Just testing an idea...

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Alec Taylor
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Just testing an idea...

Post by Alec Taylor » Wed Nov 05, 2014 4:57 pm

Okay, so I'm taking a break from music to focus on songwriting, which will include an exhaustive rewrite 121 songs I've written over the past six years. Since that's a lot of stuff to try and rework, I've been afraid of making a bunch of stuff that sounds the same or gets too complex or too repetitive. So, I've made up a set of songwriting guidelines I think will help me mature musically, and I thought I'd share them to see what other people think. Maybe someone will come up with a few more or correct mine slightly to help me along, and maybe others will be helped by this. I call it the 'Abacab Test'.

The Abacab Test-

1. A song must be as concise as possible. Solo sections are alright, but extended breaks with repetitve sections must serve as dynamic codas and are to be used sparingly.

2. The arrangement must fit the song. Do not pad out the arrangement for the sake of having more instruments. Less is more, but also avoid underproducing.

3. Obscure lyrics must fit into two musical categories. They either must be a part of very rhythmic songs with a strong drive so that the groove is the focus, or they must be part of a very experimental or 'psychedelic' arrangement to compliment their mystique.

4. Don't be afraid to throw out some songs. They can always be revisited later as you continue to grow musically.

5. Be diverse in your songwriting and lyrics. Don't just grind the same ideas into the ground because you like them; you've got to mix things up to keep everything fresh. This is to avoid becoming a self-parody or self-caricature.


These mainly revolve around me trying to make shorter, more rhythmic songs and less songs that are slow and drawn-out. I make patient music for a mostly impatient audience, so that's why I'm doing that. Feedback/criticism is appreciated.
"A man lies and dreams of green fields and rivers, but awakes to a morning with no reason for waking."

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Re: Just testing an idea...

Post by quicksilver » Wed Nov 05, 2014 5:25 pm

6. Explore different musical genres for inspiration. I've been listening to Indian music and Celempungan, which is a Sudanese folk music. Its interesting to hear how other cultures approach music........ it can only help yours.
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Alec Taylor
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Re: Just testing an idea...

Post by Alec Taylor » Wed Nov 05, 2014 5:26 pm

Ooh, good rule. I can't believe I overlooked that one! I've been listening to a lot more pop-based material, as well as electronica, ambient, and qawwali (one of these things is not like the other :lol:).
"A man lies and dreams of green fields and rivers, but awakes to a morning with no reason for waking."

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The Silver Lining
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Re: Just testing an idea...

Post by The Silver Lining » Thu Nov 06, 2014 5:07 pm

I started using your first rule halfway through the recording of my album, and it's been very effective I think.

But wow, 121 songs? You are pretty prolific!
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Artisan
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Re: Just testing an idea...

Post by Artisan » Thu Nov 06, 2014 5:12 pm

Good ideas, though I don't think they really apply to any of my current "musical" projects :?

Alec Taylor
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Re: Just testing an idea...

Post by Alec Taylor » Thu Nov 06, 2014 6:49 pm

The Silver Lining wrote:I started using your first rule halfway through the recording of my album, and it's been very effective I think.

But wow, 121 songs? You are pretty prolific!
My number one problem has been fixed by my number one rule. My song "Sunshade" was originally 25 minutes long, and I planned on making it a one-song EP. The best decision I ever made was listening back to it and realizing how bored I got. There wasn't even any variation other, except which instrument would be playing the solo. Same chords, over and over, for 25 minutes. A lot of songs of mine are that way, so it's the best guideline I've come up with. However, one of my songs might end up clocking in that long no matter what because it was just written that way.
"A man lies and dreams of green fields and rivers, but awakes to a morning with no reason for waking."

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Re: Just testing an idea...

Post by The Silver Lining » Sun Nov 09, 2014 1:51 pm

Hmm, in fact, it sounds like your rule 7 is "kill your darlings".

Personally, I'm more of a "combine your darlings" person. I've created several decent songs by re-using ideas that had originally been one separate, boring song for each idea. For lyrics, I often rewrite things over and over again. For the 10 songs on my album, I easily wrote 20 or 25 lyrics, and some songs' lyrics have nothing to do anymore with what they initially were.
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Alec Taylor
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Re: Just testing an idea...

Post by Alec Taylor » Sun Nov 09, 2014 6:31 pm

I figured with the amount of songs I can write, I'm definitely going to run into a quantity > quality issue, so I'm trying to avoid that. I'm also trying to avoid all of my songs from sounding completely uniform, that way I don't fall into the trap of lacking diversity. My last release is definitely something I'm proud of, but I'm going to avoid making a complete duplicate of it in the future like the dickens.
"A man lies and dreams of green fields and rivers, but awakes to a morning with no reason for waking."

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Re: Just testing an idea...

Post by Alec Taylor » Thu Aug 08, 2019 1:46 pm

Rule #1 (The Singular Rule): Just make music that makes you happy, when you're inspired to make it
"A man lies and dreams of green fields and rivers, but awakes to a morning with no reason for waking."

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Re: Just testing an idea...

Post by The Silver Lining » Fri Aug 09, 2019 5:57 am

Rule #1: If you like it, it's good enough. :D
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Artisan
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Re: Just testing an idea...

Post by Artisan » Fri Aug 09, 2019 7:16 am

Metal Machine Music has defenders, so go wild and someone will like it!

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