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Any Tips on Writing Instrumentals?

Discussion in 'Sidewinders Bar & Grille' started by RnR Nolan, Feb 12, 2018.

  1. fezz parka

    fezz parka Strat-Talk Supporter

    Apr 21, 2011
    ₩¥€£§μГ
    Try as you might, these folks were trained. Deal with it...accept it. Then move on. :)
     
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  2. Dadocaster

    Dadocaster Dr. Stratster Strat-Talk Supporter

    Some context regarding why I was under the impression that they were not formally trained.
     
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  3. fezz parka

    fezz parka Strat-Talk Supporter

    Apr 21, 2011
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    But...in your "context" support it clearly says they studied theory and had a mentor. So it's a comprehension problem. :)

    Question
    Answer.
    FWIW, there are many successful autodidacts in music. Danny Elfman (he needs Steve Bartek to copy and orchestrate), Hans Zimmer (although he did study at the feet of Stanley Myers as his assistant). It's entirely possible to educate yourself, but it still requires study.

    There are 168 hours in a week.
    You spend an average of 56 hours a week sleeping.
    You spend an average of 40 hours working.
    That leaves you with 72 "spare" hours. Divide that by 7, and you end up with roughly 10.5 hours.

    If you spend one hour a week with a teacher, you have 9 to spend practicing. You spend 90% of your time teaching yourself. We're all self taught. :)
     
    Last edited: Feb 13, 2018
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  4. davidKOS

    davidKOS Musician, Composer, Teacher Strat-Talk Supporter

    May 28, 2012
    California
    A very valid way to learn nowadays - I wish i had youtube in the 70's!

    Maybe not in music school but evidently they learned!

    Because we ultimately have to learn it for ourselves no matter who shows you. You still need to do the work and internalize everything you've been shown and make it yours.
     

  5. mjark

    mjark Senior Stratmaster

    Jul 15, 2015
    Maryland
    Here's one that was from the LP forum a long time ago. It started out as just acoustic guitar the drums and the minimal synth part. I added multiple electric guitar tracks. I think it has a good tension and release.

     
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  6. pumpkin

    pumpkin Strat-Talker

    Age:
    68
    132
    Aug 5, 2017
    Richmond VA
    I listened to a few seconds of 2 compositions in youtube. As a guy who can write songs that people like and sing along with or keep time to (and encouraged by a top Nashville songwriter with huge success), I know that a pop song that people cannot hum to will not get popular.
     

  7. amagras

    amagras Strat-O-Master

    575
    Oct 26, 2016
    Ontario
    Rule N.1 to write instrumentals: don't sing. It might seem too obvious but I often treat instrumentals like regular songs, just replace the lyrics with a lead or leads instruments
     
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  8. davidKOS

    davidKOS Musician, Composer, Teacher Strat-Talk Supporter

    May 28, 2012
    California
    Very true...but writing good pop songs is often way more about the words than it is about composing music.
     
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  9. fezz parka

    fezz parka Strat-Talk Supporter

    Apr 21, 2011
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    Exactly. "Song" is words and music.

    Beethoven, Bach, and Mozart (just to name a few) knew how to write a hook. ;)
     
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  10. pumpkin

    pumpkin Strat-Talker

    Age:
    68
    132
    Aug 5, 2017
    Richmond VA
    ... I disagree... the melody and a punchline at the right point in a pop song makes it a hit. A famous Motown producer said ... " Man, the hit's in the grooves ". And people don't remember and buy lyrics.... they buy melodies
     

  11. fezz parka

    fezz parka Strat-Talk Supporter

    Apr 21, 2011
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    The general public remembers and buys lyrics. Especially the words in the chorus. Its the thing that separates songs from tunes.

    If they just bought melodies, instrumental music would be far more popular. They buy what they relate to, and that's the lyrics.

    song
    noun
    1. a short poem or other set of words set to music or meant to be sung.
     
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  12. carver

    carver The East Coast Strangler Strat-Talk Supporter

    im a big fan of instrumentals.

    one thing that is needed is a harmony that flows with the root.

    its not so much "getting rid" of a singer, as it is "replacing" one with another instrument, or multiple instruments

    Fezz of course nailed down the roots to writing progressions that work with each other. super important to know, but even more important to be able to exercise.

    music can be super simple, or super complicated - the end result, if done properly will be the same. folks tapping feet, you... taking a mind escape and just playing for a bit. these are all good things. dont over think it, if it sounds good. it is good.
     
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  13. RnR Nolan

    RnR Nolan Strat-Talker

    Age:
    19
    204
    Sep 5, 2017
    Chandler, AZ
    Thanks for your advice. I am currently working on learning my theory. I'm taking a couple Berklee Online courses and those have helped a ton, but I know what you mean. Creativity, I feel, is not something that can be taught (for the most part, imho) but rather something that is learned after much trial and error.

    As one of my most favorite quotes goes: "You can't use up creativity; the more you use, the more you have!"
     
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  14. Dadocaster

    Dadocaster Dr. Stratster Strat-Talk Supporter


  15. fezz parka

    fezz parka Strat-Talk Supporter

    Apr 21, 2011
    ₩¥€£§μГ
     
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  16. davidKOS

    davidKOS Musician, Composer, Teacher Strat-Talk Supporter

    May 28, 2012
    California
    Nothing against a good melody, but my experience has shown me that many people know nothing about the melody or other parts of song, they love the words.

    Everyone speaks the language - only musicians and the musically aware "get" instrumental music. Most average people listen to the words. The other parts - the melody, the groove - that's the dance part!
     
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  17. fezz parka

    fezz parka Strat-Talk Supporter

    Apr 21, 2011
    ₩¥€£§μГ
    I was working with Randy Gerston on The Mod Squad. Terrible movie, but my afternoons spent with Randy continued my education.
    RG was the music supervisor for Titanic. When they started to see that it was going to be huge, Randy told Cameron that they needed a song. Cameron gave him the go-ahead, and Randy picked the Irish flute motif that kept showing up as a recurring theme. He got in the car and drove to Will Jennings' house. Will listened to the motif, read a synopsis of the film, watched a few select scenes that Randy brought with him.

    Then he wrote My Heart Will Go On. They put down a demo, and took it back to Cameron. He went nuts.

    So, Horner had a nice tune. Without Will's lyrics...no song. The words were the hit making ingredient. Otherwise, you just had a nice cue. ;)
     
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  18. simoncroft

    simoncroft Dr. Stratster Strat-Talk Supporter

    Age:
    62
    May 30, 2013
    SE England
    I'd say you've just summed up why an instrumental needs to have a really strong tune if it's going to work for most people. People have a laugh about Dick Dale's more ridiculous pronouncements (aka "the things he says") but if he'd have released 3:25 of shredding we'd be going "Dick who?"
     
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  19. knh555

    knh555 Senior Stratmaster

    Age:
    46
    Dec 6, 2016
    Massachusetts

    Yes, but the composers you point out above wrote "hits" that have lasted upwards of nearly 300 years that lack lyrics. I've heard very little modern music that reaches me in the same way as Bach or Mozart, which is as much a joy to play as to listen to.


     
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  20. fezz parka

    fezz parka Strat-Talk Supporter

    Apr 21, 2011
    ₩¥€£§μГ
    That's not the point of my post, but I agree!
     
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