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these songs you can't finish
Old 19th November 2009
  #1
Lives for gear
 

these songs you can't finish

doesn't it feel like this ?

you start composing a song
you fall in love with it
you do your best to get it right
giving all your love to it
but it's just not enough
something's going wrong
the song starts pissing you off
you break up with it
you feel like you've been betrayed
and swear not to be fooled again

Old 19th November 2009
  #2
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tapehiss's Avatar
i've had the same problem, but it was with your sister
Old 19th November 2009
  #3
More cowbell!
 
natpub's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by tapehiss View Post
i've had the same problem, but it was with your sister
lmao

anyway, as mainly a composer for 30 odd years, Ive had this kind of thing come up many times...I've never given up on a song, it may be semi-shelved for weeks or months at a time, but it always is in my head, as I search for more ideas or experiences, sounds, etc. to guide me to what the song needs. Often, it is something easy, like a key or tempo change, or sometimes it is large, like a complete style or re-arrangement, change in instrumentation, etc. Regardless, in the end, no song has eluded me...yet (cross fingers). Just persist, insist, innovate, and never fear small or large change, or if necessary, all out transformation.

good luck with whatever's stumping ya..

PS, btw, I NEVER seek outside help, though many folks will, unless the song is being co-written to begin with. I will often bounce things around with the lyricist, if they are not me, and get their take on what our options are. But I dont change from solo to co-authors, or vica-versa, not once Ive taken a challenge on....lol
Old 19th November 2009
  #4
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tapehiss's Avatar
yeah, sorry for the smart ass remark.


i know your pain......

i have this weird perspective on this issue...


its kinda like women who get depressed and need to shop to feel better...

usually i have a bad time mixing, and i go out and buy a new piece of gear and usually use it on the problem mix and more often than not it provides the new sound i'm looking for............. and that lasts for a little while...

then i repeat this process... and have been doing it since i first got into recording..... and will never stop until the day i die!!!!!!!!!
Old 19th November 2009
  #5
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Unclenny's Avatar
Haven't had many that I didn't finish and most often they get fleshed out pretty quickly.

Generally if I start going through all that I put it aside. Sometimes a tune that puts me through the wringer like that gets cannibalized for other songs.
Old 19th November 2009
  #6
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ricfoxx's Avatar
man up for a producer...you'll be glad you did.
Old 19th November 2009
  #7
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Kris's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by hankdrummer View Post
doesn't it feel like this ?

you start composing a song
you fall in love with it
you do your best to get it right
giving all your love to it
but it's just not enough
something's going wrong
the song starts pissing you off
you break up with it
you feel like you've been betrayed
and swear not to be fooled again

I think you just wrote a song... you've just got to finish it. 2 more verses, a chorus and a bridge! Get to work.
Old 19th November 2009
  #8
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A440's Avatar
I know what you mean hankdrummer. Sometimes a song starts off being so promising...only to lead you into a dead-end you can't seem to get out of. I find that maybe some years later you find a home/solution for it, or that it's great as a starting off point for a co-writer.

My theory. If the muse makes it spring into existence, then there is probably a reason for it. It may just take time to reveal itself. So I relax. Put it on a back burner and start something else.
Old 19th November 2009
  #9
Gear Nut
 
seany's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by A440 View Post
I know what you mean hankdrummer. Sometimes a song starts off being so promising...only to lead you into a dead-end you can't seem to get out of. I find that maybe some years later you find a home/solution for it, or that it's great as a starting off point for a co-writer.

My theory. If the muse makes it spring into existence, then there is probably a reason for it. It may just take time to reveal itself. So I relax. Put it on a back burner and start something else.
i usually archive it as it gets in the way of any other music i'm doing at the time. when i go back to it i can usually tell if it is worth saving. it took me a long time to recognize that this was best for me.
Old 19th November 2009
  #10
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Protools Guy's Avatar
 

Put it away for a while. Time away from the song will let your subconscious get to work.

At the very least, you may find that later, this song you started, will become a bridge or a part to another song.

When digging for gold, you'll often find little bits as opposed to the mother load.

Best of luck...
Old 19th November 2009
  #11
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Empty Planet's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by natpub View Post
anyway, as mainly a composer for 30 odd years, Ive had this kind of thing come up many times...I've never given up on a song, it may be semi-shelved for weeks or months at a time, but it always is in my head, as I search for more ideas or experiences, sounds, etc. to guide me to what the song needs. Often, it is something easy, like a key or tempo change, or sometimes it is large, like a complete style or re-arrangement, change in instrumentation, etc. Regardless, in the end, no song has eluded me...yet (cross fingers). Just persist, insist, innovate, and never fear small or large change, or if necessary, all out transformation.

Excellent advice.




Cheers!

