A simple songwriting website that could be useful.

music_notes

What comes up #1 when you type “songwriting” into Google? A website called Easy Song Writing. My initial thought when looking at the site was that it was beginners drivel. However, it’s always the simplest reminders of the writing experience that gets me to shut the browser and open the sequencer. I really crave making music. I can’t go more than a week without writing something. A loop usually won’t feed my addiction. I’m happiest when I can shoot out a beginning, middle and end. Anyway, I thought I’d mention Easy Song Writing because some of the articles got me in the mood. Here’s an example of a few of the articles they have online:

Learn the very basics of writing a song. click here
21 tips to avoid the pitfalls that could stop your song from reaching the top 10. click here
This is how one songwriter writes his songs. click here
Do you know how to write a catchy melody? click here

Somewhat interesting (or not?) is the fact this site is from South Africa and they sell something although I can’t quite figure out what it is. Time to hit some keys…

photo credit: quinn.anya

Related post: 10 ways to get back on track in the recording studio.

Star Guitar is a useful idea generator.


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lXv_qcQ6GjU

Star Guitar is a guitar chord playing app for the iPhone. It’s from Amido, Inc who already brought us Noise.io. As you can see from the video you simply click around the iPhone’s screen and Star Guitar will strum chords. You have 144 chords to choose from. Here’s the kicker…  Star Guitar records your chord selections and your voice as you sing along. Think about that for a minute. Ok done? Now go buy Star Guitar, grab some headphones and go into your car. Drive to some empty parking lot. Load up Star Guitar hit record and sing along while you pick some chords. Now granted if your a guitar player this is probably all useless but for myself I had a blast doing that whole car thing this morning. I came up with at least two songs I’m going to flesh out. Everything you record can be brought back into your computer. There is one important feature request I would like to make. I want to be able to export the guitar and vocals separately. This is really a necessary option to grab bits of a great vocal take and apply processing to them.

“The unique concept of Star Guitar delivers an astonishing 144 chords at one screen. There are 7 root notes, every note has 5 chord modifiers. With such range, almost any song can be played. Turn a modifier on/off by tapping it. It’s really very simple. There are two modes for strumming chords: manual (with “SmartStrumming” technology for added realism) and automatic. Automatic mode is the “virtual guitarist”, with 18+ rhythm patterns to be picked from, each pattern has A and B variations (for chorus and verse). But that’s not all! You can export your recordings to .WAV / .CAF and bring them to your desktop computer via the built-in server over wi-fi.” – amidio.com

We are now well into music apps with AI such as Songsmith, Harmony Navigator and SongFrame. If you add in helper and inspiration tools like Masterwriter and a C-Thru Axis keyboard writers block could be a thing of the past. Just remember to live life because your going to still need “something” interesting to say!

If guitar isn’t your forte for inspiration it’s ok because Star Piano is in the works. For more info: http://amidio.com/starguitar

Related post: Miro Pajic plays Jam Sessions in my studio.

Audiotuts 50+ Great Lyric Writing Resources.

Before the internet I relied on my monthly magazine subscriptions to get a fix of the topics that interested me. Every blue moon a tidbit of music tech would appear on television but I was starving for more. Today there is so much great information I can’t possibly read or process it all. It seems there is a new website full of content tailored just for me created everyday. Today I found Audiotuts which is another musician’s resource site which has many numbered list style posts (fun to read, easy to scan). They have multiple contributors to their site and today Joel Falconer posted 50+ Great Lyric Writing Resources.

Want to get started writing your own lyrics? There’s a long way between the beginner’s “violets are red” debut and award-winning wordsmithing, so here’s a bunch of great resources to help get you on your way. Includes tools, how to guides, communities, recommended books and sources of inspiration. – audiotuts.com

Songwriting posts on Wire to the Ear: click here

photo credit: ayumina

Ready set go. Five ways to start off a song.

