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#682283 - 11/13/21 08:06 AM [Songwriting] How does one not repeat oneself in songwriting?
Registered: 05/05/18
Posts: 1367
Loc: United Kingdom
musician17 Offline
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Registered: 05/05/18
Posts: 1367
Loc: United Kingdom
I feel that I'm at a point where everything I write seems to be a re-hash of something I've written before. Same chord progressions, similar melodies ... some people are kindly saying that I've found my writing style - but, for me, it's like I'm recycling stuff, every time.

Any suggestions on how to get past this "phase" (let's hope it's just a phase)? All feedback and suggestions welcome - thanks!!!
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#682356 - 11/13/21 11:46 AM [Songwriting] Re: How does one not repeat oneself in songwriting? [Re: musician17]
Registered: 05/19/16
Posts: 265
Loc: Denmark
Peters Garage Offline
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Loc: Denmark
Here are some challenges that might get you going:

1. Listen to a style of music that you wouldn't familiarize to your songwriting
2. Compose a song that doesn't make use of Intro, Verse, Chorus, Bridge and Outro - but something that is just one straight flow
3. Try to compose with only a single harmony (droning - see another recent thread)
4. Compose the basics on an instrument which you're not too familiar with
5. Try composing with Loops only
6. Find a random poem and compose a song to that
7. Reach out and collaborate with other composers - whom might have a totally different work flow
8. Limit yourself to use only drum, bass and 1 synth sound
9. Take one of your existing works and use that chord progression backwards
10. Take a break and work with a couple of coversongs

What I'm trying to say - is get yourself out of your comfort zone, when it comes to composing. When I feel like being on repeat, then I'm typically playing it too safe (pun intended).

Last but not least - don't worry, this is phase that almost every artist goes through on a regular basis.

Stay positive and enjoy, that this is also a part of the journey through making music
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#682379 - 11/13/21 01:57 PM [Songwriting] Re: How does one not repeat oneself in songwriting? [Re: musician17]
Registered: 05/05/18
Posts: 1367
Loc: United Kingdom
musician17 Offline
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Registered: 05/05/18
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Loc: United Kingdom
Thanks so much, Peter - food for thought!!! Good also to hear that it's normal - I thought so, too, but it's been going on for far too long ... still, I'll be patient and hope inspiration shows up at the right time, again. In the meantime, why not have a go at your challenges, right? Cheers!
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#682383 - 11/13/21 02:26 PM [Songwriting] Re: How does one not repeat oneself in songwriting? [Re: musician17]
Registered: 04/20/10
Posts: 5134
Loc: Florida
90 dB Offline
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Buy a newspaper. Plenty of songs in a newspaper.


Regards,

Bob

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#682390 - 11/13/21 02:40 PM [Songwriting] Re: How does one not repeat oneself in songwriting? [Re: musician17]
Registered: 04/26/20
Posts: 267
Henry Clarke Offline
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Registered: 04/26/20
Posts: 267
For me it's writing against different rhythms. I write a lot of songs across a wide range of genres. Even genres I don't particularly like but it's a good exercise. Even if the chords are the same different rhythms generate different melodies. Also experiment with different song formats like instead of writing the song with the verse first start the song out with the hook first. That can make a change in the way you write the song because it requires a different delivery of the melody. Those are just a couple of suggestions.

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#682394 - 11/13/21 02:45 PM [Songwriting] Re: How does one not repeat oneself in songwriting? [Re: musician17]
Registered: 08/29/14
Posts: 6217
Loc: North Carolina
David Snyder Offline
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Registered: 08/29/14
Posts: 6217
Loc: North Carolina

This is a pretty funny site.

https://www.song-lyrics-generator.org.uk/

I think music, and the musical muse (is that redundant?? hmmmmm...) greatly resists being taken too seriously. It has to feel playful (oh no! I did it again!!).

These "generators" will make you laugh and jolt you out of yourself. From time to time I also find a good idea!!

smile


Stuck in musical rut???

Go here.

https://www.pgmusic.com/xtrastyles.php?pak=all&os=win#pak11


You would have to be tone deaf not to find SOMETHING.

Simply click on the demos on all of the Xtra style packs. Even if you don't have the Xtra styles, it is pretty easy to find something close from the descriptions and they are a great "brain jolt."