Old 19th November 2009
  #12
Gear Maniac
 

I understand it completely.
I have songs that I finish quick,some fall together nicely and then there are those that get shelved for weeks,months and sometimes years waiting for the muse to hit me and take the song where I need it to go.
Old 19th November 2009
  #13
Gear Guru
 
u b k's Avatar
 

The frequency and intensity of this go down exponentially if you have a collaborator, someone who listens and within 5 seconds can definitively say "X isn't working." A co-writer, a producer, even the lady of the house can all sort thru this crap in seconds where I would take days or weeks on my own.

My lady has gotten very good at stepping into a room, listening to what I'm doing, and immediately say something like 'I don't like the drums.'

Whenever I appear stuck and she doesn't have any specific suggestion, the agreed upon response is "make it simpler." Even though it's my mantra, it helps to have her actually say it. How I go about doing it is anybody's guess, but it usually comes down to a) muting something, or b) rewriting a part with fewer notes, words, strums, sounds etc...

So, in summary: seek counsel, and make it simpler.


Gregory Scott - ubk
.
Old 19th November 2009
  #14
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Kris's Avatar
ubk... you're so whipped... Good for you!
Old 19th November 2009
  #15
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audiogeek's Avatar
 

i was just talking about this problem with a friend... i sometimes run into an issue, where i've got a really great melody or chords or both, but love them so much that nothing else seems to do it justice... just can't take it anywhere that feels good.

sometimes switching to another instrument forces you to look at the chords/melody differently, and allows you to come up with a complimentary part. my chords were on guitar, so i switch to bass to come up with a groove that ends up being the verse, or dub around on drums until a cool beat inspires a percussive riff for a bridge...
Old 19th November 2009
  #16
Lives for gear
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Kris View Post
I think you just wrote a song... you've just got to finish it. 2 more verses, a chorus and a bridge! Get to work.
lol - it's true i didn't notice it actually rhymes
Old 19th November 2009
  #17
No song I write is ever truly done. I just get sick of working on it and either release it or shelve it until I want to work on it again. I've known guys that are so obsessive about getting a song perfect they never put out any records. Got to flow to keep it fresh, at least for me.
Old 19th November 2009
  #18
Lives for gear
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by u b k View Post
The frequency and intensity of this go down exponentially if you have a collaborator, someone who listens and within 5 seconds can definitively say "X isn't working." A co-writer, a producer, even the lady of the house can all sort thru this crap in seconds where I would take days or weeks on my own.

My lady has gotten very good at stepping into a room, listening to what I'm doing, and immediately say something like 'I don't like the drums.'

Whenever I appear stuck and she doesn't have any specific suggestion, the agreed upon response is "make it simpler." Even though it's my mantra, it helps to have her actually say it. How I go about doing it is anybody's guess, but it usually comes down to a) muting something, or b) rewriting a part with fewer notes, words, strums, sounds etc...

So, in summary: seek counsel, and make it simpler.

Gregory Scott - ubk
.
while i appreciate your spirit, i have to disagree

what i'm looking for in music are SURPRISES. these surprise that make you go "WTF is that shit ?" and then "i love it !"

if anytime i'd do something weird and my girlfriend (or anyone) would disagree with the direction i'm taking, i'd never come up with anything original, just music that sounds "nice" - and i hate music that sounds nice. i'd prefer someone say "i hate it" than "it's nice" at least i would have provoked something inside that human being

my 2 cents, no offense of course
Old 19th November 2009
  #19
Lives for gear
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by u b k View Post
The frequency and intensity of this go down exponentially if you have a collaborator, someone who listens and within 5 seconds can definitively say "X isn't working." A co-writer, a producer, even the lady of the house can all sort thru this crap in seconds where I would take days or weeks on my own.

My lady has gotten very good at stepping into a room, listening to what I'm doing, and immediately say something like 'I don't like the drums.'

Whenever I appear stuck and she doesn't have any specific suggestion, the agreed upon response is "make it simpler." Even though it's my mantra, it helps to have her actually say it. How I go about doing it is anybody's guess, but it usually comes down to a) muting something, or b) rewriting a part with fewer notes, words, strums, sounds etc...

So, in summary: seek counsel, and make it simpler.

