IS difficult for me, although I've written my share of 3 minute songs, is saying what I want to say and forcing it into a 3 minute shoebox. Can make a novel a short story and not lose something.

Porcupine
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Posted 23 February 2012 - 04:11 PM

This is an interesting thread. I'll be honest. For me as a listener it's always been about the music. That being said most of the songs I tend to like are in the 2:50 to 3:00 minute range with obviously some exceptions. My music ear gets bored very quickly. Always has. It constantly yearns for what I call the "ear candy" (music) in the song. Thus as a budding song writer, to-date, my song length approach has always been based on MY ear. This may be the wrong approach, but it feels right to me. However, as porcupine has mentioned, I think, writing a lyrical story (as opposed to just a musical story) can sometimes be very difficult in 3:00 (or less). At least it's for me. And it occurs to me that there are a lot of songs I really like in the 2-3 minute range that don't have much of story (lyric). The music alone is enough. Which as a consequence can make ME very lazy when it comes to trying to put a decent lyric to music. I get very frustrated spending so much time trying to write a lyric when I believe the music is finished. I recently received a gift, the book "Writing Better Lyrics" by Pat Pattison. I guess my wife was trying to tell me something :-) Anyway, I've been trying a few of his exercises just to see what effect it has on my song/lyric writing. In the meantime, I still hope to develop some co-writing experience. Anyway...I guess as far as song length goes...the beauty is in the ear of the beholder :-)

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Posted 23 February 2012 - 04:54 PM

View PostMABBO, on 23 February 2012 - 12:38 AM, said:

There are thirty million artists on You Tube and the Net. You have one billion songs uploaded a month on the Net. You have Pandora and dozens of other podcasting that you can get anything you want to. It is out there.


Finally I'm not the only person saying this when the subject comes up.

Everybody always complains about how formulaic and standard music has become. They just aren't looking hard enough and are content to turn on the radio and bitch and moan when it's not what they want to hear.
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Posted 23 February 2012 - 05:18 PM

It IS certainly "out there". The good stuff. The stuff not afraid to be what it is - just good "real" music, and yeah we all ought to be reminded of that because we are VERY lucky to have the resources, particularly here on the internet to be an audience to that kind of music.
Maybe the frustration lies in that the songs that are(or seem to be) most promoted - the stuff that seems to be where the money and attention of those that control the music "industry" - through radio and through video, TV etc, IS almost always of the cookie cutter variety.
Why shouldn't we get annoyed when we turn on the radio and everything sounds the same? (and yes, this happens not only in the country arena)
Why shouldn't we get annoyed with music video's of half naked girls (and guys)sleazily shaking and gyrating their bits to mindless, shallow,plastic packaged "songs".
I'm not going to apologize for my perception of what music has become. I don't think it's all THAT skewed.
Unfortunately I think music is a refection of a society and society HAS become a largely shallow, sexually intoxicated playground with an immediate gratification and fast food mentality appetite.

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Posted 23 February 2012 - 06:34 PM

If you don't like what's on the radio, change the station! It can't be only Toronto that has good radio stations. I like our alternative/modern rock station, and our classic rock station. Not a fan of most of what's on the top 40 these days.

If you don't like music videos, don't watch them! I certainly don't miss our mainstream music video station since cancelling my cable (I do miss the country video station though...their morning programming was always great). I actually miss MTV Canada more than Muchmusic (the channel that actually plays music videos here)...great mindless trash TV. Speaking of (me) being shallow and sexually intoxicated...when is "Breasts" part 2 coming!? :D
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#21 User is offline   Desertrose Icon

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Posted 23 February 2012 - 07:27 PM

Mark, I don't listen to the radio - anymore.
There came a turning point some years ago when I walked into my sons room (he was about 6 or 7) I'd given him a radio to have in his room at night tuned to a classical station - or something easy going and laid back. Obviously he'd fiddled with the stations and when I went to check on him he was peacefully sleeping to the background thudding of a song that endlessly repeated the word "motherf$*&%r" for the entire time it took me to walk across the room and remove the radio.
Nope, I don't listen to the radio. BUT everywhere I go I hear it.
You can't walk into a supermarket, hairdresser, shopping mall, clothing store without being bombarded by what's being played on the radio.
My kids are teenagers now but I've pretty much given up on the idea that I can somehow introduce them to more soulful meaningful music. (Well, one daughter despises mainstream music and only listens to instrumentals)
And hey...I know that was kind of a dig at me. ;) Yeah, I know I've written a song about breasts - (I've also written a song about designer vagina's but hey, you ain't NEVER gonna see a video to that song!) but wry humour is a different animal (and aimed at adults)compared to the almost sleazy porn that is marketed as serious music.

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Posted 23 February 2012 - 08:27 PM

Good point about the radio being forced on you in places. That's my problem at work sometimes, the ladies there love the pop stations. I can tolerate it for a bit but you quickly realize how the same music (literally, the same song by the same artist) is repeated ad nauseum. I'm glad most of the people I work with on weekends are into rock more than the top 40 stuff.

