I did an experiment one evening a while back. I took a public domain song's lyrics, and I wrote music for it and recorded it. THEN... I listened to the original writer's music. It was fun to see what similarities and differences came from the same lyrics. The song is an old hymn and you can hear my rough version below before reading on.
Hear My Humble Cry (Blake Flannery version of Pass Me Not)
Now, listen to the original version of Pass Me Not, O Gentle Savior Here. I think my version sounds more dark and desperate, which is how I interpreted the lyrics, but there are some similarities. On the "Savior, savior... " melody and timing match closely and sound like a crying out.
I also found out that the length of words and lines in lyrics, as well as the content of the lyrics, steers the direction music will go. Notice, I didn't write music that was extremely different, but it wasn't the same either. The content of lyrics only steers the musical ship in a direction. The exact place that ship lands could be different depending on the day you are writing music, but you'll still end up in the same country. I think I subconsciously write music to match the lyrical content, and the length of lines determines cadence, timing, rhythm, etc.
Musical influences are different for everyone. And the instrument you play is probably your biggest musical influence. That instrument has qualities that limit your creativity to be focused in a certain direction. I used a guitar instead of a piano, a
Personalities can never be the exact same in any two humans, and I believe songwriters write songs as unique as their personalities. If one person writes the lyrics and another writes the music, you are essentially blending personality and experience of both writers. This can create some interesting mixtures. Collaboration is a beautiful thing.
I was asked if I am still able to enjoy music even though I tend to analyze the music more than an average person. This is an interesting question that I have thought about before. I have never had to answer anyone though.
I'll never know whether I enjoy music more or less than anyone else, but there are a few reasons I think I enjoy music more than the average person. Here's my explanation:
1. I already have a predisposition to be affected by music on an emotional level. One of the main reasons I believe I have spent massive amounts of time playing instruments and writing songs is because I feel music like a drug. I am addicted, and if it was a destructive addiction, I would need an intervention. To prove this here's a poem by me from 2001. Wow, nine years ago!
Blake Flannery 12/2/01
Music to me is an addictive drug
It pulls my mind with a forceful tug
I find my pulse matching rhythms and beats
Sonic waves splash my brain in colorful sheets
2. Listening to Music is Work, but Work is Enjoyable. If you wonder if my brain is "working too hard" as I listen to music, soaking up what I can learn, you're wrong. I actually find enjoyment in thinking about music in a larger context, stealing ideas from masters, and being critical of what I believe to be uncreative crap. In other words, I get the inside jokes that are told in the language of music. I know when I'm trying to be tricked into liking a song, and I know when someone is being a nonconformist.
3. I Want another set of Ears. I enjoy music so much, that I believe music could enhance my mood and my enjoyment of life in general so much that I want an extra set of ears. I would have a soundtrack going for my life at all times, if I could still hear you talk at the same time. I'm listening to music right now. When I am doing something else like writing or doing dishes, I can still "enjoy" music much the way a "non musical" person enjoys music. I don't over analyze. I just enjoy in my subconscious or whatever you call it.
I doubt that songwriting ignorance is bliss. I enjoy my addiction to music, my work-like analyzing of music, and my casual multitasking listening. Whether I enjoy it as much as the next guy or girl may only be quantifiable by the number of hours I listen. I'm a human who is motivated by the rewards of pleasure. The evidence is mounting that I enjoy listening.
For those who are "burned out" from enjoying music. I either pity you for being forced to create until you no longer enjoy or I wonder what your motive for doing music was in the first place. Pride and money seem to be short-lived motivators for us musicians. Unfortunately, most of us won't get those desires fulfilled.
My motivation goes in this order: 1. pure enjoyment, 2. leaving a legacy, 3. money, 4. pride. In case you were wondering.