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Creating a Story with Lyrics - Part 1

Lesson 45 from: Songwriting in Logic Pro X for Electronic Music Production

Tomas George

Creating a Story with Lyrics - Part 1

Lesson 45 from: Songwriting in Logic Pro X for Electronic Music Production

Tomas George

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Lesson Info

45. Creating a Story with Lyrics - Part 1


Class Trailer

Writing Drums and Bass Part Introduction


Making Drums Beats with Ultrabeat


Beats with Ultrabeat and Drummer


Writing Bass Parts - Part 1


Writing Bass Parts - Part 2


Writing Drums and Bass Parts Assignment


Writing Chords Introduction


Writing Chords


Lesson Info

Creating a Story with Lyrics - Part 1

Hello there. It's Peter Darling. Here. I've been asked by Thomas George to chat about sticking stories into your songs, also known as narratives. And I'm gonna talk to you a little bit about what I did when I released my ep, the Mary Lou ep which has narrative going through it, but then also told from different points of view in different songs. So I'm gonna play you a little bit of the title track. Now this is called Mary Lou in the evening. They can my He said they come was the and you, I my because my God, my my God, have I lost you, my God. No. Right. There you go. That's enough of that. So this ep was an opportunity for me to try and write a story from multiple points of view. I was inspired by books such as The Game of Thrones books and also atonement by Ian mcewan. Both these books try and tell one narrative from the point of view of multiple characters. And I was really fascinated by that because I felt it provided a, a deeper richer experience for the reader. So I wanted to tr...

