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SEE My Raw First Steps In Songwriting
#1
Before I <I>was</I> a musician, I was always curious on how artists actually wrote their music. That thought gave me an idea to show people who are curious about that, but aren't into production or haven't actually tried songwriting. This is going to be a very raw, unpolished look into my specific process (in this case for something that is totally synth based). When I say raw, I mean everything is very organic. Everything I say I do, I did just that and no less -- no more.
So I was messing around on my keyboard earlier and I played this slow, dark chord progression with a soft, dulled down sounding piano synth. Those chords are:

<IMG src="https://i.gyazo.com/a140a5b5504d896172ce69fdf4cf24fd.png">[img]<URL url="https://i.gyazo.com/a140a5b5504d896172ce69fdf4cf24fd.png"><LINK_TEXT text="https://i.gyazo.com/a140a5b5504d896172c ... cf24fd.png">https://i.gyazo.com/a140a5b5504d896172ce69fdf4cf24fd.png</LINK_TEXT></URL>[/img]</IMG> and <IMG src="https://i.gyazo.com/82f3e6e13d80e935786687e0e99bc4de.png">[img]<URL url="https://i.gyazo.com/82f3e6e13d80e935786687e0e99bc4de.png"><LINK_TEXT text="https://i.gyazo.com/82f3e6e13d80e935786 ... 9bc4de.png">https://i.gyazo.com/82f3e6e13d80e935786687e0e99bc4de.png</LINK_TEXT></URL>[/img]</IMG>

Cool, I've got a progression. Whatever I want to do with this track there is probably going to be many more sections or parts, unless I decide that I should make it minimalistic to really let the darkness of those chords ring out. As I was playing (literally just the progression) I was trying to sing over it to come up with a vocal melody. I had no lyrics in mind, but the first thing to pop up was "You've made your bed, now lie in it" (I don't even think that's proper grammar because of lie/lay or whatever, but it's too late - that's what was in my head) Alright, next thing that I would do is find out the tempo/BPM. I did this by counting while playing what I had, the root note plays on beat one and the rest of the chord plays on beat two and that rings out for two beats. Given that it's a two chord progression, with the speed I've got it at it takes two measures, one for each chord. The BPM came out to be 97. Next up I want to do not even a basic outline of the drums, but just one pattern so I can get a feel for when I'm playing over it. The longest part of this is choosing a drum sound, cause I always go through a lot to see what sound I want.
I have my drum sound, and have pasted the pattern into the playlist a few times in order to just play and incorporate different elements. I choose the sound of what I want my main key progression, I know I will also be using bass so I find a sound for that as well. I pull up a few different instruments and just see what I like.

At this point in this song's progress (We're in the absolute beginnings) I now have a drum sound I like with a random pattern, the main keyboard sound, a bass sound that I think I will like, and a fairlight synth to be a lead of sorts. I haven't written or recorded anything with them, I just have them.
The drum pattern gets pasted into the playlist and then I record the main keyboard "riff", and then quantize it.
Here's what I have so far.
<IMG src="https://i.gyazo.com/a4ecb3ef34e118ee83a7b0d1d541fc5e.png">[img]<URL url="https://i.gyazo.com/a4ecb3ef34e118ee83a7b0d1d541fc5e.png"><LINK_TEXT text="https://i.gyazo.com/a4ecb3ef34e118ee83a ... 41fc5e.png">https://i.gyazo.com/a4ecb3ef34e118ee83a7b0d1d541fc5e.png</LINK_TEXT></URL>[/img]</IMG>

I am literally writing this as I go along. So I want to write and record the fairlight. Really simple additive line, but that's okay it's atmospheric. Now I've got a bass line as well. I wish I could illustrate to you how I go about writing that part but I'm not sure how to efficiently do it. Anyway, bass is finished. This is a really bare bones sounding demo, I have no idea what direction it will head in. I will probably scrap most of it to be honest, as I and many other musicians go through multiple reiterations of our music. The chord progression still sounds very inspiring to me and perhaps I will repurpose it or I might work more on this. This is where I'm at so far, I've extended the phrases in order to fit more in to showcase what I might want to do with it.
<IMG src="https://i.gyazo.com/8a659a6867a8ef914541755b4bd72f81.png">[img]<URL url="https://i.gyazo.com/8a659a6867a8ef914541755b4bd72f81.png"><LINK_TEXT text="https://i.gyazo.com/8a659a6867a8ef91454 ... d72f81.png">https://i.gyazo.com/8a659a6867a8ef914541755b4bd72f81.png</LINK_TEXT></URL>[/img]</IMG>

Earlier I had mentioned a vocal melody and then the first lines that popped into my head. This part I actually don't really want to do, but I don't want to lessen the experience. HOWEVER I'm going to draw the line at setting up my microphone and all that, so with that being said I'm going to record vocals into my built in laptop mic which I have never done before. I can only imagine how low the quality will be haha.
<IMG src="https://i.gyazo.com/20ea190269c487020fb96f8af4e377a8.png">[img]<URL url="https://i.gyazo.com/20ea190269c487020fb96f8af4e377a8.png"><LINK_TEXT text="https://i.gyazo.com/20ea190269c487020fb ... e377a8.png">https://i.gyazo.com/20ea190269c487020fb96f8af4e377a8.png</LINK_TEXT></URL>[/img]</IMG>
Okay, I've done my vocal take and I put on some slight EQ (a preset) as well as "Fruity Blood Overdrive" on in order to make my voice louder. In addition I had to put a noise gate on there to combat the hiss of the overdrive and low quality of the built in mic. This is sounding like it might be a chorus section, as opposed to a verse. Even with the volume boost you can't hear my voice that well. You can hear it and distinguish the sentence I'm singing but it's hidden a bit by everything else. Personally, I like that sound a lot because to me it shows the human voice more as an instrument, lyrics are not too important to me.

Well, that is all I'm going to detail and illustrate for you.
Here is what it currently sounds like, raw.
<URL url="https://soundcloud.com/gravaged2/sw-garbage/s-NuTNA">https://soundcloud.com/gravaged2/sw-garbage/s-NuTNA</URL>

It's not good. This is just such a minor part of the whole process. I've got to figure out where this would go, I've already thought about it sounding like a chorus, but maybe not! I may change that Fairlight lead to a different instrument or remove it entirely. I will have to plan out the drums, write more lyrics, and come up with at least another section/progression musically. Although, knowing me I will probably make 2 or 3 more.

I hope someone finds this interesting, whether they are non musicians who are curious about music -- or musicians who are interested in the depths of another creator's process. When a song of mine is guitar based, the process changes too. In general this is what I do when writing. I mess around on an instrument, when I hear something I like I try and record JUST that part as soon as possible so that I can expand upon it. That is what you're witnessing here, the ABSOLUTE first steps in my personal process.
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#2
This is long.
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#3
Nice post and good insight into how you work. I think its interesting that you set up a rack of instruments before you get started. I tend to grab plugins impulsively throughout production
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