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Topic: would somebody talk me out of being so stupid?

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  1. #1

    would somebody talk me out of being so stupid?

    Ok guys. I've finally figured out what my main problem is when it comes to making music. I can come up with themes for my songs very easily. But when it comes times to orchestrate or expand on those melodies, I have trouble doing it. I've finally come to the conclusion that it's because I dont' want to waste such a good melody on my poor orchestration and composing skills that I never end up finishing things. Sorry to whine and complain, I guess I'm just looking for a few people to give me a swift kick in the ~~~ and tell me to get over it and just give it my best. Anyone wanna help or give me some advice?
    Tim

  2. #2

    Re: would somebody talk me out of being so stupid?

    That's an awesome topic! I am an the exact same boat! I have about a bunch pieces I've started, but just can't orchestrate the way I want, so I just move on and write more melodies . . . I've created a folder on my computer called my "melody vault" of just little overture files with just a few measures of original melodies. It's pretty full . . .

    Anyway, I'd love to know if anybody has any suggestions on this. I was about to create a thread just like this called "orchestration frustrations" . . .
    Sean Patrick Hannifin
    My MP3s | My Melody Generator | my album
    "serious music" ... as if the rest of us are just kidding

  3. #3
    Senior Member rwayland's Avatar
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    Re: would somebody talk me out of being so stupid?

    Quote Originally Posted by tgfoo
    Ok guys. I've finally figured out what my main problem is when it comes to making music. I can come up with themes for my songs very easily. But when it comes times to orchestrate or expand on those melodies, I have trouble doing it. I've finally come to the conclusion that it's because I dont' want to waste such a good melody on my poor orchestration and composing skills that I never end up finishing things. Sorry to whine and complain, I guess I'm just looking for a few people to give me a swift kick in the ~~~ and tell me to get over it and just give it my best. Anyone wanna help or give me some advice?
    Well, now, the largest music directory on my drive is "Construction Zone", which contains some good seminal ideas awaiting birth and development. It also contains some trash which gets weeded out now and then. I also have piles of manuscript paper littering my studio and the area around my piano. I find that when I can't develop an idea, it goes to the litter pile or the construction zone, and perhaps a month or a few years later, there is an awakening, and I can take some of the scraps and turn them into good music. I think many of the great composers kept theme notebooks in which they jotted down ideas that they might use some day.

    You might try your expansion and orchestration by writing out your ideas, even if not satisfied with the result. Then perhaps after a period of rest in your construction zone, you can ask yourself, "just what specifially don't I like about this?" Then tackle that particular problem. Don't be afraid of numerous rewrites. My latest organ work has at leat 20 drafts and many "final" versions, all littering my computer. Eventually, perhaps tomorrow, I will consider it finished, but next year I will probably tinker with it again. I do not consider my situation particularly unusual. I am sure that many people work this way.

    Richard

  4. #4

    Re: would somebody talk me out of being so stupid?

    Echoing Richard--

    Remember, just because you work with a melody it doesn't somehow mean you've ruined it and you can never use it again!! Just go for it- the way to improve is just to work. You'll either surprise yourself by doing something you like, or you'll learn what NOT to do and you can come back at some point in the future and do something else with it. But don't find excuses not to write and have a good time!!

  5. #5

    Re: would somebody talk me out of being so stupid?

    Quote Originally Posted by tgfoo
    I've finally come to the conclusion that it's because I dont' want to waste such a good melody on my poor orchestration and composing skills that I never end up finishing things. ... Anyone wanna help or give me some advice?
    Tim,

    Man, I know exactly what you mean, I dealt with that for my first 20 years of songwriting. A guitarist by trade, I've always been fairly handy with a good hook. Be it verse or chorus, I would then almost never finish the song because I couldn't come up with anything else "good enough" to go with the hook.

    I finally solved the problem by giving myself permission to write bad songs. Yeah, I know, sounds bizarre and counter productive to quality creativity. But what happened is that I'd get an inspiration for a melody, hook, whatever, and then I'd just go with my emotional flow and make myself finish the song then and there (well, you know, within a few days) "just to finish it". If it sucked, it sucked, and I didn't have to show it to anyone, but I was going to start finishing these things.

