What are you biggest challenges to completing songs?

Discussion of music production, audio, equipment and any related topics, either with or without Ableton Live
innerstatejt
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What are you biggest challenges to completing songs?

Post by innerstatejt » Tue Nov 04, 2014 7:11 pm

Hey Guys,

I thought I would start a thread where we could all address our current challenges in finishing song in Ableton. Chances are, I may have already written about the subject, but maybe there are some subjects that don't get covered that I can help with (or maybe we can help eachother) :-)

Here are some things to look at as you consider your comments below.

Are any of these things holding you back?

* Procrastination/Laziness
* Not enough time
* Understanding Ableton better
* Getting stuck in a certain part of the songwriting process
* Designing sounds
* Arranging your song
* Mixing
* Proper use of EQ, Compression, Reverb etc..
* Coming up with melodies, leads or "hooks"
* Ideas not sounding professional
* Can't get past 8 bar loops
* Song always sounds like it's missing something
* Not enough, or wrong equipment

Comment below with your challenges. I bet many of you will find you have a lot in common. Let see if this thread can help the forum community.

Cheers,
Jason
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login
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Re: What are you biggest challenges to completing songs?

Post by login » Tue Nov 04, 2014 7:29 pm

just one: Procrastination

H20nly
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Re: What are you biggest challenges to completing songs?

Post by H20nly » Tue Nov 04, 2014 7:31 pm

login wrote:Procrastination
mine is so bad that i can't get around to typing the word.

H20nly
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Re: What are you biggest challenges to completing songs?

Post by H20nly » Tue Nov 04, 2014 7:32 pm

a more serious answer... i like to work with other people to make a song much more than i like to sit at my computer alone and do it.

Tagor
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Re: What are you biggest challenges to completing songs?

Post by Tagor » Tue Nov 04, 2014 7:33 pm

as long i do not sound like i want its interesting...
soon i looked behind the wizards curtain..oz is getting a bit boring
until i find a new challange...

so if you can stutter, swoosh, bass and kick, hat and highood, rollback, rollforth
you need to mix all of it into a meaningfull shit and this is really no fun
at all but hard work for ears and fingers, and if you ready it doesent mean
you can perform it in a cool way, because the most effexiuos moments made by automation..LOL

yeah, you putted the most problem which can cross your in a line..bravo

re:dream
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Re: What are you biggest challenges to completing songs?

Post by re:dream » Tue Nov 04, 2014 8:11 pm

song sounds like it is missing something

:(

innerstatejt
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Re: What are you biggest challenges to completing songs?

Post by innerstatejt » Tue Nov 04, 2014 8:48 pm

Really good answer guys! Kinda feels nice to not be alone in this, yes?

Keep them coming & I'll do my best to offer some insight.

I'll tell you, EVERY symptom I've mention is something I've suffered with at one time or another. What I've discovered, is finding a way around my weaknesses instead of obsessing. If I suck at making a stab sound, I'll sample it and move on, not ponder which synth I "need" to buy next. Then again, my goal is finishing a lot of music that I'm proud of, not necessarily being known as the best sound designer on the planet.

I'm good at grooves but I'm not great at sound design, so to get around this, I never really try to get that "one sound" out of my head. That will take me ages. Instead, I just mess about with a couple synths and record everything. Then I come back & cut out the usable bits. Makes for much less predictable results & keeps me moving forward.

Find your weakness & figure out a way around it. Imagine you only have 1 session to figure out a workaround. You'll be surprised what you can come up with.
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beats me
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Re: What are you biggest challenges to completing songs?

Post by beats me » Tue Nov 04, 2014 10:09 pm

The job and commute. Even if you don’t loath your job it can still be a big motivation/inspiration killer….as can sitting in traffic for 30 minutes +.

I also don't imagine being unemployed and living with my parents as being a big music production elevator.

Stromkraft
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Re: What are you biggest challenges to completing songs?

Post by Stromkraft » Wed Nov 05, 2014 12:29 am

innerstatejt wrote:
* Getting stuck in a certain part of the songwriting process
* Designing sounds
Those two. My recipe: Keep doing it every day. Focus at those instruments I like and learn to use only them. Focus on finishing to not get stuck at details that are not taking me towards that objective.

Designing sounds does take time to do and learn, but I find sampling sounds or purchasing sounds to tweak takes longer time than just learn how to do it. Fewer synths is a better limitation.
Of course, I use sampling too, but not as a shortcut to finished sounds, but more for making unique waveforms.
Make some music!

