Muse's Muse Songwriting Message Board: Creating a "catalog" - Muse's Muse Songwriting Message Board

Jump to content

What This Forum Is About:

You're ready to turn your lyrics or music into a song, congratulations! Now what? You may even have married lyrics and melody, but your song needs marriage counseling. Here you can learn how to craft a melody, by itself or to lyrics; tweak your lyrics to fit the music; write lyrics to an existing melody; how to add chords to your song. You can also find discussions and lessons on the finer points of music and lyrics that will help you develop your skills.
Page 1 of 1
  • You cannot start a new topic
  • You cannot reply to this topic

Creating a "catalog" ideas?

#1 User is offline   porcupine Icon

  • Inspirational Muse
  • PipPipPipPip
  • Group: Members
  • Posts: 461
  • Joined: 04-November 11
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Reading, Pa
  • Interests:Music, baseball, comedy, my wife and son

Posted 10 April 2012 - 09:53 AM

I have been, as most have on this site have, been creating a catalog of music. I am very curious about the Country market though, and there seems to be some odd terminology thrown around and here's what I mean.

I have friends who country line dance and "catagorize" a song in being a two-step or whatever. This clearly tells me the beat and rhythm of the song, but are there catagories within each genre. Especially as it pertains to country music and songwriting.

If there are clear catagoies (ballad, duet, two step -whatever), what are they? does this apply to other genres?

Porcupine
#1 song on Onstage.com's Holiday Playlist in Nov 2011 "Could This Be Christmas"
#5 song on Onstage.com's Open for Bon Jovi in May of 2010 "Turn It Down"
recorded and produced songs with several grammy winners and nominees
songs writen have been recorded by The Standard, Wooden Nickel, Jody Stapler and Prototype
see more of my music at charlieeschbach.com

#2 User is offline   Roger Icon

  • Active Muse
  • PipPipPip
  • Group: Members
  • Posts: 160
  • Joined: 13-June 11
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Nashville, TN

Posted 10 April 2012 - 10:20 AM

I can't speak for MABBO, but the only 'categories' I use are uptempo, mid, ballad, traditional & contemporary. I have never drilled down as deep as you discussed, because it doesn't really help me in pitching the songs.

#3 User is offline   MABBO Icon

  • Active Muse
  • PipPipPip
  • Group: Members
  • Posts: 221
  • Joined: 28-October 11
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Nashville Tn.
  • Interests:Talking about, teaching, participating in writing, performing, recording and all things pertaining to music in general, Nashville, Tn. in particular.

Posted 10 April 2012 - 10:24 AM

Charlie,

I can't speak for everyone, but I personally (and I learn a lot of my stuff from hit and established writers) I will catogorize them into things like:

Male (most of these would be under 25 year old pitches
Female( " )
Older Male or Female (This might be songs from an older persepective)
Honky Tonk (Which might be the more rowdy stuff)
Humorous (This might be something like a lot of Brad Paisley)
Comedy (This is the outright "FUNNY STUFF")
Female Attitude (This could be like Carrie Underwood or Women empowerment songs)
Rangy vocals (This would have more Martina McBride type, with a larger vocal range)
Edgy country (Which could be the country rock Jason Aldeen, or female Gretchen Wilson or Miranda Lambert
Dance (This could be two step, or more rock/hip hop, type. Sometimes certain artists approach will be different than mine)
Bluegrass
Ballads (male and female)
Power Ballads (these are more mid tempo power songs that are on the radio.)
Message oriented (songs with a theme)
Issue oriented (more politically or issue driven)
Retro (These might be rockabilly, older country, traditional,)
Niche songs (These could be specific artist oriented (Elvis,Tempations,etc) sometimes there are very outside pitches asking for this type song.
Accapella
Guitar vocals
Full production
Level II (some basic production but not quite FULL demo)
Teaching lessons (songs that are written with clients that are more of an eduactional purpose (character development/Perspective/
"Twist on the tale songs (Different approaches)
Christian or more lofty themes.
Undefinable catagories.
Songs written for yourself,not really intended to pitch.

Some will have multiple catagories. They might fit into different genres.

