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Alright guys, I have an idea.

I know that there are a lot of you out there struggling with songwriting. You’re struggling getting the motivation to sit down and start, because you don’t know where to start. Or maybe you’re struggling with the song itself. Things get too complicated and you get overwhelmed.

Well, I want to offer a unique and fun opportunity that I hope will help with both of those problems.

I’ve recorded a very simple guitar part that I want you to download. Then, using whatever is at your disposal, I want you to turn my guitar part into a fully fleshed out song part and send it back to me. Not a full song, just a piece. I’m hoping this will help you in two ways:

1. Motivation

You have two weeks to do this. On Tuesday, May 28, I will pick a few of my favorite submissions and feature them on this blog along with a link to your music or whatever you’d like. This might seem like a short amount of time, but I’m a huge fan of motivation that comes from deadlines! If you struggle with getting things done with songwriting, then this is for you. Make it a priority to download the track, put something down on it, and send it back to me. This is a small step, but I know you’re gonna feel a great sense of accomplishment when you get it finished.

2. Simplicity

I feel like a big problem a lot of people have in songwriting is over-complication. We think we need to start with a complicated idea in order to make an interesting song. We think we need to add complicated parts. But the reality is that we don’t! The vast majority of the time, the best songs come from a few very simple parts coming together. This is what I want you to do with my track! I’ve given you a VERY simple start, and I want you to focus on adding more simple layers to create an interesting song idea.

The Rules (this is important)

I will not accept your song idea as an email attachment. It must be uploaded publicly to SoundCloud. You can then email a link to your SoundCloud file to andy@andyothling.com, as well as a link that you’d like to have featured along with your song idea should it be chosen.

You must submit your song idea by Monday, May 27 in the evening. I’ve got to have time to write the blog for that Tuesday!

Alright, now that all that’s out of the way, here’s the track along with some things you need to know.

CLICK HERE TO DOWNLOAD THIS FILE

(here is a 44.1k sample rate file if you need it)

  1. This song idea is at 117 BPM. You’ll need to set this value in your DAW if you want to record with a click.
  2. The file is a 24bit, 48k sample rate WAV file. If you have sample rate issues, email me and we can work it out.
  3. The progression is in G. It goes G, Em, C, D, Bm.
  4. There is one measure of silence followed by 4 times through the progression.

The only real rule here is that you have to get it done in two weeks! Feel free to mess with the track however you like… cut it up, change the pitch, reverse it, whatever! Just have fun and be inspired.

Once you’re done, feel free to also post a link to your song idea in the comments to share with others!

Good luck! I’m looking forward to seeing what you guys come up with!

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  • http://www.facebook.com/jbox86 Jonathan Shields

    Very cool experiment!

  • http://twitter.com/pixzgirl Raelene Bly

    Wow Andy! What a great a idea! Whenever I listen to your music I always think wow, I wish I could have that sound with my piano. You just made my day…I’ve been frustrated lately with my music not for lack of ideas but lack of time, with 3 children, one who dances and two who race motocross I am a busy mom/musician… But this definitely has inspired me to try and make some time for some creativity at the piano. One problem though my piano is a little out of tune and I’ve never recorded with a mic before I’ve just been making you tube videos with my iphone. Maybe it’s time to try…We’ll see what happens I just listened to your sample once and I can already hear ideas!

    • http://www.andyothling.com/ Andy Othling

      That’s great! Maybe this can be the thing to get you into the “mic recording” world… I’m happy to be able to supply some inspiration!

  • http://www.facebook.com/MichaelAlexanderMoore Alex Moore

    Awesome Idea

  • Ben Jordan

    its not working takes me to a black page

    • http://www.andyothling.com/ Andy Othling

      Try right-clicking on the link and choosing “Save As” or “Download”

      • Ben Jordan

        oh thanks why didnt i think of that lol

  • http://music.satellitereboot.com/ Matt S

    I know what I’m doing tonight!

  • Cassio

    are you sure this is 117 bpm? i set it to my DAW but it is waaaaaaay off

    • http://www.andyothling.com/ Andy Othling

      Yep, you might be having a sample rate issue. Is the audio being warped at all?

      • Cassio

        oh.. interesting… it sounds lower on the daw… how do i fix this?

        • http://www.andyothling.com/ Andy Othling

          I’m guessing the sample rate in your DAW is set to 44.1 somewhere… try changing it to 48. If you’re still having issues let me know and I can upload another version with a 44.1 sample rate.

          • Cassio

            It was, fixed it now, thanks

  • JonG

    Love the track. It might be just me tho, but that open G string sounds slightly out of pitch or there is a strange frequency happening there.

    • Gavin Martinez

      Yeah I hear it too – it really shows up in my recording, but it works

  • http://twitter.com/EcentC Eric

    I’m having a lot of fun with this so far! Could you be a little more specific on “Piece”? For instance, were you thinking more of an 8-16 bar loop or something that builds up?

