Making a definitive rough recording is an essential part of the songwriting procedure. Industry veteran Cliff Goldmacher explains that this recording is comprised of a single instrument and vocal recorded with a basic recorder like a smartphone. In this songwriting tutorial, Cliff suggests that this will not only prevent you from forgetting how your song goes, but also will serve as a reference for the demo singer and studio musicians when you do a professional recording of your song later.
- OK, so your song is done, you have refined your lyric sheet, everything looks great there. Now is the time to create the Definitive Rough Recording of your song. And let me describe that for you a little bit more. This is a quick and easy recording that captures the melody, the lyric, and the chords of your song. This is absolutely not something to stress over. It doesn't have to be perfect perfect, the audio quality can be just OK, you can sing this into your smartphone if you'd like.
I have it on very good authority that there is no Grammy for best Rough Recording, so don't let this thing get out of hand. What you're really trying to do is first and foremost, a simple guitar or piano and vocal recording of your song. And as I mentioned, you can do this into your laptop or your smartphone. Just capture the song, the melody, the lyric, and the chords in their finished form. There's a reason for this. This will prevent you from forgetting how the song goes.
And I know for those of you who have only written a couple of songs, it sounds utterly ridiculous to think that you would have spend all this time and effort writing a song and you'd forget how it goes. But the more that you write, the more necessary this will become. But there's another reason, and one that I think a lot of pro writers use their rough recordings for. It serves as a reference for the demo vocalist and the session musicians, once you decide you're going to make a demo of your finished song.
So, you can send this rough recording to the singer in advance so that they can learn your song, and secondarily, they will be able to give the producer and the engineer and the musicians a key for the song that works for them. So the rough recording is really useful for the demo vocalist. Something to remember: That same rough recording you should bring to the recording studio on the day that the demo is being recorded. And I'll tell you why. Even if you have played your song many many times on guitar, let's say you're a performer as well as a songwriter, don't just assume that you can walk into the studio and play and sing that song perfectly when you're playing it for the singer and the session musicians.
Studios are stressful places by their very nature, so it's really nice to have that rough recording there as a baseline that you can refer to when you're talking to the singer or you're talking to the players. Without having to put pressure on yourself to perform it live in the studio at that moment.
- Writing the lyrics
- Writing the melody
- Writing chord progressions
- Creating a rough demo recording
- Motivational techniques and daily practice routines
- Moving your songwriting career forward