song problem and a vox harmony question

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Member Since: Jan 18, 2003

ever write a song that does this:

the verse goes nicely into the prechorus, the prechorus nicely into the chorus...and then the chorus does not want to go back into the verse? because it feels like it's dropping back down to a different mood now, like too somber or mellow?

i must finish songs this year. i want this one to be the first. pausing for a measure doesn't really work, a bridge doesn't seem to want to work, and i can't go directly back into the verse. so i think this verse which works fine up front just has to be ditched, unless i want to do a 'one-chorus' type song, which i don't.

question about vocal harmony is this: any tips on that? it's something i like but something i've never paid close attention to. last night i found a number of things that work using just my ear and many of these things i will keep. but do you guys have any shorthand 'rules,' like? like 'don't go up when x is happening' or something like that? a few times i have the vocal harmony in the high notes, and it seems to overtake the main melody, which is lower there. drowns it out in a way, by making the main note just kind of vanish. i know that there are ancient rules in music theory for this sort of thing, but i'm not interested in re-reading that stuff and don't want to think of vocal harmony in terms of rules. i'm just interested in anything that springs to mind from you guys, things you've noticed that don't work or something. one of the things i'm wondering if i should maybe only harmonize on the tail end of lines, rather than harmonize the whole chorus. or if i should hang out on lower notes for the first part of lines (and keep the volume down) and then go high on the tails or on lines that just sound like they're asking for harmonization, dave grohl style.

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Formally Hydrial69
Since: May 06, 2009

May 17, 2009 02:12 am

ill ask around with my writer friends but man,


oh man, this happens to me all the time, especially with heavier stuff.

ill do some thinking and digging for you man

Since: Jan 18, 2003

May 17, 2009 06:36 am

yeah my main problem is transitions, always has been. i can always figure out a harmony i like if i just relax and play around and try things. but here's the problem with bad transitions and sections that don't want to connect:

to get them to connect, you must experiment, and that involves replaying the song over and over, in your head or in your player. i DO NOT want to do that, because after three days like clockwork, the song loses its shine for me. you start to lose interest in it, it stops doing things for you.

this is why i have 300 song fragments and no complete songs.

i know 'rules' for jamming things together, things to try. for example, if my chorus is using A minor, g5, and f5, and if the first chord of the verse i need to get back to is f#maj, then one thing to maybe mess around with at the end of the chorus (somehow) would be the b minor chord that was part of the prechorus. i also have a pretty good feel for holistic stuff. like, i should be able to feel my way around 'bad choices.' i think i'm pretty good at this generally. but my problem seems to be that i get really attached to a chord change or melody fragment and then just do not want to lose it, and it gets lodged in my mind to the point where if i'm rehearsing what i have in my head, the nonfunctional part that i want to forget will usually show up in my head anyway and distract me. so it gets harder to come up with other options.

i am thinking of using lead, poisoning myself with lead, so as to forget what i remember of my songs from before, from the first passes where i got attached to certain things.

Since: Jul 02, 2003

May 17, 2009 11:57 am

Why not post an example of the song even if just the chord progressions so people have a better idea of what you're having the problem with.

As far as harmony's I don't have any rules, I try different things and keep the things I like and ditch the ones I don't.


Since: Jan 18, 2003

May 17, 2009 05:06 pm

it takes away some of the charge and motivation if anyone hears it before it's done. for me anyway. you're like 'well, they get the basic idea and the reaction was lukewarm, so screw it.'

i might have had an idea for a way to make it fit last night, though, so i will try it tonight. if i get really stuck i'll post what i have later. i hope i can just solve the problem before then though
Since: Nov 27, 2007

May 18, 2009 03:48 am

my remedy for this is, layering of notage behind the progresion you are trying t merge or go back into.

you need a theme for reference, something that makes those two, (chorus and verse) relate to one another.
instead of an abrubt change back or forth then, its almost expected you are going to do what you do.

can be done with vox harmonies, drums (a bit harder) bass, whatever.

much like transitions in classical. even the prog changes that could almost "never' gel, they get to with this kinda mechanism, i guess you could call it.

im looking into classes to learn more how to use this stuff really effectivley.

