Who are doing topline writing?

Songwriting, songwriters, etc

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davewalton
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Re: Who are doing topline writing?

Post by davewalton » Fri Jun 29, 2012 8:03 am

Denziel wrote:I very much doubt that anyone writes the complete music to a song before

attempting the lyrics.
Probably very true for a single person or for two co-writers in the same room. However, as an instrumentalist sitting on his own island (so to speak) in the Midwest, I've had good results with my infrequent long distance co-writes doing it this way. Essentially once we agree on a basic style and feel, then I've written/recorded the entire music track from beginning to end, sent that off and my co-writer has then woven a melody and lyrics over and on top of that. Not everyone can do that. Not from a talent standpoint but just from a standpoint of how their mind works, what's comfortable for them, etc.

I'd say there's probably as many ways of writing and co-writing as there are people doing it. :D

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Re: Who are doing topline writing?

Post by Denziel » Sat Jun 30, 2012 12:10 am

Hi Mark,

I was talking about, established writers in general. You will be telling me you've wrote a lyric and never changed a word, after the first draft.

I know Cynthia Wiel fine edits as she writes her lyrics, but most of us are not that talented .

At the end of the day it's all about what is happening to the finished product, and if the answers nothing, maybe it's time to try another approach.

Best Wishes Denziel .

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Re: Who are doing topline writing?

Post by mojobone » Sat Jun 30, 2012 8:13 pm

Mark Kaufman wrote:
Denziel wrote:I very much doubt that anyone writes the complete music to a song before

attempting the lyrics.
Well...don't. :lol: I've done it many, many times. Just did it again a couple weeks ago!
That's maybe a little different from topline writing if there's already a melody in place; that's just lyric writing, if it's already completely composed. I think of songs like Bobby Darin's Beyond The Sea, or many others where there was a 'foreign' hit melody that needed a translation. Usually the looser translation makes for a better song, but not always. I think of topline writing as lyrics AND melody, and often the writer/producer will add parts and countermelodies after the fact to further enhance what the topline writer brought to the table.
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Re: Who are doing topline writing?

Post by davekershaw » Tue Jul 03, 2012 2:05 am

Interesting article on topline writing and potential copyright problems:


http://ericbeall.berkleemusicblogs.com/ ... old-rules/

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Re: Who are doing topline writing?

Post by feaker66 » Sat Jul 07, 2012 4:05 am

So what is the real bottom line on topline? ha ha

I start with a catchy acoustic lick and then start babbling:)

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Re: Who are doing topline writing?

Post by Kolstad » Sun Jul 08, 2012 1:16 pm

Asking who's doing top line is also asking who's doing pop, dance or urban music, as these genres are the production driven ones.

I agree on the copyright issues. At least suggesting a genereic melody is mandatory, then the topline writer can rewrite it, but in that scenario there's no legal issue.

I've been experimenting with doing a track and played a melody, even a sung lyric, and then started a collaboration asking for a lyric or a complete rewrite of both melody/lyrics.

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Re: Who are doing topline writing?

Post by Mark Kaufman » Mon Jul 09, 2012 8:34 am

Denziel wrote:Hi Mark,

I was talking about, established writers in general. You will be telling me you've wrote a lyric and never changed a word, after the first draft.

I know Cynthia Wiel fine edits as she writes her lyrics, but most of us are not that talented .

At the end of the day it's all about what is happening to the finished product, and if the answers nothing, maybe it's time to try another approach.

Best Wishes Denziel .
Actually, no, I will not be telling you that. All I'm saying is that I have done this many times: written the music, completed the music, recorded the music...and THEN moved on to adding vocals, which entails writing a melody and lyrics. That's all.

I love writing Nashville-style, where people get together in a room and WRITE. It's a blast. But it's only one method. It can work fabulously and it can fail utterly, just like any other approach.

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Re: Who are doing topline writing?

Post by shanegrla » Tue Jul 10, 2012 10:49 pm

i can write topline to someone else's stuff, but I have a real hard time doing it with my own. In general, I like to write both together. It's just what comes natural to me. When I come up with a musical idea, I naturally wanna come up with a proposed vocal part to go with it (unless I'm specifically writing an instrumental that's not supposed to have any vocal part to it). Most of the time the vocal melody changes and evolves as I get a better idea of how the song as a whole is gonna go, but generally that's how it works, they both evolve together.

Of course, sometimes the problem can arise that after I've written most of the music then I decide I don't like the melody I came up with after all. And then I'm kinda screwed, because now I'm faced with toplining my own track, but I'm so used to the other melody I came up with -- even though I don't like it -- that it's hard to break free of the melody that's been stuck in my head for some time now. Kind of a sucky cycle.

That said, I've had some experience writing topline for other people and I found it quite enjoyable. It kinda takes a bit of the pressure off letting someone else do half the work. These were dance producers in Europe who pretty much knew exactly what they wanted track-wise and were able to produce a whole track without the vocal part, and when they got that part filled in by me they would make all their remixes etc. and get them out into the clubs and dance stations. (And I'm still getting royalties for that -- yay!) It was real fun hearing what they would do to my original melodies, messing around with clever editing, etc.

Anyway, yeah both ways can be great. Just thought I'd chime in for this one since I finally had something relevant to say.
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Re: Who are doing topline writing?

Post by songmaster » Thu Jul 12, 2012 10:34 am

I find the best way to write a song, is start with an interesting title. Then write the chorus first, making sure the title is in the first line. Then I work backwards and write the verses etc. Also, a good way to find inspiration is to go back to songs you have written in the past and steal from yourself. Sometimes you will be surprised to find some really good lyrics or a piece of a melody. I found a song I had written 14 years earlier and thought, hey, this isn't bad. I did a little more rewriting on it and sent it in to a song contest. It won second place and 1000 bucks and I got to meet Derric Ruttan to boot. So take a look through those old binders. You may have hidden treasure.Cheers.

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Re: Who are doing topline writing?

Post by Kolstad » Thu Jan 16, 2014 8:18 am

Well, the sequencing of events is arbitrary in songwriting. You can start from anywhere and continue with anything. In fact, it can be very inspiring to come up with different sounding stuff, by doing just that.

Just to add to the thread, there now is a collaboration site dedicated to hooking up with topline writers..
http://www.toplinewriters.com/

Please post if you have any experiences from there.

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