With each song I have a "rating" system as to the strength of the song or production development. For instance

One star: Basic song. Usually eduactional. Many times working with beginners, you are just demonstrating techniques. Songs are decent but nothing that much to advance. Some times other writers WILL NOT budge on a certain topic and that topic might be overdone. The job is to do the best you can on it, but then move on to other songs.

Two stars: basic songs with more potential that should be reviewed from time to time.

Three stars: Raising the level and having some basic production on demos.

Four stars: Fairly commercial and needing full demos.

Five stars: Full commerical, ready to pitch, full demos.

Each song will have folders with lyrics and recording. Most are in some stage of critiques or reviews and many are in some form of pitch. A few here and there get cut. Any cuts go into separate folders with status on each song (did it make it to single, album cut, cut but never released, video done, etc)

That's the nature of the beast.


MAB

#4 User is offline   MABBO Icon

  • Active Muse
  • PipPipPip
  • Group: Members
  • Posts: 221
  • Joined: 28-October 11
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Nashville Tn.
  • Interests:Talking about, teaching, participating in writing, performing, recording and all things pertaining to music in general, Nashville, Tn. in particular.

Posted 10 April 2012 - 10:36 AM

Charlie,

In everything you are just trying to cover bases. When I work with people, which is the majority of what I do, I ask three questions:

What STYLE of song do you want to write?

What is NOT in your catalogue?

If you could write something for any artist, living or dead, who would it be?

I will try to find out what kind of music MOTIVATES the person I am working with. What they are passionate about. Then I try to get them to look at elements of their real lives that could become a song idea. The truth and finding subjects that they can relate to yet also be relatable to many more people is the key.

I don't write for trends, but if they have an artist they particularly like, I will listen to it for types of vocal patterns, ranges, subject matter. Then a lot is on auto pilot.

When directing it to a particular catalogue, being able to categorize songs help in speed or effectivness.
That way when you get a song plugger or more importantly a producer or manager of a particular artist, and they can give you a specific style, age, tempo, feel, etc. it helps speed up the process. The best thing is if you can get to know an artist, what they are into, who they are inside, it helps match music up to the artist.

It is very inexact, and just trying to keep it somewhat organized is a chore, but helps. A LOT of songs I have pitched have come from someone hearing me do it live. And often if someone reminds me of something I did a while back, it might serve as a guide to other songs.

I am my own worst enemy but luckily have a girlfriend and many other friends that will point out things I over look.

All you can really do is write em, get em represented in one way or another, and get them into as many hands as possible.

MAB

#5 User is offline   MABBO Icon

  • Active Muse
  • PipPipPip
  • Group: Members
  • Posts: 221
  • Joined: 28-October 11
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Nashville Tn.
  • Interests:Talking about, teaching, participating in writing, performing, recording and all things pertaining to music in general, Nashville, Tn. in particular.

Posted 10 April 2012 - 10:43 AM

Roger,

Do you have catagories for specifically male and female, or just keep it in the tempo designations? Many of mine come because I work directly with a lot of artists, and it helps me to be more specific in finding songs. When you have a couple thousand on your I Tunes, it is easy to lose track of what you even have. Most of my "cataloging" is to give me some order to what stage the demo is in. Some of the songs that have become my most requested are songs I wrote and then forgot about.

MAB

#6 User is offline   Roger Icon

  • Active Muse
  • PipPipPip
  • Group: Members
  • Posts: 160
  • Joined: 13-June 11
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Nashville, TN

Posted 10 April 2012 - 10:49 AM

View PostMABBO, on 10 April 2012 - 09:43 AM, said:

Roger,

Do you have catagories for specifically male and female, or just keep it in the tempo designations? Many of mine come because I work directly with a lot of artists, and it helps me to be more specific in finding songs. When you have a couple thousand on your I Tunes, it is easy to lose track of what you even have. Most of my "cataloging" is to give me some order to what stage the demo is in. Some of the songs that have become my most requested are songs I wrote and then forgot about.

MAB


I actually don't write a lot of gender specific songs intentionally, so that I can pitch them to both male & female artists - so no I don't. I know the volume issue, I've got in the thousands as well, I just have a pretty good memory when I see the titles, so I keep it simple. Probably I'm just too lazy to do any more than that.

