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What do you do with all your musical ideas?


alexclaber

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Personally, I forget about half of them, which is a bit of a drag, but then I forget about that too and it's all good. The rest I'll record with Garageband on my laptop. I also have a document full of different hooks and catches written out without any actual music to them.

 

With the band, we record them to minidisc. We have lots of discs full of riffs and half finished songs, but somehow those usually don't turn out that great when compared to a song we manage to somewhat finish in a single session.

 

-P

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I'm payed to burn them by the local chamber of commerce.

You can stop now -jeremyc

STOP QUOTING EVERY THING I SAY!!! -Bass_god_offspring

lug, you should add that statement to you signature.-Tenstrum

I'm not sure any argument can top lug's. - Sweet Willie

 

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They are running rampant in my brain until I (one day?) have the time to:

1) take time to actually translate them to my fingers

2) put them on my 4-track casette recorder

3) figure out what's wrong with my PC/soundcard and why it won't accept any input into Cubase

4) just plain have time to do something about it.

 

But hey, they probably sound better in my head than I could ever have them sound when actually playing them. Why set myself up for disappointment?

"Am I enough of a freak to be worth paying to see?"- Separated Out (Marillion)

NEW band Old band

 

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If something is good enough to stick in my head I keep it there until I can record it somehow.

 

In the original pop-metal band I convey mine to the guitarist who usually says "Hmmmm. That's something worth working on next time for sure." and then will miraculously use it a couple weeks later and exclaim what a great idea HE had.

 

With the prog boys I don't say much (I have enough on my plate just keeping up) but when I do it almost always gets in.

"He is to music what Stevie Wonder is to photography." getz76

 

I have nothing nice to say so . . .

 

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I have an 8 track that records on zip disk and I have a few zip disks worth of stuff that I've mostly forgotten. It's always a good time to go back and listen. Some things are good and should be completed, some are better left in their present.

If I don't record my ideas, I mostly forget them almost immediately. Of course, normally I am too busy and/or lazy to set up the ol' 8 track and record. :freak:

Insert inaccurate quote here
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I usually try to write them down AND record them.

 

One of these days I'll be good enough to simply write them down, but I have a hard time getting getting the tempo down correctly.

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They're mostly lost into the air and I'm happy with that. When I record a gig, I like to find good bits and incorporate them but basically I'm always approaching music from an improvisational viewpoint (probably why so few people call me) and I alway want to play something new (even when playing rock covers!)

Apart form that I have lots of bits of paper with mucial ideas and reharmonisations of familiar tunes lying around in boxes - some in standard notation, some tabbed (oops - sorry!), lots amd lots of chord progressions.

I should get back into writing music. I haven't done it once since I got married. Writnig tunes always seem to work best in the early hours which wouldn't be popular.

I wrote a whole set witha keyboard player once though by just jammming over a few weeks and developing little motifs into tunes (but nothing was ever written down - we composed and aranged by ear!) then taught the tunes to the horn section.

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I keep all of my ideas in my head, right now I have six complete songs that fall within in a rock genre and one idea thats just missing the chorus (I'm replacing a chorus thats too poppy sounding and simplistic and doesn't fit in the song), I also have three solo bass pieces, two of which are complete, one needs a good solid ending. I also have one song that could be a solo bass piece or a funk tune. If I don't remember it it's not worth it. So, when I end up playing the songs between practice times somebody will usually get shit stuck in their head ;) .

I'm going to take some of the pieces meant for solo bass and play them with a friend of mine who studies classical guitar at fullerton. I played some of the stuff before a show and he dug it.

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Nowadays once I've come up with a good idea I tend to develop it into the backbone for a complete song on the bass or classical guitar, and then record it to a click on Cubase.

 

I went through a phase a while back of notating everything down on Powertab (and it's these 83 ideas that I've been revisiting of late) and later a phase of writing everyting down in standard notation on paper.

 

Used to subcribe to the notion of "it it's good enough, I'll remember it". Doesn't seem to work for me - I've forgotten too much quality material.

 

Interesting comment Phil: "...I'm always approaching music from an improvisational viewpoint." I guess I'm the opposite - much as I love jamming, it's all about the compositions for me.

