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#456799 - 02/10/18 10:20 AM [Songwriting] Call Me Biased
Belladonna Offline
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Although I do so admire and appreciate the difficulty of bringing an instrumental piece to life, many times I feel something's missing. Like why is that piece called Moonlight Dancer? I think it's supposed to inspire that feeling from the music. Many times I don't get it. I only remember a few top instrumental pieces that have survived the years, some Mozart or Beethoven pieces, maybe a Stevie Rae Vaugh or a Hendrix.
Many instrumentals are great background music for a nice dinner or relaxing or making love. But as a lyricist primarily, personally I find the imaginary of words and a good vocalist who can express the words add so much to the completeness of a song. A perfect marriage between the lyrics and the music. Just as a poem seems incomplete with out the music, so does an instrumental piece without words.

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#456803 - 02/10/18 10:39 AM [Songwriting] Re: Call Me Biased [Re: Belladonna]
Jim Fogle Offline
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As a lyrist I can understand why you would gravitate to song lyrics but for me, it's just the opposite. I seldom listen to the words (and it drives my wife batty!) but the soundscape of a song can instantly change my mood.

Really good songs can exist as an instrumental piece or with a vocalist singing. Henry Mancini use to release both choral and instrumental versions. "Moon River" or "Dear One" are just as effective either way.
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#456831 - 02/10/18 01:05 PM [Songwriting] Re: Call Me Biased [Re: Belladonna]
Belladonna Offline
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I do agree that there are some really memorable instrumentals. And you are correct in that we may all have our biases.

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#456864 - 02/10/18 04:24 PM [Songwriting] Re: Call Me Biased [Re: Belladonna]
MarioD Offline
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Originally Posted By: Belladonna
I do agree that there are some really memorable instrumentals. And you are correct in that we may all have our biases.


I believe our Biases are based on our instrument. As a guitarist in a wedding band I just listened to the guitar parts, the chord progression and the bass lines, i.e. I still have that bias today. I let our singers worry about the lyrics.
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#456876 - 02/10/18 05:29 PM [Songwriting] Re: Call Me Biased [Re: Belladonna]
Belladonna Offline
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Hey Mario, I believe it has been said every fix to a carpenter is a nail or to a surgeon is a saw/scissors. Truly we are focused on our equipment and to me probably more about the lyrics. But I view a really good song as it's own entity an overall combination of many collaborations. The singer would deliver the expression and emotion to the lyrics, and is not necessarily the songwriter. Many great singers have never written anything and many good songwriters do not sing at all. To me a great song is a good marriage of skills from the musician, the lyric writer and the singer. I do acknowledge that some fantastic instrumentals do hold their own. But sometimes I listen to an instrumental called A Day at the Beach or Moonlight Dancer, that I think is possibly meant for me to feel that title or something and I don't get it. Sometimes I hear a singer sing lyrics and I can't understand a word they are saying, maybe because of a heavy accent or they never really learned to enuciate words properly. In both cases it takes something away from the delivery and the understanding and feeling of the song. I like it when people post their lyrics or a really good singer can enuciate the words properly and I can understand the instrumentals behind the song meaning.


Edited by Belladonna (02/10/18 05:30 PM)

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#456878 - 02/10/18 05:46 PM [Songwriting] Re: Call Me Biased [Re: Belladonna]
Jim Fogle Offline
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I've got to tell you Belladonna, you've really contributed since you've joined the forum. I really enjoyed thinking about some of the questions you've asked and reading your comments.
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#456894 - 02/10/18 10:49 PM [Songwriting] Re: Call Me Biased [Re: Jim Fogle]
jcspro40 Offline
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I personally listen to WAY more instrumental music than tunes with vocals. For me, if the music does not move you, then adding words will not change that.

Now, with that said, some of the most emotive song writing, IMHO, are simple blues like songs that have a message besides the " I love you / you took my dog / I shot yer mom / it's raining again today" stuff.... grin

We all have our favorite styles of music, that's for sure! cool
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#456899 - 02/10/18 11:35 PM [Songwriting] Re: Call Me Biased [Re: Belladonna]
Belladonna Offline
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A good or a great song is certainly a complete package. The music definitely has to be good, but great lyric imagery can take the song out of the park. Good music can certainly touch you and an upbeat number can get you up on the dance floor and tapping your toes. I will agree that good music can carry bad lyrics as we see a lot in rock or pop music. But in country, folk and blues lyrics bring a more personal message to the song. People can say I know exactly what the singer is talking about. Many times they say that's happened to me or I remember being there with so and so. Lyrics can complement the music in a way nothing else can. Even some rock tunes, I always think about Bob Seeger's songs. Simon and Garfinkel, Gordon Lightfoot, James Taylor and their songs with great lyrics and great music.


