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 Forum index » Discussion » Composition
How to get inspiration?
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Kruge



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PostPosted: Tue Jan 20, 2004 10:00 am    Post subject: How to get inspiration? Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

Shocked

Hi there!

I've got a problem and maybe here's someone to help me:

I haven't made any new music for quite a long time, I guess it's about over 12 months now, and before that there was allmost nothing for a long time too.

In early 2003 I bought myself some new equippment, hoping that might light up the fire of creativity again.

Now I finally got myself a really nice Mixer, a K2000 and some other additional stuff and... Nothing.

Actually I haven't turned on the studio even once except to connect the new devices and check them.

And it's not that I don't have any ideas going on - actually I've got some pretty good constructs in my head how to use this sound and that, I'm planning tunes. Only that there seems to be a kind of barricade in front of the "Power On" switch of my instruments, something mental.

Has anyone got any idea what I might do to break the ice once more?

[editor's note: corrected spelling of inspriation in the title line --mosc 5-19-05]

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PostPosted: Tue Jan 20, 2004 11:01 am    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

Try checking out these " Variation Techniques for Composers and Improvisors" by Larry J. Solomon and let me know if it helps Very Happy
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PostPosted: Tue Jan 20, 2004 11:40 am    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

Brahms on Composition

INSPIRATION AND CREATIVITY

1. All truly inspired ideas come from God, and the consciousness of being inspired by him. Your religiosity will make you more conscious and aware of that fact, and of the fact that God is nearer to you than others in your craft, and that you can consort with him without fear.

2. The contact of inspiration though God cannot be done merely by will power working through the conscious mind, which is an evolutionary product of the physical realm and perishes with the body. It can only be accomplished by the soul-powers within - the real ego that survives bodily death. Those powers are quiescent to the conscious mind unless illumined by Spirit.

3. To realize that we are one with the Creator, as Beethoven did, is a wonderful and awe-inspiring experience. Very few human beings ever come into that realization and that is why there are so few great composers or creative geniuses in any line of human endeavor. All this should always be contemplated before commencing to compose. This is the first step.

4. When the urge to compose is present, appeal directly to the Maker and ask Him three most important questions pertaining to our life here in this world - whence, wherefore, whither [woher, warum, wohin]? This appeal will immediately manifest feelings of vibrations that will thrill your whole being. These are the Spirit illuminating the soul-power within, and in this exalted state, you can clearly see what is obscure in your ordinary moods; then you feel capable of drawing inspiration from above, as Beethoven did. These vibrations assume the forms of distinct mental images, after you have formulated your desire and resolve in regard to what you want - namely, to be inspired so that you can compose something that will uplift and benefit humanity - something of permanent value. Straightaway the ideas will flow upon you, directly from God, and not only should you see distinct themes in you mind's eye, but they also will be clothed in the right forms, harmonies and orchestration. Only with divine inspiration will finished product be revealed to you, measure by measure.

5. Most of the time you have to be or will be in a semi-trance condition to get such results - a condition when the conscious mind is in temporary abeyance and the subconscious mind, which is part of Omnipotence, that the inspiration comes; and to be careful, however, not to lose consciousness, otherwise the ideas will fade away. That is the way Mozart composed, and when asked what the process was with him while composing, he replied: "The process with me is like a vivid dream". He then went on and described how ideas, clothed in the proper musical setting, streamed down upon him. God and His Omnipotence, His awe-inspiring grandeur, His glory, and above all his closeness to you are things that should be pondered on just before commencing to compose. It is most stimulating and inspiring process to think along those lines before entering that trance-like state in which inspirations come.

6. The dream-like state is like entering a trance-like condition - hovering between being asleep and awake; you are still conscious but right on the border of losing consciousness, and it is at such moments that inspired ideas come. Then it is of the utmost importance to put the ideas down on paper immediately. Then they are fixed and cannot escape; and when you look as them again, they conjure up that same mood that gave them birth. This is a very important law. Themes that occur this way usually are the ones that will endure.

7. Spirit is the light of the soul. Spirit is universal. Spirit is the creative energy of the Cosmos. The soul of man is not conscious of it's powers until it is enlightened by Spirit. Therefore, to evolve and grow, man must learn how to use and develop his own soul forces. All great creative geniuses do this, although some of them do not seem to be as conscious of the process as others. Beethoven was aware of the fact that he was inspired and he left records to that effect.

