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Topic: O/T: IBGP

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  1. #1

    O/T: IBGP

    Hi Guys,

    I have hundreds of them. Really great little tunes and harmonies that never got completed - IBGP's - i.e. Incomplete But Great Potential. I'm not sure what the problem is. I loose interest in bringing the comp to complete production. In some cases I only have a start/middle. Or a piano melody and the base harmony.

    I love creating these - but hate the full production part.

    What do you do with your unfinished work? Discipline yourself to complete before you allow yourself to move to something else? Find a writing partner? Someone that isn't so great at coming up with solid melody/harmony, but loves the producing/arranging game and taking starter concept to complete composition. Any tricks or methodology you could pass on? I don't have timelines or commitments to push me. I just write as hobby.

    Joanne

  2. #2

    Re: Finishing tune ideas

    Joanne,

    I know exactly what you mean. You ought to see my Sonar directory!

    However, you don't really know the real potential of a melody/idea until you take it to full production.

    Because all along the way you create more ideas. Each decision takes the composition in a direction. Sometimes a great direction. Sometimes a weak direction. Choices, choices...

    Sometimes something wonderful happens, and one decision takes the whole composition to a higher level...what exhilaration!

    A true story:

    In my latest recording ("Endings" link below), the 3rd verse talks about a former lover leaving on a train. The chord I open that verse with was something that came out of nowhere and sounded "odd" at first...now I LOVE it because creates just the right emotional "color" that I felt in the verse.

    Yet that special chord came really late in the creation of this composition. Really late. And I was REALLY getting tired of working on the song; but I knew the song was still not as good as it could be. I am so glad I kept refining and working on it!

    --- Glenn in Minneapolis

  3. #3

    Re: O/T: IBGP

    Quote Originally Posted by Joanne Babunovic
    Hi Guys,

    I have hundreds of them. Really great little tunes and harmonies that never got completed - IBGP's - i.e. Incomplete But Great Potential. I'm not sure what the problem is. I loose interest in bringing the comp to complete production. In some cases I only have a start/middle. Or a piano melody and the base harmony.

    I love creating these - but hate the full production part.

    What do you do with your unfinished work? Discipline yourself to complete before you allow yourself to move to something else? Find a writing partner? Someone that isn't so great at coming up with solid melody/harmony, but loves the producing/arranging game and taking starter concept to complete composition. Any tricks or methodology you could pass on? I don't have timelines or commitments to push me. I just write as hobby.

    Joanne
    Joanne, i have hundreds if not thousands, on computer as well as book after book of parchments! And every so often i will go through them, particularly if the head is a little short on ideas. One idea fosters another, and off we go again. If nothing else, they serve as prompts.
    But i also do the following:

    One day a week, for about 4 hours, i go through a file, (say 50 or 60 snippets) and start putting ideas together in two's and three's. Then i put these groups together in two's and three's. I try to match melodic ideas in each group with a modulation idea, and a rhythmic one. This suits me personally as i'm constantly writing not only melodies, but the other facets too. So now i have a melody, a modulation that's, at least in part, complimentary, and some sort of rhythmic foundation. Any files that just don't fit anything else get held over for the next time.
    It's not perfect, but it has two advantages. It keeps the ideas moving, and 'fresh'. And, it generates new ideas in turn.
    I write a lot of tiny ideas, 2 bars of this melody, 4 bars of that, etc. It's a big database of stuff, and i've used it time and again to get a project rolling.
    Out of all of this, there are one or two that really jump out, and it's these that get the time and effort towards some sort of completion. So, two or three really sharp ideas a week, and self discipline. If the project falters, i put it down and go on with one of the others.

    You're really talking about playing the averages with this approach, and i adopted it, because i saw many of my friends and colleagues lose so much time going over every idea in angst as they tried to bring them ALL to completion at once and ended up getting little or nothing done.

    The above requires some self discipline to maintain a regular habit. As i'm not religious at all, I do my search and evaluate session on sunday mornings, with a cup of tea (or two) and breakfast.

    My two roubles worth,

    Alex.

