Author Topic: Could use some help composing a tune  (Read 1654 times)

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Offline Chantal

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Could use some help composing a tune
« on: July 21, 2013, 09:20:50 am »
Hi guys,

As you know, I'm involved in the organisation of the Redhead Days. Well, we've done a crowdfunding campaign in which we'd promise to do/organise stuff depending on how much money we'd raise. One of the goals was that Mike, one of the organisers, would compose a song and perform it at the event. We did reach that goal so now we need a song, something that can be learned quickly and be sung along to by a huge group of people (thousands).

I contacted Mike to offer my help because he said he never composed a song before. And sure enough, he hasn't started on it yet. Since the event is in 6 weeks, he better get a move on so I'm going to help him. The thing is, neither of us are brilliant guitar players so it's basically the lame leading the blind...

I've decided we should go by something simple so I sat down and started playing the most common chords I could come up with. I'm quite happy with the chords: G|G|D|D|Am|Am|C|G and the pattern dduududdudud(u) (with some variations around the C|G bit) at 120bpm. I reckon this is easy to play for both of us, sounds cheerful and if either of us feel up to it, it's easy to embellish with some sus chords.

So here comes the question... These chords are nice enough, but I'm not sure they're exciting enough to play throughout. We don't have any lyrics yet, those will likely be written this Wednesday, but would anyone have any simple variations/additions for a chorus? I'm not sure what Mike's level is. I'm suspecting he's a lot like me: able to play a good number of chords and snippets of loads of songs, but not the best of guitarists and we'll be very nervous. So we're not looking for barre chords or advanced things.

Goal: to compose & write a cheerful, sing-along song about red hair, which can be played to an audience of thousands of gingers, spectators and (ack!!) media, even when nerves make playing more difficult. It should be a crowd pleaser but not boring. Tools: steel string acoustics and possibly (if we can plug in an amp) a 12-string and/or a Gibson SG.

Opinions on what I got so far and suggestions for a chorus would be very much appreciated. And if any fun lyrics happen to pop into your head, even if it's just a phrase, feel free to share :)
Thank you for the music!

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Offline diademgrove

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Re: Could use some help composing a tune
« Reply #1 on: July 21, 2013, 10:41:05 am »
Hi Chantel,

if the audience is going to sign along I'd go with simple chords. Here is an example of a three chord song with a great sing-a-long chorus.

http://youtu.be/liIQLIx2Onw

I'm no help on the lyrics though.

Good luck,

diadem

Offline digger72

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Re: Could use some help composing a tune
« Reply #2 on: July 21, 2013, 04:33:07 pm »
There was a time
They said i was poison
My hair was red
And blazed like the sun

But then came Scully
And she was an angel
They fell in love
From season one

So now it's alright
To say i'm a ginger
So now it's alright
To be a Duracell head
Now it's all right
To say I'm a carrot
Now it's alright
To wear my hair red

Offline misterg

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Re: Could use some help composing a tune
« Reply #3 on: July 21, 2013, 04:36:16 pm »
Hi - I agree: keep it simple.

You could use G - C - D - G, or G - C - D - C for a bit of a change in the chorus.

I guess the song will be in English?

You could base it around a list of famous red-heads for the verse ( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_redheads ), something like We didn't start the fire by Billy Joel, but you would need a simple, catchy chorus for everyone to sing along with - almost nursery rhyme simple so that people can sing it after hearing it once (much like the Billy Joel song!).

Just suggestions that might spark some ideas...


Offline Chantal

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Re: Could use some help composing a tune
« Reply #4 on: July 21, 2013, 05:34:02 pm »
Thanks for the suggestions so far, guys. Yeah, the song will likely be in English. Most visitors will be Dutch but 60+ nations will be represented so English would probably be the way to go.
Thank you for the music!

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Offline TB-AV

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Re: Could use some help composing a tune
« Reply #5 on: July 21, 2013, 05:46:48 pm »
Let's see... short notice,,, easy to play and you want words too....

That's a tall order for me, but I gave it my best.

http://youtu.be/Wtig3o6MX1A

Now keep in mind you can embarrass yourself with this for only 60 seconds as I have done.... or you can just keep going until you notice the crowd start to thin to an unacceptably low level.

D A G   and that tricky "ginger is nice too" part is Em C

I may call Neil Young or Adam Sandler and see if either of them want to endorse this effort if you're not interested.
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Offline Chantal

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Re: Could use some help composing a tune
« Reply #6 on: July 21, 2013, 06:09:08 pm »
@TB-AV That's brilliant man, totally perfect!  8)
Thank you for the music!

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Offline TB-AV

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Re: Could use some help composing a tune
« Reply #7 on: July 21, 2013, 06:28:09 pm »
LOL, it's a little rough around the edges, but it cleans up nicely......
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Offline Chantal

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Re: Could use some help composing a tune
« Reply #8 on: July 21, 2013, 09:50:36 pm »
Oh crap... The plot thickens. I've sent my ideas for chords and such to Mike and he sent me a message back, saying he doesn't know what that sounds like because he doesn't play guitar.