Edited by Belladonna (02/10/18 11:37 PM)

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#456936 - 02/11/18 06:46 AM [Songwriting] Re: Call Me Biased [Re: Belladonna]
MarioD Offline
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Hi Donna,

You are a fantastic lyricist. That has been proven time and time again. I am an instrumentalist, again proven many times. I can't write a lick of serious music, however I have done a couple of comedy songs. Comedy lyrics seem to be the only lyrics I can come up with.

I just hope you will like my version of Bottom Dollar Blues after I finish it. I'm not a singer anymore but at times I try.
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#456946 - 02/11/18 07:02 AM [Songwriting] Re: Call Me Biased [Re: Belladonna]
Guitarhacker Offline
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Instrumentals get named mostly from the thoughts and emotions the composer is feeling at the time. Such as remembering how she danced in the moonlight.
If the listener feels that emotion and can relate.... the composer has succeeded.
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#456992 - 02/11/18 10:42 AM [Songwriting] Re: Call Me Biased [Re: Belladonna]
Sundance Offline
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Hi Donna,

I can understand your feelings. For me, what's missing from many instrumental pieces is a catchy memorable melody. We are pretty close in age, so if you remember back when you were a kid to the great instrumentals that were played on top forty radio - for example Herb Alfred and the Tijuana Brass - you may, I know I do - still remember those melodies.

Classical music, great jazz, and big band instrumentals intertwine beautiful melodies within the arrangement. Which is why so many popular songs with lyrics have borrowed from them throughout history.

So for me, there are different levels of instrumentals - from the jam session which I don't always but sometimes find interesting to the well composed instrumentals which can be downright mesmerizing.

Josie
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#457011 - 02/11/18 11:55 AM [Songwriting] Re: Call Me Biased [Re: MarioD]
Belladonna Offline
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Loc: Virginia
Mario D, That is so great!!! Looking forward to hearing your creativity and take on Bottom Dollar Blues.

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#457012 - 02/11/18 11:57 AM [Songwriting] Re: Call Me Biased [Re: Sundance]
Belladonna Offline
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Registered: 09/09/17
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Josie, I do agree. There seems to be many sort of new agey spacey instrumentals with poetic names. They are nice and relaxing but don't really stand out as something you'll remember years from now.

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#457065 - 02/11/18 02:36 PM [Songwriting] Re: Call Me Biased [Re: Belladonna]
Deryk - PG Music Offline
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Registered: 02/15/17
Posts: 1156
I fall somewhere in the middle of this discussion. On one hand - I think lyrics are important, and can absolutely transform the way a song hits you. When a song has lyrics that you resonate with, it is a beautiful thing. That being said, different genres of music to me hold different levels of importance when it comes to lyrics.

I listen to a lot of hip hop and rap, which is a very poetic genre of music (I know a lot of forum members don't listen to this type of music, but there is much more to it than arrogance and cussing). Oftentimes, impactful lyrics with precise delivery can make or break a song in this genre. On the other hand, when I'm listening to classic soul music from the 70's I literally don't give a single thought to what is being said. It just doesn't matter to me, because the mood and emotion from that genre comes from the instruments themselves.

At the end of the day, I generally consider myself a lyrics guy - but I definitely listen to my share of music where the lyrics are either average or irrelevant. There is a time and place for it, in my honest opinion.


Edited by Deryk - PG Music (02/11/18 02:38 PM)
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#457070 - 02/11/18 02:45 PM [Songwriting] Re: Call Me Biased [Re: Belladonna]
Janice & Bud Offline
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Loc: GA USA
An ole guy's FWIW babblings....

A well written instrumental, irrespective of the title, can let the listener create 100% of their imagery. I couldn't imagine the Allman Brothers' "In Memory of Elizabeth Reed" or "Little Martha" or "Les Bres in A Minor" with a lyric. Yet the guitar playing on them is extremely melodic and memorable. I couldn't imagine Miles Davis' Kind Of Blue album with vocals...and it is widely accepted as one of the most influential albums of all.

On the other hand, a well written lyric can often leave enough dots for the listener to connect to put herself in the story at some level. Adding that personal level can leave the song more memorable than those that connect all the dots for you.

On the third hand smile a song with all the dots connected can tell a wonderful story.

