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#578093 - 01/27/20 08:55 AM [Songwriting] Charting out original songs
Registered: 01/24/10
Posts: 280
Loc: Gulf Stream/Sonoran Desert
mrgeeze Offline
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Registered: 01/24/10
Posts: 280
Loc: Gulf Stream/Sonoran Desert
Played some music with a couple of guys last night.
One fellow has some good tunes. Not much of an arranger.
Songs wander a bit.

I Mentioned the idea of charting out some of his stuff so we could work up arrangements and learn tunes faster.
He's interested but has little knowledge.

Wondering if any forum members know any videos links or sites that might demonstrate a simple concise way of charting out songs. I found one online but its specific to a drummer's view of tune.
Need more of a singer songwriter approach.
His stuff is fairly common intro/verse/chorus perhaps a bridge stuff.

Charting them out in BIAB is too much work at this point.
Really just want to do it on paper to start.
Chord changes over bars is mostly what we need.

I'm happy to work with him to get started but I don't want responsibility for charting out 50 tunes. Its really his job
If I help get him the tools, show him how to use them, and he does the work,perhaps I'll use the arrangements to build backing tracks in BIAB.

I'd like to help him and ultimately play out on his book.

I'll also need to find him a metronome.

Thanks
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#578102 - 01/27/20 09:20 AM [Songwriting] Re: Charting out original songs [Re: mrgeeze]
Registered: 08/10/12
Posts: 8339
Loc: Florida
floyd jane Offline
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Registered: 08/10/12
Posts: 8339
Loc: Florida
THE best way to do this is to learn the Nashville Number System.

It is easy to learn.

If everyone learns it (again...not hard), the band can almost immediately play what is expected (from reading the chart - so easy to read!!)

I'd recommend the original Nashville Number System "bible" - by Chas Williams.

https://www.amazon.com/Nashville-Number-System-Chas-Williams/dp/0963090674

And there are untold numbers of YouTube video that can help you "get it" quickly...

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#578146 - 01/27/20 03:39 PM [Songwriting] Re: Charting out original songs [Re: mrgeeze]
Registered: 12/03/18
Posts: 63
Loc: Flagstaff, AZ
TheMaartian Offline
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Registered: 12/03/18
Posts: 63
Loc: Flagstaff, AZ
Hey, fj. I have the Nashville Number System Fake Book by Hal Leonard. It's been helpful.

https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/1495014096/

Do you know if there is sufficient additional info in the Williams book for me to pick that up as well.

TIA
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#578155 - 01/27/20 04:19 PM [Songwriting] Re: Charting out original songs [Re: mrgeeze]
Registered: 08/10/12
Posts: 8339
Loc: Florida
floyd jane Offline
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Registered: 08/10/12
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Loc: Florida
I haven't seen the Hal Leonard book. From the description it seems like it must have a relatively short, quick explanation of the system and then gives you charts of 200 songs.

The Chas Williams book has 38 pages explaining the system. So I doubt the Fake book could cover all aspects of the system (though it is not a complicated system). Reading that many charts - the 200 in the Fake book - (if written correctly) could certainly teach you a lot about it.
The remainder of the Chas Williams book (mine has 80 pages total) is handwritten charts from the Nashville elite who were the first to use it extensively...

Pretty much everyone in Nashville learns it from the Chas Williams book. It is the "standard".

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#578157 - 01/27/20 04:47 PM [Songwriting] Re: Charting out original songs [Re: mrgeeze]
Registered: 12/03/18
Posts: 63
Loc: Flagstaff, AZ
TheMaartian Offline
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Registered: 12/03/18
Posts: 63
Loc: Flagstaff, AZ
Thanks. I'll pick it up.
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#578215 - 01/28/20 06:01 AM [Songwriting] Re: Charting out original songs [Re: mrgeeze]
Registered: 10/09/16
Posts: 971
Loc: Central Ohio
edshaw Offline
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Registered: 10/09/16
Posts: 971
Loc: Central Ohio
While you are at it, I'd get him started with Band in a Box as soon as possible, so he can learn to apply the 1-4-5-6minor, hear the arrangements, and become familiar with the 4, 8, 12 and 16 bar format, which is most songs. You wouldn't really be doing him a favor by doing it for him.
Back in the day, singer/songwriters sang along while strumming the chords and marking up the lyrics one-two-three-four. That wandering indicates he needs work in meters -- poetry.
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#578222 - 01/28/20 07:48 AM [Songwriting] Re: Charting out original songs [Re: mrgeeze]
Registered: 01/24/10
Posts: 280
Loc: Gulf Stream/Sonoran Desert
mrgeeze Offline
Apprentice

