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Posts Tagged ‘Creative’

  1. Stream of Consciousness vs Goal Based Writing

    April 8, 2012 by RedSheep

    Have you ever had a really great Idea and followed it to find the river runs dry and you’re left with a half-done song? Or have you ever had a great plan for a song which leaves you with a stale, repetitive bore of a piece?   Believe it or not these issues are two sides of the same coin.  One is a case of too much emotion and the other – too much logic…

    Emotion vs Logic

    Emotion VS Logic: A Timeless Battle

    Stream of Consciousness

    Stream of consciousness writing is where you take any idea and follow it’s train of thought.  words and music seem to flow better because the emotional side of your brain is doing the writing.  the downside is that while the music and lyrics flow, they may not make sense logically.  Things like writing about an old lover can bring about multiple ideas floating around in your head about the situation but not make sense what you’re actually trying to get across.  Like emotion, the result can sometimes turn out incoherently.


    Goal based writing on the other hand is when you have a clear end point or framework you want to use, and you write based on a more logical approach.  I’m going through The Study of Counterpoint just now, and in order to learn the lessons are very rule based, so my note choices are based on what I’m allowed to use more than what my natural instincts are.  This approach leads to understandably structured music, and It can sound good but it can also be very predictable or boring.  Taking the same scenario before of an ex and coldly listing what happened for you to break up is unlikely to bring about inspiring music!

    Balance is Key

    There are of course advantages to both methods of writing.  I’ve found that SOC writing is great until you hit a wall and the ideas stop flowing, then Goal based is a great way to finish up an otherwise incomplete song.  When I write articles on here I’ll write a constant flow of what I want to write about a subject and then use a structure to make the ideas make more sense.

    In the example of guitar playing John Petrucci will come up with a small fragment that sounds good and try out the same structure across multiple scales, speeds and tonalities.  He can then use the one fragment to write an entire section without sounding boring or incoherent.

    There are so many examples out there, it’s just a case of balance between logic and emotion to produce something that’s both thoughtful and emotional.

    I know that feel bro


    Mastering the Art

    the Ultimate goal is to have both, to be able to have an end goal in your head and be able to have the music flow for an entire song achieving that goal, but also being able to come up with an idea on the spot and develop it to a coherent song that has a clear focus.

    Freddie Mercury believed that as soon as you had an idea for a song it had to be grabbed and writtern as quickly as possible so that the original Idea remained intact, indicating a Stream of Consciousness approach

    Schoenberg on the other hand said “A succession is aimless; a progression aims for a definite goal…”

    So What?

    One hit wonders might strike it lucky sometimes but professionals get results time and again. By being able to use both Stream of Consciousness and Goal-based Writing consistently you would be able to take any job, any subject to write about and come up with a great song.  It’s how top composers, Pop writers and long-term successful artists are able to stay on top and keep bringing great music into the world.

    Emogical as ever



  2. 10 Ways to Get Past Writers Block

    August 26, 2011 by RedSheep

    1. Try a new approach

    I heard a story that David Bowie ued to write new lyrics by taking any word, and using a computer to find words that rhyme, then building lines from that.  Kurt Cobain would write down the last thought he had before going to sleep every night and kept a notepad by his bed to write down any dreams he had.  For the Bowie approach, perhaps try

    I dont know if the parameter badger would make an awesome song, but it sure is a unique rhyme!

    2. Build up a list of ideas

    If you’re anything like me you’ll find there are times when your head is brimming with ideas, often at times you’re not able to attend to them.  I find when I do get started on a really great song it leads me to write down other great ideas that dont necessarily fit.  In these cases it’s worthwhile to write down the idea and store it somewhere like a phone, Onenote, Notepad or wherever you can.  In times when you’re short on ideas, look back over these ideas and you might come across a great one to develop.

    3. begin at a High level then work your way down

    This is an idea i got from Sheila Davis book i mentioned.  When you’re writing a song, a section or even a single line begin with what you want to convey.  Even if you only have a vague idea to start write it down.  most songs go through

    4.break some rules

    If you’ve seen my youtube videos, you’ll know I love odd time signatures.  Sometimes I’ll have a line or a whole verse that just stretches too long in syllables to work well in 4/4, or to have a set number of bars.  Options here are to struggle with different wording , extend the bar to cope , change time signature, carry on into the next set of 4 with your line, change the rhythm.

    Lyric writing does follow some basic rules.  In general you’ll find more consistent quality work by following a working method, but remember music is about expression, and it’s often a great adventure to deviate from that method.  Just be wary of when it doesn’t work and be flexible enough to change it.

    You really have many options, the problem comes when you assume you have to do something, like stick to a rhyme scheme or set structure.  If you want to add a jew’s harp solo to the middle of a verse, go for it!


    The best way out is through

    This doesn’t just apply to lyric writing, while I write this blog there are times that i’m trying to get a point across and I’m not sure how.  the same thing happens when trying to convey a mood or idea in a song, or trying to find words that work.  The solution is just to plough through with what you can, then you can alter it later.  This may sound like an obvious piece of advice but it’s easy to forget when you’ve spent 10 mins trying to think of the perfect way to word something.  Next time it happens to you remember courage wolf’s wise words pictured above!

    6. Spend some time listening

    Spend some time absorbing an album you love, and dedicate some time to it.  try this

    7. Decide to see what no-one else sees

    This one will have its own article at some point.  It’s easy to be too critical of your ideas and what you write.  I remember watching a documentary about progressive rock where bands said they were ashamed of the fantasy world storytelling and elaborate stage antics that were involved, but having the bravery to be unique is a quality that can launch artists into the atmosphere of stardom.  Think Black Sabbath, Queen, The Who – all the first to have their sound and style!

    8.Creative restrictions

    Think of a song idea about anything… got it? good, now think of a song idea about a detective, now think of one about a detective that’s just failed to solve a case.

    Notice how the more restrictions there were on your idea the easier it was to think of something?  this is because the smaller scope allowed you to focus more.  It’s an idea I first picked up from a Vai article about playing guitar, but it’s appeared in many fields as a concept.  I’ll be doing a full article on this in the future.

    9. Go with the flow

    Sometimes we cant see the wood for the trees, if there’s an issue really stopping you from writing, try making the issue the subject.  When I started out learning  to write music from other people there were of course times of ifficulty and doubt.  I remember I’d spent a week trying to come up with new ideas and they just weren’t coming, so I started to doubt if they’d ever come.  As a way of making the best of it i went with how i felt about it and came up with:

    Nothing harder than an empty page
    Seeking stardom finding rage
    My inspiration needs refilled
    The  roaring fire for now, is still

    There’s always something to write about and find thoughtfulness in.  Take advantage of hardhip as well as good times to write lyrics, they add a human vulnerability which is endearing and often memorable.

    10. Chill

    relaxed yet? no?

    still no?

    this is another obvious one, when you’re relaxed your mind is more free to wander into creative territories, if you’re getting really stressed take time to do something you enjoy, or get some sleep.

    In the true spirit of the blog my overarching advice here is to constantly try new ideas, unorthadox methods, or anything that can help you along to your own great sound.  Everyone has it in them to write unique songs if they have the conviction to work for it.