Since: Jan 18, 2003

May 18, 2009 06:55 am

at the end of the chorus i decided to mess around with the v7 chord that points back to the chord that acts as the I chord in the verse. drag that moment out a bit and it definitely works, i think.

i am tired of failing to complete songs. i a m quite a little bit buzzed on sierra right now and have been editing books for the last 12 hours but i think i solved this using the most basic trick in the book. if all goes well i should have a version of this done in two weeks. the recording will be hot in the mid and high high ranges, with vocal sibilance, and maybe massive master will teach me how to do a layman-style fix on that.

at this point it's all about getting songs. i hope that if i manage to complete this someone will straight-talk me on the basics. i haven't brought a completed thing here before even though i've hung out here since 2002 or 2004. if anyone who knows their sh*t wants to help, i would post a first version that's loaded up with preset effects (which i always must do just to feel like even though what i'm listening to might be damaged in the extreme, at least it has some of the surface features of a real track ) and then the naked version with no effects. i would then want a stupid-person walkthrough on how to tweak that. i'm not trying to go pro here, just kind of want a helping hand to get me from total amateur to passable.

woah. i didn't choose that smiley on purpose. it just happened. maybe it's an omen. i really hope so.

Since: Jan 18, 2003

May 21, 2009 05:08 am

looks like i solved the problem by not really doing much. the first chord in the verse is f sharp minor. the root note is f sharp. i was playing around with other chords because i thought i needed one, but the last chord in the chorus is Asus2. all i did was hang on that for a second then augment it, which makes the 5th note (e) rise to f. this leads to the root of the first verse chord, which is f sharp. so it's like a walk up through three notes.

i hope to finish one finally. the verse is too somber but i'm going to keep it because i wrote it one sitting and the melody is kind of set and unified.

i dyed my hair jet black today just for a change and even though there's nothing gothic or industrial or metal about this song. it's like an indian chant with crash test dummies harmonies and a major key melody over some minor chords.
Since: Nov 27, 2007

May 21, 2009 07:16 am

do you need to have your songs theoretically correct or find theory can dictate, when you write?

would you say this was the reason why you got stumped for a while there?
im just curious is all?

or do you go by ear as well?
Since: Nov 27, 2007

May 21, 2009 07:18 am

scratch the question mark after "curious is all?"
Since: Nov 27, 2007

May 21, 2009 07:33 am

on the "walk thru 3 notes thing"

yeah sounds good. its like drawing a picture really, on a few levels.

you can draw the outline, but it doesnt really make the pic "memorable", till you shade and colour it correctly.

Jumping from chords to chords doesnt always cut it. Its just a rough outline.
thats' the way i look at things anyway.

I like to make the whole song one with itself, the whole song is made up of different mechanisms which makes it what it is.

maybe i look into it too much?
well not really, i just write it, just comes out this way.
i got an unfinished song in my profile if you wanna check it. gotta put vox, guitar fill riffs and keys down.

actually i be keen to have a listen to what you've got if you dont mind?

Since: Jan 18, 2003

May 21, 2009 04:32 pm

i don't really use theory when writing unless there's something that doesn't feel right and i don't stumble onto a fix by ear. i don't even know what key this song is in--i haven't checked. it has some weird chords so it would take me a minute to figure it out. i stumbled onto the idea of augmenting that chord by accident too--just decided to try it. when it worked i tried to figure out why, because i wasn't expecting it to work. usually when i get stuck i like to figure out the theory things such as what key the song is in and all that stuff, because a long time ago i used to get stuck and then i'd just start trying stuff randomly and i'd get this terrible feeling that whether or not the song worked would just depend on accidents. so it felt like at that point i wasn't doing anything inspired OR deliberate. and that to me is a crappy feeling. one way or the other is fine, but that middle ground of just trying **** i don't really like...unless it leads to something pretty quickly, like this did. at least that way i don't feel like i stumbled around in the dark for days.

this song was written in one sitting years ago, in 1999, so it seems unified to me even though i don't like something about the verse. i wrote another verse yesterday which works better but it destroys the unified melody so i'm not going to use it.

yeah i can listen to your song later today, probably tonight. i will put this one in my profile after i go back and do the drums right and add in instruments and change the lyrics. might take a while. a few weeks i'm thinking, but this one i should finish.
Since: Nov 27, 2007

May 21, 2009 08:51 pm

sounds good. will keep an eye out for it.

Since: Jan 18, 2003

May 22, 2009 02:53 am

it's not all that good, tho. haha. my song, i mean. will check yours out later once i get some beers

Since: Jan 18, 2003

May 22, 2009 05:41 am

jeez man, i don't know how you guys have the patience for that kind of programming! i'm assuming programmed drums, right? the level of detail is beyond me, but it sounds good. once i recorded a song that tried to do something like that but it was just too much work and i gravitated back to easier stuff. hehe.

but it sounds good. add some vox
Since: Nov 27, 2007

May 22, 2009 06:51 am

yep, ezdrummer and a BFD2 mix.
what i do is, just use the included loops that come with ezdrumer, and then just move stuff around till i get what i want.
its actually not that time consuming.

having said that, its not something i wanted to do so much but our drummer just had knee surgurey so i took the opp to see how it'd turn out.

it just isnt the same as the real thing.

will add vox and post it.

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