And glad you winky faced me on that last point, it wasn't meant as a dig but I realize it might have seemed that way. I know there's a big difference between sexualizing everything and a fun, comedy song about bajombers.
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#23 User is offline   MABBO Icon

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Posted 23 February 2012 - 09:30 PM

One thing that is useful for anyone studying music is a bit of a historical background. In the 30's and 40's, most of the Broadway musicals sounded very similar, actually borrowing from each other. In the Brill building era of the 50's and 60's, many rock and roll songs and pop songs of the day sounded very similar. They actully were writing in cubicles surrounded by each other and many of the hit songs of the era were very similar. And throughout history you will have far more one hit wonders (Yummy yummy Yummy I've got Love in My Tummy) are always more prevalant then the three minutes of brilliance or other songs. It is easy to look at the current state of music as all crap and the music we grew up with as terrible.

Personally I see and hear a pretty huge cross section of stuff because it is all around me all day long. I am the first to say there is plenty of crap out there. And a lot that you hear on the radio 18 song playlist is going to be very similar. The music business is the biggest follow the leader business there is, the same with television and movies. But that doesn't mean that they don't release other product. They do. But even with enormous money (an average budget on a major artist is about $2.5 million dollars) and they spend that on the ones that don't work out just like the ones that do work out. Only about 2-3 of the major acts on a fifteen artist roster will make enough money to be resigned the next year.

So yes, a lot of music is similar, just like every other television show, commercial all look and sound the same. The only thing any of us can do is do our best to try to find ways to differentiate ourselves. About all we can do.

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Posted 23 February 2012 - 09:56 PM

View PostMABBO, on 23 February 2012 - 12:38 AM, said:

We are in a fast paced society. It is in everything. You can complain about it, but no one cares. You are not going to get them away from their texting, twitter, computers, cable, podcasting, so you need to learn to deal with it. Country might not be everybody's cup of tea, but cookie cutter is not one of the things it all is. A visit to the town might show you a little something different. And be careful because while you are here, you might run into some of the other people that are coming here to visit and live and soak up our culture and craft. People like Robert Plant, Sting, Bret Micheals, James Taylor, Carol King, Neil Diamond, Peter Frampton, Richard Marx, Bob Dylan, Paul McCartney,and others who seem to be lurking around in the resturaunts, studios, bars, and writers rooms all over town. Never know who you might see playing down on Lower Broad sitting in with Vince Gill and Sting.

It is out there and all over here. All you have to do is find it. You might find some things you like. And if you don't, that is fine too. But it's not one size fits all. At times it might superficially seem that way. Come spend a day with me. I'll show it to you.

MAB


You make some good points. I'm no fan of Rascal Flatts, but I do enjoy classic Kenney Chesney. I think Ron nailed it though when he said that your perceptions could be colored by the fact that the microcosm known as country music is your macrocosm. I used to like country music a lot, but now it's a real joy-kill. And I mean what I hear on the radio. I'd rather listen to the same old classic rock songs that I've heard for 30 years than listen to "new" country music on the radio, which is very lackluster, for whatever reason. Maybe it's the glaring lack of traditional country instruments? Maybe it's the loyalty to a certain song structure? Maybe it's cliché-based hooks? I'm not sure.

I think it would be fun to go spend some time in Nashville and listen to some of the talent down there. Sounds like a cool vacation idea.

About the "fast-paced society" point: That sounds a lot like, "Well, everyone else is doing it..." Not a great excuse in my book, except in the case where people (like you) have to work the system to make a living. The rest of us need not conform so readily. Maybe then the promoters will take notice, and people like DesertRose can listen to the radio again ;). (I'm actually on a bit of a radio strike myself.)

But back to the original question. One guideline I like that dates back to the seventies I think: Keep your guitar solos between 2 and 5 minutes.

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Posted 24 February 2012 - 12:21 AM

View Postporcupine, on 22 February 2012 - 09:15 AM, said:

I've alway been committed to hitting the chorus of a song as early as possible without losing the storyline. I read somewhere about guideliness about this, three of which I listed

1. no more than a 10 second intro before the words start
2. Into the "HOOK' or chorus by 45 seconds
3. try to keep the song under 3:30

Before I read these "guidelines" I was doing it as much as I could, naturally, what felt right, but dont remember where i seen it. a book or something...if anyone knows or have any comments on these guidelines or others you found helpful.

These guidelines can be very inportant to lyricists sometimes, keeps them from going to a 6 minute song.

Porcupine

Historically, the 3-minute rule is less than 100 years old--it came about because the time limit for a 10-inch 78 rpm record was about 3:23, and 45s weren't much longer. By the time the LP was invented people were used to 3 minute songs and it just seemed natural--but before records songs were often much longer or much shorter (from less than a minute to several hours). Radio stations like 3 minute songs because radio is not in the music business, it's in the advertising business, and short songs leave more room for ads. And then there's our shrinking national attention span... But if you want to write a hit, and you're not Bob Dylan or the Beatles, and the year doesn't begin with 196-, you're probably well advised to keep it under 3:30.

