Songwriting Techniques 9: Technology

Advances in technology have had a huge effect on the music industry and there are lots of resources available to assist and develop your songwriting. For the penultimate article of the Songwriting Techniques series the theme is ‘Technology’.

1. Record everyday sounds and use these in your compositions. These types of recording are known as field recordings or found sound and can work well when mixed with music. Some ideas include city sounds such as an underground train or a busy road or the relaxing sound of the sea. When you are using your recordings experiment with applying different effects such as distortion, pitch shift or even reverse, this can create some interesting and unique sounds.

2. Effect pedals are usually made for guitars and bass, but they can be used to process other sound sources such as vocals, keyboards, synths and found sounds. Experimenting in this way allows you to create new sounds using your existing gear.

3. Instead of loading up a drum machine preset or buying new samples why not record your own? A bass drum sound could be created by thumping a door (not too hard) or a sneeze could be used as a shaker sound. Buy a cheap pair of drum sticks and anything can become a percussion instrument.

4. Catalogue and label the sound effects and audio you capture in detail so you can always find what you are looking for when in a creative place. The more you add to your collection over time the more important this skill becomes.

5. If you use samples in your compositions, but have exhausted the sounds available to you in your music software why not try purchasing yourself some new samples, these can really help to re-inspire your compositions and these are often very reasonable priced
. You can also look out for computer music freebies such as plugins, samples, software and sounds. These are often given out at trade shows, with magazines, or as free tasters from website.