The original songs and compositions Laboratory

In an effort to provide the right venues for our various efforts and keep this forum tidy (:wink:), I wanted to start this thread as a “companion” to the already existing “Post your original songs/compositions!” thread.

We have a thread for practice fragments, and many of those fragments are from known songs, and so, eventually these fragments might develop into full-blown covers, which then should end up in the “Post your covers!” thread. Naturally…

Similarly, as a funnel for the “Post your original songs/compositions!” thread, I thought it would be good to have a thread for just the rough ideas, the sketches, the improvisations and noodlings, which at some point, might evolve into complete original songs. Or not…

It should be a place to present half-baked ideas or even small interesting riffs you came up with and want to get input and advice from others. It could also be slightly more developed material, where discussions could be about arrangements, how to introduce variations (“try to bring in a C section”), how to build up suspense etc. But, it could also be about how to bring everything together (software drummer, drum machine, real drummer, …), how to mix it down, and even about collaborations (“who could add some guitar to this idea?”, “bass duo anyone?”) and so on.

I myself have a few such sketches lying around on the computer, and I haven’t gotten much further with them for a while. But, I really wouldn’t know where to post them, so this thread could just be the place!? I know that @LesterH feels similarly (maybe you could repost your recent improvisation example in this thread to kickstart things!?), and @RemcoRG has also expressed interest to learn more about the music writing process.

I am sure there are many other!?! Even if you don’t have any musical sketches yet, you might get inspired or learn something new from just taking part from the sidelines! :smile:


Great idea @joergkutter!


@joergkutter perfect thread! I will post my little track here in a few.


@joergkutter, indeed I’m working on tunes and songs myself. Got several pieces laying around, some on bass, some lyrics, some melodies. Good to have a place to learn together. I’ve writen several lyrics to songs and only recently started to try write my own music to it.

I tend to start with lyrics and a mood for a song, then get some basslines in. And sometimes some keys before I ask a guitarist and drummer to fill in. That often changes the mood of the song. Which is the reason it make me want to give more structure to them before playing together.
How do you all proceed, just a bass line, licks starting your own song or filling in the bass line for an existing song?


Back when I played drums, and I wanted to “compose”, I’d usually start with a groove and a simple bass line, that I would then ask the bass player to expand on. Also, often, I could come up with a melody for it, but not with the chords, which I left for the keyboard player to fill now. Nowadays, it is often either from noodling on the bass or from putting some chords and a drum loop together (even though they don’t always feel “natural” or musical). What has also inspired me were these “create a bass line” challenges that we used to have in here, where it would often indeed start with a chord sequence and a drum loop.

So, I don’t have a magic formula for composing and I am still struggling a lot with chords… :smile:


@joergkutter here is my little improv fooling around session. To kick things off. I have a few more I am working on. This is just for fun and by no means finished


Maybe you could say a few words about your “process” here, @LesterH? How (or where) did you get that drum track? How did you decide on the harmonies/chords? Which bass/basses (and why)? Any important details on the recording (it sounds very separated into left/right, at least initially)? And so on… :grin:


Sure thing, first I used a Squire j bass 4 string. Through a TC electronic Bq250 straight into the audio interface. I did all of the recording in Logic Pro X. The drum track was created using some of the jazz loops found within the software. I just wanted a simple jazz rhythm. I recorded two bass lines for this one of them is a standard groove following the drums and the other is more of a lead improv over the top. I did intentionally mix them left and right just to bring more clarity to each part.
I recorded it pretty quickly just as an example. So it was almost completely improved


Cool! I guess I should check out whether GarageBand also has some of these jazz loops for drums…

So, what about the harmonies that you used to improvise over? How did you “choose” them?


So with harmonies I literally went off of intuition the main bass line is based around an A major scale and ended up harmonizing it on the higher frets etc. mainly by ear and sticking around the same major positioning just up higher octaves if that makes sense lol


Yes it does :rofl: :guitar:


@RemcoRG Sometimes I cannot formulate the words to express what the heck my mind is thinking


Nice and smooth Lester @LesterH
Cheers Brian


So, how would you imagine to work further with this “sketch”, @LesterH ? Add different chords to introduce some harmonic variation? :guitar:


@joergkutter for me this was completely made up on the spot. So I would like to add in some chord phrasing and meter changes to add to it.

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Does anyone know an inexpensive way to take an old cassette recording and get the notes and chords from the songs?

Welcome to the forum @rsilvertampa,

Do yoi still have a cassette player? And does it have an earplug jack? Or are you looking for a person who could do it for you?

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I guess you are looking at two different tasks here: the first is to digitize your old cassette recordings - that is potentially easily done with a tape player and Audacity or similar.

The second is to get information on chords and notes, which is much more tricky. There is new software out there that can suggest what chords are played, such as Chord Tracker from Yamaha, or help you isolate some instruments, such as Transcribe+ (both for iOS, maybe also for Android). However, those don’t (as far as I know) produce perfect results, but at least can help you along the way.


Thank you, joergkutter! I should have said that I have digitized into a mpg format, but it is a lousy recording. Thanks for the tip on Chord Tracker and Transcribe+.
I’ll report on the results!


Hi RemcoRG, I neglected to say that I had already converted it to mp3 format. I will try some of the apps out there to see if I can transcribe it.
Thanks for responding!