#26 User is offline   DannyDep Icon

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Posted 24 February 2012 - 11:40 PM

View Postporcupine, on 22 February 2012 - 12:15 PM, said:

...................
Before I read these "guidelines" I was doing it as much as I could, naturally, what felt right, but dont remember where i seen it. a book or something...if anyone knows or have any comments on these guidelines or others you found helpful.
..............

Porcupine
Doing what comes naturally is way more important than the other points you mentioned.
Another good one would be to try and write something that listener will remember (EMOTIONALLY), whether it is a lyric or melody or riff.
Something that will get them to want to hear it again, or would want to get them to hear something else you're written.

Oh, and this might require lots of wisdom, but try not to take any critique that you get, be it from a fellow listener or from a professional too seriously,
e.g., the Goldilocks affect. (see the podcast How Music Conveys Emotion topic)
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Posted 25 February 2012 - 12:57 PM

Quote

In the Brill building era of the 50's and 60's, many rock and roll songs and pop songs of the day sounded very similar. They actully were writing in cubicles surrounded by each other and many of the hit songs of the era were very similar


Really ? ..In truth the main brill building players in the early 60s were staggeringly good songwriters. They created (not even arguably imo ) some of the freshest, most alive ,memorable,vibrant,affecting n creative pop of all time..Timeless songs people'll still be enjoying n be inspired by in 50 years time -music thats gone on to influence and inspire 1,000s of songwriters n artists (including me )

Bacharach and David (Walk on By,Make It Easy On Yourself,I Just Don't Know What To Do With Myself ) Mann/Weil (On Broadway,We Gotta Get Out Of This Place,You've Lost That Lovin' Feeling ) Greenwich/Barry (River Deep,Mountain High,Be My Baby,I Can Hear Music ) Goffin/King (Up On The Roof,Will You Love Me Tommorow,One Fine Day ) Shadow Morton (Remember Walking In The Sand,Leader Of The Pack ) Pomus/Schumman (Can't Get Used To Losing You, Sweets For My Sweet,Suspicion ) Leiber/Stoller ( Spanish Harlem ,Stand by me,searchin' )

Even when they wern't being quite as stellar as those songs their chord changes,melodies were -more often than not - intuitive, superbly crafted ,suprising, engaging,charming n transcendent..The marketplace demanded those qualities then...I don't see them as being 'similar' at all..
I'm sure none of them would've been able to produce such cool songs if they'd been hamstrung n imprisoned by the amount of 'rules' that Desertrose experienced trying to write in the modern country genre (Finish chorus always with hook/title-twist in story near end,no suprising/unusual chords-get to chorus by 45 seconds etc)
Those brill building guys music was so much freer..

Put it this way.If you were offering advice to an aspiring songwriter to generally inspire them (not someone who's major ambition for doing it is to become a modern country 'hit' writer ) would you think it'd be more fruitful,educational n opening to suggest they listen to the body of work these people produced or the top 50 country hits of the last 5 years ?

#28 User is offline   R-N-R Jim Icon

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Posted 25 February 2012 - 08:52 PM

Hi

Its funny how the most covered song in our times i.e. Yesterday by the Beatles is as far from writing structure or rules as you can get. And yet you didnt see alot of songs being written in that style. Writers were alot more creative and yet today we have so much to choose from to arrange songs with and yet...the song isn't there in most of today's music.

I don't listen to alot of current radio, but if you happen to check out VH1 count down videos of today's popular music, it sounds so much alike. How many screaming divas and crossover rap artists do they think the public really likes?

Anyways...back to the three minute song...I prefer them short as I had mentioned before. But if I kept myself in that box, I wouldn't have written "High Water Mark"(myspace site), which in itself is 5 short songs or song parts melded together. I think the song clocks in at over 6 minutes. But in that 6 minutes I take you on alittle "in the moment" type journey. I might even enter it in a contest some year. If anything, it will stand out amongst the many cookie cutter contestants, maybe not the best song in the race, but certainly one that a judge will take notice and maybe leave upon an impression...an impression enough to check out my soundclick site.

So..if 3 minutes is the goal, you've now put yourself in a box. I could never write that way.

just my two cents worth
R-N-R Jim
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Posted 25 February 2012 - 10:45 PM

I hate writing country lyrics yet can do so far more easily and quickly than I can do my taxes. There's something wrong with that. I wrote one recently in under a half an hour with a 15 minute rewrite. It fits the template and is no more or less viable than anything else being pumped out of Nashville. I think it's lame as hell but who am I to judge the taste of the those pumping all those quarters into honky tonk juke boxes.

