I needed to talk to a music “expert” this week so I went to Mr. Long. I had a conversation with him and here are the main questions I asked him.
What is your process for writing music?
He answered instinctually to start with a bassline, then build chord progressions from there. Upon further discussion, he elaborated that with different songs and different artists, the “process” for songwriting varies. When a song is a dependant on the melody, the melody comes first, when a song is reliant on the background other parts come first. I also thought that the rhythm or drums are the starting point for any music, but Mr. Long convinced me that rhythm should come later. Mr. Long also helped me understand why EDM music is so easy to write. EDM is constructed of several layered loops, this is similar to minimalist music, a genre of music created not by complex melodies but simple limited parts put together. Nonetheless, Mr. Long advised me to always have a central idea with me when constructing a song.
I’ve learned that it is ok to change my process when writing music, and everyone is different in this respect.
What and How is Key used?
Key again is involved in the tonality of a song and the central mood or genre. Of course, when a singer is involved the range of the singer must be taken into account, but the key should be generally decided in the planning phase of a song. A key often used in popular music is the key of E.
How Do You Write Lyrics?
Although Mr. Long said that he does not write a lot of lyrics, he explained that writing lyrics again goes back to a determined main idea of a song. By having a central idea it is much easier to know where to go with your song.
Conclusion(This Week I learned)
Always have a central idea. It’s as simple as that, I realized that by having an idea in mind is much easier as this direction I obtain from the “central idea” allows me to know what I want in my song and how I want it to sound like.
My discussion with Mr. Long also led me to ask him whether it is alright to take a bit of someone else’s music and add elements to my own. Mr. Long informed me that it is ok to copy music a little bit, but it is very difficult to determine when exactly are is too much copying that it becomes illegal. I thought about this and found a video discussing a recent case where Ed Sheeran got a Lawsuit because “Thinking Out Loud” sounded much like another song.