8. All true inspiration emanates from God, and can reveal Himself through that spark of divinity within - through that psychologists call the subconscious mind. Any composer capable of entering into that state can create immortal works, only in believing in which no less an authority than Jesus, Himself, says, in John 14:10 "The Father that dwelleth in Me, He doeth the works, and in the 12th Verse of the same chapter, He adds, "He that believeth Me, the works that I do shall he do also, and greater works than these shall he do". All these things mentioned here have a direct bearing on the mental, psychic and spiritual processes when attempting to compose. The powers from which all truly great composers like Mozart, Schubert, Bach and Beethoven drew their inspirations is the same powers that enabled Jesus to perform His miracles. We call it God, Omnipotence, Divinity, the Creator, etc. It is a power of All that created our earth and the whole universe, and Jesus taught us that we can appropriate it for our own upbuilding right here and now and also earn Eternal Life. Jesus is very explicit in Matthew 7:7, saying, "Ask and it shall be given you, seek and ye shall find; knock and it shall be opened unto you". There would not be so much good music paper wasted in fruitless attempts to compose if those great precepts were better understood. That is why atheists works are utterly lacking in inspiration. Their works are purely cerebral. The great Nazarene knew that law also, and He proclaimed it in John 15:4, "The branch cannot bear fruit of itself, except it abide in the vine." No atheist has ever been or will be a great composer. Jesus taught us that there is true supreme hope for all. He came not as the great exception, but as the great example for us to emulate. Adherence to can create nothing but divine values and an alliance with the Creator, that is capable of a life on earth full of inspiration and masterpieces of music to accompany that life for others to witness. This is the secret of inspiration; which is the ability to synchronize the conscious and subconscious minds, just as Jesus did, but on a much higher level.

9. Inspiration is of such importance in composing, but by no means all that there is to it. Structure is just as consequential, for without craftsmanship, inspiration is a 'mere reed shaken in the wind' or 'sounding brass or tinkling cymbals'. Great compositions are not the fruits of inspiration alone, but of severe, laborious and painstaking toil. No composition will live long unless it has both inspiration and craftsmanship, which Beethoven had to a superlative degree. There also must be in relation, with inspiration and craftsmanship, a natural aptitude, where ideas come to you with more or less no conscious effort, with a sense of comfort and relative ease, like a aspiration being fulfilled. But parallel to that, as seen in Beethoven's sketchbooks, comes the proof that he toiled incessantly in order to leave us such masterpieces. Only with your religiosity, God's inspiration, and the utilization of all three, can one achieve mastery of classical music composition and achieve true fame and immortality, which is what oblivion constantly tries to challenge. This is the proven universal formula for success in music and any and all other endeavors of human life.

10. Another aspect of this art which is extremely vital and demands great emphasis, is privacy. It should be unthinkable of attempting to compose unless you are sure you will not be interrupted or disturbed. The Muse is a very jealous entity, and she will fly away on the slightest provocation.

11. A composer who wishes to write worth-while music must devote his whole time and energy to that one occupation.

12. A composer in order to study, learn and absorb all that the masters have to offer, and put to use that knowledge in his own works, must have the capacity to judge objectively an individuality that differs from his own.

Compiled from Talks with Great Composers: Candid Conversations with Brahms, Puccini, Strauss, and Others by Arthur M. Abell. New York: Carol Publishing Group, Citadel Press, (1955), 1994, 182 pp. ISBN 0-8065-1565-1

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PostPosted: Tue Jan 20, 2004 11:47 am    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

Good suggestion! The famous Solomon papers!

On the other hand, the Solomon papers starts off on a tangent that is based on music theory. The Solomon papers can help you out with things to try and things to use, but if you are looking for actual inspiration.. that magic potion that starts you off .. then the Solomon papers will probably not help you much.

Inspiration might be many things. Way back when I started out with music, I guess I was inspired by .. music.. and the idea that I could learn to make music similar to... something.. whatever.. stuff I liked at the moment. a little later I got stuck, because I figured out that perhaps my music should be about .. something.. If not necceseraliy tell a story, but perhaps contain, treat and develop ideas and concepts I cared about.

Dunno, but you could try to work with things.. concepts that you care about.. positive or negative.. and try to translate this into music.