  4. #4

    Re: O/T: IBGP

    Interesting. I thought it was just me that was rubbish at completing stuff. - I'm just a hobbyist, and have never completed a composition yet... - Probably that's why I'd never make it as a professional!

  5. #5

    Re: O/T: IBGP

    Hi Glenn,

    I liked Endings - chord in the third verse was good. Reminded me of something Kenny Rodgers might do.

    As much as I don't like carrying through - you are right about a comp being what it is only until it is done. Arrangement too can make something sound entirely different.

    Alex -

    I found lots of inspiration in your reply. This is something so common that you have an actual "sort methodology" and weekly process. I like the idea of grouping like works. You view your unfinished tunes/melodies as actual content of value. Thanks for the explanation of your processes.


    hi obiwan,

    Yes I think the same thing about writing professionally, but then I hear sometimes it is the deadlines that are the only motivators to force completion, so who knows.

    Regards,
    Joanne

  6. #6

    Re: O/T: IBGP

    Discipline yourself to complete before you allow yourself to move to something else? Find a writing partner?
    I do this. It takes me stupidly long to complete each piece, but I just don't feel like I have accomplished anything unless I create a full piece (even if it takes me 8 months for each one).

    I am in awe of you pros doing commercials/tv. etc. of how much you can get done in so short amount of time. There is no way I could do that. I wonder if I had more training/education and experience under my belt whether I could do that. Anyway, I'm impressed.

    jeffn1
    For original progressive electronic rock influenced by J.S. Bach and (old) Rush, check out: www.soundclick.com/jeffreynaness.

  7. #7

    Re: O/T: IBGP

    Quote Originally Posted by jeffn1
    I am in awe of you pros doing commercials/tv. etc. of how much you can get done in so short amount of time. There is no way I could do that. I wonder if I had more training/education and experience under my belt whether I could do that. Anyway, I'm impressed.

    jeffn1
    However, you never know what you can do until you have to. A very respected and experienced composer (who I used to orchestrate for) never finished anything until he wrote his first commercial and had a deadline, and even now almost has to see the whites of the orchestral musicians' eyes before a note is composed.

    D

  8. #8

    Re: O/T: IBGP

    Fragments are just that - fragments - until you flesh them out. But what they also are is idea generators. Just don't get carried away with completion either. My drummer is still working on a 15-year old project because he will not simply give up and move on, or complete a song at a songwriter level rather than full production. He could have completed ten albums by now, but instead, obsesses over a bass drum hit for 3-4 days, a vocal line for a year or more.

    Don't get caught in this trap. Be willing to let old ideas go, after all, new ones come along to take their place.
    Dasher
    -------
    It's all about the music - really. I keep telling myself that...

  9. #9

    Re: O/T: IBGP

    Thanks for all the useful tips; again, I thought I was the only one unable to think things properly through.

    My problem is that there's nothing there unless someone, somewhere, gives me a lead, however slight. Then I could extemporise for minutes if not hours: trouble is "creating" those leads in the first place...

    Do you advocate sketching them out in Logic, DP, Cubase etc. first, or would you first put those ideas down in an application like Garageband?

  10. #10

    Re: O/T: IBGP

    Whether going wide with lots of fragments, or narrow with the never ending 15-year production, the same problems exist - lack of a deadline, lack of a clear mission, the lack of hunger for completion, and not having to be responsible to anyone else.

    I'm a competitive Masters swimmer. When working on butterfly - the most arduous stroke - it's all too easy to stop before completing the goal laps. When alone, I might tell myself I'm going to do 100 meters, but more than half the time I do a nice, smooth 100 pace, but stop at the 50.

    On the other hand, if I tell the person in the next lane that I'm going to do a 100, I'll finish it 90% of the time. And at a meet, with teammates and other swimmers there, I finish 100% of the distance 100% of the time - even though the little voice in my head tells me it would be easier to stop 100% of the time.

    I recommend clearly defining your goal, choosing a target with payoff, setting a deadline, telling people about your goal and deadlines, and finding a client to deliver your product to.

    I'm a real believer in completed works - even if the work is crummy. You can share your completed works with others, but no audience sifts through fragments.

    -JF

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