Overcoming Writer's Block

Discussion in 'Music Theory, Lessons & Techniques' started by TREYAZAGHTOTH, Jul 29, 2020 at 2:12 AM.

  1. TREYAZAGHTOTH

    TREYAZAGHTOTH 'bone' carpenter

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    Overcoming writers block:

    Ever opened a new guitar pro file to start writing a new song, and after 15 min, your screen is as empty as your ideas ?

    Chugging on the low E or low B, (or even the low A0 ) for that next riff..hoping that at least your next song, won’t scare away your neighbours cat ?

    Check this chord progression out :
    C maj > Amin > Emin

    And this one also

    E maj > A maj > C maj

    Both these chord progressions have ONE note that is common…the note E.

    This opens up some possibilities …
    a) a riff with the open E string , and the notes of the above mentioned chords
    b) chords with an open E string .

    Another thing, both the chords Cmaj and Amin, have two notes in common…the notes C and E.

    This can then we used to pivot out to another chord/harmony …and onto a totally different scale.( we could go into a Cdim for example)

    Look at the second example I gave…Amaj to Cmaj.

    There is a step of C# to C..that can be used as a flavour, to create some interesting kind of sounds, (perhaps your neighbour’s cat might come back ?)

    How about using alternate ‘voicing’ of chords, say an Emaj chord, with an added C# (from the Amaj chord )?

    Play around with it, and let me know.
    What are some things, you guys do, to come up with riffs when you are stuck ?

    Dinesh
     
  2. RobertVII

    RobertVII SS.org Regular

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    I find that setting limitations really helps. If I'm just trying to get a new song or idea out as soon as possible I usually pick a key and some sort of rhythmic style to emulate. I got really into dance styles recently so the rhythmic backbone I'll use might be a tango, clave rhythm, waltz, or a zambra. Another good way to get ideas flowing is to listen to a track and then try to emulate its mood and tone.
     
  3. wheresthefbomb

    wheresthefbomb SS.org Regular

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    By far the most inspiring thing for me is having other people to play with who share my enthusiasm and with whom I have some level of common artistic vision. That's not always an option, though, and playing alone is preferable to not playing at all.

    I suffer from First in-last out related artistic constipation. I end up hanging onto tons of partially completed ideas that were great when I had them but my enthusiasm for working on them has mostly played out, especially in comparison to shiny new ideas.

    Letting things be "done" is difficult for me, I am always finding new inspiration from old ideas, and so the tendency is to keep adding to old stuff instead of writing new stuff. What typically results is either a bunch of ever-changing, never-finished songs, or one song with way too many parts. To combat this I am keeping my focus on completing things that are in front of me now as much as possible, and setting aside old projects that haven't gone anywhere.

    I have also been trying to shift my perspective on recording to it being a snapshot in time rather than necessarily a "finished" piece, because the things I write and perform are always changing and evolving, even the "finished" pieces.

    Reflecting on the concept of impermanence has been very helpful here. I'm striving for a balance between "written songs with discrete structures" and "swirling chaos of the glittervoid."
     
    c7spheres likes this.
  4. TREYAZAGHTOTH

    TREYAZAGHTOTH 'bone' carpenter

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    @wheresthebomb : what i tend to do, when i am stuck is that i tab out my composition on to MIDI and load it up in my DAW.

    Then i load up my MIDI drum software and try to come up with drum patterns in either odd timings ,or in a different feel ,all together.

    The drums help me resolve the song, and usually helps me point to the right direction.

    eg: if the tempo of the song is 4/4 @ 240 bpm, i will try out a drum groove 3/4 @ 180 bpm
    OR .. i will use odd timings, to highlight the third beat of the bar, on every other repetition.
     
  5. TonyFlyingSquirrel

    TonyFlyingSquirrel Cherokee Warrior

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    I keep an ongoing riff library in a specific folder of Pro Tools sessions. I’ll go in at any hour, upload a riff, passage, or melody on guitar or piano just to get it out of my head, then come back to it later when I am specifically working on ideas. My bass player and I have identical studios that our sessions are synced in Synology and/or Dropbox, so we can each pull from each other.
     

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