My point is, I guess, is that anyone with a moderate amount of skill (as I feel I and so many other have) can write a hit song. It's as easy as googling a recipe on the internet. Follow it to the letter and you'll get whatever the originator intended. Add luck, moxie, or in some cases, a pretty face and a good set of tit$ and you can hit pay dirt.

Is that good enough? Is that what we should all be striving towards? I don't think it is.

Those in the Brill Building weren't confined to templates. They were hired to change the landscape - and they did. You couldn't turn on any radio station back in the 60's/early 70's and hear the same thing pumping out over and over with only a change in lyric. I miss that. Generations who have come after me are finding all of that old stuff. They're saying "Wow, this is great". It's great because it's all so different, not only compared to what they're exposed to now but within it's own time frame. Jimmy Hendrix meets Carol King. All within 5 minutes on any popular radio station back then.

I've mentioned it before, but there's a radio station in my neck of the woods which has found a large niche of listeners it probably wouldn't have found a few years ago. They play folk, classic rock (deep cuts), contemporary bluegrass, obscure indie stuff....well, you name it. The DJ's have eclectic tastes and the station is wildly popular. I believe that alone says something for the real desire out there for music that's not sterilized and vacuum sealed for popular consumption.
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Posted 26 February 2012 - 07:32 AM

Quote

I hate writing country lyrics yet can do so far more easily and quickly than I can do my taxes. There's something wrong with that. I wrote one recently in under a half an hour with a 15 minute rewrite. It fits the template and is no more or less viable than anything else being pumped out of Nashville. I think it's lame as hell but who am I to judge the taste of the those pumping all those quarters into honky tonk juke boxes.

My point is, I guess, is that anyone with a moderate amount of skill (as I feel I and so many other have) can write a hit song. It's as easy as googling a recipe on the internet. Follow it to the letter and you'll get whatever the originator intended. Add luck, moxie, or in some cases, a pretty face and a good set of tit$ and you can hit pay dirt.



Here's a suggestion. If country songs are so beneath you, quit being a hypocrite and stop writing them.

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Posted 26 February 2012 - 09:49 AM

Hi

I would have to say country lyrics are alot harder to write than most people think. Every line has to count and the hook or cliche' has to be fresh to make an impact. Plus you have to get it done in 3 minutes or less. Quite the challenge if you ask me. If it was that easy, everyone would be doing it and succeeding. I think there is more truth to Joni's statement if she was talking about the pop top 20 than the country top 20 because you actually have to come up with a melody compared to the techno blurbs over the 100 bpm that someone sings or chants over.

Besides, image has alot more to do with the top pop 20 than country. You cant smile through a bad song in country and get away with it.

Even the songs that make it into the country top 20 rotation aren't all hits by any means either. I don't go out of my way to listen to country music, but I will from time to time while channel surfing watch some CMT top 20 count down to see whats going on in country music. Its a very competitive market to write in that's for sure. I had my song "You Hoo" critiqued by Chris Van Belkin of Combustion productions(publishing company that placed songs on cds by Sugar town,Rascal Flats,Carrie Underwood etc) and he thought the song was "Good" and would probably be a hit or placed on an indie country artist cd.

I couldn't imagine trying to write hits within the strict confines of country. If your a songwriter/ artist like Taylor Swift or Shania Twain, you are given that freedom. But strictly as a writer...good luck.


just my two cents worth
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Posted 26 February 2012 - 09:58 AM

View PostRoger, on 26 February 2012 - 07:32 AM, said:

Here's a suggestion. If country songs are so beneath you, quit being a hypocrite and stop writing them.


I write them infrequently and usually only to start myself off after a long dry spell. My point is not that I'm above writing them - it's just my own opinion that they are not all that difficult to write nor do they require an abundance of talent - as evidenced by the fact that I can write one and I am not a professional or blessed with an abundance of talent.

I don't believe the country music industry is jumping through any hoops to prove it's anything more than what it is anyway. It doesn't need to. The fact that it's wildly successful and a lucrative outlet for those fortunate enough to climb to the top of the pile, is enough to justify itself and it's format. It doesn't need or care about my opinion of it.
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Posted 26 February 2012 - 10:16 AM

Quote

You cant smile through a bad song in country and get away with it.


Well yeah, sometimes you can. :lol:



Not a bad song, I'm being told. :lol:
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#34 User is offline   R-N-R Jim Icon

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Posted 26 February 2012 - 10:29 AM

[quote name='jonie' date='26 February 2012 - 08:58 AM' timestamp='1330268298' post='572381']

View PostRoger, on 26 February 2012 - 07:32 AM, said:

Here's a suggestion. If country songs are so beneath you, quit being a hypocrite and stop writing them.


I write them infrequently and usually only to start myself off after a long dry spell.(I would think your lyric "I DOUBT" is far easier to write than a country lyric) My point is not that I'm above writing them - it's just my own opinion that they are not all that difficult to write(Try writing good ones then.) nor do they require an abundance of talent(I beg to differ, I guess Taylor Swift has no talent what so ever by your standards) - as evidenced by the fact that I can write one(who said you could?) and I am not a professional or blessed with an abundance of talent(finally some truth).