If your a song writer you probably write hundreds or maybe thousands of songs over your lifetime. To avoid the Nickelback controversy it’s a good idea to arm yourself with an arsenal of tools and ideas to help yourself from self repetition. A good place to start is the beginning. How do you start your songs? What’s the first thing the listener will hear? Here’s five different ways you can kick it off:

1. Solo vocal. The human voice is the most powerful instrument of all. If you have a strong opening line having it solo will focus the listener on your message. You can even start with the chorus. Example: Killing me Softly by Roberta Flack.

2. Record the count in. One. Two. Three. Four. Say it. Say it in German. Put some guitar feedback behind it. Click the drumsticks four times. Record four finger snaps. Record your voice staying, “Start the tape!”. Example: Showroom Dummies by Kraftwerk

3. 16 bars of beats. If your music is headed for the dance floor is a nice thing to help the DJ out. How? Give him at least 16 bars of steady drums to help him mix in your song. In fact, by doing so your increasing the chances of your song being played at all.

4. Fade in. This is an unusual way to start a song especially in modern times. Before hard disc recording you heard this more often as producers would ride faders up in a song that was already in progress. Do you remember my related post titled “Bring back the song fade out.“?

5. Full on. A lot of times I start my songs by adding in one or two instruments at a time. Sometimes thats a sign of the amateur. Many songs just start off with most of the instruments and even the vocal already going. Load up an old song you did and just chop the intro off. Maybe it works better that way?

What’s your favorite what to start a song?

photo credit: Jon_Marshall

Liptikl is a new lyric writing tool from Intermorphic.

liptikl - screenshot

Liptikl which is pronounced “lip tickle” is a new application from a company called Intermorphic. It’s basic function is to help you create lyrics. When you launch the program the main window is separated by three sections: ideas, lyrics and verses.liptikl - logo

To start of you need to put some text snippets into the ideas section. You can use your mind and just chuck in some words or head online and grab text from Wikipedia entries, poems, song lyrics, news articles, basically anything.

After you have the text ideas in their containers you click the “Create Lyrics” button and liptikl will spit out a verse. The processing does seem a bit random but you can keep clicking the “Create Lyrics” button repeatedly to get new verses. According to the user guide liptikl is applying internal rules:

There are many internal rules used to create lyrics within liptikl. When the liptikl lyric engine is figuring-out what to do, it combines all these rules together in combination with your source material, and respects them as best it can, but ultimately liptikl makes its own choice as to exactly what to do. In other words, you can give the engine brain lots of guidance, but ultimately (like a child) you let liptikl makes the final, detailed decisions as to what to do.

The reason this all works, is that at its heart, the liptikl lyric engine uses random events in combination with a powerful set of rules. How you interpret what you read is filtered through your own internal knowledge of language. This combination of chance and logic is what allows liptikl to keep coming-up with ideas that are fresh, interesting and unpredictable.

You can apply Lyric Rules which tell liptikl how to create your verse. For example “4 5 4 5″ tells liptikl to use four words per line, the first and third and second and fourth lines ryhme, four lines total.

When you get a verse your happy with head into the last section and click “Add” which then saves your verse in that last section. Repeating that process you eventually build up a song.

I’ve been using the 30 day demo and I am undecided if liptikl is worth $99. They do offer a Masterwriter - screenshotversion for $59 but you can not use liptikl’s output in a commercial project. I would recommend that most people should buy Masterwriter first (screenshot on right). As a song writing tool its a far more comprehensive product. But liptikl is different enough to justify owning both if you have the cash and are a full time musician (is that possible?).

For those of you who have zero dollars to spend there are some free and fun online lyrics generators. For example the always dark “Random Goth Lyric Generator” or even more scary “Alanis Morissette Lyric Generator“.

One thing to keep in mind when using liptikl is if you source your original text from a news clipping, poem, other band’s lyrics, make sure the output is far different enough so that your not plagiarizing or stealing someone’s copyrighted ideas.