 

Alex

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Alex Interesting comment Phil: "...I'm always approaching music from an improvisational viewpoint." I guess I'm the opposite - much as I love jamming, it's all about the compositions for me.
There's a difference? ; }

 

For some developed and gifted musicians, improvisation is imbued with tons of structure and development. Indeed, they train themselves to deliver compelling, moving statements as soloists - and when others with the skills are also present - as ensembles.

 

Just an example from one of many different approaches (and not a pure jazz example, as some would expect): Terry Bozzio, Tony Levin, and Steve Stevens on BLACK LIGHT SYNDROME. 95% of this album is "spontaneously composed" but seems as fully formed as pretty much anything else in a rock-oriented genre.

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When I improvise a bassline in a rock context I am playing the bassline but trying to improve it and respond to what's happpening around me. I don't just make it up (always) - though I love that.

Sometimes I like to improvise merely with the phrasing, feel, glisses and ghost notes and sometimes with the actual notes.

If you listen to Willie Weeks on 'It's Only Rock n Roll, he's improvising and spontaneously composing the bassline.

Improvisation is compostion only a quicker process. I have done some fully improvised gigs where the audience would never know whether it was composed or improvised.

Apologies Alex, as I'm drfiting off the thread topic now.

I know I do need a better way of recording my ideas, regardless of my frequent preference for getting rid of them and playing something new. I still have some charts I wrote out for horn players of one of my tunes 15 years ago that seem precious to me, despite the fact that I'll probably never use them. Sentimentality . . .oops!

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My experience is that 90% of the great ideas that people think they have are just about the same as 90% of what other people are doing or think is a great idea of THEIRS, anyway ; }

 

Actually ideas at that level are cheap and easily come by.

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Phil W: When I improvise a bassline in a rock context I am playing the bassline but trying to improve it -
Oooh - sacrilege! A nice way to start out! ; }

 

 

- and respond to what's happpening around me.
There's the kicker. That's a big part of what it's supposed to be about, right?

 

...All too often I hear spiels about "supporting the song". Well. About all those different arrangements of various songs: I guess they are not valid since there is only ONE WAY. Bleh.

 

Sure, it's important to "support", and all the best jock straps do just that. But seriously, once a template is established, why not interact? Only certain arrangements require set-in-stone bassing, usually because there is a composite uber-rhythm across all parts. Even then...

 

I guess there's several ways to approach any given destination.

 

I still have some charts I wrote out for horn players of one of my tunes 15 years ago that seem precious to me, despite the fact that I'll probably never use them. Sentimentality . . .oops!
I still have some big band compositions around, full score ; }
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Originally posted by greenboy:

Actually ideas at that level are cheap and easily come by.

Now the way I see it is that I find it hard to truly assess the quality of an idea when I come up with it; thus by recording or notating it I can come back to it and listen with fresh ears.

 

And having a huge pile of ideas to play with means that if inspiration isn't striking but I want to get a song written I have plenty of seeds from which to create.

 

Alex

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I have an old ADAT 8 track that I keep racked up and connected to a preamp for just that purpose. When something strikes me as worthy, I just plug in and record what I need. Even if it's just a 4 track, they are great as 'sketch' pads for ideas. With a multi-track device, you can even layer a few things together to try out different arrangements and such.
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C.Alexander Claber: Now the way I see it is that I find it hard to truly assess the quality of an idea when I come up with it; thus by recording or notating it I can come back to it and listen with fresh ears.
Sure. But I think the context of my supposition was that ideas are all around us (though you wouldn't think so if plying the mass media entertainment channels).

 

And having a huge pile of ideas to play with means that if inspiration isn't striking but I want to get a song written I have plenty of seeds from which to create.
I guess. I have a huge pile of scribbled lyrics, notation, even some chunks of recording that survived the major theft I suffered a few years back. But my last writing frenzy of maybe 20 songs didn't even require me checking all that out to be fruitful in a very short period of time. In fact, I found it easier than going back and revamping specific implementations of core fundamental ideas that for me have probably morphed or evolved since those bits and entire pieces were sprung forth.

 

Similarly, I probably wouldn't revisit too much of those last 20 or so songs since I think I can pop forth new stuff anyway. But that's what seems to have worked for me, and there were lots of years of messing with the same materials before I became rather more sanguine about it all.

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I didn't start composing until high school. It was the early '80s, and I would have an acoustic g****r and cassette tape recorder next to my bed. It was usually as I was dozing off when something would hit me. If it were not for the recorder, I probably would not have remembered anything the next morning.