y that for my music. So the whole point of the ep was it was a collection of songs that revolve around the death of a lady called Mary Lou in Louisiana. And I wanted to write three full songs that are from the point of view, one of the victim. So Mary Lou herself, one of the partner of Mary Lou and then one of the murderer. And then also I interspersed this with what I called right tracks, which are to do with Louisiana customs and rituals that are involved when someone dies. So what I thought I'd do is go through the three main songs and discuss how I created each character and how I tried to use lyrics to put across their personality and develop the narrative. So as you can see in front of you, I've got the lyrics for Mary Lou. This song is from the point of view of the partner of Mary Lou. And I wanted to describe in three verses, three moments of this person's life. So the first verse is to do with him finding out that Mary Lou has died. The second verse is all about burying Mary Lou. And then the third verse is kind of after the funeral and the partner coming to the terms with the fact that Mary Lou has died. The main reason that I created this narrative was I wanted to write beyond my own experience. I don't know about you. But often when I come to writing songs. If I just worked off of what I'd done in the day, it wouldn't really be good fodder for a song. I spend most of my time playing with my cat and watching Rupaul's drag race and I don't really feel like that's a good subject for a song. So I wanted to be more creative in the subjects of songs that I write. Plus I also wanted to be able to discuss things that were going on in my life at that time. But putting that through characters, I just found that a little bit easier to do at the time, I was thinking a lot about faith and a lot about grief in my own personal life. And I wanted to use these characters to help me express that in some way. And I found it very pathetic. So it's an option for you guys if you are feeling like you write songs about the same thing over and over again and your lyrical subjects feel a bit stale. Writing in character is a great way to kind of freshen that up and to find a fresh angle on a standard kind of song narrative. So sometimes I can find it quite difficult to talk about my own emotions, especially within song cos if you're playing it in front of however many people and they're like, oh, that's about him getting dumped. That can feel like quite a vulnerable thing. Whereas if you can put it through a character, you can talk about those things in quite a safe way and it's left up to the listener decide what's real and what's not. It kind of protects you a bit from feeling as vulnerable. So I find that really helpful. Plus as well. I often write in different genres and I find it really helpful to write in character, especially if I'm writing a track for, say a little mix style song. If it came from me writing it, it would feel really, really weird. So I have to get into character and write from a character point of view in order for it to make more sense for a, a girl band to sing it, for example. So as you can see, we've got the lyrics for Mary Lou in front of us. So this is told from the point of view of Mary Lou's partner and I've used a kind of a traditional folk verse format in order to describe three key events for Mary Lou's partner. So the first verse discusses when he finds out that Mary Lou has died. The second verse is when they bury Mary Lou. And the third verse is kind of the aftermath of the funeral and him coming to grips with Mary Lou dying this whole time. I had the chorus idea, which was of my God. Have I lost you? My God, my God. And so I wanted to use that for verse and use that as almost like a chorus refrain rather than have to write a separate section. So I think it might be good at this point for me to kind of draw a timeline of where this song fits in with the rest of the ep because each track focuses on different parts of the story, but they all have overlapping narratives. So this is my timeline here and some songs cover the entire breadth of the timeline and some of them are only focus on a little part of it. So for example, there's the track. Hold the head down, which I'm gonna play a little bit to you now. Oh oh oh oh oh I saw No. Build a fire and you. Well, the song like you, I there you go. So that's Hold the head down. So hold the head down. Occupies the entire breadth of the timeline. So the first verse is the earliest part of the timeline where he sees Mary Lou and threatens to kill her. So that starts right here and goes all the way along like that. So if we go back to Mary Lou, Mary Lou starts round about where verse two is of Hold the head down. So if that would probably be about here where Hold the head down says they found her body, then this corresponds with verse one and Mary Lou where it talks about they found her body washed up on the shore and then they came to the partner's door rhymes. And then let's have a little listen to the third song which is Vermilion Bay to So help me. Oh, now, there you go. So Vermilion Bay occupies a space just after the first verse of Hold your head down. But before Mary Lou, if that makes sense. So that about here. So as you can see the start of the song is my baby. Took me down to Vermilion Bay. So this corresponds nicely with Hold the head down, which is where the murderer kind of threatens Mary Lou. But then as you can see, Mary Lou, the song doesn't start until after the character, Mary Lou has died. And this song just deals with that event. So the main reason why these songs have such varying timelines is because I wanted for each character to get to some form of acceptance of their fate by the end of the song. So by the end of the song, Vermilion Bay, Mary Lou has accepted death. And you can see that in the lines, the struggle's over, his arms are open. I simply let go then for hold the head down in the third verse of Hold the head down. The killer is realizing that he actually misses Mary Lou, but he'd probably still kill her if he saw her again. But it's kind of accepting his fate at that point. And then for the title track, Mary Lou, it's Mary Lou's partner trying to come to terms with his loss. I also just wanna talk briefly about the four tracks that are interspersed between the full songs. These are called the right tracks and they reference different Cajun funeral customs. So the first one, quilt hung on port trailing is all to do with when someone has died, their family hangs a quilt over their Port trailing to notify their neighbors. And then R two is called sitting with the dead. And until the funeral happens, someone has to sit with the dead body at all times. And then R three is called internal, which is French for burial. And obviously that is to do with burying the body. And then the fourth, right is the meal where the deceased family gets together for the bereavement meal and they're uniting as survivors in grief. And those right tracks occupy several points within the timeline as well. So, right, one where they hang the quilt on a porch railing would happen just after the first verse of Mary Lou. So that's about here and right two follows swiftly after then R three occurs at the same time as verse two of Mary Lou when they're burying the body. And then finally, right for the meal also occurs just after the burial. So as you can see, I've got seven tracks there that all will occupy different points of the timeline. They don't all operate chronologically. So it's not like you're getting a linear story where one thing happens after another. But instead it's, it almost operates more as a flashback model. I really like Quentin Tarantino's films, especially a film like pulp fiction. I was always really impressed with how Tarantino would swap c around. So we see John Travolta's character die, but then he returns for the final scene. However, Tarantino has reordered these scenes in order to create a sense of natural ending for the character, even though he dies later on, I was always really impressed by that and I wanted to try and attempt that myself within my own work. So I really challenge you to try and think outside the box when you're writing your songs and think about how you can create concepts when you're writing, create different narratives, try overlapping timelines, try telling stories from different characters point of views in order just to create fresh and exciting music to listen to. It also allows you to kind of deal with things that are going on in your life, but in a novel way and in a way that just sounds more interesting to an audience, it feels richer and it has more depth. I often find thanks so much for listening to me and let me go through my EP with you. If you want to listen to more of the music, you can just search for me. My name's Peter Darling. And the EP is called Mary Lou. Thanks very much.

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