When writing from a chord progression or groove, industry pro Cliff Goldmacher recommends paying close attention to melody and lyric as well. In this online songwriting video, Cliff agrees that a great chord progression and groove can capture your listener's attention and get them into the song. However, in most genres, a groove or chord progression doesn't count as part of the copyright. Only the melody and lyric are considered the actual song.
- When it come to writing from a chord progression or a groove, you know, this is one of those things that so many of us as song writers do. We first pick up our guitar or sit down at the piano and our hands just kind of take us somewhere before we have any kind of conscious plan and I love this way of writing and I think it's a really really good way to get into the creative spirit, but there are definitely some things to think about when it comes to writing that way. FIrst of all, absolutely positively dig in and develop that chord progression and groove.
If that's where you're starting. If that's your place of departure go get it because a great groove and a great chord progression is really really a perfect platform to build a song. That chord progression and groove will set the mood of the song and it'll just generate tons of melodic and lyrical ideas if it's compelling in and of itself. And on top of that, and this is really important, a good groove is probably the first thing that your average music is going to notice in the first place.
Like if a song comes on the radio, people generally don't think to themselves, oh I wonder what this lyric is going to be or I wonder how the melody is going to evolve. Mostly what they're doing is tapping their feet and nodding their heads. They're just relying on that groove to kind of give them a sense of what the song is about. Now here's something important, just because the groove feels good, do not rely on that chord progression or that groove at the expense of your melody and lyric.
You know, one of the things that I notice a lot when I'm working with beginning song writers with real musical talent is that they tend to rely very very heavily on their musical ability and they're a little bit lazier with their melodies and lyrics because it's just so fun to kind of dig in and play something that feels and sounds good. Just so you know, in most genres, the chord progression and the groove doesn't even count as a copyrightable song.
It's only the melody and the lyric that are part of the copyright. All that to say without a strong melody, and a strong lyric, mostly what you've got is a great sounding track, but not a great song. So to that point, I'm gonna tell you a little a bit more of the story behind the song Feel. Like I mentioned earlier this was a song that I started on my own before my collaborator who happens to be an incredibly gifted singer and melody writer.
Before she got there, I found myself with a little extra time on my hands and because of that, I decided that I would just kinda sit down and create a little bit of a feeling for us to work with. Well, as I mentioned earlier, part of creating that feeling was also starting to write a lyric, but the thing for me is that I just kinda started with this chord progression because I knew the moment that my collaborator would get there, this thing would blossom into it's own full song.
So I worked on the lyric and I worked on the groove so this kind of combines two different styles of song writing, but I waited until she got there and you'll hear in our example of the work tape and what you're gonna be listening to is what was recorded in the writing room during the creative process and you'll see what I mean about just writing a lyric and a groove and letting her, the truly gifted melody writer, do her work. So let's give a little listen to the snippet from the writing room.
(guitar music) "♫ I'm like a bag of rags, yeah" "♫ Waiting forest fire" "♫ Might not seem that way but look at me" "♫ Get me after dark" "♫ I can feel the pressure building" "♫ Underneath my sphere" "♫ It's been way too long and now's the time" "♫ When can we begin?" And now that we've done that, it might be worth listening back to the original high quality recording of the verse and the chorus, so you can hear what Crystal, my collaborator, did melodically to make that thing come to life.
(guitar music) (harmonica music) "♫ I'm like a bag of rags and gasoline" "♫ Waiting forest fire" "♫ It might not seem that way but look at me" "♫ Get me after dark" "♫ I can feel the pressure building" "♫ Underneath my sphere" "♫ It's been way too long and now's the time" "♫ When can we begin?" "♫ Come closer" "♫ A little closer" "♫ Yet closer" "♫ Close enough to touch and make me feel" "♫ Feel" "♫ Feel" "♫ Feel" "♫ To light me up and turn me on and make me feel" "♫ Feel" "♫ Feel what I can't feel" "♫ Until you're here to make me feel" "♫ Oh-Oh"
- 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