#7 User is offline   MABBO Icon

  • Active Muse
  • PipPipPip
  • Group: Members
  • Posts: 221
  • Joined: 28-October 11
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Nashville Tn.
  • Interests:Talking about, teaching, participating in writing, performing, recording and all things pertaining to music in general, Nashville, Tn. in particular.

Posted 10 April 2012 - 12:03 PM

That's the thing about you young whipper snappers today. You can remember everything. I can't remember what I had for breakfast this morning.
Actually on my I Tunes" that I put everything on, I have catagories on everything. So I just do it as I write them and it lists them for me. After the songs go through various changes, re-writes, performing them, critiques, etc. I can group them into different catagories, mostly according to the "demo status" they are in or "pitchablity." It is going to make no sense to pitch a guitar vocal on people only asking for full demos. And converesly, if they want a simpler guitar vocal demo, I usually have that as well.

I have found with younger artists and even some industry people it is hard to pitch a male song to a female and vice versa. So again, I do what I can to take away the "no's." With most of that, it depends on who you are dealing with in the pitch.

Hey, looks like I am going back to that Conference in Toronto that you and I did a couple years ago. Anything you want me to tell em for you? That I can actually say? LOL!

MAB

#8 User is offline   Scotto Icon

  • A Muse's Muse
  • PipPipPipPipPip
  • Group: Members
  • Posts: 1,347
  • Joined: 03-February 11
  • Gender:Male

Posted 10 April 2012 - 12:14 PM

Is the idea of a catalog just a collection of your songs categorized so that you have the descriptions at your fingertips for submitting to various situations or is it something more than that?

#9 User is offline   MABBO Icon

  • Active Muse
  • PipPipPip
  • Group: Members
  • Posts: 221
  • Joined: 28-October 11
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Nashville Tn.
  • Interests:Talking about, teaching, participating in writing, performing, recording and all things pertaining to music in general, Nashville, Tn. in particular.

Posted 10 April 2012 - 12:48 PM

Scott,

It's probably going to be many things to many people. In the case of some of the people I work with who might be "newbies or beginners", it is a way to view where they have come and where they currently are. Kind of a report card of sorts.

With publishers and more prolific writers, it is an organization tool.

With artists, it would be a way to keep the different songs filed and catogorized. Trying to keep from doing the same song over and over.

And of course, with listeners, or co-writers, a way to get a sampling of several things an artist or writers have as an "overview" in a tight time frame.

Personally for me, it is a bit of all of it, and I think a good idea to keep together. It also helps you kind of focus on the best songs. If you write a ton, and know you are only going to have "slots" for a few songs, either in a pitch, live show, CD, etc. it helps you separate the best songs from the "good ideas at the time." Can also help decide what to demo.

I do a lot of shows where I share the stage with other writers, particularly hit writers with those monster hits everyone knows. I have to be able to follow those songs when it is my turn, and I don't have all the "well known songs." So I have to pick songs that can follow those, can demonstrate my various styles and hopefully keep the show moving along.

Cataloging things always help me organize that as well.

MAB

#10 User is offline   porcupine Icon

  • Inspirational Muse
  • PipPipPipPip
  • Group: Members
  • Posts: 461
  • Joined: 04-November 11
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Reading, Pa
  • Interests:Music, baseball, comedy, my wife and son

Posted 10 April 2012 - 01:16 PM

definately both.

The one thing I notice, now that Im in the hundreds of songs, I forget what I have. So, when I get a lead for, lets say, an uptempto country song from a female perspective, I have to shuffle through a bunch, maybe even missing the best one.
Porcupine
#1 song on Onstage.com's Holiday Playlist in Nov 2011 "Could This Be Christmas"
#5 song on Onstage.com's Open for Bon Jovi in May of 2010 "Turn It Down"
recorded and produced songs with several grammy winners and nominees
songs writen have been recorded by The Standard, Wooden Nickel, Jody Stapler and Prototype
see more of my music at charlieeschbach.com

#11 User is offline   MABBO Icon

  • Active Muse
  • PipPipPip
  • Group: Members
  • Posts: 221
  • Joined: 28-October 11
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Nashville Tn.
  • Interests:Talking about, teaching, participating in writing, performing, recording and all things pertaining to music in general, Nashville, Tn. in particular.

