50 songs, what does that mean to you?

9 posts / 0 new
Last post

The legend and lore is that this challenge sprang from a conversation between professional songwriters about doing 50 pitch-able songs in 90 days. Writing a song a day or two is certainly acheivable for someone doing it 40-50 hours a week, like someone working full time for a publishing company. The irony is that the publishing company would own the songs and would probably not like them being posted on a publicly accessible website in raw form.

For me, I profess to be a songwriter but do not aspire to pitch songs, get cuts, or dive into any similar aspects of the music business with the notion that I could earn a living from it. I spend maybe a few hours a week between challenges, and usually up to 10 or the occasional 20 (like if there is a superskirmish weekend) during the period of a challenge. 2016 I finally achieved my personal 50/90 goal of 50+ solo demos (not counting collabs or chain-writing games like a morph, etc.) with words and music. I need to relisten but feel like I at least like half or more of them, and there is material to work with.

So for me, this year my goal will be to write and post 50 songs I like. I tried that in 2015 and ended up posting a lot of half-written not so well liked songs (that became zongs) in a mad rush at the end. Trying for 50 songs I like again this year with my recent approach of theme based writing. Not sure what I will do what the ones I don't like yet, maybe another late posting so the site gets song count credit, knowing the songs will likely be zongs.

I like almost all the songs I post for 50/90, FAWM, and the Facebook skirmish group. I can think of only two times over the years when I have written a complete song and not posted it because I didn't like it.
Not quite sure what my goal will be this year. I've already proven to myself a few times that I can do 50 solo demos. I imagine once I get started, I'll want to finish with 50 - that's just the way I am.

For me, in "this" context of "just writing"..., I'm going to guess that I might "like" 1 in 10 (of my own work), in the initial warm up, ramp up which changes to nearly all by the end.

For me, this makes sense in that it may align with other thoughts here (of my own work) in that, the more one writes, more of what they write has an anchored, focused usefulness, so to speak.

However, the free-form "just writing" produces lines of lyrics that then may become other "songs".

Actually, for me, I will use a line of lyrics of a prior song I wrote in other songs. Yet, How many times has "a heart of gold" been used, in so many songs, --as brief ad hoc pop-music example (not that this needs explaining). I think some may get hung up on self-plagiarism, is my point. I don't. As well, too, there are many great covered songs, as example (?), that are complete self contained versions, imo (i.e., "Proud Mary").

I know, 2017 FAWM, I did "version" some of my new songs as then new again, revised (I just could not get started, --then continued well, after). I loved the Feedback. For me, it was so very helpful. Additionally, the versions changed so much, they were not versions (esp. after FAWM), -- derived from?, yes... but, as we write... we derive from a notes, thoughts, song-book of orphan lyrics, imo.

50 pitch-able songs in any context... OK. However, for me, that's more "Jingle-house" work, or backing/sound track work, et al. *There's nothing wrong with that!

For me, "art" is art... and happens (for me) by accident. I revisit a song a year later and "then" I see what I meant and know so much more how well to engage it, play it, relate to it. Or, someone hears a song of mine and goes on and on about it, --not the one I thought would get attention at all. It's why we (imo) really do need to allow folks to hear and critically feedback. We don't see our own gems some times, -- I don't.

-- But, that's just me :p

@Chip Withrow to clarify, I feel like I need to like a song well enough to play it for other people, like at the Greenmarket or singer songwriter circle. So many times I have taken posted FAWM/5090 songs with the intent to play them, then pulled back from it. That hesitation tells me the song needs more work. I'm glad you like so many of the songs you write. @nutation All true. Especially the feedback. In the last year I have had a fair number of partial writes that I did not post. I am in a prompt based song a week writing group. In the last year including 5090, NaSoAlMo, FAWM and the song a week group I wrote about 200 ( a lot of quick writes and experiments). I felt that my creative well was very empty. Meanwhile I felt like it was time to take it up a notch. Since FAWM 2017 I have been rewriting and editing more before posting a song idea in the song a week group. I still have leftover edits to do on some past songs, and find myself tweaking some of my better songs. This is a shift in my songwriting approach. We'll see how this 5090 goes.

@AndyGetch "the publishing company would own the songs and would probably not like them being posted on a publicly accessible website"

I think you're absolutely right about that. I think I read that somewhere in the "terms of agreement" with a publishing company. I ignored it of course because I was not signed to any recording deals or other. I think it was BMI. I've never told them I have a song or used any of their copyright protection logo...whatever.

I finished with 50 songs (all collaborations with project quality audio) for the first time in 2007. I'm still very proud of that achievement. In fact, I haven't been able to repeat the quality in the challenge since. I have a few high quality ones here and there but in 2007 all songs were "pitchable". That's because I had a singer songwriter partner. I was the master bedtrack maker. Smile

@nutation a few years back in 5090 I had done a bunch of lyrics + man with a guitar songs. Later, after dropping out...lol...I only had the lyrics and no clue what my original demo sounds like. I made full projects out of some of those that were not even close to what the original idea was. In fact, the newer versions were always better. I don't know why but it was true. Probably because of the production. That said, I really like @Chip Withrow raw demos. Chip, I've never heard you do a bad song, ever. You always sound good to me.

@jcollins - Thanks! Before I did my first FAWM in 2008, I had written about 30-40 songs between 2005-2008. I don't know if I'd call those bad songs, but they were certainly self-conscious. Writing songs quickly, without laboring over details, changed that.
And I'm sure I could read many of my lyric sheets (including from the FAWM that just ended, I bet!) and not remember how the song goes.
Which leads me to a thought on the original question - I think writing/recording two musical ideas for the same set of lyrics would count as two songs. I'd be a bit less inclined to say that for two sets of lyrics for the same musical idea, but I wouldn't disagree with someone who thought that. I've written a couple of songs that were sequels to some of those pre-challenge songs, and I counted them toward my 50/90 output.

@Chip Withrow your ideas sound like morphs to me

This past FAWM, I did 50 songs without particularly trying, due to simply taking part in all of the skirmishes that fit my schedule. The goal was "Not Crapcapella" and I pretty well succeeded with it.

My goal was to hit 14 songs without crapcapella and to get at least two pieces of sheet music produced from it. Alas, only one song had sheet music.

But my passion remains in sheet music. I ran in to technical issues with my strange custom software that complicated making more of that happen. Still, I have plans for new features that I (hope) will make it easier to combine my passion for sheet music with to my passion for improvised music. I'll be working on it during my off-hours next month.

Maybe I'll focus on that for 50/90 this year. No demos at all, but every piece posted includes sheet music.

@yam655 "my passion remains in sheet music"

Great, and your sheet music may last forever. I feel that my midi (sheet music) has more staying power than any audio recordings I have done over the years. However, I am not very good at notating my melodies. It takes too long. Therefore, my intentions of making existing songs into sheet music may not be possible because I simply am not good enough to do this type of work with the music. If I start with sheet music it is much easier. But audio to sheet music...nope, I am not qualified. That said, neither was John Lennon (I saw that in a made for TV movie).
I still listen to Beethoven (midi piano). Yes, I have a program that can convert PDF sheet music to midi. I found Beethoven and others on the internet (years ago), and there might be a few mistakes in the conversion, but I'm fairly sure it is a good representation of what the man was feeling and saying through his music. He left his mark and it is still popular today. In my opinion, Beethoven was the best composer ever.