Does playing guitar cheer you up?

Taylor Little (@tlrlittle) 8 years, 9 months ago

Today was just one of those days I woke up feeling like crap for no reason. Picked up my guitar to cheer me up, but none of the usual songs are cheering me up. So I was wondering, what are some songs that you play to brighten your spirits? Even if you don’t play, some nice acoustic songs that cheer you up would be nice to hear.

Also curious, I’ve been wanting to make my own music for a while. But I don’t know where to begin, where do you draw inspiration, how do you choose a chord progression, and how do your wright a song without making it sound like a nursery rhyme?

February 21, 2013 at 9:37 am
Anonymous (272) (@) 8 years, 9 months ago ago

Without making it sound like a nursery rhyme? POWER CHORDS. Don’t believe me? Listen…

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Taylor Little (71) (@tlrlittle) 8 years, 9 months ago ago

@ballsackturtles23, I think you missed my point. Power chords help me with the chord progression aspect, though I was going more for the acoustic happy cheer you up vibe. When I said nursery rhyme, I meant writing lyrics, like the standard making every other line rhyme is all I can think of. I know you don’t need to rhyme to make a songs sound good, but I’m wondering how? I’ve heard this idea of 6-8. Kind of like writing a poem as long as you alternate between 6 and 8 syllables it builds it’s own rhythm

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Anonymous (272) (@) 8 years, 9 months ago ago

It ain’t poetry man, it’s music. The rhythm should come from the beat, not syllable count.

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Taylor Little (71) (@tlrlittle) 8 years, 9 months ago ago

@ballsackturtles23, I love that advice, I know I’m way too caught up in worrying what sounds good to people. So you’re saying you would start with the music then write lyrics that just kind of fit in to the music?

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Anonymous (272) (@) 8 years, 9 months ago ago

@tlrlittle, YES! The music comes first! You put the lyrics on top of it. That’s how music is made man. Ever hear a parody song? Richard Cheese or whatever? The lyrics don’t mean anything. You can have a sad song in minor and put lyrics about dicks and ballsacks in it, people will laugh their asses off.

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Jaronimo (0) (@jaroninthesis) 8 years, 9 months ago ago

There doesn’t necessarily need to be a certain universal song or style of music played to feel happy or cheer up while playing guitar. It should come from something as simple as you just honestly enjoying playing guitar and creating something. (music, happiness, sadness whatever). Music is a creative process and creative processes should be taken as just that, creative.
I find joy in my music by simply engulfing my self into what I am playing no matter what it is, and completely eliminating everything else around me such as thoughts, expectations, outer noise, etc..
Thinking “why am I not feeling it” or ” this isn’t working” while playing is obviously going to pull you out of the creative and joyful feeling from playing. Music needs to come from a self-driven desire to truly enjoy creating music.
Once creation and the emotional pull you feel from playing is felt and understood, writing music and understanding the process of it comes easier. There is no “right” or “wrong” way to write music. Whether you feel that lyrics or music should come first is completely up to you.
I have wrote many different songs in many different ways, over many different periods of time. It can take minutes to write or months.. It depends on how you are feeling the creation process and what you do with what your feeling and wanting. Make sense?
So, what I found that works for me is asking MYSELF how to write a song. And write EXACTLY what I feel at that moment. Just like anything new you’re learning or getting into.. it takes practice, mistakes, and experiences to get to a point where it feels like a second nature.

Example: You can’t decide to become your high school’s top lap pool swimmer overnight, or with one spontaneous go. You dip you’re toes into the water first, get a feel of your surroundings then start learning the breathe techniques, body movement, and all other important skills before any progression is made.

With that being said, if guitar or music makes you happy and you enjoy it that is all you need man. Don’t try and find yourself through someone else, they are not you and you are not them.. Inspiration is different. I find inspiration in many different people, musicians or not.. And take what i’ve felt from them and put into my own life, which in turn, becomes music.

Creativity and inspiration is every where man. Allow your self to open up and be comfortable with what you do. You create what you feel, why not make something of it. If it’s truly enjoyed, amazing things will come from it.

Hope this helped man. Keep on playing!

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Anonymous (272) (@) 8 years, 9 months ago ago

@jaroninthesis, I beg to differ. There are wrong ways to write music, I hear it all the time from beginners (which is fine, we all gotta start somewhere). I mean it’s art, so there is “technically” no wrong way to do it… there are ways that don’t fit though.

You build the music around a rhythm. First comes the rhythm, second the melody. Then you may add different progressions/rhythm changes. Afterwords you can build harmonies. .

You can write a poem and put it to the rhythm (problem is it might not fit the rhythm space and your beautiful poetry may be changed), but the sylable count has nothing to do with the beat. That ain’t how music’s made.

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Jaronimo (0) (@jaroninthesis) 8 years, 9 months ago ago

@ballsackturtles23, I agree. If you are viewing writing music as a certain technical process that is true. Similar like making a sandwich or any meal for example. There are recipes for a reason and when followed make the process easier and understandable.
Where I was getting with the previous comment is that, I feel the first and most important thing when it comes to creating anything is you have too feel it and enjoy it.
The techniques for writing a song happen as the inspiration flows.
There are steps to be taken, but not a one and only routine to follow.
Music for me, with my years of writing and performing music is completely different every time. But the one thing that never changes is the desire to create it. Find the creativity and passion and the rest follows as it should. Would you agree?
Just as someone learns how to make a pizza. It’s the same type of food (song), but each one is different, whether flavor or ingredients. But the pizza is made the same way. If it wasn’t it wouldn’t be a pizza. Not the best analogy, but I feel it gets the point across.
All in all, music, poetry, paintings, any type of art should be viewed in a creative way, and created the way fits best for you. So “right” or “wrong” is not necessarily needed to be said. But I do see where and how you are viewing the process. And I agree!