Posted 10 April 2012 - 02:52 PM

Charlie,

That is EXACTLY what I go through. And I never know where something is going to come up. As I started typing this, I got a phone call. It is from a guy here in town, who is the manager of an artist from Missouri. That artist is coming in town tomorrow to try and hear some songs, and they were wanting to get with me. I am booked solid tomorrow. We have that "beer for Breakfast" show, so there will be twenty five or thirty writer/artists performing. So I will have both of them come there.

So now I have to go through songs to find to make a CD for him. As they told me a little about him, mid 30's, plays bars in his area, wants more traditional country, I can make up a CD pretty quickly from some of what I have. I'll do probably 6 songs. If he likes that or wants more, we go the next round. But he is only in town for one day.

So that is why you have catalogue. Can help you find things quickly and efficiently.

MAB

#12 User is offline   neuroron Icon

  • A meandering Muse
  • PipPipPipPipPip
  • Group: Moderators
  • Posts: 2,921
  • Joined: 22-October 06
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Houston, TX
  • Interests:All aspects of music and sound - from the poetic to the scientific. Neurology/neuroscience.

Posted 10 April 2012 - 02:55 PM

good discussion!
Visit me at my Soundclick site: The RT Project - Or Facebook

#13 User is offline   Scotto Icon

  • A Muse's Muse
  • PipPipPipPipPip
  • Group: Members
  • Posts: 1,347
  • Joined: 03-February 11
  • Gender:Male

Posted 10 April 2012 - 03:18 PM

Thanks,

Not a bad idea. I could easily go through what I have on my studio Mac's iTunes and do some "cataloging".

#14 User is offline   MABBO Icon

  • Active Muse
  • PipPipPip
  • Group: Members
  • Posts: 221
  • Joined: 28-October 11
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Nashville Tn.
  • Interests:Talking about, teaching, participating in writing, performing, recording and all things pertaining to music in general, Nashville, Tn. in particular.

Posted 10 April 2012 - 03:46 PM

Just finished with 11 songs. This guy is very new to original stuff so you have to give him a wide variety of stuff. And even with the cataloguing ,it still takes a while to go through a lot of this. Hard to find songs for someone you have no knowledge of, personality, subject matter, tempos, etc. all kind of just winging it. But it does help get you "in the ballpark."

For these songs I went with my "Male Attitude" songs. They are songs that you might hear Toby Keith or Trace Adkins do. The reason is that he plays a lot of bars in the Missouri area. So you look for songs that could be used in that setting. But you want to have a variety of subjects. I did two "ripping party songs" two mid tempo "issue songs", two male power ballads, One kind of "two step" and a couple of basically fun songs. Any one could be played in the loud honky tonk background. If he is partial to anyone type, I can get another two or three CD's.

Usually artists in clubs, have a clientelle that dance to certain songs. They need to lock that in, and try to find songs that would match up with that. You ideally would like them to be able to insert your songs into a set list that could have the current country songs as well as the standard Sweet Home, Brown Eyed Girl, Honky Tonk Women, that most bands play.

Never know where it is going to go, but you try to give as many types of songs as you can.

MAB

#15 User is offline   Scotto Icon

  • A Muse's Muse
  • PipPipPipPipPip
  • Group: Members
  • Posts: 1,347
  • Joined: 03-February 11
  • Gender:Male

Posted 10 April 2012 - 03:58 PM

I've played a LOT of bars in Missouri....

Ripping Party songs always got us pretty far in those cover gigs so as a band we had written our own. They were pretty seamless in a set list of covers. Though we were a rock band...

#16 User is offline   MABBO Icon

  • Active Muse
  • PipPipPip
  • Group: Members
  • Posts: 221
  • Joined: 28-October 11
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Nashville Tn.
  • Interests:Talking about, teaching, participating in writing, performing, recording and all things pertaining to music in general, Nashville, Tn. in particular.

