#1
I'm forcing myself to become a solo singer/songwriter. I've been going at it for a while. I find that sometimes I make some pretty good stuff, but most of the time I feel like I'm just jumping from one rut to another. Like I keep using two dotted eighths then an eighth. My ultimate goal is to write music that's complex as hell, but with lyrics and ideas that scale from dark to weird ****ing around. Also, I find my music tends to lack depth. I already know that that's because of my lack of drum knowledge, though. Oh yeah, I write in GuitarPro. What do you suggest I do to break free of getting stuck in such simple patterns? I really wish I had someone to write with, but due to certain circumstances I've been unable to find anyone. Mainly I'm an incredibly sloppy musician when it comes to actually playing XD which I'm working on! But right now I'm focusing more on the compositional aspect of music
#2
well can i read some of your songs?, or hear them?, cuz you'll need a lot of opinions if you feel that way man
#4
Speaking from experience, stale creativity seems to come from a lack of original ideas. I mean, when I hit a rut, it's because I just find myself recycling the same melodies and general ideas over and over in slightly different forms.

I'm trying to get out of such a rut at the moment. What's helping is committing all my current ideas to recordings, and listening to a lot of different music. The first part may not apply to you; I'm just trying to purge these ideas from my mind, as once I've got them in some kind of solid form I know I'll stop regurgitating them. Listening to music will definitely help though. Whether you we like to admit it or not, all the music we create is inspired by someone else's, somewhere along the line.

Also, how are you writing in Guitar Pro? Are you writing as if you're a rock band? It's often good to detach yourself from the practicalities of performing your songs, and just to throw melodies, harmonies and such in as you fancy, and then make it work as a band composition later on.

Just on the off-chance, how old are you, and do you happen to live in the north of England?
#5
Alright, here's something I feel has become semi-stale. Not my best (much too paranoid to post that XD) and it doesn't have bass or drums yet. But I felt I should post something recent

EDIT: also, I'd like to note that I DO in fact screw around with tempos. Tempo isn't a problem. And no, I am sadly not in England.
Attachments:
Random Riff 234.gp5
Random Riff 234.mid
Last edited by Urthos at Jun 12, 2011,
#7
Thank you Video game music is great! Now I just need to fuse that with jazz, baroque, post-hardcore, and breakbeat drumming and I'm done.

Oh, and also just to clarify the name. I didn't do "234" as counting. It's my two hundred and thirty-fourth creation without a name. It's hard not to repeat yourself when you write as much as I do XD
Last edited by Urthos at Jun 12, 2011,
#8
Quote by Urthos
Alright, here's something I feel has become semi-stale. Not my best (much too paranoid to post that XD) and it doesn't have bass or drums yet. But I felt I should post something recent

EDIT: also, I'd like to note that I DO in fact screw around with tempos. Tempo isn't a problem. And no, I am sadly not in England.


It wasn't bad, but more so kind of boring and some parts felt kind of out of place and repeated too much. But, there is no drums, bass, etc in it so that could probably be fixed easily.
#9
A good way to avoid getting in a rut would be to ACTUALLY FIGURE OUT some of THE MUSIC YOU WANT TO SOUND LIKE :p. Then analyse the phrasing the guy uses eg what chords and so on, plus what scale it is and even further, which notes of the scale the player is using. EG 1,3,5,6,7 so on not E#, B....

hope that helps.
#10
It does help. The problem is that I tend to listen to the more complex side of music, so it's quite hard to understand. Take for example the band I'm into right now: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=d7AXUmYrNq4
Could someone attempt to explain that song to me?
Another problem I have is that I don't tend to write thinking of any certain "key". I just kinda write on the fly. Then even when I go to the trouble of figuring out what notes I'm playing, I don't know what the hell the root note is. It's all terribly relative.
#11
sounds like something The Fall Of Troy Would Write
There is no such thing as unnecessary force...as a matter of fact im using the force to type this signature
#12
Quote by UnTimely DeMise
sounds like something The Fall Of Troy Would Write


+1 to you for pointing out one of my biggest influences! I mean, I should probably try to diversify what I know how to play but their stuff is just SO FUN! (and widely available in guitarpro tabs)

Aaaaanyways, to try and clarify, I generally have one of two problems. I'm either playing the same notes different ways, or the same pattern with different notes. I really feel like I could use some other musicians to collaborate with XD but alas, all I have is the internet and a currently malfunctioning (grr) mixer.
Last edited by Urthos at Jun 13, 2011,
#13
You don't write with Guitar Pro - you use it to transcribe what you have written.

Write with your guitar.
Actually called Mark!

Quote by TNfootballfan62
People with a duck for their avatar always give good advice.

...it's a seagull

Quote by Dave_Mc
i wanna see a clip of a recto buying some groceries.


stuffmycatswatchontv.tumblr.com
#14
You should definitively write drums and bass as well, try to hear the song in your head with all the instruments and nuances, and it should come naturally.
#15
Quote by steven seagull
You don't write with Guitar Pro - you use it to transcribe what you have written.