I don't believe the country music industry is jumping through any hoops to prove it's anything more than what it is anyway(they've done alot of re-adjusting and marketing to re-invent itself 20 years ago from being music that your parents listened to, to attracting a younger set of listeners). It doesn't need to( it did "need to" in order to grow and thrive and as it loosened its constraints on what country is, it got more diverse. Rock music did alot of the of the leg work to drag it into more crossover friendly territory back in the 70s...I think you've heard of the group the Eagles have you?". The fact that it's wildly successful and a lucrative outlet for those fortunate enough to climb to the top of the pileI think alot of the artists who make it in country certainly worked harder to have earned it compared to the pop rock counter parts., is enough to justify itself and it's format. It doesn't need or care about my opinion of it.This is true, but now your talking to other writers that it does matter to here at the muse. Tell me, what have you done in songwriting that would give you cred anyways? Being a mod here doesn't count or prove anything either.

uote]
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Posted 26 February 2012 - 11:37 AM

View PostR-N-R Jim, on 26 February 2012 - 10:29 AM, said:

I write them infrequently and usually only to start myself off after a long dry spell.(I would think your lyric "I DOUBT" is far easier to write than a country lyric) My point is not that I'm above writing them - it's just my own opinion that they are not all that difficult to write(Try writing good ones then.) nor do they require an abundance of talent(I beg to differ, I guess Taylor Swift has no talent what so ever by your standards) - as evidenced by the fact that I can write one(who said you could?) and I am not a professional or blessed with an abundance of talent(finally some truth).

Thank you for calling me out on my arrogance, Jim. I guess I deserved that.

Quote

I don't believe the country music industry is jumping through any hoops to prove it's anything more than what it is anyway(they've done alot of re-adjusting and marketing to re-invent itself 20 years ago from being music that your parents listened to, to attracting a younger set of listeners).

Re-inventing itself to appeal to a younger market? How is that jumping through hoops to promote itself as a source for delivering the best in musical talent to the marketplace? My point is - they don't jump through those hoops and don't have to. I'm sorry if that point wasn't clear. Taylor Swift has immense appeal. She writes from her own experiences, for an audience with similar experiences. I admire her writing skills considering her age but I don't consider her to be dripping with talent. I think she's gotten as far as she has due to slightly above average songwriting skills and acceptable vocals but mostly due to a number of non-talent related factors. Bottom line is, she sells her little heart out and that's what counts. Talent isn't everything.

Quote

Tell me, what have you done in songwriting that would give you cred anyways? Being a mod here doesn't count or prove anything either.

Do I need credentials to post up my opinions here? Sorry, I must have missed that requirement.
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Posted 26 February 2012 - 12:11 PM

View Postjonie, on 26 February 2012 - 10:37 AM, said:

View PostR-N-R Jim, on 26 February 2012 - 10:29 AM, said:

I write them infrequently and usually only to start myself off after a long dry spell.(I would think your lyric "I DOUBT" is far easier to write than a country lyric) My point is not that I'm above writing them - it's just my own opinion that they are not all that difficult to write(Try writing good ones then.) nor do they require an abundance of talent(I beg to differ, I guess Taylor Swift has no talent what so ever by your standards) - as evidenced by the fact that I can write one(who said you could?) and I am not a professional or blessed with an abundance of talent(finally some truth).

Thank you for calling me out on my arrogance, Jim. I guess I deserved that.

Quote

I don't believe the country music industry is jumping through any hoops to prove it's anything more than what it is anyway(they've done alot of re-adjusting and marketing to re-invent itself 20 years ago from being music that your parents listened to, to attracting a younger set of listeners).

Re-inventing itself to appeal to a younger market? How is that jumping through hoops to promote itself as a source for delivering the best in musical talent to the marketplace?Is their a big market for polka music these days? I rest my case. My point is - they don't jump through those hoops and don't have to. I'm sorry if that point wasn't clear.Nashville had to change, and that was a very hard thing and a very big hoop to jump through to become relevant in the music industry again. You've heard of the NASHVILLE MAFIA...they were not too happy about Mutt Langs idea of what country was suppose to sound like, but the public agreed with Mutt Lang and hence Shania Twain was born. Taylor Swift has immense appeal. She writes from her own experiences, for an audience with similar experiences.but its how she presents it that makes it special....that's a gift that doesn't grow on trees. I admire her writing skills considering her age but I don't consider her to be dripping with talent. You could only wish you had even an ounce of her talent...as a writer and novice recording artist I can appreciate what she brings to the table. You wouldn't believe how hard it is to do what she does and on a consistent basis. I think she's gotten as far as she has due to slightly above average songwriting skills and acceptable vocals but mostly due to a number of non-talent related factors.Please name these non talent factors your talking about. Bottom line is, she sells her little heart out and that's what counts.AND she has earned every penny. Talent isn't everything. If it isn't, then why aren't you in Nashville then?