The music does not have to be like a movie score ( "watch out... there is a vampire behind you!" ).. it could be more ike what you feel when you think about.. you name it..

Dunno, just a suggestion. Shocked Very Happy

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PostPosted: Tue Jan 20, 2004 11:52 am    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

I often find taking a different aproach helps, try picking up a guitar or sitting at a piano, what ever instrument you are most proficant at. Some times, for all their creative potential, computers and high-tech gear can be a hinderance to creativity. Have a tape recorder or a pen and some score paper, whichever you prefer, and just play around, dive right into it.
I have been told be several people that a studio enviroment is the last place that they would want to compose in, while i would disagree most of the time occasionally it can seem opressive.

Anyway, good luck, hope you get your groove back!
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PostPosted: Tue Jan 20, 2004 12:03 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

The Brahms quote is interesting. It is old though, and perhaps a bit dated in some section, but he has many excellent points. At least this was his way of seeing this.
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PostPosted: Tue Jan 20, 2004 12:12 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

Kruge! Try this site: http://www.musicmavericks.org/listening/

There is a series of streaming radio programs about "new" music. The shows are very interesting and they contain a lot of very interesting historical information. There are some probs here of course. The shows are US centric and a lot of european new music is kind of forgotten completely. But this is just a minor complaint. Anyway, the programs will tell you a lot about how many great composers worked and why they made the music they did. You might find inspiration here.

Posted Image, might have been reduced in size. Click Image to view fullscreen.

http://www.musicmavericks.org/listening/

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Kruge



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PostPosted: Tue Jan 20, 2004 2:04 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

Thanks for all the links and advices - I'll have a look or two. Smile

About the Brahms quote: The fact that it is a bit dated - okay, I can live with that, but since I'm an Atheist and not Esotheric at all most of it simply doesn't mean anything to me... Smile (I guess according to ppl like Brahms I'm no musician at all)

Again - somehow the problem isn't the lack of ideas, it's more a "block" that keeps me from trying alltogether (switching on the synths, starting cubase)...

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PostPosted: Tue Jan 20, 2004 2:12 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

Yes.. dated. God was a vital piece of furniture in european art music back then. And the tradition was a bit.. hmm... .. but anyway.. they made some hot music.. they really did..

Block? Hmm.. ever tried writing music? if not using traditional notation.. you could use diagrams and sketches... whatever.. write something.. then try to translate it into music??

Hmm.. I still suggest you try that american mavericks site.

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PostPosted: Tue Jan 20, 2004 2:30 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

Kruge wrote:
Again - somehow the problem isn't the lack of ideas, it's more a "block" that keeps me from trying alltogether (switching on the synths, starting cubase)...

maybe you should try using acoustic instruments: they do not have to be turned on to be played Idea Exclamation Very Happy
...and listen to American Mavericks as Uncle Stein says Shocked

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Kruge



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PostPosted: Tue Jan 20, 2004 2:33 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

seraph wrote:
Kruge wrote:
Again - somehow the problem isn't the lack of ideas, it's more a "block" that keeps me from trying alltogether (switching on the synths, starting cubase)...

maybe you should try using acoustic instruments: they do not have to be turned on to be played Idea Exclamation Very Happy


Great Idea!

Let's see - I've got this small toy flute somewhere... And a broken Kazoo as well. Oh - and some plastic tube that works nice as an Ersatz-Diggeridoo (ok, I can't breathe right but - HEY!).


Hummmmmmmmm...

Smile Very Happy Shocked Laughing

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PostPosted: Tue Jan 20, 2004 3:06 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

Uncle? Hmm .. I can dig that.. Very Happy
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PostPosted: Tue Jan 20, 2004 5:47 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

elektro80 wrote:
Kruge! Try this site: http://www.musicmavericks.org/listening/

There is a series of streaming radio programs about "new" music. The shows are very interesting and they contain a lot of very interesting historical information. There are some probs here of course. The shows are US centric and a lot of european new music is kind of forgotten completely. But this is just a minor complaint. Anyway, the programs will tell you a lot about how many great composers worked and why they made the music they did. You might find inspiration here.

