Composing "bad" music > no music at all?

Discussion in 'Music Theory, Lessons & Techniques' started by Mvotre, Dec 29, 2011.

  1. Mvotre

    Mvotre SS.org Regular

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    As the title says, it's not a new thread about joining riffs. :squint:

    The deal is: i make a lick, and try to build complementary parts. Chord progressions, melodies, the shits. Problem is, on the day after it sound like garbage. :lol:

    So my question is: keep working and working and working on a single piece of music, until it sounds "right", or try to finish every (or almost) piece i start, even if it sounds horrible?.I believe the last sentence might be the correct, but never hurts to see what the fellows here think. After all, we can always return to previous songs later, or at least see those "bad" musics as a exercise. :agreed:
     
  2. Mr. Big Noodles

    Mr. Big Noodles Theory God

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    On one hand, not everything has to be a masterpiece. On the other, if you're going through the trouble of writing it anyway, you might as well be figuring out what makes your bad music bad and try to improve it. I've written awful songs in the past, and some really awful instrumental pieces, but I took that as an opportunity to learn something about my creative process. Sometimes, the best thing to do is to plug in some half-baked bullshit that sounds like it has the potential to sound good rather than stay safe and suck.
     
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  3. CRaul87

    CRaul87 SS.org Regular

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    You may be amazed on how cool a piece of shit music/composition/riff can sound if you polish it enough. Oh and only polish if you can hear there is potential in it otherwise it will be in vain.
    If you see the potential in lets say a riff that you have then make it an "exercise" in the sense on playing it every day and each time trying to improve it's phrasing, the harmony, the technique and always exploring new ways on how u can connect it to other pieces of music that u know... it can work wonders.
     
  4. Solodini

    Solodini MORE RESTS!

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    Yep. I think the best option is somewhere between the two suggestions in the OP: write something, no matter how terrible it is; try for a bit to make it good. If it works, analyse the differences between the good version and the bad version. If it stays crap then don't dig yourself into a hole of creative depression as it could just be that the core idea sucks and you're trying to polish a turd by modifying something and maintaining its character even though you know it sucks.

    While you don't necessarily want to base your creative output on happy accidents, if you don't try enough different things, you'll be very likely to base your material on very limited scope and become very boring. Try a bunch if stuff out so you can just scrap the worse stuff and have an accurate representation of your improving abilities. You'll think you're worse than you are if you keep hammering away at an idea from 6 months ago when you have improved a lot in that time.
     
  5. Konfyouzd

    Konfyouzd Return of the Dread-I

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    In my opinion, no time spent making music is wasted time. Even if you churn out a few lemons, what did you learn from it? That's what's important. Also, you may write just one riff and have only that riff for quite some time before you're able to make it into a full on song that you can enjoy. Just be patient and don't put too much pressure on yourself to turn out a classic every time.
     
  6. Mvotre

    Mvotre SS.org Regular

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    :hbang:

    thanks for the nice advice here!

    i'm not trying to compose masterpieces or something like that! Just trying to change my bad habits. I used to found a cool sounding lick/progression/whatever, and then try to make a song of it. After some time working (usually little time :noway:) with bad results i would just toss that shit away. Now i'm trying to finish pieces, and as adviced here, if it sounds bad i will analyse it and try to found where it sucks most :lol:
     
  7. Konfyouzd

    Konfyouzd Return of the Dread-I

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    Someone told me a long time ago to never throw anything away and I've slowly been realizing this is the best advice I could have EVER gotten.

    When I was younger I used to draw CONSTANTLY. And I when I say constantly I mean it was to the point where I would literally sit there fixated on the paper for 5 - 6 hours at a time and completely ignore EVERYONE.

    Sometimes I'd come up with something that I thought... "THIS IS HIDEOUS!" and I'd just give up on it.

    Many of my best pictures today are ones that I gave up on and came back to later and ended up seeing them in a completely different light the next time around. I always get excited when I'm inspired by my own ideas. That sort of thing is amazing to me considering we tend to look outward for inspiration.

    Likewise, I've recorded a lot of things and thought... "Hmm... This is 'pretty good' but I know I can do better. I just can't get it right at the moment." Then I come back to it later, hear the same set of licks, riffs, etc and suddenly I have a different vision for it and it ends up being better than I'd ever imagined.

    I have SO many iterations of the same ideas recorded over and over again on my computer hard drive and stored in my loop pedal. Each time around I come up with a new way to accent different parts and/or create a new feel and ultimately even if I never end up using that material, I've learned how to more readily lay down what I hear in my mind.
     
  8. Solodini

    Solodini MORE RESTS!

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    Remember, also, that "finished" doesn't need to be a 4.5 minute song with a 3 verses, 4 choruses and a bridge, just as a riff doesn't need to have a 6th string pedal tone and be rooted in E minor. Sometimes "finished" can be 2 minutes long and be based on development and rephrasing the idea you started with.

    Go search SchecterWhore's posts and find something relevant about form in music; it should be easy to do. Part of your experimentation could be trying to make something sound complete without ever having a chorus based structure or even leaving the part which feels like a verse.