This makes me happy because that means even my crappy guitar skills will be more than he can do.

But it also makes me panic because it means I'll be the only one playing guitar for thousands of people...

And I get nervous playing for Justin or my mum, so I'm going to need a helluva confidence boost....
Thank you for the music!

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Offline LievenDV

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Re: Could use some help composing a tune
« Reply #9 on: July 21, 2013, 09:59:29 pm »
And I get nervous playing for Justin or my mum, so I'm going to need a helluva confidence boost....

..and I was getting nervous about singing and playing in front of 50 people; lol

no seriously; as soon as you guys have lyrics figured out; YOU record a chord progression, send it to him and he can figure out how to sing the lyrics over them.

meanwhle, you focus at the task at hand;
-practicing those chords,
-getting your gig-kit ready (reserve-strings, bottle of water, reserve cable, etc)
- perhaps best not play 12 string as it give you double string detune/breakage risk?

You'll do fine! You're gonna be proud!
 it will be memorable!
you're not alone on stage!
the people will focus on the singer :)
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Offline Chantal

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Re: Could use some help composing a tune
« Reply #10 on: July 21, 2013, 10:22:34 pm »
He BETTER sing if he knows what's good for him because I sure ain't going to!

I think I have a chorus or at least a good go at one. Writing a few funny verses shouldn't be too difficult once we sit down together. There will be other gingers there, so turning some anecdotes into lyrics should be fun.

Being ready for the 'gig' should be easy enough tech-wise. I always have a new set of strings (sometimes 2 sets), plenty of picks and a capo in my guitar case. Since the Seagull S6 doesn't have a pickup, I'll most likely have to use the SG. The 12-string stays in tune quite well and I love to play it but string breakage is definitely a risk, especially that flimsy 0.09 Gb string... I do only have one lead (but it's a really thick Cordial lead so it should hold) and my Cube 20XL is not going to produce the volume we need so I'm going to have to borrow an amp.

But getting ready mentally, that's going to be a different story entirely. I've been bullied sooooooooo badly most of my life and I've always had performance anxiety. I know doing this will be good for me but I'm scared xx--xx. It was scary but sort of okay when it was going to be both of us playing guitar, but now...? Fergeddaboudit!
Thank you for the music!

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Offline LievenDV

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Re: Could use some help composing a tune
« Reply #11 on: July 21, 2013, 10:31:51 pm »
why were oyu being bullied? part for being redhead I guess ...
you'll be on redhead days ; karma cashback time!
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Offline Chantal

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Re: Could use some help composing a tune
« Reply #12 on: July 22, 2013, 05:46:25 am »
Red hair, definitely, but also because of my height, weight, glasses, poverty (not having the right clothes/toys/etc), intelligence and my lack of sportiness. Heck, even the way I walk and my mum's height got ridiculed! It started when I was in kindergarten and went on at school until I dropped out at 16, but in daily life by random adults until I was 25 or so. And even now, I get called random names at times.

Thank you for the music!

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Offline mouser9169

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Re: Could use some help composing a tune
« Reply #13 on: July 22, 2013, 06:03:51 am »
I agree with everyone saying keep it simple. I think of more than a few "hit" songs that only use two chords.  Horse with no Name, For What It's Worth, Feeling Alright, Moondance (this one might have some others in a bridge somewhere).

I've been told the most common chord progression ever used is the I-vi-ii-V-I. Earth Angel uses it, but there's a lot of more up-tempo songs that follow it as well. The nice thing about a chord progression like that is there's a natural cycle with a cadence at the end so it's clear when the next verse or the chorus comes along.
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Offline TB-AV

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Re: Could use some help composing a tune
« Reply #14 on: July 22, 2013, 03:17:31 pm »
Chantel.... you need to consider a few realities here..... Most memorable songs have either a a killer melody that transitions across several chords or the song is remembered for just a couple of chords.

Secondly, writing an "anthem" is almost always accidental. The fact that you are setting out to do it in 30 days as a specific task is near impossible.

Wild Thing
We Will Rock You

Can't think of that other one they play at the baseball and hockey games.

You don't hear songs like Locomotive Breath.....

You --have-- to keep it simple. It's not the number of chords .... it's the RHYTHM and WORDS. Both have to be dead simple.

Queen didn't use any chords. They only used 4 notes and decades later it's still one of the best.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lvns30-6Lz0
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pES8SezkV8w

You need to do this to the crowd..... with as little as possible.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kqFc4wriBvE

Then you have to teach them what to say having only heard it for the first time.

You might could do like Queen did and get the chant going, then they fill in a melody but the chant repeats quite often.

So you could even use the Queen song ( copyright not withstanding )...

Gin-Ger Gin-Ger Rulz!!
Maybe you're a bronze with a pony tail.....
Gin-Ger Gin-Ger Rulz!!
Maybe you're a carrot with a fresh mohawk....
Gin-Ger Gin-Ger Rulz!!

The only problem with We Will rock You is that the rest of the song would be expected and that's not going to be easy.....

You might could use Wild Thing though...

At any rate.... if you are expecting audience participation,,, think rhythm and catchy phrase.... not chord changes.










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