Words with music or music with words?

Guitar Tricks Forum > Songwriting > Words with music or music with words?

New Member

Joined: 07/17/02

Posts: 5

Yeah usually it's whatever i'm inspired to do first. I find when i write the lyrics first before the song, i won't like them and wont end up using them... I'll usually be stuffing round on my guitar and bash out something that sounds half decent. I try to remember what i played and organise them into some kind of form and just play over and over. Once i know what i'm playing... i'll start singin words that come to my head as i'm playing, just completely on the spot. Phrases i blurt out that i like i'll write down. I'll take it from there, see what i churn out and polish it up a lil... that's my song. It seems to be working for me, but not everyone's all that good on improvisation, i know i never used to be!!
*I'll pour my soul, but drain my heart*

#11

Yeah usually it's whatever i'm inspired to do first. I find when i write the lyrics first before the song, i won't like them and wont end up using them... I'll usually be stuffing round on my guitar and bash out something that sounds half decent. I try to remember what i played and organise them into some kind of form and just play over and over. Once i know what i'm playing... i'll start singin words that come to my head as i'm playing, just completely on the spot. Phrases i blurt out that i like i'll write down. I'll take it from there, see what i churn out and polish it up a lil... that's my song. It seems to be working for me, but not everyone's all that good on improvisation, i know i never used to be!!
*I'll pour my soul, but drain my heart*

Member

Joined: 07/03/02

Posts: 31

I'm always interested when CD inlays include little sections about the inspiration and writing of the songs. Usually there is a combination of both - even by the same songsmith. Sometimes they have an idea to base some lyrics on, and other times they're just humming along when an interesting melody turns up. Obviously in a perfect world, the lyrics and tunes would match up.

Oh well

JE

#12

I'm always interested when CD inlays include little sections about the inspiration and writing of the songs. Usually there is a combination of both - even by the same songsmith. Sometimes they have an idea to base some lyrics on, and other times they're just humming along when an interesting melody turns up. Obviously in a perfect world, the lyrics and tunes would match up.

Oh well

JE

New Member

Joined: 08/06/02

Posts: 9

hi guys!
I'm new here but this site seems to be wot i was after! could i just say, in regards to your opinions, i, also, suck at writing lyrics!!
In our band, my mate will do all the lyrics coz he's good with words! then i go round and we just jam for a while. eventually one of us will hit a riff or chord pattern that sounds 'right'. then we adapt it to fit the lyrics. that is the best way, because songs with 'music first' origins seem to have no point. they may as well be instrumental!
people, write feelings, then comopose!!!!

peace out, l8r

#13

hi guys!
I'm new here but this site seems to be wot i was after! could i just say, in regards to your opinions, i, also, suck at writing lyrics!!
In our band, my mate will do all the lyrics coz he's good with words! then i go round and we just jam for a while. eventually one of us will hit a riff or chord pattern that sounds 'right'. then we adapt it to fit the lyrics. that is the best way, because songs with 'music first' origins seem to have no point. they may as well be instrumental!
people, write feelings, then comopose!!!!

peace out, l8r

hmm

Joined: 07/29/02

Posts: 2368

hmm

You have to a bias place i would think. I mean this is a guitar website and all. I do it either way... depends on which I fall into first, but I tend to do the music first cuz it makes the lyrics easier.

#14

hmm

You have to a bias place i would think. I mean this is a guitar website and all. I do it either way... depends on which I fall into first, but I tend to do the music first cuz it makes the lyrics easier.

New Member

Joined: 08/23/02

Posts: 1

I find something that I wanna write about, and then I write the music that brings out the emotion and feeling on that perticulare thing, and then putting text on its simple, u just gotta know how to sing, u can make any word sound like any note, other wise, If u write it just to play power chords and scream some crap, its not expression, its just trying to get it done, if u dont put your heart and soul and blood and sweat into it, then its just some noisy thing u invented, otherwise Its not ART, and thats the only title im willing to take when writing music is an artist,
And when I write my music, for me atleast, it feels like some old scar tissue and familiar memory, and it grabs and reachs and sooths and tears me, it becomes a part of me, thats wut music is/should be about, not just writing songs to call your self a rock band, or this Dip **** MTv stuff,
I wish the career of a Musician payed for ****, so there would be less ****.......Done with my rambelings.....
"...proper use of the brain is not endorsed by federal governments nor huge corporations involved in serious financial profit from a brainwashed and enslaved population. Mild discomfort may occur as confusing independent thought challenges popular views of the world....."