Posted Image, might have been reduced in size. Click Image to view fullscreen.

http://www.musicmavericks.org/listening/


Cool site, I'll make short cut and listen to it this weekend, if I have some time. Rolling Eyes
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PostPosted: Tue Jan 20, 2004 5:55 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

I wish I knew how to turn it on and off. Very Happy

One thing that gets me going is being put on the spot and I have to improvise. I recently had a jam with a percussionist and found a melody I'd never played before. Now it's a new composition!

Lessons have pushed me along. Going to hear other people play can be inspiring. Creating a new patch on a synth - for me, that can be the whole piece!

Studying a great composers music works too. Have to be careful with this one, shouldn't be copying!
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PostPosted: Tue Jan 20, 2004 6:45 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

I often experience similar blockage. If you had a gig, you'd be forced to come up with material. Give yourself a gig to write some new music. Set a goal to write one piece per month - or whatever interval is appropriate. We'd love to hear your latest. You have an interested international audiance.
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PostPosted: Tue Jan 20, 2004 6:47 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

Find someone else to play with.
First that will motivate you to actually do something.
Second, the interplay will give you creative ideas.

If you can't find someone else near where you live, start a project that has a target time or deadline. That will force you to start working. Once you get over that initial hurdle, it will flow better.
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PostPosted: Tue Jan 20, 2004 6:52 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

Sit down with your equipment, but not with a goal of composing.
Just do routine tasks, like testing functions you haven't learned before, programming new sounds or organizing the old ones. Experiment with different effects routing chains.
Once the sounds are coming out, you'll be inspired to make something out of them.
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PostPosted: Tue Jan 20, 2004 6:56 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

A lot of sound advice. Thanks! Smile
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PostPosted: Wed Jan 21, 2004 2:34 am    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

egw wrote:

If you can't find someone else near where you live, start a project that has a target time or deadline. That will force you to start working. Once you get over that initial hurdle, it will flow better.

Posted Image, might have been reduced in size. Click Image to view fullscreen.
as the great Duke Ellington used to say: "I do not need time, I need a deadline" and from what he achieved musically you can bet he was right Shocked

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PostPosted: Wed Jan 21, 2004 8:21 am    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

there is also Brain Eno's

'oblique strategies' for music making

either google that or i'll find my copy of that and upload it here..

it's very handy and interesting

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PostPosted: Wed Jan 21, 2004 9:14 am    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

http://www.rtqe.net/ObliqueStrategies/
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PostPosted: Wed Jan 21, 2004 1:46 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

nice, thanks mosc for that url

from eno

Quote:
The Oblique Strategies evolved from me being in a number of working situations when the panic of the situation - particularly in studios - tended to make me quickly forget that there were others ways of working and that there were tangential ways of attacking problems that were in many senses more interesting than the direct head-on approach.


from http://www.rtqe.net/ObliqueStrategies/OSintro.html

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PostPosted: Wed Jan 21, 2004 4:38 pm    Post subject: Re: How to get inspiratioons? Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

Kruge wrote:
I haven't made any new music for quite a long time, I guess it's about over 12 months now, and before that there was allmost nothing for a long time too.<snip>
And it's not that I don't have any ideas going on - actually I've got some pretty good constructs in my head how to use this sound and that, I'm planning tunes. Only that there seems to be a kind of barricade in front of the "Power On" switch of my instruments, something mental.

Has anyone got any idea what I might do to break the ice once more?
If you hear stuff in your head, then you have musical inspiration. What I think you might have is process block; the fear to turn on the power switch. Perhaps you need to streamline your studio and/or your procedures so you don't spend 20 minutes turning things on and booting up. Pick a keyboard you know thoroughly, turn it on and just sit there playing for fun. Don't turn on anything that you don't need in order to hear that one keyboard. Spend time in your studio. Put a TV in there if that's how you've been spending your time this past year. Don't worry about pressing the record button until you're happy to be in the studio and your latest composition is ready to be recorded.

Cheers,

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PostPosted: Sun Jan 25, 2004 2:06 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

Hm.

Amongst reading all you guy's hints I yesterday did this:

I put my masterkeyboard from the left to the right side of my workplace - the way it's allways been in my old flats. Now the room is a bit blocked (pictures will come up on the new homepage sooner or later), but it simply *feels* better now, even though I haven't played it yet.

Smile

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PostPosted: Sun Jan 25, 2004 3:08 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

seraph

Quote:
Brahms on Composition

INSPIRATION AND CREATIVITY



thank you for posting this... this is amazing

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