Author Topic: Chords to words  (Read 245 times)

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Offline SMDMARTIN

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Chords to words
« on: April 06, 2012, 02:18:13 pm »
I have been writing lyrics, poems, pros, and short stories since I was 15.  I have had some stuff published and have been the lyricist for most of the bands I have sang for. 

The reason I started learning to play again was that I have always just sang and wrote in a band but now find myself in the absence of anyone looking to make music; so I figured I'd go it on my own this time and have something that is purely mine in all respects. 

To that end I set out writing lyrics and learning to play better (from 3 chords to well over 30 now).  My technique is coming along great with my playing but a first for me is putting the chords and rhythm to the words I write.  Like I said, before I wrote the words with a vague idea of a rhythm or sound for it and the others put in the rest. 

So I guess what I am looking for here is any advice on adding the rhythm and chords to the words.  The few I have done sound kinda generic.  I am sure it comes with practice, trial and error, and so forth but I thought I'd see if anyone had any advice to lend. 

Thanks all. Cheers.

Offline shadowscott007

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Re: Chords to words
« Reply #1 on: April 06, 2012, 03:03:48 pm »
I think first you would want to come up with melody.  So one strum on a chord while you sing the lyric, and then another strum when it feels like the chord should change to support the lyric and melody you are singing.  Work that out first then start thinking about what strumming pattern would work for what you've come up with.  That's assuming you are writing starting with the lyrics.

Or muck about with chords and strumming and come up with something you think is catchy and go through your lyric book and see if you cans find something that fits the mood or feel of that catchy bit.

I don't think there is a limit on ways to approach it; but that's a couple of ways given you have (my assumption) a lot of lyrics waiting for music.

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Offline GetReadyMan

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Re: Chords to words
« Reply #2 on: April 07, 2012, 01:13:26 pm »
So I guess what I am looking for here is any advice on adding the rhythm and chords to the words. 

 :-\  This may be more than you're looking for, but this is the only scientific discussion I've seen relating chords to words. 
http://www.icce.rug.nl/~soundscapes/VOLUME07/Semantic_shifts.shtml

I've not seen any research on rhythm.
Mike Bloomfield: "I practiced guitar in my bedroom for four hours a day, every single day, from the time I was seven to the time I was thirteen, and every single day I sucked  Then, one day when I was fourteen...I got great."

Offline Dr Winterbourne

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Re: Chords to words
« Reply #3 on: April 08, 2012, 11:04:18 am »
I have always found it easier to write lyrics to a rhythm track, rather than to apply music to lyrics.

BTW, what was that Beatles article? Was it a university assignment or something?
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Offline GetReadyMan

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Re: Chords to words
« Reply #4 on: April 08, 2012, 01:08:50 pm »
BTW, what was that Beatles article? Was it a university assignment or something?

Too scholarly for a student assignment.  It's a scientific paper from the Proceedings of the Beatles 2000 conference. Jyväskylä: University of Jyväskylä (Department of Music, Research Reports 23), 2001, 113-128.
Mike Bloomfield: "I practiced guitar in my bedroom for four hours a day, every single day, from the time I was seven to the time I was thirteen, and every single day I sucked  Then, one day when I was fourteen...I got great."

Offline Dr Winterbourne

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Re: Chords to words
« Reply #5 on: April 08, 2012, 01:39:53 pm »
I thought it may be a student attempt, because it seemed to want to sound scholarly, and to be trying to write in that style, but it came across as unclear and biased, for example it said that sunjects were wromg when they heard chords differently from the hypothesis. Also, there were a few editing mistakes, like when they compared uncertainty with uncertainty.

Anyway. A better analysis, I think, is http://audio.tutsplus.com/resources/the-basic-functions-of-harmony/

It is not from a peer reviewed journal, but it gives some good insight into writing music to match the lyrics.
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Offline GetReadyMan

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Re: Chords to words
« Reply #6 on: April 08, 2012, 07:33:09 pm »
Dr W,  I think we can agree that there is no simple answer to these things.

If I perform Leach's analysis on another, but similar, Beatle song, I get a conflicting result.  According to Leach the tonic is positive, the subdonimate calls for our attention, and the dominate is negative.

These are the words that fall on the chords changes in the first verse of Let it Be.
    dominate (positive):           find, speaking, in
    subdominate (attenttion):  comes, be, front
    dominate (negative):          times, wisdom, darkness
Yes, darkness is negative, but wisdom isn't.  The words find, speaking and in are neither positive or negative.  The words comes, be, and front are not really demanding attention.

Leach is making a generalization akin to major chords are  :) and minor chords are  :(
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Offline steveo2

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Re: Chords to words
« Reply #7 on: April 09, 2012, 06:17:19 pm »
Dr W,  I think we can agree that there is no simple answer to these things.

If I perform Leach's analysis on another, but similar, Beatle song, I get a conflicting result.  According to Leach the tonic is positive, the subdonimate calls for our attention, and the dominate is negative.

These are the words that fall on the chords changes in the first verse of Let it Be.
    dominate (positive):           find, speaking, in
    subdominate (attenttion):  comes, be, front
    dominate (negative):          times, wisdom, darkness
Yes, darkness is negative, but wisdom isn't.  The words find, speaking and in are neither positive or negative.  The words comes, be, and front are not really demanding attention.

Leach is making a generalization akin to major chords are  :) and minor chords are  :(
The 4 chord has no is real attention getting thing the 1 tonic it the 4 is at peace which is why it called the Church Candace Just adding the F note in a C chord yeah that's tension the pills back toward the tonic  and the 5 chord always pulls toward the Tonic, if it is a Dom7 as the 5 the use ,this tension to resolved become more assertive or aggressive .
While good rhythm mean the world if the rhythm is not appealing the listen will lose interest fast .

You have to use a Key as the frame of your melody, yes with slurs and stuck the voice still follows a basic key and the chord follows this as the rule if
 Tertian harmony
It the technical name basically it is the building if chords using major and minor 3rd to build chords within the Key signature.
The key of C
Contains

C-D-E-F-G-A-B all the chords use which there are only 7 in you could spell them the note would all use these 7 making all the chord in the key sound fine.
3 major chord and 3 minor chords and that 7 get flatted or change to major.

 ;D