    • http://www.andyothling.com/ Andy Othling

      Honestly I was a little vague on purpose. I didn’t want to give people the pressure of creating a full-fledged song, but feel free to take it as far as you want! The idea here is just to give you a starting point… feel free to go wherever you want with it!

  • D S

    Sorry, I didn’t really get it – I should record layers over your track, or can I record my own track using your progression?

    • http://www.andyothling.com/ Andy Othling

      What ever you want! I’m just trying to give you a place to start from!

      • D S

        great, thanks!

  • http://www.facebook.com/daniel.haugen.33 Daniel Haugen

    Just thinking about how many submissions you’ll be listening to with this track reversed…..

  • http://www.facebook.com/djaxes Trey Jenkins

    yay for logic reading all the track info and auto loading

  • http://www.facebook.com/i.am.evan.ma Evan Ma

    Hey Andy, I can’t figure out how to download it. If you could help that’d be great. Thanks!

    • http://www.andyothling.com/ Andy Othling

      Right click on the link and choose “Save As” or “Download”

  • http://twitter.com/perlepumpa joao miranda

    Can I use your track and add guitars played by me?

    • http://www.andyothling.com/ Andy Othling

      Yes, that’s the idea!

  • http://www.facebook.com/wesley.binford Wesley Binford

    Here’s my version. Everything on my end is recorded with a SM57, cheap Washburn Acoustic, and a M-Audio Fast Track Pro into Garageband. Thanks for the inspiration man! https://soundcloud.com/wesbinny/song-idea

  • Exogen

    This is awesome

  • Exogen

    I can’t wait to start! thank you Andy for the inspiration & tips!

  • http://www.facebook.com/mark.harrington.98892 Mark Harrington

    Thanks Andy – heres my ambient offering. I went away and fooled around on one of the tapping instruments I make down here in Patagonia. Looking forward to hearing other ideas as they come in. Cheers! https://soundcloud.com/nzgringo/idea-mix

  • Taylor Snapp

    So, you should come up with something too, Andy!

  • http://www.facebook.com/jacobeverettwallace Jacob Everett Wallace

    Andy, been anonymously reading your blog for some time, so first time poster. Great idea! I’ve just recently been acquiring some equipment (Mbox, midi/USB cable, etc) to be able to do more recording. Loved your challenge, so here’s my offering: https://soundcloud.com/jacobeverettwallace/song-idea-exercise

    • http://www.andyothling.com/ Andy Othling

      Awesome Jacob! Make sure you email me at the address in the blog!

  • Andrew Elmore

    Uploading mine now…

  • http://www.facebook.com/joshy.w.wheeler Joshy Weeza Wheeler

    Wish i had sufficient gear to record! Did this with my Gretsch 5420t direct into an M-Audio Fast Track into garage band. All effects (i.e. delay and reverb) are from the garage band program. Thanks for the listen. https://soundcloud.com/theweeza/andy-othling-songwriting

  • Joey

    Andy, would you be able to upload another version with 44.1 sample rate?? For some reason my computer freaks out when I try to change the rate to 48

    Thanks!!

  • tendie

    i can’t download the file

    • http://www.andyothling.com/ Andy Othling

      Right-click the link and choose “Save As” or “Download”

  • http://www.facebook.com/timh1989 Tim Hall

    My first attempt, gonna add more later!

    https://soundcloud.com/timhall-1/fusion-inspired-solo

  • Pascal Normand

    Here’s my take at it. Hope you like it.

    https://soundcloud.com/18seconds/songwriting-experiment-18

  • Jose De La Guerra

    Layered some things on top! Made a clip then decided to add some vocals at the end.
    Check it out! Also posted a version without vocals just in case.

    https://soundcloud.com/joseadelaguerra/andys-song-idea-1

    • http://www.andyothling.com/ Andy Othling

      Sweet! Make sure you email me like the post says!

  • Jaspertine

    So I went a little crazy on this one and it didn’t quite come out like I’d expected… so some energy went into trying to reel everything back in.

    https://soundcloud.com/jaspertine/andys-song

  • http://www.facebook.com/raelthomas Dingus Squatford Jr.

    https://soundcloud.com/raelthomas/andy-experiment

    I think I overdid it a bit… I might lose the post-rock nightmare at the end… Eep

    • http://www.facebook.com/raelthomas Dingus Squatford Jr.

      Either way, excellent idea Andy! I had fun and it got me into a good writing streak!

    • http://www.andyothling.com/ Andy Othling

      Thanks man! Make sure you email it to me at the address in the post to be officially entered!