Write with your guitar.


this. i've never even tried to write in guitar pro or sibelius (unless it's orchestral). sit down at your instrument. btw didn't hear your song, one of the reasons i don't write in guitar pro is cos i don't have it.....
#16
As many people have mentioned already, listening to different music helps. A lot.
Recently me and my fiends have all been writting Kyuss sounding licks and songs together, and as awesome as it is. It's all we're doing. So we've vetoed Kyuss from our iPods and Music libarays and decided to listen to bands like Foo Fighters or BB King, Coheed and Cambria, Gojira ect. to change our writting methods and ideas. It's worked a little so far, but early days early days.
#17
@Steven: Sorry, writing with guitar and then putting it into guitarpro is what I meant by writing with guitarpro, simply because without guitarpro I wouldn't be able to get my ideas down quickly enough.

@intothe: I generally do try to write drums and bass to a song, but I usually don't until I feel that the guitar part or parts that I've written are complete. That doesn't happen that often because I'm generally struck with more inspiration for something else before I finish one song or I run out, and guitarpro has a limit of 10 songs open at a time.

@Gavk: That's why I also uploaded a plain MIDI file. There's a ton of free programs you could use to listen to it.

@Kyran: That makes sense. But the problem isn't changing my writing style simply from that of The Fall of Troy, it's taking different musical elements and creating a unique amalgamation. Generally whenever I like the way a certain rhythmic pattern sounds, I'll overuse it.

Also, my drumming is much too basic, but that's just because I've been forbidden to learn the drums. (I'm 17)
#18
I listened and I liked the midi more than the song you've posted from youtube The power of most music is it's simplicity btw. I also wanted to make it as complex as possible. But it's ridiculously hard when you don't have a band.. Mind that tempo-changes are very hard to play live, and mostly mess up the song. It makes it feel like they're all separate ideas just mixed together.
As others say, you really need at least some percussion. It has never has happened to me that a guitar part felt complete, simply because music can't be complete. There are a million ways to write down what you feel.
The different ideas you have, try to combine them! Has worked a few times for me Well of course not exactly what I wrote, but with some adaptations it worked quite well.

The thing everything is saying that you need to listen to other music is more because you need some distance from the music you just wrote. It helps to give a more objective view of the parts. If you stay with your own music, that will be your new reference point. But you don't want that! Also keep in mind that your creativity has ups and downs. In the ups, write all you can write and in the downs, listen to other music. In the new ups take the music you wrote before, combine, adapt, ... those ideas.

For the drumming part: don't mind that a drum is basic. I'm a percussionist and I know that if the drums are too complex or too full, the whole song will be rubbish. Drums need to be basic! Of course you can play with it, but at least don't use too many notes (except for ghost notes).
Some quick tips for drums:
- Afterbeat is most important
- Don't always follow the accents of your guitar/melody. Keep it strait to the beat. I mostly like that.
- Only use triplets right before the ultimate climax of the song
- Use short fills, if a longer fill, don't just fill the space with notes. Rests are music too.
#19
Well, I'm 18 and can't play drums at all, only picked up the sticks about 2 times for a total of maybe 10 minutes, yet I do believe I'm pretty succesfull when it comes to drum programming and writing. Listening and, most importantly, *analyzing* drums can help a lot.

You should also remember the fact that you'll most likely work with two guitar parts and a bass part, not as a single part that is just layered (ie the guitars playing the same thing and the bass guitar plays the root/bass note an octave below). Having three melodic parts to work with instead of restricting yourself to one can open up a lot of possibilities.
Last edited by Keth at Jun 13, 2011,
#20
Quote by steven seagull
You don't write with Guitar Pro - you use it to transcribe what you have written.

Write with your guitar.


You can't hear all the parts played in concert on your guitar. Probably the majority of my writing goes on in Guitar Pro though I have written stuff purely on my instruments. I don't understand why you need to bash composing within Guitar Pro; is it any less genuine because you wrote it there?

EDIT: Of course if you arrange it that way you could, but you're not always at liberty to play all of the parts simultaneously. Some stuff simply isn't possible to play on guitar.
Last edited by Sóknardalr at Jun 13, 2011,
#21
2 things will help you in regards to this, listening to more music from various genras and time periods to "restock" your catalogue of ideas, and most importantly to me is to write your songs in your head in complete silence because the music will become 100% aural as apposed to physical when composing on an instrument where people tend to think inside the box of scales
Uploaded some MP3's onto my profile, please check 'em out & let me know what you think! :3
#22
Quote by Sóknardalr
You can't hear all the parts played in concert on your guitar. Probably the majority of my writing goes on in Guitar Pro though I have written stuff purely on my instruments. I don't understand why you need to bash composing within Guitar Pro; is it any less genuine because you wrote it there?

EDIT: Of course if you arrange it that way you could, but you're not always at liberty to play all of the parts simultaneously. Some stuff simply isn't possible to play on guitar.

the 2 big issues i personally see with guitar pro is this
1 - it sounds awful compared to a well recorded low res clip of actual guitars. i get it, not everybody has a lot of money to spend on recordings and thats fair, but i feel safe in saying the cheap $20 tape recorder with built in mic that i got when i was 16 sounded better than gp.