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Manimal (2,998) (@manimal) 8 years, 9 months ago ago

@tlrlittle, Playing music doesn’t cheer me up per se, rather it amplifies the thoughtspace which I currently inhabit, if I play “from the heart.” Or the opposite, by playing songs that do not reflect how I feel I can quickly change my mood.

Writing your own songs is no rocket science, really. Once you get the hang of it, it’s like riding a bike.
Where to draw inspiration? Personally, I find that women, nature, history and various memories are the best fuel for creative work. Or just your life situation in general yknow, make songs about your aspirations and issues and such.

Choosing a chord progression is easy. How do you FEEL? Play THAT. Just pick a chord, and try out various chords to follow it. Soon you will have a good foundation. Or you can borrow some of the chord progression from one of your favourite songs. (Don’t worry about unoriginality, it’s not the final product.)

Now comes the fun part, start modifying some of the chords. Plain major and minor chords are boring and predictable, you want to change them slightly (well maybe not all of them, keeping some of the chords plain means more interesting dynamics.)
The easiest way to do this is to use -sus4 chords, -add9 chords, and -7 chords. Now to make it sound really nice, start with the plain chord and then switch to one of these, or vice versa, or start with one of these modifications and switch to another.
You probably won’t want to do this to every chord, since that makes it too repititive (although this is a good thing in some cases, uses your ears and feeling to decide what stays.) Basically, just try a lot of different variatios of the chord progression.

Once you find something you really like (could be one chord progression or a couple of variations) try playing different rhythms. Try the typical 60s strumming pattern, try using only downstrokes, play triplets, arpeggiate it, pluck it renaissance style, country-western picking, etc. Play it a bunch of different ways.

The one that sounds the best is the one you keep. Or even better, keep a few of them, either for simple variety, or for using one as a verse and one as a chorus or something like that.
Now you move on to melody. While playing your progression, just hum or whistle or sing nonsense. You don’t need to come up with something fancy, that will take care of itself later.
Basically, the melody will pop into your head from time to time, when your mind isn’t very busy. In the shower, going somewhere, doing chores, after sex, on the toilet, etc. Just let your mind play around with it and it will become more interesting.

If your voice doesn’t work well with the chords (ie you have trouble hitting some notes because they’re too high or too low) you gotta transpose the chords. This will slightly change the mood it conveys too, so you might wanna do this even if it fits your voice. Plus, just because your voice fits, doesn’t mean it can’t fit better if you transpose the chords. Try it out.

Next, it’s time for the lyrics. Just play the song and listen, closing your eyes helps. What do you feel, what do you see, what does the song convey? Sometimes you may come up with a great idea for lyrics, other times you’ll simply come up with a few nice phrases for the most important parts of the songs. Doesn’t matter which one happens, once the idea comes up you just grab your notebook and start expanding on it. If you don’t come up with anything, just make a mindmap and take it from there.

DO NOT constrict your lyrics to fit the melody, just write freely. Once the lyrics are pretty much done, start fitting them into the song. This will make it so that the melody is constantly changing slightly, which makes the song much more interesting than having everything fit perfectly into the mould.
You’ll probably find that you want to change some parts of the lyrics, either because they don’t fit the melody or because they don’t fit the theme, or because they simply aren’t that good. So just keep going like this until the song is done.

Remember, YOU decide what sounds good, YOU decide when the song is finished.

Even if you can’t finish a song, you will gain the momentum, and you’ll have some stored parts to use for future songs. And over time, it will get continually easier to write songs.

~Good luck~

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Nick (554) (@splashartist) 8 years, 9 months ago ago

Playing my music amplifies my emotions. I play a lot of ‘sad’ songs so usually I feel the depth of emotion in that.

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Dom (78) (@dominickjohn) 8 years, 9 months ago ago

To get happy? Major chords, bounce that shit! :) http://soundcloud.com/dominickjohn/dont-get-me-down

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Taylor Little (71) (@tlrlittle) 8 years, 9 months ago ago

@jaroninthesis, Thanks “it takes practice, mistakes, and experiences to get to a point where it feels like a second nature.” your so right, I just need to jump in, I’m too concerned about making mistakes.

@manimal, Wow, thank you so much, that’s exactly what I was looking for, just knowing your process will help me so much in making my sound. I really appreciate that advice.

Ok well I guess I’m just gonna jump in and start fiddling around, thanks for all the inspiration. I’ve got a few sounds I’ve fiddled with, I’ll see what I can do with that

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Taylor Little (71) (@tlrlittle) 8 years, 9 months ago ago

@ballsackturtles23, By the way, love that pink floyd song you posted. It does kinda sound like a nursery rhyme. But I guess there really isn’t anything wrong with that haha

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Manimal (2,998) (@manimal) 8 years, 9 months ago ago

@tlrlittle, Just gotta practice a lot, make it a routine, get used to it, keep the momentum going and build up reference points. The more you do it, the easier it gets.

And don’t worry about it becoming systematic and killing your inspiration and flow. Once the rules are established, you learn how to break them with style. It’s automatic, more or less, because it’s the path of least resistance.
The better it gets, the better it gets.

Also, additional note to my previous post. Sometimes start out by looking up some uncommon chords or scales and messing around with that to come up with something nice. This is good because it takes you outside of your comfort zone. You can also take a song from a completely different genre and see how well you can convert it to your style, and then use that as the starting point to develop your song from.

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Anonymous (328) (@) 8 years, 9 months ago ago

@tlrlittle, Yerp, it stimulates your brain. It comes naturally, try to learn some more songs that you think would be a challenge to play. Study the chord relationships of your fave songs.
And most of all, the best way to be better at any instrument is to play with people. The more people you play with, the more you learn.

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