Posted 10 April 2012 - 04:07 PM

Scott,

Yeah. I was always a bar band player too. That is why in so much of what I write I have "attitude, and tempo." If you can keep em out there on the dance floor partying, the managers, tend to want to book you back because you keep em' drinking. Might pick up some local stations to play your stuff and if it is recorded right, DJ's might start doing it. You can create a bit of a "local groundswell in clubs" then go to You Tube, Reverb Nation, etc. and make an end run around labels. Of course, you have to get the artist interested first. I have played all the songs I pitched this guy in clubs myself so I am pretty sure they work.

MAB

#17 User is offline   jonie Icon

  • ooo xxx
  • PipPipPipPipPip
  • Group: Members
  • Posts: 7,692
  • Joined: 29-January 08
  • Gender:Female
  • Location:Reading, UK

Posted 10 April 2012 - 05:47 PM

I have a hard time categorizing my stuff. Maybe it's a mental block or my ego not wanting to have anything I write pigeonholed into a particular category. Then again, I don't pitch anything so have no reason to figure out how I would categorize my songs or lyrics.

In case someone hasn't mentioned it earlier, the two-step is a dance between partners (rather than a line dance) The music required to two-step (as defined by Wikipedia):

Quote

Traditionally, Two Step includes three steps: a quick step, a quick step, and then a slow step. It can be danced to music with either a 2/4 or 4/4 time signature.


Modern version:

Quote

Originally called the Texas Shuffle Step (or Foxtrot step), at some point this became better known as Texas Two Step, which is now the most common dance with that name. Danced to music with 4/4 time signature, it consists of four steps with timing quick, quick, slow, slow, where the pattern of movement is often referred to as "Step-together, walk, walk.


Quote

The Two Step can be danced over a fairly wide range of tempos, such as 130 bpm to over 200 bpm. Accomplished dancers can dance to tempos above 185 bpm


I've tried and can't do it. The two-step I mean.
We have now sunk to a depth at which re-statement of the obvious is the first duty of intelligent men.
George Orwell

The greatest tragedy in mankind's entire history may be the hijacking of morality by religion.
Arthur C. Clarke

Don Martin Lyric of the Year 2008 & 2009
1 + 1 Song of the Year 2009 Ain't That True

My Soundclick Page
My lyrics and songs hosted by Lyricadia

#18 User is offline   MABBO Icon

  • Active Muse
  • PipPipPip
  • Group: Members
  • Posts: 221
  • Joined: 28-October 11
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Nashville Tn.
  • Interests:Talking about, teaching, participating in writing, performing, recording and all things pertaining to music in general, Nashville, Tn. in particular.

Posted 11 April 2012 - 12:02 AM

I can write it, but NEVER dance it. There is also "Techno" which in years gone by were disco, and related rhythmns.

MAB

#19 User is offline   MABBO Icon

  • Active Muse
  • PipPipPip
  • Group: Members
  • Posts: 221
  • Joined: 28-October 11
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Nashville Tn.
  • Interests:Talking about, teaching, participating in writing, performing, recording and all things pertaining to music in general, Nashville, Tn. in particular.

Posted 11 April 2012 - 08:07 AM

Joan,

A catalogue is just an organizational tool to keep tabs on your overall skill levels, subject matter, etc. Sometimes it is VERY handy for live shows because if you can read an audience you can make better decisions on what songs to play. I also like people to go back and look at songs they were writing 6 months or a year back and see how their current songs stack up against those, as their tastes and skills change. AS I said, it can mean many things to many people. Doesn't have to be a "pitch" thing. Can just give you an idea on all the things you have written.

In my case I have three or four CD's, perform pretty regularly, and always want to do a cross sections of songs I am known for, sometimes I will be performing with or in front of co-writers, will want to do new songs I have written for testing out, have several different styles and need to play up to an audience, and keep it fresh and interesting for myself as well as the audience. Sometimes in live performing, you get a sense for what works or where you might want to rethink something. You might do something by accident that makes the song pull together better. Or you might find that the song just simply is not as good as you thought it was.

In those cases, it helps to have a good handle on your catalogue and give your self options on what to do.

So it can mean a lot of things to a lot of people. It doesn't have to mean some big deep Nashville system. Basically it is just knowing your collection of songs.