2 - composition-wise its a good tool. but can you play the song? i've seen some gp stuff that i think "i can't think of a logical way to make the hand/s move like that at that speed to recreate that in a live setting" the only answer to this is that all these people writing this stuff are basically shawn lane reincarnate
#23
I always make it possible that's my overall goal. Of course, I'm sloppy and lazy with my guitar generally, but I do have some decent recording equipment. Generally I get impatient with my practice, so guitarpro sounds worse tonally, but I sound sloppy when I play full speed.

Also, I have to play it out on my guitar. I can't do it in silence. My ear isn't good enough to know what notes they are without playing em on guitar first. And if I play something in my head for too long, I lose the first part.
#24
Quote by z4twenny
the 2 big issues i personally see with guitar pro is this
1 - it sounds awful compared to a well recorded low res clip of actual guitars. i get it, not everybody has a lot of money to spend on recordings and thats fair, but i feel safe in saying the cheap $20 tape recorder with built in mic that i got when i was 16 sounded better than gp.

2 - composition-wise its a good tool. but can you play the song? i've seen some gp stuff that i think "i can't think of a logical way to make the hand/s move like that at that speed to recreate that in a live setting" the only answer to this is that all these people writing this stuff are basically shawn lane reincarnate


1. Sure it sounds inferior but it's hardly unlistenable. MIDI is never an accurate representation of what the music would sound like in real life. Plus just because it's called Guitar Pro doesn't mean you need to write for guitar. Granted, the notation capabilities are severely limited (if you already play the guitar you can write for any instrument in tab anyway). My argument was just that you don't need to use it purely to transcribe stuff.

2. Well I agree that a lot of people write impossible to play music with Guitar Pro but I also don't think it's necessary to be able to play everything you write. Be sensible sure but your writing doesn't need to suffer because of your playing.

But actually I mostly agree with you.
#25
Quote by Urthos
but I sound sloppy when I play full speed

With all due respect, everytime I hear someone say "I wrote this" and then they stick up a gp file this is the first thing that comes to mind which is "so you can't play what you wrote huh" I'm sure its not true for every case of gp but it is the first thing that pops into my head.

Which leads me to a pointless question maybe, but one I've still had which is "if you can't play your song then who will?"
#26
Quote by z4twenny
With all due respect, everytime I hear someone say "I wrote this" and then they stick up a gp file this is the first thing that comes to mind which is "so you can't play what you wrote huh" I'm sure its not true for every case of gp but it is the first thing that pops into my head.

Which leads me to a pointless question maybe, but one I've still had which is "if you can't play your song then who will?"


Well if you find you write stuff in GP that you can't play, then rather than just abandon using it altogether, I would suggest to be mindful when you're writing of what you are able to perform. If you write something too difficult then adjust it, that shouldn't be a problem. Personally I find GP to be very valuable when writing music. Of course though, like anything, if you use it without thinking then you can end up in a pickle.
#27
No, see, writing something that's too difficult to play at full speed is part of my process. Just because I can't play it when I write it doesn't mean I won't EVENTUALLY learn to play it. Learning to play something really hard that I wrote is part of what makes music so fun course, I have to really love something to memorize and perfect it, but I'm working on it.

I have no personal problems with my playing ability at this point. I just feel guitarpro is a better way to express the thoughts in my head than a sloppy rendition, especially since I have yet to really perfect the sound i want my guitar to have (effects, distortion, etc.)

What I need help with is getting my head in the right spot, not perfecting my playing. There's no mystery that all I've gotta do is practice.

I refuse to make it any easier to play unless it's completely physically impossible. It's much too exciting to go "Holy shit! That's hard to play!" and then learn it and be like "**** yeah"

Seems like what I need is a teacher, which I can get when I move. Unless one of you guys wants to help me analyze Rolo Tomassi and The Blood Brothers :P
#28
^ i think writing something thats too difficult to play is actually a good thing, don't get me wrong. i think for all aspiring composers/musicians its part of their process as they have musical ideas that exceed their limitations. i'm all for your reach exceeding your grasp, my thing is "ok now that you've got this awesome piece, learn it so you can play it, then record it for the rest of us to listen to" i've got no real problems w/ gp except that i see alot of people using it and question how many of them are using it as a substitute for actually learning to play and again, compared to an actual guitar it sounds pretty bad.

for what its worth i know theres only so many hours in the day and you have to practice on whatever you want to work on be it composition or technical instrument proficiency.

tl;dr - gp's cool and all but stop waiting to eventually learn to play your tunes and learn to play them already!
#29
Some literary writers are famous for following the exact same routine every day for their writing. Others are famous for traveling to far-off places for inspiration.

It appears you may benefit from some new sonic and workflow inspiration. Grab a 12-string if you haven't done so for a while. Retune your guitar to an unusual tuning. Put a crazy effect on your guitar with massive delays and reverbs. Try composing outside in the fresh air. Sing the melody a-capella, then write the instrumental parts.

Those can help you break out of a music writing rut. Once you have the inspiration, you can then use your already-existing writing skill to finish the music.