Or just start clicking around in here.

https://www.pgmusic.com/realtracks.all.php?os=win

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#682528 - 11/14/21 02:48 AM [Songwriting] Re: How does one not repeat oneself in songwriting? [Re: musician17]
Registered: 04/13/16
Posts: 4330
Loc: Cooran Queensland Australia
rayc Offline
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Registered: 04/13/16
Posts: 4330
Loc: Cooran Queensland Australia
You're refining and recycling ideas. everyone does it. Elvis Costello is one of the most prolific and fabulous songwriters I know and he started to do just that from about 1990...snippets of melody, themes, arrangements but each time it went somewhere a little different. he only lost the plot with his last marriage - moving into areas that stretched him too far and that brought on some wholesale reruns of melodies and even songs that he'd left behind were taken up and recorded. Even then the amount of new invention made some of those his better songs in a decade.
IF you think you're replaying yourself then make a key change or move that idea to the counter melody line and write something to go over it.
MOST OF ALL...it's normal...it's easier for us to put work out to be heard so, sometimes, we "publish" what we would have put back in the folder for revisiting.
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#682784 - 11/14/21 06:39 PM [Songwriting] Re: How does one not repeat oneself in songwriting? [Re: musician17]
Registered: 06/05/12
Posts: 1081
jptjptjpt Offline
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Registered: 06/05/12
Posts: 1081
I don't worry about repeating myself any more. It's not like I'm the Beatles and people are going to say that my songs are starting to sound the same. Most people can't remember what my last song sounded like much less one I wrote 10 years ago sounds like. Heck, I can't even remember how my own songs go in many cases (and yet I remember how songs that are 50 years old go - that's very perplexing).


Edited by jptjptjpt (11/14/21 06:41 PM)
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#682798 - 11/14/21 07:17 PM [Songwriting] Re: How does one not repeat oneself in songwriting? [Re: musician17]
Registered: 08/04/10
Posts: 2171
Loc: Midwest
HearToLearn Offline
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The Opposite
Maybe a similar approach to your writing could help.

If you always write songs around the same tempo, try considerably faster...or slower

If you are stuck going to the same chords, listen to some songs you like that don't use those same progressions.

Try accelerating and decelerating your melody tempos. As an example let's say you typically write with an 8th note feel. Use the exact same pitches but condense them into 16th notes, and repeat with a slight variation the second time. The same could be said for slowing it down to whole notes.

Write your melody like you always do, then flip it. If people can invert other people's melodies, why can't you flip some of your own?

Take one section of your song and bump it forward by and 8th or 16th to create syncopation.

Add some chord anticipations...or let the melody do the anticipation for you. I really like letting the melody do it.

Do the opposite of your typical lyrics. If you always "praise God" try "smackin' down the devil." It will DEFINITLY give you a different song, feel, and approach.

Add breaks

There are so many...and obviously others have mentioned some great ideas!

Have some fun with it. That's usually when your mind is allowed to be creative!

I hope that helps in some way.

Best of luck!
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#682870 - 11/15/21 12:47 AM [Songwriting] Re: How does one not repeat oneself in songwriting? [Re: musician17]
Registered: 05/05/18
Posts: 1367
Loc: United Kingdom
musician17 Offline
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Registered: 05/05/18
Posts: 1367
Loc: United Kingdom
Wow! Thanks everyone for your advice! Too many of you to thank in detail ... but, honestly, every single word is appreciated!!! I will start applying what you suggested and see what happens - one way or another, I need to shake myself out of this musical torpor, haha. Thank you!!!!!!
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#683162 - 11/16/21 06:24 AM [Songwriting] Re: How does one not repeat oneself in songwriting? [Re: musician17]
Registered: 04/03/09
Posts: 8192
Guitarhacker Offline
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Registered: 04/03/09
Posts: 8192
You got a lot of good ideas to work with. Another that might be fun..... there's a website called TAXI.com. They provide listings for music needed by film and TV. Quite often those listings are specific about what they want. They provide the details of what the producer is looking for..... a story line or a topic that they want a song for.

