What are you biggest challenges to completing songs?

Discussion of music production, audio, equipment and any related topics, either with or without Ableton Live
JoshG567
Posts: 353
Joined: Fri Mar 07, 2014 7:42 pm

Re: What are you biggest challenges to completing songs?

Post by JoshG567 » Thu Dec 04, 2014 11:44 pm

Martin Gifford wrote:
eyeknow wrote:I have the coolest ideas and I'm great at combining sounds. I just can't get by the main theme most of the time.
Five solutions:
These all highlight to me a few fundamental principles:

1. Musical compositions can be decomposed into a broad yet finite set of variables.

2. Being aware of those variables and their influence on the composition permits the composer to manipulate them tactically.

eyeknow
Posts: 5822
Joined: Fri Jul 15, 2005 6:16 am

Re: What are you biggest challenges to completing songs?

Post by eyeknow » Fri Dec 05, 2014 12:00 am

Possibly. Now, as far as composition is concerned I have some skill. I have tunes that have intros, choruses, bridges. I still don't finish them either. With programs like live and bitwig I have a tendency to just loop cool parts around and play guitar over them and keep switching scenes randomly. I guess since I enjoy doing that I shouldn't be fussed.

I'm absolutely certain one problem is perfection issues. It's absurd because I'm not that good. I should just finish it even if it's a POS and post it, take my lumps, and move on.

chef of def
Posts: 10
Joined: Fri Aug 09, 2013 6:02 pm

Re: What are you biggest challenges to completing songs?

Post by chef of def » Mon Dec 08, 2014 6:23 am

XSIMan wrote:I keep thinking im good enough for iTunes but then while learning new effects and synths I listen to my last completed song from weeks ago and think ewwww badly made presets and badly mixed too cheesy. New song I just made up by accident sounds more me and better.

I also think I'm trying to be too much of a perfectionist and afraid to release anything to the public that I might hate and be embarrassed of later.
One of my friends who dj's and produces, got a chance to listen to a few of my "unfinished tracks" . During the listening session I am pouring out excuses, or explaining where the track should be going... Or how maschine has got a steep learning curve (for me at least). The point is after he asked me to replay the track so he could hear it finally. He liked it, and ended up using it on one of his mix tapes.

You never know what the next one likes

Martin Gifford
Posts: 425
Joined: Mon Jun 14, 2010 12:48 am

Re: What are you biggest challenges to completing songs?

Post by Martin Gifford » Mon Dec 08, 2014 10:09 am

eyeknow,

It sounds like you have some that are 80% finished. Maybe set a goal of a 10 song album in one week. I did that, and I got a heap of work done (even though the results weren't so great). It forces you to do it, especially if someone is waiting to hear it.

So much stuff is ultra simple these days, so no need to have high expectations. I listened to the original mix of Spaceman the other day. Oh my God, that is ridiculously simplistic - one 4 bar riff repeated over and over, then for variety, the same riff but played on bass. Laughable really, but a big hit.

NickFever
Posts: 3
Joined: Wed Jul 02, 2014 9:25 pm
Contact:

Re: What are you biggest challenges to completing songs?

Post by NickFever » Mon Dec 08, 2014 7:25 pm

I switched to Ableton this year.

With all of these challenges, how does Ableton help overcome them? What are some features, concepts, tips, tricks or things to look up in the manual that may aid me in completing tracks?

I haven't used any of the included synths/samplers in Ableton. I have quite a number of VSTs that I was using in my previous DAW, that I use in Ableton.

Thanks,
Nick

Angstrom
Posts: 14664
Joined: Mon Oct 04, 2004 2:22 pm
Contact:

Re: What are you biggest challenges to completing songs?

Post by Angstrom » Mon Dec 08, 2014 7:33 pm

Martin Gifford wrote:eyeknow,

It sounds like you have some that are 80% finished. Maybe set a goal of a 10 song album in one week. I did that, and I got a heap of work done (even though the results weren't so great). It forces you to do it, especially if someone is waiting to hear it.

So much stuff is ultra simple these days, so no need to have high expectations. I listened to the original mix of Spaceman the other day. Oh my God, that is ridiculously simplistic - one 4 bar riff repeated over and over, then for variety, the same riff but played on bass. Laughable really, but a big hit.
Interesting. On that subject I've been toying with an idea, a ludicrous idea - to write and record an album in a day. Of course it will be sketchy, uneven, but I bet it will produce interesting results. 40 minutes of music, all done in a day.