#15

I find something that I wanna write about, and then I write the music that brings out the emotion and feeling on that perticulare thing, and then putting text on its simple, u just gotta know how to sing, u can make any word sound like any note, other wise, If u write it just to play power chords and scream some crap, its not expression, its just trying to get it done, if u dont put your heart and soul and blood and sweat into it, then its just some noisy thing u invented, otherwise Its not ART, and thats the only title im willing to take when writing music is an artist,
And when I write my music, for me atleast, it feels like some old scar tissue and familiar memory, and it grabs and reachs and sooths and tears me, it becomes a part of me, thats wut music is/should be about, not just writing songs to call your self a rock band, or this Dip **** MTv stuff,
I wish the career of a Musician payed for ****, so there would be less ****.......Done with my rambelings.....
"...proper use of the brain is not endorsed by federal governments nor huge corporations involved in serious financial profit from a brainwashed and enslaved population. Mild discomfort may occur as confusing independent thought challenges popular views of the world....."

bainbridgemusic

Registered User

Joined: 03/16/20

Posts: 10

I haven't read all the past comments just a few, but I would say in my opinion, it depends and both.

From my experience and watching other people in previous bands and some of my guitar students, writing the music first and then the lyrics is much easier to get started with.

Then you have a structure and a general feel for the song and it is much easier for someone with little guitar experience to improvise a vocal melody than it is for someone with little experience to fit music to lyrics.

From an artistic point of view and in a perfect worl where you are fluent at lyric writing, song writing and your guitar playing then it all depends on the end product and not the process.

Even if you are talking just singing, lyrics vs vocal melody could be a factor.

Sometimes I will start a song with an idea or message from lyrics that well then in turn inpsire the music.

Fake Example of first line of a song: She punched me in the mouth.

How do you want to feel with the music? Are you angry because it was out of the blue? Are you sad because your love interest took what you said the wrong way? Are you happy because it was the moment that you turned your life around?

Then from their creating your music to best convey that might be one way.

The reverse could be done as well where you have a vibe from the music which inspires the line of lyrics


You might create a vocal melody by singing random syllables or humming first and then make music around that with no lyrics. Check out The Great Gig in the Sky by Pink Floyd. Those vocals express so much without any lyrics.


I have seen too many poets with a book full of lyrics that have no idea or interest in learning how to put it into music. There is nothing wrong with poetry but just don't get stuck on lyric writing and getting frustrated you can't put it to music. If you want to make music, make that first.

#16

I haven't read all the past comments just a few, but I would say in my opinion, it depends and both.

From my experience and watching other people in previous bands and some of my guitar students, writing the music first and then the lyrics is much easier to get started with.

Then you have a structure and a general feel for the song and it is much easier for someone with little guitar experience to improvise a vocal melody than it is for someone with little experience to fit music to lyrics.

From an artistic point of view and in a perfect worl where you are fluent at lyric writing, song writing and your guitar playing then it all depends on the end product and not the process.

Even if you are talking just singing, lyrics vs vocal melody could be a factor.

Sometimes I will start a song with an idea or message from lyrics that well then in turn inpsire the music.

Fake Example of first line of a song: She punched me in the mouth.

How do you want to feel with the music? Are you angry because it was out of the blue? Are you sad because your love interest took what you said the wrong way? Are you happy because it was the moment that you turned your life around?

Then from their creating your music to best convey that might be one way.

The reverse could be done as well where you have a vibe from the music which inspires the line of lyrics


You might create a vocal melody by singing random syllables or humming first and then make music around that with no lyrics. Check out The Great Gig in the Sky by Pink Floyd. Those vocals express so much without any lyrics.


I have seen too many poets with a book full of lyrics that have no idea or interest in learning how to put it into music. There is nothing wrong with poetry but just don't get stuck on lyric writing and getting frustrated you can't put it to music. If you want to make music, make that first.

snojones

Full Access

Joined: 04/17/13

Posts: 145

I find that songs all come in diffrent packages. Sometimes a riff is all that is needed, other times it is a good phrase, others it is an intelectual idea that I want to express, others it is just a blinding flash of overwhelming feelings. I have come to enjoy this wide ranging variety of paths that lead to inspiration. It makes me think in diffrent ways, some calculated, some a seat of the pants romp with the muses. There is no one way to songsmithing. You just need to be inspired, however you come to that fountian of creativity.

#17

I find that songs all come in diffrent packages. Sometimes a riff is all that is needed, other times it is a good phrase, others it is an intelectual idea that I want to express, others it is just a blinding flash of overwhelming feelings. I have come to enjoy this wide ranging variety of paths that lead to inspiration. It makes me think in diffrent ways, some calculated, some a seat of the pants romp with the muses. There is no one way to songsmithing. You just need to be inspired, however you come to that fountian of creativity.