music choices for lyrics

I had a lyric idea awhile back: “You/I got a heart but no brain… Lumber but no hammer/an apprentice with no master”. (I haven’t decided yet whether it will be in the first or second person). I then came up with some chords and a melody for it. But the melody and chords sounded familiar, and sure enough, I realized it was almost the same as another song someone else had written. I guess that song was in my subconscious. I was a little bummed because I couldn’t use the melody and chords, they seemed perfect for the lyric. Not to mention that I would have to start over.

I have a bunch of music ideas without lyrics. I like to just fiddle around with the guitar and come up with music. When I get something interesting, I record it. So last night I started listening to some in hopes of finding one that might work for the lyric. After going throught the first 20 music ideas–not even half–I had 3 that might fit. So I went down to the basement and tried them out. One seemed to work the best. Interesting enough, it was in a minor key; the almost-stolen chords were in a major key. I actually like my chords and melody better than the one I almost stole!


3 thoughts on “music choices for lyrics

  1. I recently found your blog and I just want to say thanks, I’m an aspiring songwriter and lately I’ve just been stuck musically and lyrically. Reading about other songwriter’s thoughts, techniques, and struggles really gives me the fuel to keep trying so keep up the good work.

  2. Hi Rob,

    I know what you mean about accidentally taking other people’s ideas.

    How good are you at remembering to record your own ideas? Like you, I have loads of little snippets recorded that I might one day use, but I know that even more have vanished into thin air because I didn’t find time to record them…

  3. In response to Tom, I always try to record ideas, both musical and lyrical. I take a mini-cassette recorder in the car with me to record ideas. For music, when I’m home, I used to use a cassette boom box to record ideas, but then starting using my multitrack digital recorder. This Christmas I gave myself an Edirol R-09 handheld digital recorder, and I’m now using that to record ideas. The Edirol is VERY easy to use, I recommend it. $400 and worth it.


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