    That was around '95, and I started writing the best songs of my life. Well, the ones I'll show people, anyway. I wrote a few that turned out to be absolute crap, and so I just never played them again. But the songs I threw away made it possible to write the ones that everyone always asks me to play now, so it was worth it.

    I've followed this credo from that time on, and it's finally gotten me out of the marshes. So, stop second guessing the worth of what you do and just finish the darned song! If it's crap, don't beat yourself up over it, but rather consider it as an exercise you needed to do in order to write your next killer piece, and then forget about it. Every bad song you write puts you that much closer to finishing the ones that everyone is going to request over and over again.

    I'll bet you serious money that Mozart and Bach wrote a lot of bad songs, too. They just never told anyone.
    Christopher Duncan
    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
    Author of
    Unite the Tribes and The Career Programmer
    www.PracticalUSA.com


  6. #6

    Re: would somebody talk me out of being so stupid?

    An interesting quandry.

    I find that coming up with a decent tune is hundreds of times more problematic than orchestrating or arranging exisiting material.

    I simply adore orchestrating.

    I *WISH* I had your problem...
    Steve A. Gallant

    www.SteveGallant.com

  7. #7

    Re: would somebody talk me out of being so stupid?

    Quote Originally Posted by Christopher Duncan
    I finally solved the problem by giving myself permission to write bad songs. Yeah, I know, sounds bizarre and counter productive to quality creativity. But what happened is that I'd get an inspiration for a melody, hook, whatever, and then I'd just go with my emotional flow and make myself finish the song then and there (well, you know, within a few days) "just to finish it". If it sucked, it sucked, and I didn't have to show it to anyone, but I was going to start finishing these things.
    Christopher is giving you fantastic advice here. For anyone who skimmed past his post because it was too long, go back and read it again.

    If you want to better your craft, there is only one way: write. Write, write, write, write, write!!! You are under no obligation to share each and every thing you write, so you should not feel restricted. You can read all the instructive material and suggestions in the world, but it basically comes down to this. You learn this craft by doing.

    If you want to become a better orchestrator, then practice orchestration. You have to give up the thought "gee... my melody deserves better than this." If it really bugs you, practice on somebody elses melodies! Orchestrate "Twinkle Twinkle Little Star" or "Tea for Two." Start with small ensembles, and work your way up. Do it over and over and over using different melodies and instrumentation. There simply is no substitute.

    Once it starts clicking, you will be in love with orchestrating, and your melodies will finally have a nice place to rest.

    - Jamie Kowalski
    - Jamie Kowalski

    All Hands Music - Kowalski on the web
    The Ear Is Always Correct - Writings on composition

  8. #8

    Re: would somebody talk me out of being so stupid?

    My answer is simple. The ability to harmonize and orchestrate is a tool. It's your composition "muscles" and they need to be exercised.

    Start off with this:

    http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/tg...glance&s=books

    Study Scores! Lots of them.

    Check out Brahms' views (although I'm not big on the religious part) :

    http://members.aol.com/dmarko1/brahms/index_n.htm
    Jess Hendricks
    DMA Student and Teaching Asst in Music Theory/ Composition at the University of Miami
    Personal Website

  9. #9

    Re: would somebody talk me out of being so stupid?

    Actually, Everyone should read Brahm's compositional rules. They are really, really profound.
    Jess Hendricks
    DMA Student and Teaching Asst in Music Theory/ Composition at the University of Miami
    Personal Website

  10. #10

    Re: would somebody talk me out of being so stupid?

    Obviously this is a very common problem. I have years worth of "snippets" but few fully completed pieces, except for the soundtracks I've done.


    However, the Garritan site has some very good tutorials.
    This one was especially useful for me:

    http://www.garritan.com/Orchestratio...al.html#Basic1


    Often what I do is just try to imitate a texture I've heard elsewhere, but with a different melody and harmony.
    I'm particularly fond of Danny Elfman's scores.

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