Simply grab one of those and write your song based on that info. They also tell you what genre it needs to be. Ex: Up tempo indy rock about a guy who can't seem to get the girl. OR: Movie ending song about a guy who is missing his wife who was tragically killed in a car accident. Song should be mid tempo, with a rock groove. In the closing scene, he is standing staring out the window at the rain as the credits roll and this is where the song will play.

Try it.
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#684184 - 11/20/21 01:56 PM [Songwriting] Re: How does one not repeat oneself in songwriting? [Re: musician17]
Registered: 05/05/18
Posts: 1367
Loc: United Kingdom
musician17 Offline
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Loc: United Kingdom
Thanks! It's a thought!!!
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#696143 - 01/04/22 09:15 PM [Songwriting] Re: How does one not repeat oneself in songwriting? [Re: musician17]
Registered: 04/14/20
Posts: 88
saxgentleman67 Offline
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Registered: 04/14/20
Posts: 88
It's sounds like you don't like what you are writing, but others do?

Most great artists or songwriters have a lot of repetition and commonality from song to song. That's what makes them identifiable. Repetition becomes a problem when it's poor quality repetition or just done way too often, without any variation.

Perhaps the repetition is not the issue...

But rather that you don't like the writing style you've created for yourself.

That's pretty common.

The antidote: Write more. A lot more. Focus on developing and making better the parts you really really like and getting rid of all the rest.

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#696215 - 01/05/22 08:55 AM [Songwriting] Re: How does one not repeat oneself in songwriting? [Re: musician17]
Registered: 05/05/18
Posts: 1367
Loc: United Kingdom
musician17 Offline
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Loc: United Kingdom
I think you've hit the nail on the head there, saxgentleman67. Thank you so much, it's shed an unexpected light on the situation.
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#696322 - 01/05/22 04:46 PM [Songwriting] Re: How does one not repeat oneself in songwriting? [Re: musician17]
Registered: 04/14/20
Posts: 88
saxgentleman67 Offline
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Registered: 04/14/20
Posts: 88
Great to hear that. I've experienced that not in songwriting but in my improvising.

It's not an easy thing to find your voice.

Well worth the struggle though.

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#696342 - 01/05/22 07:30 PM [Songwriting] Re: How does one not repeat oneself in songwriting? [Re: musician17]
Registered: 06/21/21
Posts: 1497
Mark Hayes Offline
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Registered: 06/21/21
Posts: 1497
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Oblique_Strategies

I believe this is a complete listing: https://github.com/joelparkerhenderson/oblique-strategies

I asked Siri on my Homepod for a random number, she said 77, which in that list is "Mute and continue".

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#696356 - 01/05/22 09:57 PM [Songwriting] Re: How does one not repeat oneself in songwriting? [Re: musician17]
Registered: 01/14/02
Posts: 7912
Loc: Colorado Springs, CO, USA
rockstar_not Offline
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Registered: 01/14/02
Posts: 7912
Loc: Colorado Springs, CO, USA
I actually wrote a song in the 2017 February Album Writing Month challenge asking this question as the premise of the song. Intentionally copped the style from a conglomeration of bands that I like and even tried to mimic the zero vibrato nasal tone of one of the lead singers.

https://soundcloud.app.goo.gl/2JB7YtCz7w9iDXWY7

Participation in that challenge might help you get out of a rut and try something not typical for you. Tons of prompts and games and collaboration opportunities.

Several PG Music forum participants have joined in over the years.

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#696620 - 01/07/22 02:12 AM [Songwriting] Re: How does one not repeat oneself in songwriting? [Re: musician17]
Registered: 10/09/16
Posts: 1436
Loc: Central Ohio
edshaw Offline
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Registered: 10/09/16
Posts: 1436
Loc: Central Ohio
From the number and variety of responses, James, I'd say you struck a common chord in among composers, here. Permit me to add my two cents.
Billy Joel said, "If it doesn't have the two/four, it isn't rock." He referred to the 4/4 meter with emphasis on the two and the four.
The attached song is a good example. Count along the
one-TWO-three-FOUR until it becomes effortless. Make up your own backup vocal. Little by little, add your own lyrics and melody. Nothing to lose, really.
(my - BAY - bee - TAKES / the - MORE - ning - TRAIN.)

(Morning Train by Sheena Easton)
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oonmD7n_rHU


Edited by edshaw (01/09/22 08:58 AM)
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