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Topic: What do you do when feeling uncreative?

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  1. #1

    What do you do when feeling uncreative?

    I swear it seems that when ever I sit down to try and start a composition, is when I always seem to be feeling completely uncreative. Needless to say, this is something that more or less drives me crazy after sitting fiddling around for 20min or so with various ideas, realizing they aren't going anywhere, and finally giving up. Go figure... I usually have a TON of ideas come to me right when I'm about to fall asleep/ in some other situation where I'm unable to write it down. lol

    Anyone here have some suggestions for trying to come up with ideas when none are coming?

  2. #2

    Re: What do you do when feeling uncreative?

    Hi Michael,

    The first thing you need to ask yourself is: Why do I compose?

    Come back to me with an answer and we'll go from there, okay?

    -Ron T.

  3. #3

    Re: What do you do when feeling uncreative?

    Start with something that you have already created.
    Invert it.
    Retrograde it.
    Invert the retrograde.
    Retrograde the inversion.
    Superimpose the rhythms over different chords.
    Shift it off a beat or two.
    Treat it as a call and write a response to it.
    Start with the passage and improvise based on it on your instrument of choice.
    Write a duet line for it.
    Try to write something that is 180 degrees opposite in mood/feel.
    ...in short, do all the things I wish I had time to do when inspiration lags.

    Snor
    Jim Williams
    Professor of Capitalism
    N9EJR
    Indianapolis Brass Choir
    All Your Bass Sus&Short Are Belong to Us.

  4. #4

    Re: What do you do when feeling uncreative?

    Get a mobile phone that records sounds or video, or a small recording machine. Put it in your pocket. When you've got an idea, hum it and record it. Play back at leisure. Cubase will even turn it straight into midi for you (so might other progs)

    Drive about, and sing, and record. Dial up your ansaphone from your satnav and sing to yourself, get your ideas down when you have them.

    Take a recorder to bed, and hum under the bedcloths

    Never sit down at a blank page and wait for ideas; that doesn't work
    Derek
    Things may come and things may go but the art school dance goes on forever
    NOW WITH Cubase 5, JABB,GPO, Fender Strat, Ibanez RG, Yamaha Fretless Bass, Framus Archtop, The Trumpet and Mr T Sax, together with GREEN SEALING WAX


  5. #5

    Re: What do you do when feeling uncreative?

    Quote Originally Posted by buckshead View Post
    Get a mobile phone that records sounds or video, or a small recording machine. Put it in your pocket. When you've got an idea, hum it and record it. Play back at leisure. Cubase will even turn it straight into midi for you (so might other progs)

    Drive about, and sing, and record. Dial up your ansaphone from your satnav and sing to yourself, get your ideas down when you have them.

    Take a recorder to bed, and hum under the bedcloths

    Never sit down at a blank page and wait for ideas; that doesn't work
    That's an excellent suggestion, and one I probably should have thought of my self. lol

    Now I just need to figure out how to hum the parts of a full orchestra all at once...

  6. #6

    Re: What do you do when feeling uncreative?

    Quote Originally Posted by Michael135 View Post
    I swear it seems that when ever I sit down to
    Anyone here have some suggestions for trying to come up with ideas when none are coming?
    Well, I find that remembering composers like Beethoven, and in particular his 5th symphony, where the opening idea is a simple 4 note motive, helps me remember that 'inspiration' is a very short thing. Our minds don't usually think in huge chunks.

    If I start with a simple idea, then take that idea and expand on it, by repetition, or an opposing idea, or whatever you can think of, it will help get the idea rolling.

    The idea is, that composing is mostly work, involving 'thinking' and trying to stretch the germ of an idea until it evolves for you.

    The opening of Mozart's 40th symphony is another good example; a 3 note germ, spread out into a phrase. Just gorgeous use of musical and intellectual processing. No matter what style of music a person wants to create, trying not to get ahead of one's self is very helpful.

    Dennis
    Dennis

    Mac Pro 2.66-12 gig memory-OS X 10.6.2-Cubase 5.1.1-Logic 9.1-Finale & Sibelius.

  7. #7

    Re: What do you do when feeling uncreative?

    I know exactly what you mean by taking that one short bit of an idea and stretching it out. Most of my best ideas have come from that. Unfortunately, I tend to over think things, and always wind up making it a lot harder than it needs to be. lol

  8. #8

    Re: What do you do when feeling uncreative?

    Hi!

    I've got a few techniques for dealing with feeling uninspired. Some are mind-tricks, like having a look outside...marvelling at nature, seeing afresh how incredible it is to be alive and here, on this planet now! I remind myself to be amazed...and soon enough I feel inspiration flowing!

    Another option is to limit your options. Sitting down in front of a blank page (or screen) can sometimes evacuate the contents of your head! Make a conscious choice to limit your options...you can choose an instrument, a style, a scale, roll dice to choose some random notes to start with, write a variation on a tune you like..anything that gets you started, and takes away the infinite choices that you have at the begining!
    I write a blog on this sort of thing..I hope people won't consider it spammy to post the link...it's all free info!
    http://writebettermusic.wordpress.com/

  9. #9

    Talking Re: What do you do when feeling uncreative?

    You have to get the 'blah blah' out of your system- all that garbage an artist produces between the one or two seminal masterpieces in his life... so... don't be afraid of the 'blah blah', it is something you have to deal with, just like constructing harmony or selling yourself to prospective clients... in fact, I think that's why God gave us Shostakovitch, to get us acclimated to the blah blah... lol so... go write you 'blah blah' symphony, maybe a blah blah quartet or two... (and be sure you title them so) you may produce a few inspired moments that you can cut and paste elsewhere... but mostly it WILL be blah blah*... and you need to get it out of your system... it may also be that you've listened to so much good music that you think the world does not need any more... that perception will pass... and, after all, you are unique, and whatever you produce will be unique... sounds like you need to go bang a drum, actually... maybe a lot of drums... loudly... wildly... primitively... and then do soft romance, just for the contrasting exercise... but mostly bang a drum... bother your neighbors... post a sign, "Genius at Work" (for it would be true)

    *unless you're like me and respond best to reverse psychology, in that case, if you set out to intentionally write your blah blah symphony, guess what, it will be your seminal masterpiece, just out of spite...

  10. #10

    Re: What do you do when feeling uncreative?

    Quote Originally Posted by wbiro View Post
    I think that's why God gave us Shostakovitch, to get us acclimated to the blah blah... lol so... go write you 'blah blah' symphony, maybe a blah blah quartet or two...
    That... was... awesome. Well, the whole thing but especially this part. I thought I was the only one who listened to Shostakovich that way. Thanks for posting!

    -Chris
    There is the music of Johann Sebastian Bach. Therefore there must be a God. You either get this one or you don't - Kreeft & Tacelli
    The will to achieve is not sufficient. Some things should not be achieved. - Rimsky-Korsakov
    Musicians are just these guys that want to make music. Okay, they want to have a wonderful lifestyle, but the majority just want to make really great music. - Jon Anderson


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