MAB

#20 User is offline   porcupine Icon

  • Inspirational Muse
  • PipPipPipPip
  • Group: Members
  • Posts: 461
  • Joined: 04-November 11
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Reading, Pa
  • Interests:Music, baseball, comedy, my wife and son

Posted 11 April 2012 - 08:28 AM

View PostMABBO, on 11 April 2012 - 08:07 AM, said:

Sometimes it is VERY handy for live shows because if you can read an audience you can make better decisions on what songs to play. I also like people to go back and look at songs they were writing 6 months or a year back and see how their current songs stack up against those, as their tastes and skills change. AS I said, it can mean many things to many people. MAB


This is SO true. I used to write out sets, medleys of a few songs back to back and a very tight "order" to playing live. I hardly ever do that anymore. If its a lively bunch, I want to put out certain songs, but more of a listening room, I have to change quickly.

As far as looking back, whew, kinda embarrassed of some of the first things I put together 20 years ago. I do have a bit of a formula for creating a song and I think I over complicated it back then. Even in the last 5 years, I've seen interesting changes and improvement. Great stuff as a timeline.

I agree 100% with MABBO

Porcupine
#1 song on Onstage.com's Holiday Playlist in Nov 2011 "Could This Be Christmas"
#5 song on Onstage.com's Open for Bon Jovi in May of 2010 "Turn It Down"
recorded and produced songs with several grammy winners and nominees
songs writen have been recorded by The Standard, Wooden Nickel, Jody Stapler and Prototype
see more of my music at charlieeschbach.com

#21 User is offline   MABBO Icon

  • Active Muse
  • PipPipPip
  • Group: Members
  • Posts: 221
  • Joined: 28-October 11
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Nashville Tn.
  • Interests:Talking about, teaching, participating in writing, performing, recording and all things pertaining to music in general, Nashville, Tn. in particular.

Posted 11 April 2012 - 12:24 PM

Charlie,

Thanks for inviting me over here. I think it is important for writers to get as much info as they can on what other people do. My main "job" is as a coach and mentor for writers and artists from all over the world. I work with them on their songwriting skills and process, and try to help them make some sense of the music industry. Which is a pretty tough job because no one can figure that out. LOL! But I am interested in people as an overall career, not just a small bit. I want them to write the best songs they can, meet as many like minded individuals, and being cautious in how they spend money and their time.

I host a "Music Insiders" forum on a site called "Songramp.com" and that is comprised of around 50 people worldwide, who meet each other online, talk daily, post songs, co-write, do peer to peer critiques, etc, and then meet each other face to face as they travel around countries or states, and often come to Nashville, where we all hang out. I work with a lot of those people.

One of our "crew" is a woman from Kentucky, who started out four years ago writing poetry, then wanted to graduate to songwriting. She made almost nightly trips to Nashville for shows, meeting people and learning about co-writing. After a couple of years, she actually moved here, while still going back to Kentucky (about 20 minutes away) every day to her business she owns. She has done amazingly well at writing, meeting and being a great supporter of our community. But it is very easy to feel frustrated, or like you are simply "running in place through molassas."

So one night, she came to me and we worked on her catalogue. I made her list every song she had. She thought at first it was about 12, but it turned out to be 45. That was quite surprising to her because she didn't realize how much she had been doing. Then I made her categorize each one, classifiying it, asking if it was demoed, if it was being performed, if it was written with artists, etc. I had her grade all her songs A-F and I did the same. She was shocked to find out that while she had thought most of them were "Throw away learning experiences" actually between 12 and 15 were really pretty good, each one getting successively better. She was able to see holes in her catalogue and where she needed to just move on, but on several of them, they were being performed, she had very good demos on some, and they were working to help her get other co-writes, other artists. In short, she was a LOT better off than she realized. And she also saw how far she had come.

This is what I consider a very important part of the catalogue process. If you can't decide or catogorize your songs, that is fine, but knowing what you have is very important, in my opinion. And most times you can see the growth you have been going through as well as fine tuning your overall skills. Everybody needs to understand where they have come from, where they are, and where they are going. Having an overview of your songs is a very helpful piece of that journey. I strongly recommend it. Do it whatever way makes you comfortable, but it can help. I do know that.

MAB

Page 1 of 1
  • You cannot start a new topic
  • You cannot reply to this topic

1 User(s) are reading this topic
0 members, 1 guests, 0 anonymous users