Registered: 01/24/10
Posts: 280
Loc: Gulf Stream/Sonoran Desert
edshaw,
I appreciate your comment.
You are spot on about poetic meter. Not sure iambic pentameter is in his vocabulary.

I personally arrange a lot of my own stuff directly on biab. I find it an extremely useful tool for working through alternate harmonies as well as the overall song arrangement. I'm just not sure of the resources and/or technical capabilities of the guy to handle biab. Really don't wish to get into tech support yet/again.

The Nashville number system is useful to me as a player but may not apply here either.

I think step one is just music paper, bar lines for measures, chords and some rudimentary explanation of intro, verse, chorus, bridge.
A pencil with a big eraser and a metronome.

Give him enough to get started and see what he does with it.
If he rises to the occasion, help him some more.
If he doesn't, time to move on.
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#578223 - 01/28/20 07:58 AM [Songwriting] Re: Charting out original songs [Re: mrgeeze]
Registered: 01/24/10
Posts: 280
Loc: Gulf Stream/Sonoran Desert
mrgeeze Offline
Apprentice

Registered: 01/24/10
Posts: 280
Loc: Gulf Stream/Sonoran Desert
Justin comes through again!



https://app.box.com/s/xy8xrwp3zmr816rpak2t1ou84eqvwe8q


This website has so much information.
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Guitars, Midi Keyboard, etc
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#578239 - 01/28/20 12:07 PM [Songwriting] Re: Charting out original songs [Re: mrgeeze]
Registered: 10/09/16
Posts: 971
Loc: Central Ohio
edshaw Offline
Expert

Registered: 10/09/16
Posts: 971
Loc: Central Ohio
I think you are moving in on the right decision, mrgeeze, on that. That staff paper that you turned up looks like the ticket. It has room for the lyrics and you could even note the rhythms in the bars, or measures, with hash tags. He'll be composing like a pro in no time.


Edited by edshaw (01/29/20 06:16 AM)
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#578544 - 01/30/20 02:36 AM [Songwriting] Re: Charting out original songs [Re: mrgeeze]
Registered: 07/13/02
Posts: 2931
pghboemike Offline
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Registered: 07/13/02
Posts: 2931
Will you please post the specific
link to the site that help you generate the chart The link points to
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#578888 - 01/31/20 06:43 PM [Songwriting] Re: Charting out original songs [Re: mrgeeze]
Registered: 03/26/04
Posts: 1707
Loc: Way too close to Palm Springs,...
Tobias Offline
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Registered: 03/26/04
Posts: 1707
Loc: Way too close to Palm Springs,...
Here's my approach to this;

I first look to see if a relationship with this artist is going to work. What's his commitment level? How often can we get together? Is he stubborn about not letting me change his songs? Is it a genre that I feel good working in? Are his songs put together well enough to work with? Is he flexible and willing to relearn the song/s the way I/we arrange them? Does he pay? Many other factors. The last thing I want to do is commit my time and effort on a project that dies while I'm in the middle of it.

If all seems well enough I try to pick his simplest or perhaps highest potential song to work with for starters. I don't want that to be the one he is working on right now and all excited about and I don't want the one he is stuck on having trouble completing. I want to start with something he's been singing for a while and has his lyrics memorized.