JoshG567
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Re: What are you biggest challenges to completing songs?

Post by JoshG567 » Wed Nov 05, 2014 1:24 am

Today I've been arranging some parts from session and the transitions are too abrupt. Sometimes I have to throw something up and see what sticks, maybe work on another project for a day or two and then come back to it. I know there's neurons that remain active in problem solving outside our conscious devotion to the problem, so I'm not surprised to have the solutions to my arrangement problems after setting it down for just a bit.

I'm thinking for this one it will involve morphing a melody from the beginning into new ones that follow the changes. I can distinguish the sections by gradually changing the tone with automation, shifting sounds gradually in that instrument to ease into sudden rhythmic changes in the other instruments. MAYBE. I'm gonna have to dive into beats again; tweaking some nuances there can go a long way in foreshadowing oncoming rhythmic elements.

ImNotDedYet
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Re: What are you biggest challenges to completing songs?

Post by ImNotDedYet » Wed Nov 05, 2014 2:54 am

Distractions - I may be designing a sound, and playing something on my controller/keyboard just to hear how the sound is coming along. Then I'll like that hook, but it won't fit into this song. So I start another song.

But actually, I'm pretty good about finishing songs.

I don't look for perfection because I know it's not attainable. I can always listen to a song I've done in the past and think I should have done this or that arrangement wise, sound design wise, drum programming, mix, etc. So I do my best to put out the song that's the best I can do right now. Knowing full well that any feedback I get and implement those changes in my next song. The same goes for understanding Ableton, mix, proper use of effects, etc. I know I'm going to get better at those things, so do the best I can now.

Many times I may get stuck on an 8 bar loop or two, so I'll just play around with different arrangements - put it into arrangement view and start composing there. Session view is great for coming up with ideas, and for getting stuck on those ideas. Sometimes, I just have to move on and try my hand at arranging. Once I've got a minimal arrangement - even though it sucks, I'm then motivated to make changes to the arrangement to get past the single loop. This is particularly true for not getting a melody/lead/hook/chord progression where I really want it.

And never underestimate taking a couple days off from the song and coming back. I hear a lot of things that then need to be changed, or can with a fresh view of the music come up with a better hook, etc.

But I'll throw in a new obstacle, one that's dragging me down a bit at the current time. Having TOO MANY tools to do the job. I recently bought a few compressors and EQs that provide a bit more flavored sound to my fav FabFilter stuff, so now I get bogged down a bit learning those and deciding which is best for this particular sound. With time that will pass, but it's something that while fun certainly is slowing me down right now.

JoshG567
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Re: What are you biggest challenges to completing songs?

Post by JoshG567 » Wed Nov 05, 2014 4:27 am

I keep a folder for "Free-tracking" that's separate from my focused projects. When I don't know what I'm doing or just want to goof off I'll save my template set under the date in that folder and just track to session with no regard for anything going together. I save the keeper wavs (pre and post FX) and clips with descriptive names so I can imagine them from a bird's eye view when I try to pull some of them together piece by piece from the browser later. Also, saving as clips with envelope automation already set preserves most of my settings when I import into the same track.

The preFX stuff can be edited into new songs, the postFX stuff can be fun to load into sampler and get wild.

re:dream
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Re: What are you biggest challenges to completing songs?

Post by re:dream » Wed Nov 05, 2014 6:07 am

beats me wrote:The job and commute. .
I used to hate my commute and then I realised it was basically because I was listening to too much talk radio.

Now I listen to new tunes. 90 minutes of listening time every day. I actually find it inspires me...


And now that I have my laptop and PC synced, I can take some time off during lunch and tweak a song...

david.barker
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Re: What are you biggest challenges to completing songs?

Post by david.barker » Wed Nov 05, 2014 7:45 am

My Challenges are :)

not enought time ( I work shift work)

Getting bogged down in details

Lack of knowledge,I am no musician abnd making music is a hobby

Worrying about what others think of my work (the track being crap),and many more

Martin Gifford
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Re: What are you biggest challenges to completing songs?

Post by Martin Gifford » Wed Nov 05, 2014 11:08 am

My challenges to completion:

1. My stuff sounds dated.
2. Can't sing well.
3. Hard to put find lyrics to match melodies.
4. Lack of polished production skills.

But I create great melodies and chords beats and lyrics.

Solution:

Get rich and pay young hip talented producers to finish my stuff off. Or maybe one day there will be a new plug-in called:

SongFinisher1.

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