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> Some Tips On How To Improve Composing, Writer's block help
Daniel Realpe
post May 31 2010, 04:15 PM
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I received a message recently about having writer's block.

I thought it would be cool that you would post your thoughts and ideas on what you do to get out of it,

This is what I responded of the top of my head:

What I do is: Take a scale and really know it, both technically (how to play it) and sonically (what type of feel it has), for instance, minor=sad, major=happy.

But, Minor can also mean powerful, reflective, epic, etc.

Major can also mean cocky, mean, evil, cool, etc. (just listen to Opeth)

There are certain starting points and scale degrees on each that depict a different image or emotion. Try starting in different points or moving around on a different group of notes within the scale. For instance just use 1-5- 4-6 and flat 7, or whatever.

When I have writers block I start browsing around the POD and start playing with different patches and my head starts to hear things differently. Another thing I do (and this is recent) is start composing stuff for violins, drums, or keyboards. And then go back and add the guitar on it. It feels totally different. (A do this on a MIDI controller)

And also don't get stuck on trying to do the greatest melody of all time. Try starting new stuff harmonically. I mean, write chords instead of melodies. If you want, find out some theory about chord progressions which is very useful, also another route is to take the notes a scale and take a look at them harmonically and start building movement in triads. I get pretty good results this way. Just like you would with a melody, just find the right notes that would come next, without thinking in theory, except this time you are doing it with 3 melodies at the same time. This has to be done carefully to avoid excessive dissonances. They can be cool (just listen to Opeth) but if you treat them nicely, as passing notes.

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"If a composer could say what he had to say in words he would not bother trying to say it in music."
Gustav Mahler

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