#1
Ok, my situation; I have a very difficult time finishing songs. I can come up with lots of riffs and chord progressions, but I cant seem to take them from there. They are all just individual ideas and I have a hard time putting them together. It might be in part that I want to write progressive music and I don't want my songs to sound (This is the best way I can explain it) choppy. Like a heres a riff, now heres a riff thats also cool, and another one, but they don't actually have anything to do with each other. Any help or advice is welcome, even if its just "suck it up and do it."
Really only Half-Omniscient
#2
Xiaoxi's Brahms analysis is pretty good.

A possible approach - take an idea you have and write variations on it, changing the texture, augmenting, diminishing or otherwise altering the rhythmic values, isolate particular motives and combine those into something else. Don't worry about making a coherent piece out of it just yet, explore all the possibilities for development of your idea, and then try and put it all together into something coherent.

That's the approach I'm trying at the moment, I still have a long way to go with achieving good musical flow in my pieces as well though.
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#3
Analyze your ideas and try to find something in common with them. You may want to write a song based on a rhythmic idea. So maybe try using the same rhythm throughout the song. A good example of this is "Mr Brownstone" by Guns N' Roses. The whole song is based on a 3-2 clave rhythm. It really helps the song flow.

And if you have many riffs, at least try having them in the same key or maybe in different keys that fit together well. Another thing is adding more instruments than just guitar. Add drums, bass, maybe keys. Also add a melody. They really make the riff sound so much better and maybe inspire you to continue the song.

I wrote my last song using a rhythmic pattern throughout the song (OK, it changed in the end but most of it was based on the same rhythm). I had an old idea that I thought sounded really nice but I didn't know how to continue it. So I analyzed it and found out a rhythmic pattern that it used. Then I just started jamming the rhythm in my head and the song kind of wrote itself.

Rhythm is just one element that you can use in the song. What I also did in my last song was that I used the same melody both in the beginning of the song and also in the outro of the song that was in different time signature (outro was in 6/8 and the rest of the song was mostly in 5/4). (Here's the song if you want to listen to it: https://soundcloud.com/jaakkorauhamaa/5-4-demo)

Remember to use your ears when you write! Don't only noodle around with your guitar and try to find riffs that way (sometimes it works well but when you just noodle around, you'll play with your fingers that remember patterns that you have played before, and that also makes your riffs sound generic). Trust your ears.

Oh, and about connecting your ideas. You can connect them with a drum fill or a break or maybe a sustained chord. That helps it flow better. Try different things (if you find two ideas that could work together pretty well). Maybe write a riff to connect the two riffs.

Edit: I remembered another good example by Guns N' Roses. Listen to their song "Rocket Queen". There's the bass riff that is repeated many times in different parts of the song. The guitars just play different chords over it and sometimes play the riff in unison. So maybe pick one of your riffs and make different instruments play it and try coming up with another parts that sound good over the riff. Maybe try using just one bass riff throughout the song. You can do lots with just one riff.
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Last edited by MaggaraMarine at Sep 30, 2013,
#4
All of the points above are very good, as long as you keep it coherent in one way or another it will flow because the listener will sense structure in your piece.