On Songwriting | Musings On How To Write a Song
Musings on How To Write a Song
I enjoyed reading the “Songwriting Tips.” It is easy to read. Simple. No un-necessarily big words. A very relaxed sense to the writing. You asked, “How does your knowledge inform your efforts of an adjacent interest?” I am a cook and that allowed my mind to connect cooking with playing good-feeling music. Like a good musician, a good cook must practice their talent. Anyone can follow a recipe but to add your own style to it, or create something entirely new, is where the art is formed.
Cooking the same food for to long can get as stagnant as playing the same songs over and over. Anyone can follow a recipe but to add your own style to a dish, or create something entirely new, is where the art is formed. After thinking about the question, my mind naturally compared chopping food, particularly vegetables, with playing notes. The more even your cuts are, the better the food looks. The more even your notes are, the better the music sounds. Both are smaller pieces needing to be put into the right spot so the whole puzzle makes sense . Take preparing the protein for a meal. The meat of the dish. It is more filling than the other food items on your plate and the likely reason you ordered (from a customers view) that particular meal.
With that in mind, if you get a good, cooked piece of meat, not only does it look, smell, and taste good, it is satisfying and even brings out the other parts of the dish, the veggies, the starch and even your drink. The same can be said with any part of the dish. They should work together to make the entire eating experience a good one. It is the entire experience of eating that creates a meal. If you just have food with no atmosphere it isn’t a meal. You need all parts to have a meal. Good food, good drinks, good people are the basis for a meal to happen.
A meal is just like a song. You have to have all the parts there working with one another to have a desired outcome. It is basic addition. A song is the sum of any musical parts written and joined together to shape a musical landscape. And when played properly, it generates a feeling, and the feeling is what really draws people into the song. Playing is the cooking and the feeling is the meal. Only the finished product will allow the feeling the be fully available to the listener, not just a particular note or lyric. When you hear a song for the first time, a song you end up playing over and over in your car after the first listen. What is it that makes you play a song over and over? What makes you focus on every instrument played, every word sang, all the oohs and aahs? It is how that song makes you feel. Every lyric sung fits with every note played. It all blends together for one satisfying musical meal. Everyone has heard a song they have not heard much and liked the chorus, or a guitar lick I thought was cool and kept listening to it and it becomes a song we enjoy putting on our music player. Those songs are good for us and we may even sense the ”meal” after several listens but the songs that grab us and pull us in, emotionally and physically, without us knowing the reason why we are drawn towards the sound are the songs that leave a lasting impression.
When I was a kid, I would ride in my dad’s truck and he would always have the radio on the local classic rock station. That definitely was an influence on my life. I could feel the energy spread and rise from the small factory speakers. It was like the music was working parts of my brain that were otherwise unused. Even at that age, I still realize that not all songs are created equal and not every musician or band can do the same thing. As I got older, I explored different genres of music, some I still enjoy and others that make me cringe with embarrassment. But I always could come back to that music with filling. There is nothing like it. Maybe it is nostalgia or perhaps it’s the same energy flowing out of any speakers lucky enough to have that music played through them. This was long before I knew I was going to be a cook. Then, I thought I would be playing for the Atlanta Braves. That did not happen.
After being in the restaurant business for so long, you come across food that blows you away. Food I swore I would never eat until one day I tried it, now when I go out I order it off the menu. Music and cooking are both art forms that allow you to open up to new ideas that allow the mind to keep active and challenged. Maybe this chord will sound good with these chords. I wonder if I try cooking this with that and put this sauce over it, if it will be good. Like you said, there are endless possibilities and always something new that can be brought to life. Up until reading your songwriting tips, I never thought of putting two different parts of my physical, non-mental life together when looking for inspiration.
Thank you for the tips and allowing me to comment with an unintentionally written book.
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