Quote

Tell me, what have you done in songwriting that would give you cred anyways? Being a mod here doesn't count or prove anything either.

Do I need credentials to post up my opinions here? Absolutely not, but unlike the queen, you don't get away with a loose canon diatribe here :) Sorry, I must have missed that requirement. I think the only requirement would be to have an opinion that has some angle or viewpoint that can be proven or offered up as something thought provoking rather than clay pigeon practice.


just my two cents worth
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#37 User is offline   jonie Icon

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Posted 26 February 2012 - 12:19 PM

View PostR-N-R Jim, on 26 February 2012 - 12:11 PM, said:

View Postjonie, on 26 February 2012 - 10:37 AM, said:

View PostR-N-R Jim, on 26 February 2012 - 10:29 AM, said:

I write them infrequently and usually only to start myself off after a long dry spell.(I would think your lyric "I DOUBT" is far easier to write than a country lyric) My point is not that I'm above writing them - it's just my own opinion that they are not all that difficult to write(Try writing good ones then.) nor do they require an abundance of talent(I beg to differ, I guess Taylor Swift has no talent what so ever by your standards) - as evidenced by the fact that I can write one(who said you could?) and I am not a professional or blessed with an abundance of talent(finally some truth).

Thank you for calling me out on my arrogance, Jim. I guess I deserved that.

Quote

I don't believe the country music industry is jumping through any hoops to prove it's anything more than what it is anyway(they've done alot of re-adjusting and marketing to re-invent itself 20 years ago from being music that your parents listened to, to attracting a younger set of listeners).

Re-inventing itself to appeal to a younger market? How is that jumping through hoops to promote itself as a source for delivering the best in musical talent to the marketplace?Is their a big market for polka music these days? I rest my case. My point is - they don't jump through those hoops and don't have to. I'm sorry if that point wasn't clear.Nashville had to change, and that was a very hard thing and a very big hoop to jump through to become relevant in the music industry again. You've heard of the NASHVILLE MAFIA...they were not too happy about Mutt Langs idea of what country was suppose to sound like, but the public agreed with Mutt Lang and hence Shania Twain was born. Taylor Swift has immense appeal. She writes from her own experiences, for an audience with similar experiences.but its how she presents it that makes it special....that's a gift that doesn't grow on trees. I admire her writing skills considering her age but I don't consider her to be dripping with talent. You could only wish you had even an ounce of her talent...as a writer and novice recording artist I can appreciate what she brings to the table. You wouldn't believe how hard it is to do what she does and on a consistent basis. I think she's gotten as far as she has due to slightly above average songwriting skills and acceptable vocals but mostly due to a number of non-talent related factors.Please name these non talent factors your talking about. Bottom line is, she sells her little heart out and that's what counts.AND she has earned every penny. Talent isn't everything. If it isn't, then why aren't you in Nashville then?

Quote

Tell me, what have you done in songwriting that would give you cred anyways? Being a mod here doesn't count or prove anything either.

Do I need credentials to post up my opinions here? Absolutely not, but unlike the queen, you don't get away with a loose canon diatribe here :) Sorry, I must have missed that requirement. I think the only requirement would be to have an opinion that has some angle or viewpoint that can be proven or offered up as something thought provoking rather than clay pigeon practice.


just my two cents worth
R-N-R Jim


I'm sorry you have the opinion of me that you do, Jim. It's obvious I really get under your skin for some reason. If you don't like what I have to say and find yourself suffering from temper fits over my opinions, maybe you should just ignore me. I'd rather not see this thread devolve into personal attacks.
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#38 User is offline   R-N-R Jim Icon

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Posted 26 February 2012 - 01:14 PM

Hi Joni

I don't feel I have in any way attacked you personally Joni. You even had admitted to your own arrogance or tone on the subject, hence my response. You see Joni, its different to have an opinion of music if your a consumer or a fan of music. If you dislike a style of music which we all do at times, you can say that as a fan or music consumer.

When you judge music from a songwriters perspective, it takes a different perspective to do so. When Rodger called you out on your idea that country music is superficial and easy to write...as a fan of music, you can say that, but as a writer, you have to take a couple steps back and see why it works and by no means always look at the lower end of country music to make that judgement. Again, if this music was easy to write and took no talent, then all of us would be in Nashville. lol

My points on your opinions are that you are not that informed or experienced a writer to make such determinations. What points were you trying to score on down grading Taylor Swift? I was just baffled by that. As a music fan you can have your opinion of her music, but as a songwriter you have to break down what she does and why it works. I mean she is the complete package and not all country artists can do that. You don't think that people here are not going to have a differing opinion than yours and at least state why yours don't hold water? I don't call my answers to your ideas of country music or Taylor Swift anymore than a counterpoint of your opinions, not a personal attack. Sorry if it came off that way.

