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Beats and Lyrics Question
 Moderated by: Troy33, RainyDayMan, HankTheTank
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 Posted: Sun May 31st, 2020 08:08 pm
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jmbtexas4
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Hello TSF Members,

I'm trying to turn lyrics into a song.

I have a BPM in mind as I sing the lyrics to a metronome to get a tempo.

I would like to sing on the beat versus using syncopation because I feel that is easier as making songs is new for me.

My main questions right now are:

1) How many beats do I put between each lyrical line?

2) What beat do I start singing each line?


Let's assume I go with 4/4 time signature with 4 beats per bar.

Starting the first line of lyrics on beat 1 is easy enough, but I get confused after that.

If a lyrical line ends on beat 1, should I wait until the next beat 1 bar to start singing the next line?

If a lyrical line ends on beat 2, can I start singing the next line on beat 4 of the same bar?

Can I do something like just have two beats between each line and not be concerned with what beat number the next lyrical line starts on?

As I understand, beats 1 and 3 are emphasized more than beats 2 and 4 in 4/4, and I can hear that when listening to songs, but I just don't know what that means (if anything) for what I'm trying to do.

Thank You Very Much!

Take Care,

Jeff

Last edited on Sun May 31st, 2020 08:10 pm by jmbtexas4

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 Posted: Mon Jun 1st, 2020 01:49 am
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The Big Gundown
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This is my opinion, others may have other ideas so please do not take this as an absolute. Tempos can be changed and where you start on the first or second beat can change throughout your song. So all those questions you asked are pretty moot unless it's a total EDM song then maybe someone else can help. To me, a song needs a hook, the main identifying feature, usually it's the title of the song. Get that first. Build from a chorus and then make your verses.

But as a noob that is difficult so a good way to start is use a song that is similar to yours and change the lyrics using your own. To come up with your own melody and hook is hard so use someone else's. Just don't submit it as yours though haha.

Go on youtube and look up how to write a song. Learn the basic structures and get some of the lingo. You already know about bars and beats so just keep going with melody and rhythm etc. Keep asking questions too.

Good luck!

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 Posted: Mon Jun 1st, 2020 12:12 pm
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RainyDayMan
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Jeff, I think mostly these are choices you make rather than rules you adhere to.

I've personally never thought about it in terms of the questions you ask. I don't try to start on beat 1, 2 or anywhere in particular. I usually start with the music and try to find a groove I like. That's almost always on a guitar. So I find a chord sequence and a rhythm and generally a pattern. Then I try to find a lyric that will fit against that pattern. Patterns generally repeat so whatever you come up is likely to be the same or similar in the next line. And it's common for verses/chorus/bridge to each have their own pattern to bring variety and interest.

Not saying this is the best way, and certainly not the only way to write a song. Each person is different. But you might try coming at it from different approaches if you find yourself stuck with your current one.



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 Posted: Sun Jun 7th, 2020 01:14 pm
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Motorist Sketchbook
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jmbtexas4 wrote: Hello TSF Members,

I'm trying to turn lyrics into a song.

I have a BPM in mind as I sing the lyrics to a metronome to get a tempo.

I would like to sing on the beat versus using syncopation because I feel that is easier as making songs is new for me.

My main questions right now are:

1) How many beats do I put between each lyrical line?

2) What beat do I start singing each line?


Let's assume I go with 4/4 time signature with 4 beats per bar.

Starting the first line of lyrics on beat 1 is easy enough, but I get confused after that.

If a lyrical line ends on beat 1, should I wait until the next beat 1 bar to start singing the next line?

If a lyrical line ends on beat 2, can I start singing the next line on beat 4 of the same bar?

Can I do something like just have two beats between each line and not be concerned with what beat number the next lyrical line starts on?

As I understand, beats 1 and 3 are emphasized more than beats 2 and 4 in 4/4, and I can hear that when listening to songs, but I just don't know what that means (if anything) for what I'm trying to do.

Thank You Very Much!

Take Care,

Jeff

These are some interesting questions. Thanks for the topic.

I discovered something when I started to record my own music.
The recording software has measure lines to snap to, but what I was
recording was much more fluid.

I noticed that I was sliding into beat one from the end of the previous measure.
In music these are sometimes called grace notes or slurs, depending on the application.
And then there is the whole application of phrasing that happens. Which means
where you break lines and even words to make them work against the accompaniment.

Another aspect is what I call traffic control. If you have everything happening on beat,
you are covering one part with another. You need to pull things apart a bit to get them to juxtapose nicely.

I usually work as you do. Lyrics first then accompaniment. I start with choosing a BPM
as you do. The next step is to create the percussion track. This is where the rhythmic 
magic for the whole song happens. I always try to throw in an odd beat or two to
give the song personality. Then I begin to lay guitar parts over that. Letting the
percussion inform the guitar rhythm. I complete the accompaniment
before I even rehearse the vocals. I will talk the lyrics over the accompaniment
to make sure it is going to work when I finish.

Most of the time the process I use informs the final piece. It's a creative process.
Check out my music if you want to hear the results. The most recent piece is
an instrumental, soon to be re-released with vocals. Join the contest if you like. 

- Sketch

Last edited on Sun Jun 7th, 2020 01:18 pm by Motorist Sketchbook



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 Posted: Sun Jun 7th, 2020 04:59 pm
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jmbtexas4
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Hi Everyone, thanks so much for the replies and advice! It's been good information.

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