On the fourth hand there are some folks who could sing the local phonebook and I would be entranced.

I just love music...of so many genres. Give me a heartfelt, soulful vocal or a heartfelt soulful instrumental and I'm good. smile

Bud





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#457075 - 02/11/18 03:26 PM [Songwriting] Re: Call Me Biased [Re: Belladonna]
Belladonna Offline
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Registered: 09/09/17
Posts: 250
Loc: Virginia
Yes, I think we can all acknowledge that there are gold stars in every genre, instrumental and lyrics enhanced. No one can rain on the parade of the outstanding instrumentalists who bring such emotion and prominence to their songs. I guess what I have a hard time with is more mediocre instrumentalists who put a title to their work, which maybe is the setting that inspired them, but I don't feel it or get it. Not that it's wrong and I certainly appreciate everyone's effort to make music. It's just that an instrumental title of Rain on the Mountains or something makes me question why? I don't get that and being a lyricist I feel it's not complete and something's missing to enable me to get the complete feeling. I mainly feel that great vocals and lyrics add a lot to instrumental music, unless you are sooooo good that you don't need it like Herb Alpert, Stevie Rae Vaughn, Hendrix, etc. As a lyricist lately so appreciating the work of Jimmy Webb and Harlan Harlan, also more currently Bob Seeger, James Taylor the marriage of music and lyrics. But so nice to hear everyone's take on it. To be honest, my husband of many years confessed to me he mostly likes instrumentals and I am a dancer and gravitate towards that as a dancer. But I am a poet and love lyrics.


Edited by Belladonna (02/11/18 03:28 PM)

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#457261 - 02/13/18 02:11 AM [Songwriting] Re: Call Me Biased [Re: Belladonna]
lambada Offline
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Registered: 12/18/06
Posts: 1148
Loc: Hong Kong
I'm really enjoying acoustic versions of various hits (Rock, R & B, Chart Pop). They can be very refreshing and highlight good songs regardless of stylistic embellishments. As for instrumentals, apart from classical music, I'd go for Pink Floyd amongst others.
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#457306 - 02/13/18 07:06 AM [Songwriting] Re: Call Me Biased [Re: lambada]
MarioD Offline
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Registered: 12/27/03
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Loc: Hamlin NY
Originally Posted By: lambada
I'm really enjoying acoustic versions of various hits (Rock, R & B, Chart Pop). They can be very refreshing and highlight good songs regardless of stylistic embellishments. As for instrumentals, apart from classical music, I'd go for Pink Floyd amongst others.


If you enjoy classical and like Pocol Harum then you might like this version of Whiter Shade of Pale:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=St6jyEFe5WM
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#457585 - 02/14/18 03:01 PM [Songwriting] Re: Call Me Biased [Re: Belladonna]
Belladonna Offline
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Registered: 09/09/17
Posts: 250
Loc: Virginia
Hey Bud, Love, love, love the Allman Brothers instrumentals. Yes, it if the soul emotion can be transported to the listener, it's definitely a winner.

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#461155 - 03/08/18 09:49 AM [Songwriting] Re: Call Me Biased [Re: Belladonna]
Ember - PG Music Offline
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Registered: 06/19/17
Posts: 819
Loc: Victoria, BC
I love both instrumentals and songs with a heavy focus on lyrics. I don't think I would ever personally choose one over the other. I think I have just as many instrumentals in my musical library as I do songs with lyrics.

For me, I find that instrumentals are just as inspiring as as songs with lyrics, but the big difference with instrumentals is that you can let your mind wander and explore the music and see what kind of imagery springs forth from it (I use instrumentals as inspiration when I do abstract paintings). I also use instrumentals as a mood adjuster.

Some of my favourite instrumentals are by Hungry Ghosts, but I also really enjoy Beyond This Moment by Patrick O'hearn. I actually put it on loop, personally. I find it really helps me to relax and helps soothe me after a long day when I can't sleep. Almost like an adult lullaby, I suppose!

But I love, love, love lyrics. You can definitely find your own meaning in lyrics as well for sure and can connect with lyrics in a way that makes you feel like someone else out there gets you, but there is usually a very specific idea or inspiration or meaning behind the lyrics that the original writer had intended. I am sure that this is also the case with some instrumentals, but I feel like there is a bit more room with an instrumental song for the self-insertion of the listener.

That's just my two cents on the subject of instrumental versus a song with lyrics, though!


Edited by Ember - PG Music (03/08/18 09:50 AM)
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