It seems very possible because I have been watching lots of Vangelis performance videos from the early 80s, and considering albums like Discrete music, by Brian Eno. A palette of sounds, a strategy, and some time set aside.

mrdelurk
Posts: 457
Joined: Thu Nov 22, 2007 8:45 am
Location: Pahoa
Contact:

Re: What are you biggest challenges to completing songs?

Post by mrdelurk » Tue Jan 13, 2015 12:51 am

One thing that helps me finish things is realizing that the fact that all technology in my studio functions is a fleeting moment of bliss that won't stay for more than a few days max.

Tech stuff will die, nowadays almost as fast as market produce spoils. Gotta finish as much as possible with it today before it dies on one's project. If you finish the music project OTOH, then you can save it as electronic backup, and have that fail. Totally different.
Last edited by mrdelurk on Wed Jan 14, 2015 8:38 pm, edited 1 time in total.

eyeknow
Posts: 5822
Joined: Fri Jul 15, 2005 6:16 am

Re: What are you biggest challenges to completing songs?

Post by eyeknow » Tue Jan 13, 2015 12:56 am

I've come to the conclusion that other than rock-based stuff I would rather muck with beats and interesting sound design than actually "compose" something. I think that is what I'm happiest doing.

chef of def
Posts: 10
Joined: Fri Aug 09, 2013 6:02 pm

Re: What are you biggest challenges to completing songs?

Post by chef of def » Tue Mar 17, 2015 6:05 pm

I have taken a short break from music production. As of yesterday I got back in the game. I updgraded and picked up an i7 pc laptop. Hoping to work towards setting up a live set. One of my producer buddies dj's and has been asking me to be a part of a local producer showcase, he is planning.

The amount of time I have spent setting up this new laptop is crazy. However going much smoother than my initial journey into home based music production. As in I have a plan, I am not scouring youtube and forums trying to figure out what to do next or why this or that is not working. This is the boring part of music, over twelve hours loading, and upgrading. Komplete 9 took about 2 hours off the DVDs. And just about done installing all the ableton packs at about a four hour shift including the downloads.

I will say that as I prepare this pc for my workflow, I am going to take what I have learned so far and try to improve.

Step one. Strip all junk and bloatware.

Step two. Optimize windows.

Step three. Improve my file management structure and integrate it more efficiently.

Step four. Go through my older desktop, collect all and save only the ableton projects that fit the style I am working on.

Step five. Open new live set.......

LFO8
Posts: 333
Joined: Fri May 01, 2009 7:12 pm

Re: What are you biggest challenges to completing songs?

Post by LFO8 » Tue Mar 17, 2015 8:11 pm

chef of def wrote:Step one. Strip all junk and bloatware.
Shouldn't have installed ALL of Komplete 9 and ALL of the Ableton Live Packs then :roll:



:wink:


No but seriously, sounds like you are ready to drown yourself into a sea of options. Maybe that totally works for you, but having that many options would incapacitate me. My 3 tools (talking about synths) are Virus TI, Zebra and Diva. And that already gives me almost to many options (but 3 great flavours none the less)
ImageAsylum Sound Music and Sound Design

oblique strategies
Posts: 3578
Joined: Thu Nov 02, 2006 9:57 pm
Location: Another Green World

Re: What are you biggest challenges to completing songs?

Post by oblique strategies » Wed Mar 18, 2015 4:17 am

mrdelurk wrote:One thing that helps me finish things is realizing that the fact that all technology in my studio functions is a fleeting moment of bliss that won't stay for more than a few days max.

Tech stuff will die, nowadays almost as fast as market produce spoils. Gotta finish as much as possible with it today before it dies on one's project.
Good point. Ultimately everything is ephemeral. We get so used to expecting things & conditions to last, but it's really no more than an illusion we construct. Then, in the end, we become incapacitated or simply cease to exist.

Carpe diem! Or, in my case, carpe noctem!

spagbol
Posts: 121
Joined: Thu Feb 19, 2015 8:04 am

Re: What are you biggest challenges to completing songs?