Gregory Scott - ubk
.
while i appreciate your spirit, i have to disagree

what i'm looking for in music are SURPRISES. these surprise that make you go "WTF is that shit ?" and then "i love it !"

if everytime i'm doing something weird and my girlfriend (or anyone) would tell me "this is not working", i'd never come up with anything original, just music that sounds "nice" - and i hate music that sounds nice. i'd prefer someone say "i hate it" than "it's nice" at least i would have provoked an emotion inside that human being

my 2 cents, no offense of course

of course, i'm not saying you have to be alone making music
Old 19th November 2009
  #20
Gear Maniac
 
marcpl's Avatar
 

i know exactly what you mean OP. if i could finish all of the songs that i've started i think i'd have about 10 albums worth of material.

but i'm still trying to finish up my first solo album.

marco
Old 19th November 2009
  #21
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Kris's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by hankdrummer View Post
lol - it's true i didn't notice it actually rhymes
Here's a chorus idea:

And though that song may never be done,
And therefore never be sung,
Never fear, you've still got your thesaurus,
Whip it out and write a brand new chorus!
Old 19th November 2009
  #22
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Sk106's Avatar
 

I compose backwards. That saves me from alot of traps.
If I do a pop/rock song I start with the main theme, the last chorus .. the place which signifies the song where all doorstops are pulled out, where the arrangement is "full".

After that, I know what all sections of the song is relating to. I do the first chorus 60% of the intensity as the last chorus, the 2nd chorus 85% .. by simply "muting/waiting" a few of the parts which the main/last chorus consists of. All the sections in between are to build up to the choruses which is half of the key of what to put there, and the intro/outro is the last thing to do

Some people however find this difficult, saying that disciplined composing is the inspiration- and freshness killer #1
Old 19th November 2009
  #23
Gear Guru
 
u b k's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by hankdrummer View Post
if everytime i'm doing something weird and my girlfriend (or anyone) would tell me "this is not working", i'd never come up with anything original, just music that sounds "nice"...

You seem to be misinterpeting what I said. Something either works or it doesn't; it can be wierd, or orthodox, or predictable, or totally out-of-the-blue, but none of that speaks to whether it works.

Granted, different people will have wildly differing views on what works, so it's critical that your collaborator or sounding board have some sort of 'click' or compatible aesthetic with yours. But to dismiss the concept of objective feedback as the enemy of originality flies in the face of almost every great piece of music released in the past 75 years.

By the by, you seem to be equating 'wierd' with 'original' with 'surprising'; they're all different creatures in my book. But regardless, I wasn't suggesting your lady is de facto a good source of perspective. If you want to make wierd, suprising music, and you want to have an easier time of pushing thru the inevitable stumbling blocks we all hit now and then, find someone who shares your passion for the offbeat and avail yourself of their gifts. In my experience, every path is more rewarding when it's shared.

Or not, it's up to you. I'm completely okay with having my ideas dismissed, I just ask that my ideas be heard clearly before they're dismissed! heh


Gregory Scott - ubk
.
Old 19th November 2009
  #24
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doug hazelrigg's Avatar
So I'm not the only one with unfinished songs

My problem is I literally build a song from the bottom up, so what I end up with is dozens of backing tracks with no melody or lyrics, or maybe a rough melody but no lyrics. Really, I need to find a lyricist to collaborate with
Old 19th November 2009
  #25
Lives for gear
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by u b k View Post
You seem to be misinterpeting what I said. Something either works or it doesn't; it can be wierd, or orthodox, or predictable, or totally out-of-the-blue, but none of that speaks to whether it works.

Granted, different people will have wildly differing views on what works, so it's critical that your collaborator or sounding board have some sort of 'click' or compatible aesthetic with yours. But to dismiss the concept of objective feedback as the enemy of originality flies in the face of almost every great piece of music released in the past 75 years.

By the by, you seem to be equating 'wierd' with 'original' with 'surprising'; they're all different creatures in my book. But regardless, I wasn't suggesting your lady is de facto a good source of perspective. If you want to make wierd, suprising music, and you want to have an easier time of pushing thru the inevitable stumbling blocks we all hit now and then, find someone who shares your passion for the offbeat and avail yourself of their gifts. In my experience, every path is more rewarding when it's shared.

Or not, it's up to you. I'm completely okay with having my ideas dismissed, I just ask that my ideas be heard clearly before they're dismissed! heh
.
i somewhat knew i was making you say things you didn't say, i'm sorry, english is not my native language so i have a hard time explaining myself sometimes

i would love to compose with someone else, just haven't found that person. if i find it one day, then i'll have to work a lot on myself cause i have a really hard time making music when i'm not alone how self-ish ! but at the same time i do a lot of music for tv, and my work is criticized all the time, which is really healthy.

personally i stop working on a song when i feel i reach a dead end. i tend to think the best songs just come out of luck. it's like you have to make 50 songs to have a great one. you just can't control it. i don't bother anymore about "dead songs", they'll just come up and different ways in other songs. gimme fresh creative juice !

but that's just my tiny point of view in a huge sea of people. hopefully absolutely nobody works the same way.

maybe i could double my chances with a songwriting mate
Old 26th November 2009
  #26
More cowbell!
 
natpub's Avatar
oh, and never forget the "Beatles" solution...when ya got too many little pieces of songs, just shove em together and make 1 big song :-) Golden SLumbers anyone?
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