just my two cents worth
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#39 User is offline   Bruce N Icon

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Posted 26 February 2012 - 02:24 PM

View PostR-N-R Jim, on 26 February 2012 - 12:14 PM, said:

Again, if this music was easy to write and took no talent, then all of us would be in Nashville. lol

R-N-R Jim


I thought that was the case already.
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#40 User is offline   Roger Icon

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Posted 26 February 2012 - 02:51 PM

View PostBruce N, on 26 February 2012 - 01:24 PM, said:

View PostR-N-R Jim, on 26 February 2012 - 12:14 PM, said:

Again, if this music was easy to write and took no talent, then all of us would be in Nashville. lol

R-N-R Jim


I thought that was the case already.




Maybe I should become a moderator so I could also feel empowered to make ignorant and condescending posts. ;)

#41 User is offline   jonie Icon

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Posted 26 February 2012 - 03:26 PM

View PostR-N-R Jim, on 26 February 2012 - 01:14 PM, said:

Hi Joni

You see Joni, its different to have an opinion of music if your a consumer or a fan of music. If you dislike a style of music which we all do at times, you can say that as a fan or music consumer.

When you judge music from a songwriters perspective, it takes a different perspective to do so.

My points on your opinions are that you are not that informed or experienced a writer to make such determinations. What points were you trying to score on down grading Taylor Swift?


Amidst constant denial by her management that she does so, Taylor Swift lip syncs through the breakout portions of her songs in her live performances yet you say one needs to be an experienced songwriter to know that truly talented performing artists don't need to do that? And that this denial, in the face of what is obvious, should not lead all but experienced songwriters to question as well, the possibility that she has a good deal of assistance with her songwriting, which is also strongly denied?

On the contrary, I believe it takes a fan to regard this young lady as some uber-talented wunderkind instead of what she in fact is - a very attractive, carefully branded and skillfully marketed product.

You sound like a fan to me, Jim.
We have now sunk to a depth at which re-statement of the obvious is the first duty of intelligent men.
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#42 User is offline   jonie Icon

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Posted 26 February 2012 - 03:32 PM

View PostRoger, on 26 February 2012 - 02:51 PM, said:

Maybe I should become a moderator so I could also feel empowered to make ignorant and condescending posts. ;)

Don't let that stop you. :lol:
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Posted 26 February 2012 - 03:36 PM

View Postjonie, on 25 February 2012 - 10:45 PM, said:

I hate writing country lyrics yet can do so far more easily and quickly than I can do my taxes.


She does my taxes...if only my mom could write my lyrics for me too!
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#44 User is offline   R-N-R Jim Icon

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Posted 26 February 2012 - 04:47 PM

[quote name='jonie' date='26 February 2012 - 02:26 PM' timestamp='1330288010' post='572419']

View PostR-N-R Jim, on 26 February 2012 - 01:14 PM, said:

Hi Joni

You see Joni, its different to have an opinion of music if your a consumer or a fan of music. If you dislike a style of music which we all do at times, you can say that as a fan or music consumer.

When you judge music from a songwriters perspective, it takes a different perspective to do so.

My points on your opinions are that you are not that informed or experienced a writer to make such determinations. What points were you trying to score on down grading Taylor Swift?


Amidst constant denial by her management that she does so, Taylor Swift lip syncs through the breakout portions of her songs in her live performances yet you say one needs to be an experienced songwriter to know that truly talented performing artists don't need to do that? Its more or less a choice on the performing end of things. Did you ever hear anyone complain about a Queen concert when they did their hit and had their multi-vocals piped in for the opera section of the song? Some acts either scale down their arrangements to meet a live performance or bring in extra players. I wouldn't condemn her if she was doing this, Im sure Madonna was lip syncing her songs during the super bowl half time show. But Im not going to throw her under the bus for it. She's an entertainer and for what they were trying to pull off in a short amount of time warranted or limited what they could do. And that this denial, in the face of what is obvious, should not lead all but experienced songwriters to question as well, the possibility that she has a good deal of assistance with her songwriting, which is also strongly denied? I'll have to check her credits on her songs, but I do believe I saw a 60 minutes special that said she had more to do with her own writing than what your saying. I think she said she wrote "Romeo and Juliet" in like 20 minutes(somebody fact check that one for me) ?

On the contrary, I believe it takes a fan to regard this young lady as some uber-talented wunderkind There are perhaps at least 20 labels that are kicking themselves that they didn't take a chance on her, so no, I don't think it takes a fans perspective to rationalize that she's that good. instead of what she in fact is - a very attractive Yes she is ! :), carefully branded and skillfully marketed product. true, but then again"something " has to be there to promote, and she has that "something" on many levels.