    Check out "You Don't Have to be Afraid" by Kaki King or "Little Bird" by Imogen Heap. Kaki uses the one phrase which is the title of the song and sings it in different ways from section to section of the song. That makes up the entire lyrical content of the song. Each section is pretty different. Comparatively, "Little Bird" based on a verse verse verse structure. That's a technical term, honest! If I remember rightly, there might be a bridge in there but it's still a pretty unusual structure but it suits that particular song.

    Also, remember that nothing you create will ever be absolutely "finished": you'll come back to it in 20 years and think "I could make that bit better by doing x, y and z to it." It could make the piece of music better but if you only ever work at trying to perfect a single opus then you'll never feel like you're truly leaving the starting blocks. At some point you just need to say "I'm happy enough with that" and that doesn't need to be a defeatist statement. Creative processes often need a chance to breathe, as Konfyouzd implied. A song could feel enough like it's portraying your intentions at a certain point, even though you could spend years learning to orchestrate it for a Tuvan choir to enrich it. You can spend forever refining your opinion and never say a word, or you can say what you think and if anyone disputes it then you can qualify your original intentions with another statement further down the line, bearing in mind what you have learned and the stimulation they have given you.
     
  9. Konfyouzd

    Konfyouzd Return of the Dread-I

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    Part of the reason live performances kick so much ass. :agreed:
     
  10. Solodini

    Solodini MORE RESTS!

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    Yeah, Jazz standards are a perfect example of that. As has been said on countless threads on jazz, you may spend your time learning the solos from Kind Of Blue but that album was improvised and the tunes probably didn't feature much similarity in the solos whenever they were performed live. Each recording you could listen to would be different. Music is more commonly a dynamic art form in that anyone can replicate it but put their own twist on it with not much more effort than learning it note for note, inflection for inflection. Enjoy the fact that one song can take many different forms and don't feel that each song needs one definitive version. Once someone else hears any of your music, it will take on a life of its own, be it that they can't hear anything in their right ear so your panning makes them miss half of the tune or that they mishear the lyrics and sing it to themselves as "my wife makes me so fat" instead of "my life makes me so sad".

    Most people say things without understanding the implications of the words they use. I spoke to someone at work the other week who kept saying "agree to disagree" when he meant "neither agree nor disagree". It didn't stop him saying it and I understood what he meant without schooling him for 20 mins on the meaning of what he was saying. I just clarified by saying "do you mean 'neither agree nor disagree' to make sure I was understanding his message correctly. Say what you can and let other people interpret it and if they don't understand then that might help you to understand how to be more concise and enunciate more. Interpret that in your music however you like.
     
  11. Mr. Big Noodles

    Mr. Big Noodles Theory God

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    I felt that this was relevant.

    Igor Stravinsky - Happy Birthday To You
     
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  12. Mvotre

    Mvotre SS.org Regular

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    hahaha.. amazing :yesway::yesway::yesway:


    but that cat in the picture is creepy as hell. It looks like it got some weird eyes in the top of the head. (i know those are just spots, but daaamn) :scream::scream:
     
  13. LamaSabachthani

    LamaSabachthani SS.org Regular

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    schecterwhore, I might be moving to LA (again)

    If so...


    will you teach me the ways ?
     
  14. penguin_316

    penguin_316 SS.org Regular

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    I think a common misconception amongst most musicians is that the "pros" create masterpieces one after another. The fact is, everyone has bad songs here and there...

    Keep working at it, learn from your "bad" ideas and expand upon the ones you're feeling musically.
     
  15. Dayn

    Dayn SS.org Regular

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    I've had a similar experience... it's the only way I learned. I've churned out so much shit. However, I've kept so much shit. I've cleaned out the absolute worst, though; so lacking in substance there's bugger-all to learn from it, it just takes one glance at the sheet music to see how wrong it is.

    In regards to working on something until it sounds right... well, it depends on how much you already know, really. If you need more experience in 'finishing' a piece, then yes, I've finished it, even if they sound pretty crap. It's a good learning experience. But trying to make it not-crap? Well, no. I don't really do that. I just shelve it. It's terrible, but I fleshed out; you can polish a turd, but the amount of time and effort it would take me at the moment is too much.

    So I leave it, but I finished it so I don't delete it. Maybe sometime later down the road, I'll pick it up, and be far better at song-writing that I actually find a small diamond that can be easily pried from it. And I've done that a few times, luckily.
     
  16. Mr. Big Noodles

    Mr. Big Noodles Theory God

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    [​IMG]
     
  17. stryker1800

    stryker1800 Sweet Pickle

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    I don't know if someone has already said this, but you are always your own worst critic, get someone else's opinion before you pass it off as garbage.
     
  18. Mr. Big Noodles

    Mr. Big Noodles Theory God

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    On the other hand, developing the analytical skills to criticize yourself in a realistic manner is an essential part of artistry.
     
  19. Blind Theory

    Blind Theory SS.org Regular

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    Even if what you write sounds like ass it is a learning experience. What I used to write was fucking horrible. But writing those horrible songs allowed me to learn what works for me and what doesn't. I don't write amazing stuff now but it is miles ahead of what I used to write even a year ago.
     

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