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Writer's/Composer's Block? Help?
When you want to write music but your brain (and hands) just wont!
Topic Rating: 5 Topic Rating: 5 Topic Rating: 5 Topic Rating: 5 Topic Rating: 5 Topic Rating: 5 (5 votes) 
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wanderviolin
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May 7, 2024 - 9:17 pm
Member Since: January 26, 2024
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For those of you who like to write music, what do you do when your stumped/burnt out? I have many unfinished projects sitting on my laptop. I like to record violin in Logic Pro and make electronic/synth backing tracks. Sometimes, I can write the entire melody to a song, but can't put chords behind it. Other times, I can get a melody and chords, but only for a small portion of the song.

Music is a very important outlet for me. I have used writing music as a way to deal with everything going on in my life for a long time. However, I have recently had a stint of about a year and a half where I just can't come up with anything substantial. 

Is there anything I can do to rejuvenate my playing? I have been getting back into some of the classical music that I learned when I took lessons, also recently found my Kasier elementary studies book.

Any ideas are appreciated!

-Wander ;) 

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ELCBK
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May 8, 2024 - 2:27 am
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@wanderviolin -

GREAT subject! 

ABitRusty started a GREAT thread that could help free up your mind - Ideas about making original music Thread

As an Artist, I have my own preconceived ideas on creativity for ANY Artform & how to jumpstart it.  I'm still in my 'mastering skills/techniques', 'gathering knowledge/genre immersion' stage with Music/Violin - so I haven't set out to create anything original in music for myself (except for improv), yet... but I still might be able to offer up some help to get you thinking differently. 

It's GREAT that you have some work you've started!   Have you tried playing what you have over different guitar backing, or drum tracks (rhythms that you normally wouldn't concider), to jog the creative juices? 

I try to compare what can be done on my violins & viola with what can be done on cello, piano & cording instruments - for fresh perspectives. 

Something like the info in this video can help you run with those beginnings! 

It's taken me a long time just to figure out what I truly like about music (I'm sure you've asked yourself).  Most of the threads I start arise from questions I have and become a learning journey for me, but my end goal is always to find out where I can take things creatively. 

I see 'improv' as a type of 'composing' - one of the reasons I like Fiddle Hell so much is because there's always great workshops on 'improv' (2024 April FIDDLE HELL Online Festival Thread).  Some folks compose FROM chord progressions, either way there's some very inspiring videos, especially in this last page of Chord Progressions for Improv Thread

Some good stuff on 'The Modal Circle of Fifths', 'The Chord/Scale Connection', 'What Makes Music Memorable' - in the Modal/Scale Keys Thread

I like certain modes & I'm more melody-minded, so noodling around in a mode to find a riff I like - is my choice for a starting point.  Then, I would probably start listing my basic available 'tools' & 'skills' - like: forms/rhythms (jig, or syncopated reel, etc...), what chords I can try, typical & non-typical chord progressions (for the mode/scale I've chosen), bowing techniques.  Once I see lists in front of me, I can rule out what I don't like & THEN start thinking how can I push stuff - maybe modulate, change voicing, borrow chords, use extended chords... polyrhythms, can I borrow something from another genre to spice things up, creating enough tension & release for interest? 

This Video had a big impact on me - The Worst Area of Music, The 'Beige Belt'. (Emily's Journey Down The E/V Road! Blog thread)!  I think it's important to consider ALL the strings your instrument has & ALL the notes/texures available when creating interesting music. 

There's a bunch of threads in the Music Theory section that 'wander' off into interesting ideas!

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ELCBK
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May 8, 2024 - 3:25 am
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@wanderviolin - 

(edited)

I'm so sorry!  I had forgotten you've been playing much longer than I have & that I had checked out your YT Channel - the very wonderful 'mood scapes' you create! 

Doubt anything I mentioned is of any help, but I will say that the more music I seek out, that's played on different bowed string instruments, in different parts of the World - continually surprises & inspires me with elements I might never have thought of. 

I have enjoyed learning about the creative approach/processes of very different musicians/composers, but then it's important to consider how it could apply to what YOU like played on violin. 

These might be some people you wouldn't normally think to check out:

 

 

Guy Michelmore - One Motif - Three Arrangements

Rick Beato - How To Develop a Musical Idea From Scratch - Recording and Arranging (he starts with an extended chord here). 

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SharonC
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May 9, 2024 - 2:01 pm
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@wanderviolin  I haven't written many original melodies, but I often create new harmonies.  Perhaps taking an existing melody that you like and make a creative harmony to it?  Just a suggestion--to get the creative ideas flowing smile

Characterize people by their actions and you will never be fooled by their words.

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wanderviolin
United States
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May 9, 2024 - 5:26 pm
Member Since: January 26, 2024
Forum Posts: 7
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@ELCBK I often forget how many resources are available to me, internet and otherwise. Thanks for reminding me.

One of my favorite things to do is pick an instrument and just listen. Browse for videos and any information on it's history. My most recent obsessions are the Hardingfele and Nyckleharpa. I will be taking a look at the videos and resources you linked. :)

No worries about your first reply, it was all helpful advice! (...and I've never felt like I've been playing for a "long time.") I appreciate your advice. 

I've also been held back by my environment, recording is nigh impossible when you live in an apartment! I've never lived this close to other people in my life! I have to go to a friend's house to record anything now.

-Wander ;) 

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wanderviolin
United States
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May 9, 2024 - 5:28 pm
Member Since: January 26, 2024
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@SharonC I enjoy making harmonies to other people's music too. My playing got stronger when I started improvising to multiple kinds of music- country, rock, pop, Christian, and even dubstep.

-Wander ;) 

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ELCBK
USA
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May 9, 2024 - 9:03 pm
Member Since: June 10, 2020
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@wanderviolin -

Thank you! 

Sorry to hear about apt life... but, might be a new adventure if you resort to using electronic instruments temporarily (record directly into DAW), because of sound restrictions. 

Glad we have a shared interest in the Hardingfele and Nyckleharpa! 

Hope you'll check out the Nordic Threads here, when you can set aside some free time.  Please add to whatever threads you can!

Have you checked out Ana Alcaide's YT Channel?

I attended a workshop at Fiddle Hell last month taught by Prince Nepali on the sarangi (Nepali) - always something new & exciting, there. 

Hope you get back to making creative headway, soon! 🤗

 

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