You sound like a fan to me, Jim. You know something, if I was 30 years younger I would be a groupie too of hers. blush, but seeing that I don't own any of her cds , I guess I'm just an observer of her talent. Nothing more, nothing less.


just my two cents worth
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#45 User is offline   Bruce N Icon

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Posted 26 February 2012 - 05:06 PM

View PostRoger, on 26 February 2012 - 01:51 PM, said:

View PostBruce N, on 26 February 2012 - 01:24 PM, said:

View PostR-N-R Jim, on 26 February 2012 - 12:14 PM, said:

Again, if this music was easy to write and took no talent, then all of us would be in Nashville. lol

R-N-R Jim


I thought that was the case already.




Maybe I should become a moderator so I could also feel empowered to make ignorant and condescending posts. Posted Image


Oh gees, where did that come from ? You must have misinterpreted my post Rodger.
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#46 User is offline   Alistair S Icon

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Posted 26 February 2012 - 05:16 PM

Fascinating conversation and, while I recognise that we are waaaay off-topic now, it does bring up a few questions for me...

First, what makes a lyric a "country" lyric? Is it the subject matter? The meter? I can see that it won't fit some genres, but there seems to me to be a slender line between some genres (folk, country, americana, for example). Why can't a lyric work for jazz (for example) as well as it would for country? I'm not arguing a point here. It's a genuine question.

Second, what was so unusual (in structure) about "Yesterday"? To me, it is a classic AABA, with strict meter and rhyme. Lyrically, it seems to me to be a good example of the "rules/guidelines" working.

Third, how do you make a cliche "free" to "make an impact"? I think you can, but I'd be interested in comments from others.

And an observation - writing a country lyric is probably easy (though I could probably point to other genres where it may be even easier - mostly because the lyric doesn't matter in some genres). I'll add the caveat that I have never tried, but it is a genre where there is perhaps a clearer template than in some other genres. Writing a good country lyric is another matter. Mind you, so is writing a good lyric for any genre. :)

Lastly, an admission. I have heard of Taylor Swift but wouldn't be able to name a single song of hers. I suspect she is a mainly American phenomenon.
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#47 User is offline   Alistair S Icon

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Posted 26 February 2012 - 05:18 PM

View PostBruce N, on 26 February 2012 - 10:06 PM, said:

Oh gees, where did that come from ? You must have misinterpreted my post Rodger.


Well, yes. There's been a certain meanness of tone that's entered the thread that it would be nice to move on from.
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#48 User is offline   R-N-R Jim Icon

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Posted 26 February 2012 - 06:20 PM

Hi Alistair

So "Yesterday" is a common pattern in songwriting? I thought the verse /chorus/ verse/ chorus/ solo/ chorus(maybe a bridge) verse/chorus /end was kinda standard. So I'll map out "Yesterday" and I'm asking you if I have dissected the song right.


Yesterday
(Beatles)
verse 1
Yesterday,all my troubles seem so far away
now it looks as though they're here to stay
oh I believe in yesterday is this line considered a refrain?or chorus? I think refrain myself. How many songs have refrains in them that are post date 1960s?
verse 2
Suddenly, I'm not half the man I used to be
there's a shadow hanging over me
oh I believe in yesterday again refrain or chorus. also is it common to run two verses together before you come to a chorus? Im not saying that it doesn't happen alot, but back then, was it common?
chorus
why she had to go I don't know
she wouldn't say
I said something wrong
Now I long for yesterday would the first three lines be considered a chorus or pre-chorus? Or a chorus with the last line being a refrain?
verse 3
yesterday, love was such an easy game to play
Now I need a place to hide away
oh I believe in yesterday
chorus
repeat third verse is repeating the third verse common in songwriting after the chorus?

Honestly Alistair, I cant think of one song off hand that was patterned like this structure wise much less made it in the top 40 back in the day. Its the refrains that seem dated for that era of music. Maybe this pattern may have been more prevalent in your neck of the woods or would pre-date the 1950s, but I'm not familiar with it other than this song. I did write my own "Yesterday" type song by accident called "You and I" which your familiar with that is well...half the song of this in many ways (chuckle chuckle). But to me, doesn't seem as common as you think. Tell me some songs that follow that pattern.

regards
student


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#49 User is offline   Lazz Icon

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Posted 26 February 2012 - 07:50 PM

R-N-R Jim said:

Honestly Alistair, I cant think of one song off hand that was patterned like this structure wise much less made it in the top 40 back in the day.

Crikey, matey!!
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#50 User is offline   R-N-R Jim Icon

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Posted 26 February 2012 - 07:55 PM

View PostLazz, on 26 February 2012 - 06:50 PM, said:

R-N-R Jim said:

Honestly Alistair, I cant think of one song off hand that was patterned like this structure wise much less made it in the top 40 back in the day.

Crikey, matey!!
And stone the crows.
The standard 32-bar AABA form is one of songwriting's basic food-groups.


Well shiver me timbers...its the Lazzinator. If you say its common, than it must be so :)
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