Who are doing topline writing?

Songwriting, songwriters, etc

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Kolstad
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Who are doing topline writing?

Post by Kolstad » Tue Nov 29, 2011 4:22 am

I wonder how many of you are approaching songwriting like topline writing - meaning writing music first - maybe even build some of the production elements, and then write lyrics on top of that?

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Re: Who are doing topline writing?

Post by cardell » Tue Nov 29, 2011 5:52 am

I've been doing that for years (and a lot more of it recently).

When I was very active on Kompoz ...its was virtually all I did, for practice (it's all Creative Commons license there).
It was very hard...but rewarding. I'd write the entire melody and lyric to someone else's music bed, then record the vocal.

Here's two from then:
Whisky Coca
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thesongcabinet wrote:... build some of the production elements, and then write lyrics on top of that?
Now I'm concentrating on building my own tracks...then coming up with the melody/lyric. ;)

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Re: Who are doing topline writing?

Post by burpo » Tue Nov 29, 2011 5:28 pm

That's how I do it,
although I always have a lyric subject or two
that keep in my pocket.
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Re: Who are doing topline writing?

Post by pedrocosta » Mon Dec 05, 2011 12:59 pm

Hey Magne,
Same here, music usually comes first then I struggle with lyrics.
And most times I produce on the fly as well.
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Re: Who are doing topline writing?

Post by jmarkinman » Fri Feb 10, 2012 6:26 pm

I usually do both simultaneously, but I've been thinking of approaching the music this way a lot recently. However, each time I've tried topline writing, whenever I try to think of the chorus instrumental section, I start thinking about what hook would be there and this always ends with me coming up with lyrics and melody for that section. There is something to be said for the topline approach, I think, because it allows you to step back from both the music and lyrics and see each objectively.

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Re: Who are doing topline writing?

Post by hilmarleujes » Tue May 29, 2012 5:30 pm

I usually get hired by lyricists where most or all of the lyric is already done, but nearly all of that is in the musical theatre genre, so it's very clear where you need to go, both lyrically and musically.
I am now working on a portfolio of tunes where I or someone else can add lyrics later. I must say, I'm way more prolific than I used to be.
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Re: Who are doing topline writing?

Post by mojobone » Thu May 31, 2012 2:43 am

jmarkinman wrote:I usually do both simultaneously, but I've been thinking of approaching the music this way a lot recently. However, each time I've tried topline writing, whenever I try to think of the chorus instrumental section, I start thinking about what hook would be there and this always ends with me coming up with lyrics and melody for that section. There is something to be said for the topline approach, I think, because it allows you to step back from both the music and lyrics and see each objectively.
If you work alone, it's more efficient to do both at once; otherwise there's a lot of back and forth between the topline writer and the producers. Here's a recent article on the subject: http://www.newyorker.com/reporting/2012 ... t_seabrook

The process is very similar to how Steven Tyler works with Aerosmith. (details are in his auto biography)
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Re: Who are doing topline writing?

Post by Mark Kaufman » Thu May 31, 2012 8:39 am

I write every which way, not always starting with the same element...keeps things varied and interesting.

There are many times when I'm itching to do something new, and I want to do it NOW. This is when I most often do it the "topline" way (never heard that term). Sometimes I'll start with a quickly assembled drum track (like 5 minutes, just to establish a rhythm and a vibe), then simply build a track by playing stuff. It's a very Right Brained way to begin things. Once I have a track, I usually burn a CD and begin the "in the car" sessions...driving around and attempting to sing to it, random phrases, whatever. Next thing I know, I have melody and lyrics...

It's a fun way to write. However, it's not always the best way to write--I think it tends to circumvent one of my favorite ways to compose, which is in my head. When I go somewhere quiet, without an instrument, and simply try to envision a song...that one is often a more well-conceived concept than something written topline style. But all these different pathways are what make songwriting fun and results unpredictable.

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Re: Who are doing topline writing?

Post by Denziel » Fri Jun 29, 2012 1:52 am

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

attempting the lyrics.

I find In general that most Nashville writers start with the title ,

Then they may write or attempt the music and lyrics to a Chorus .

trying several keys inthe process.

Starting with an interesting Chord Sequence is the way the Beatles

wrote all their Hits.

Mac Cartney states that the music was often re written many many times

using trial and error, before they settled on the final song.

Every song starts somewhere , sometimes we have to be bad to be good

I.e. Re Writes and Re Writes . Tom Snow is one of the few who can write the music first

then get someone like Cynthia Snow to write a Great Lyric , however the question to ask

yourself is what is the right way for you, you may be great at writing a visual lyric that appeals

to many amature friends, but invaribly those lyrics are written by people with no idea

how to use meter correctly. and putting memorable music with great prosody is very hard to do.

I would favor starting with a musical phrase and writing a lyric to that. the next bit is following

that phrase with another phrase that balances the first one both in interest and Contrast

Building that song slowly .

I never get stuck on one song . I work on several songs at once . if one stands out I then give

it some preferance.

In general it's best to start with a musical idea. but for learning writers. that wont produce hits

on it's own, the secret is knowing when and where your song is not working and re writing it till

it does.

I wrote a song two years ago , after listening to it constantly I re wrote the music

and the lyrics around seven times eventually finding music that fitted the EMOTION

of the lyric. That song is now on hold with a top artist.

It's bloody hard work, for unknown writers , and it's not about one song. It's about constantly

coming up with quality songs as good and better than most staff writers.




Best Wishes Denziel

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Re: Who are doing topline writing?

Post by Mark Kaufman » Fri Jun 29, 2012 7:49 am

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!

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