Post by spagbol » Wed Mar 18, 2015 10:04 am

I paint, as well as play music. Im never happy with what I've done. My partner says I am hypercritical towards myself, and should learn not to be so.
Of course, she's right. But, nothing is ever finished (to my personal satisfaction and expectations), everything i do is rubbish.

So, what to do about this state of perplex?

I now accept that I will never complete anything to my satisfaction and ridiculously high expectations. I accept that its a part of being a creative junky. Its part of the cycle. Ive learnt not to get too hung up on this kind of thing. Ive learnt to let go. With painting as with music, i get to a point where I've painted, or written myself out of the piece of work. At that point, its run its course.

Whether its any good or not (as its so subjective) is not my problem. The goal is always to get to the point where I can't do anymore. I can't improve it, and trying is pointless. just move on to the next project. Eventually something will stick.

But, and i think this is the important part, a creative project requires a process, that being a beginning, a middle, and an end. I found i needed to define where these boundaries lay so i can structure a process that contains these distinctive elements.

Thats how it is for me newayz.
...not having a mid-life crisis....just don't give a fuck about shit i don't give a fuck about anymore.....

re:dream
Posts: 4554
Joined: Fri Dec 28, 2007 9:42 am
Location: Hoerikwaggo's sunset side...
Contact:

Re: What are you biggest challenges to completing songs?

Post by re:dream » Wed Mar 18, 2015 10:27 am

For me, :oops: the stages that seem to emerge are:
Jamming, Experimenting, and Messing Around --> aimless play without any purpose but discovery

Developing an initial sketch of a track --> More than just set of groovy loops. I need to be able to figure out (either scene-by-scene in Session view) or broadly in Arrangement View how the track develops: where it starts, where it gets to, how it gets there. Can be a 1.5 minute outline of a 6 minute track. But not a loop going round and round, sounding interesting for 24 seconds and then slowly palling.

Developing a complete track --> fully develop ONE EXPRESSION of the potential in the sound sketch. Be decisive. If difficult to decide, choose one direction to go & come back for a remix later.

- developing the detailed structure, section by section, using Aporia's empty midi clip title track as first scene
- checking whether I have the right basic sounds and timbres (e.g. clashing frequencies, nice contrasts, etc)
- detailed editing of each channel / voice, section by section, channel by channel
- ONLY THEN recording / inserting new audio material that I think are needed
- Rinse and repeat
- Tweaking of effects, compression, EQ'ing, panning etc etc


Final Mix
_ Render the stems
- Create new set within mastering template
- Optimise loudness, mix balance, etc etc.
- I often go back to the previous stage at this stage, as problems emerge here that I did not notice earlier

Basically if I can follow this approach I find that I am dealing with the biggest problems first, then smaller ones, then detailed ones. It enables me to avoid a situation in which I endlessly tweak a piece of audio only to decide that it was crap all along and should have been thrown out earlier. And having clear and limited goals at each stage means I am having fun - and a sense of completing stuff - all along the way.

Garry Knight
Posts: 280
Joined: Fri Sep 12, 2014 6:24 pm
Location: London, England

Re: What are you biggest challenges to completing songs?

Post by Garry Knight » Wed Mar 18, 2015 12:00 pm

As well as creating music (at, least, that's my story :)) I'm what's generally called 'a keen amateur photographer' - amateur in the true sense of someone who has learnt most of what the professional learns and actually applies it. And there's one lesson I understood very early on in the process. And it's this:

It's just a picture.

I think that can translate to all creative work. Now, obviously, the Mona Lisa isn't just a picture. The Burj Khalifa isn't just a building. Michaelangelo's David isn't just a sculpture. And John Lennon's Imagine isn't just a song. But as a guiding principle, and even as an attitude, perhaps "It's just a tune" can keep us from getting so hung up in the creative process that we always have to create some masterpiece, whether it's EDM, pop, rock, classical, or hard core dubtraphipraphoppedup soul house.

So, it's just a tune.

Yes, even if you're Nickelback or One Direction...
Garry Knight

re:dream
Posts: 4554
Joined: Fri Dec 28, 2007 9:42 am
Location: Hoerikwaggo's sunset side...
Contact:

Re: What are you biggest challenges to completing songs?

Post by re:dream » Wed Mar 18, 2015 6:29 pm

Yup.

In fact my favourite tracks of mine are exactly those ones that are almost throw- away: I put them together because I liked the sounds & weren't tryina impress nobody...

Post Reply