« How long is a song? | Main | Who is the song for? »

Friday, April 16, 2004

When the words won't come hit the music


Recently I've become better at realizing when the words aren't going to come.
This doesn't mean that I don't want to write a song or get into the process of
some kind of song writing, it just means that my head isn't in word-land at a
particular moment.

To still make use of this time, I got myself into the habit of sitting down and
trying to come up with as many bits of music as possible within a given time.

I boot up my sequencer or grab my guitar and tape machine and throw down as many little ideas as possible without being too picky about what comes up. More often than not, either drab, silly or downright weird things come out, but I record the whole lot regardless of their musical merit. As soon as I get bored with one I start another. One may come from a drum loop which I played a terrible hammond part over, one may be a bass line I threw into a sequencer and then riffed over on the guitar - I think the key word here is FREEDOM. No thinking involved, no style, just anything goes stream of consciousness kind of stuff. Positively NO 'this isn't good enough' thinking allowed whatsoever, and I also don't allow myself to think I've suddenly become a wordsmith again - no matter what lyrical ideas I come up with I keep hammering away at writing these silly little bits of music (of course, writing down the odd lyric on occasion should they come!)

By the end of throwing down about a half dozen ideas, one of them will most definitely be your favorite. Instead of wasting your time looking into space waiting for lyrical inspiration to strike, you may have come up with the germ of a new song, which in turn may well get the lyrics flowing.

On the whole, I find that 'getting stuck' means your brain has closed ranks and become unable to look further than the end of your last sentence - having a mindless 'jam' with yourself without boundaries can bring the fresh air back in and let you see all the other places your song may go.

Of course, if you're a lyricist but not a musician this may prove a little tricky.

07:22 PM in Mental Gymnastics | Permalink


TrackBack URL for this entry:

Listed below are links to weblogs that reference When the words won't come hit the music:


I like ponies and jewellery and find it hard to write about anything else. How can I get out of this rut I’m in?

Confused in Chelsea…

Posted by: Felicity | Apr 30, 2004 4:57:54 PM