I have him write out the lyrics and chords if he knows them.
I record a basic mono track on one microphone or a cell phone of him singing and playing the song on whatever his instrument is.
I then "fix" the song. That is; I put his phrasing in time, his notes and chords into a key, I decide on a tempo, I arrange it into verses, chorus, bridge, etc,... Or, it might be a strophic type of song or a 12 bar blues which tend to fall into their own arrangements. I do this song fixing on acoustic guitar in private while he is not around to give input or interrupt my flow. BTW, I don't tell him I am going to fix the song. I don't use that word with him. I just say,"okay, now that I have your recording, your lyrics and chords let me see what I can do with it this week." I then basically learn his song but my way. And, that depends how sloppy it was when I got a hold of it. Make a new chord chart and a basic recording with a metronome (or basic drum beat), acoustic guitar and me singing it.
I want it to sound pretty good when he hears me sing it or hears my recorded arrangement of it. Fortunately I'm a decent guitarist and have a pretty good voice so that helps. I also use some compression, EQ, reverb and such so it doesn't sound completely dry.
By now, enough time has gone into it that I want to see if it passes his smell test. I send him an updated song/chord chart and an mp3 and wait.
Or, if I think I can come up with a basic Band In A Box arrangement quickly I'll do that, line up my guitar and vocal track with it and send him that. But, the BIAB style I use might be to far from what he intends the song to be. It's often better to keep it similar to his melody and basic guitar strumming with a very basic drum beat or metronome. Let the band turn it into their own style of song.
At this point I have to let him talk and I listen for his feedback. This will tell me if we're on the right track or not.
If he likes it, his band can learn it that way or take it from there and do it their way. At least the other musicians have something in a consistent time signature and key and format.
If they want to play faster or slower, put in a guitar solo or something or add a character they can create that during rehearsal.

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#578891 - 01/31/20 07:06 PM [Songwriting] Re: Charting out original songs [Re: mrgeeze]
Registered: 03/26/04
Posts: 1707
Loc: Way too close to Palm Springs,...
Tobias Offline
Expert

Registered: 03/26/04
Posts: 1707
Loc: Way too close to Palm Springs,...
Here's an example of a song chart after I'm done with it. Copy/paste from word pad. I don't have a copy of the song writers' penciled version any longer.
_____________________________________________________________________

Morgan and Megan’s Wedding Song written by Steve Gabay

C G Am F
Spirit fill us with your wisdom, two hearts joined unto your kingdom
C G Am F
We proclaim this wedding day in your presence we want to say
C G Am F
Blessed are you, together and free, from the low desert to the sea
C G Am F
We shall sing to you with love, filled with Mercy, free as a dove


C G Am F
Let our hearts rejoice today, for your words shall lead our way
C G Am F
They are two, together as one, Thank you Father, Spirit and Son
C G Am F
We shall sing, as fresh new rain, mighty is Your Holy Name
C G Am F
As two doves will form a pair, the angels sing up in the air



C G Am F
We shallsing to you with Love, Praising your Name, below and above
C G Am F
Let our hearts, fill each day, giving thanks we now pray
C G Am F
This is Your day, this blessed day
__________________________________________________________________________

For an example on this song go to www.soundcloud.com and search for Steven Gabbay. You will find the strummed acoustic version and an arrangement with piano, drums, bass, male and female vocals. In this case it's Bart on vocals and acoustic guitar. Stephany on vocals and piano. The rest of it came from BIAB and me editing Stephany's piano midi and tweeking it in Reaper.

Edit; apparently when I copy/paste it from word to the forum it takes out the blank spaces between the chords which are above the lyrics.


Edited by Tobias (01/31/20 07:10 PM)
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#578893 - 01/31/20 07:19 PM [Songwriting] Re: Charting out original songs [Re: mrgeeze]
Registered: 03/26/04
Posts: 1707
Loc: Way too close to Palm Springs,...
Tobias Offline
Expert

Registered: 03/26/04
Posts: 1707
Loc: Way too close to Palm Springs,...
After rereading your post it sounds like he just needs to type out the songs on word pad. PM me your email address and I'll send you a handful of song chart examples I made. Every body I have ever played with at any skill level can follow my charts. If he uses my same format it should be easy for every one.
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