  • http://www.facebook.com/MichaelAlexanderMoore Alex Moore
  • Jaspertine

    I went ahead and made a cheesy dancepop version.
    https://soundcloud.com/jaspertine/andys-song-90s-dance-club

  • http://twitter.com/AnImaginalSpace An Imaginal Space
  • Jaspertine

    Okay, so this’ll probably be the last one I do.
    https://soundcloud.com/jaspertine/andys-song-version-3

  • http://music.satellitereboot.com/ Matt S
  • Andy Burton

    I sat down and had a little crack at it today, might expand on this yet. Still got time! My recording set up is a little sketch and if only I had your pedalboard… DD-20/Holiest Grail/Small Stone served me well enough though I think.

    https://soundcloud.com/andy-burton/andy-othling-exercise-first

  • http://twitter.com/toygardenmusic The Toy Garden
  • Vince Halvorson

    The guitar is a little flat; I am using the 48k wav in a 48k Logic session and am quite certain my guitars are in tune. Any one else struggling with this?

  • Raelene Bly

    Hi Andy, I finally finished my part and I recorded using audicity because I couldn’t figure out how to get your part into ableton. The piano sounds really soft with audicity and if I turn it up it’s starts crackling, any thoughts on how to use audicity or how to get it into abelton? I know ableton records my piano well.

    • The Winter Kind

      Raelene. Just download the track and drop it onto audio track in Arrangement view. Once it’s there you’ll need to quantize it if you want to get the timing just right.

      • Raelene Bly

        Thank you for the tip! Never even knew you could drag and drop into ableton.

  • pierreoctopus
  • http://www.facebook.com/speakloudadvocate Speak Loud Advocate

    Short and sweet: https://soundcloud.com/speak-loud-advocate/othling-experiment-1
    I had a blast with this. I hope you do this again.

    • Matt A. Johnson

      That was quite nice.

      • http://www.facebook.com/speakloudadvocate Speak Loud Advocate

        Thanks! I appreciate you saying that.

  • Raelene Bly
  • Musicmonk84
  • Andrew Cooper

    https://soundcloud.com/andrey-kupriy-1/for-andy
    I will be grateful for any feedback from you guys.

  • Todd Kramer

    Andy, had a great time working on the track. Love the concept! I’ve been trying to do something similar with some of my ex-bandmates for some time now in which they give me something to work off of and I take it from there, but I have a hard time geting anyone to sit down and do it. So this was great! If anyone else is reading this post and is interested in doing a collaboration in with the same concept in mind PLEASE contact me. I’m looking forward to listening to everyones compositions as well.
    Here is my rendition.
    https://soundcloud.com/todd-kramer/songwriting-experiment-1

  • The Winter Kind

    Here’s something. I’ve an idea for another but I may not have enough time to complete it.
    http://soundcloud.com/thewinterkind/

  • pierreoctopus

    Yep, another one… this time i decided to completely destroy the original loop and i came up with a cheesy house remix :
    https://soundcloud.com/micmicman-samples/andy-othlings-experiment

  • Matt A. Johnson
  • Daniel Nielsen

    Here’s my take on the experiment!
    https://soundcloud.com/mrpetaah/the-andy-othling-experience

    You’re gonna be listening to a lot of songs, Andy!

    - Sending an email as well

    • Ben

      Some awesome sounds in there Daniel!

      • Daniel Nielsen

        Thank you! And thanks a lot for listening :)

  • Ben

    Thanks very much for this idea Andy, thoroughly enjyoed myself creating my version: https://soundcloud.com/luzzo/andy-othling-songwriting
    Have emailed you the link also. Cheers.

  • D S

    https://soundcloud.com/hikaru_harmonics/andy-othling-songwriting

    My version. Not ambient/electronic, but probably more traditional approach with acoustic guitar. Tried to keep it simple (it is actually) and kinda make it “my own”.

    Thanks for the opportunity, it was really interesting trying to develop someone else’s idea. I hope you will do more of these exercises in future.

  • Ramiro Cuevas

    Well this my recording I hope you everyone likes it https://soundcloud.com/ramirussss/song-experiment

  • ANMUSIC

    This is our approach to Andy’s idea, hope you fall in love with it as we have.

    https://soundcloud.com/anmusic-1/songwriting-experiment

  • Gavin Martinez

    Love all the submissions guys…

    Here’s mine… hope you enjoy it & feel free to comment!

    https://soundcloud.com/gavin-martinez/songwriting-experiment

  • Ben
  • Brad
  • Maurits Nienhuis
  • Pete McJames (J Head)

    Well, here’s what I got.. https://soundcloud.com/senseless-poet/god-stewart-a-brighter-shade

    Just a rough idea really, didn’t have much time to work on it (saw the post a couple nights ago).

  • Pete McJames (J Head)

    Well, here’s what I got.. https://soundcloud.com/senseless-poet/god-stewart-a-brighter-shade

    Pretty underdeveloped in a lot of ways, didn’t have much time to work on it (just read through the whole blog post a couple nights ago).

    Thanks for doing this Andy, great idea.

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