Songwriting Tip of the Day

If you can’t remember your own melody by tomorrow, it probably wasn’t that great of a melody to begin with.


7 thoughts on “Songwriting Tip of the Day

  1. Melissa

    I can’t remember a melody fifteen minutes after I’ve played it. That’s why I’m looking for a computer MIDI program where it’ll transcribe the notes as I’m playing them on my digital piano. (I figure that if I can get the notes down, the timing will be a piece of cake.) Any suggestions?

    1. You know, somebody like Daniel would be better able to help you with that, because I’m not up on that kind of software. However, what I do is record myself humming or playing the melody so I can save the idea and then play it back later. I don’t know if that would help you, but it’s something to try.

  2. quartet-man

    Melissa, there are lots of programs that will do that. They vary in price, features and difficulty. I use the Cadillac of programs which is Finale (I just upgraded to 2011 and used it for the first time yesterday). However, it is expensive (I get a discount for being a music professional). Before Finale I used Quickscore and before that the Copyist and DR T’s KCS (both on the Amiga platform). None will do it perfectly as some people think. You have to have music knowledge (at least some). Basically you tell it to round to the nearest note in the smallest rhythmic value in the piece (i.e. sixteenth). Even with that, you have to play decently to get it to round properly or edit the score to reflect properly the proper rhythm You also need to add whatever ornaments, articulations, dynamics etc. to get a clean score. There are several other things you can do (endings, repeats, lyrics, page reduction etc. to get a better score). It is a lot of work unless you want it to remind you what to play. However, an audio recorder might do that for you.

    Now, there are less expensive and less-featured versions of Finale and their brand and there are things like Sibelius.

      1. Melissa

        I tried both the manuscript and the audio recorder approach; on the manuscript, even when I managed to summon up enough patience to stick with it, I ended up with notations that looked more like chickenscratch than notes. And inevitably on the audio recorder, I’d tape so much,I was never able to find the bit I was trying to hang on to — either that, or I’d accidently record over it. It’s okay about the music knowledge part; I’m a church musician (well, okay, they’re small churches, but a Methodist Hymnal plays the same regardless of church size) who had about eight years of private music lessons and two years as an elective in college, and I was blessed with a teacher or two who made sure I never exited their classes without knowing what I was doing on a keyboard. Since this is really more for note-jotting (play some phrases, then pick out the ones I really want to work with), a lower-end program would probably work well for me. I’ve seen Finale on Amazon, and had wondered whether it would be worth the money. I’ll probably go with the lowest-end one; I’m definitely not professional enough to pay $300 to $400 for a music program. Hey, y’all, thanks for the feedback! It’s very much appreciated.

      2. quartet-man

        Hi, I am glad you have the knowledge. 😀 I had no idea and only brought it up because of the mistaken notion some have that you play it in and it perfectly transcribes a score ready to print. That just doesn’t happen.

  3. Melissa

    Hey, QTM, no way you could have known I had any sort of musical background, especially considering that I usually come off sounding like your typical partisan Booth Brothers groupie! As for the knowledge bit, I wish I had *more* knowledge. Pigheaded me, all I ever wanted to do was play gospel music, so I sort of sloughed off the theory part a little more than I should have. If I could just find a program that would transcribe the notes and maybe take a wild stab at measuring it off, I could take it from there. But if you ever do find a program that actually manages to compile a perfect score from the input of a mid-range musician’s aimless meanderings, please do let me know — that *would* be worth the extra money!

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