How To Write "Sound Alike" Songs

Posted by Aaron Davison on Wednesday, December 19, 2012 Under: December

There are basically two approaches to writing music for licensing opportunities.  One way to go about it is to simply write what you’re inspired to write without thinking about where or how your music might be used for licensing opportunities in the future.  This is probably the most artistically honest way to write music, without regard to making money or trying to write music other than the music you’re inspired to write.

The other approach is to write music specifically for specific opportunities.  Often times the publisher I work with will approach me with specific opportunities she knows about to see if I want to pitch something.  Sometimes I already have something on hand that is relevant and other times I will write something specifically for projects she pitches to.  Although these songs might not be as artistically pure, these projects are actually a lot of fun and usually end up being very rewarding.  Some of the songs I write in this manner end up getting licensed and some don’t, but either way I’m able to grow my catalog and try something new and different, which I almost always enjoy.

When you write something that is outside of your comfort zone it forces you to stretch and grow as a musician.  Even if you’re writing in a style that isn’t necessarily your favorite style of music, in my experience at least, these types of assignments can be very enlightening.  I often times end up developing a new appreciation for bands and music that I wouldn’t have otherwise. 

How To Approach Writing “Sound Alike” Songs

Usually when I’m asked to write something that is similar to a specific song, I’ll listen to the song I’m trying to emulate to begin with.  If there is a riff or chord progression I’ll learn the actual part note for note and then I’ll change the riff or progression enough that my part is unique but still captures the “vibe” of the original song.  I’ll do the same thing with the melody.  I’ll learn the original vocal melody and then use that as a springboard for coming up with a completely different and unique melody.  I’m very careful to make sure I’m writing something that is definitely an original, new song.  Obviously you don’t want to just parody the original song.   The idea is to write an original song that sounds similar to the song you’re trying to emulate but that still is something that has your own voice and style.  In other words, you want to capture the “vibe” of the song without simply copying the original song.

I’ve added many songs to my catalog that I never would have written otherwise had I not been asked to write in specific styles. Some of these songs turn out better than others, but I always have fun and end up with new and sometimes really good songs.  No matter what happens, I have more songs that if I don’t end up licensing right away I can license in the future.  If you aren’t already writing “sound alike” songs, you might want to give it a try.

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In : December 

Tags: music licensing  writing music for tv 
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