 

Around the mid '80s I started using the computer to compose. Mind you, this was before the release of the IBM PC. (Even after it was out there weren't any sound cards or any good music software for quite some time.) So I used a program called Music+ for the RadioShack Color Computer. It supported 4 independent parts, but the interface was very difficult to get used to. I even went so far as to use the computer to accompany me on g****r and record to cassette. (Crappy quality, but how many people were using computer-generated accompaniment in '85? I never got a chance to use it live, though the idea did cross my mind.)

 

I didn't have time to write much in college. Most of my time was spent just writing bass lines for the original band I was in. For those parts I generated my own chord charts/lead sheets, but generally committed the lines to memory. (It's amusing now to listen to old band practice boombox cassette tapes and hear how I used to play parts before they were fully developed.)

 

One song idea I had during that time period I tried to multitrack record using two cassette recorders. I'd playback on one deck and record to the other while playing another track. After the 4th generation of this the quality deteriorated behind a phasing effect it was generating, but I still got something I could pitch to the band.

 

I didn't really start writing again until after '97, when some major events sparked my creativity. I used both lead sheets and the cassette recorder to capture this handful of ideas. Around '01 I wrote a few more, but decided to take some short cuts. This was a big mistake. I now have a sheet of full lyrics to a song that I've forgotten the music to. (At the time I thought I'd remember the music by simply looking at the lyrics.)

 

After my band disbanded in '03, I got on the solo songwriting bandwagon. Finally taking a cue from Stanley, I set out for the first time to write bass-centric songs. I also revisited song ideas from my high school days, re-arranging for prominent bass lines and/or solos.

 

Lately I've been working on things a little differently, in that I'm starting with lyrics and then adding music later. I'm doing most of this in my head, away from instruments, and recording to paper. Once I get something going it gets recorded to Garageband on my laptop, just like Pernax. Not only is the quality enormously better than an '80s cassette recorder with built in mic, but it also allows computer-generated parts to be added. Especially useful is the ability to program drums, although they cannot replace a real drummer.

 

I applaud those of you that can keep your tunes in your head. Given that some tunes I hadn't played in almost 20 years, I would have surely forgotten them. And once the playlist gets up there, like Alex' 80+ songs, it's easy to forget something. Now, I know it's possible, because Shaka keeps 100s of songs in his head, which I think is just amazing, but for me this would not work.

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Garage Band is pretty happenin' for this. If one wants to commit beyond the idea stage it is actually tough to find enough hours in the day/week/month to fully flesh it all out into music. It's great that the resources or the process are not the bottleneck. I did all the multitracking from sound-on-sound reel-to-reels through multitrack cassettes and wide-format mutlitrack, up to 32 analog tracks synched with a DAW and a ton of midi and outboard gear.

 

Now it's possible to get commensurate quality and beyond on the desktop.

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I've got a box of 4 track casettes, maybe 30 or so that I've recorded over the past 15 years but my 4 track no longer works so they're trapped.

I currently write out some songs/lyrics/riffs and/or record them on my computer withAcid Pro 4. I'll lay down a beat and jam to it or use something I've written down.

It works quite well at this point. Now I just need some better ideas.

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Just a few more points ...

 

This would have been a good topic for the Songwriting and Composition forum. If you write, take some time to check this out every so often. We could use a little more critical mass over there.

 

I love improvising. Coming from the school band format, where "all you do" is read notes from the page, there is a great sense of freedom when you get the improv thing working instead. I actually find it easier to compose and play on the fly than to read and play on the fly (sight read). I can put a run in when I want and play it how I want, instead of trying to play something that was probably composed on piano and arranged for bass instruments (and just feels foreign on the bass).

 

This usually extends to my own compositions. I don't typically write down note-for-note what I want to play on bass, although I do tend to play the same thing more or less every time. (Kind of like the way Jimmy Page has been criticized for playing the "improv" solos from Led Zeppelin with a little too much similarity.) I typically write down a chord chart and scribble down some representative rhythms I want to cover. I keep things open and experimental (on bass) as much as possible. Sometimes I'll revisit a song years later and decide I want to totally change the bass line to reflect the different things I've picked up over the years. (Kind of like how Geddy Lee feels about early Rush songs; he doesn't like to play them because he feels he's a different player now.)

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A lot of my musical ideas in the past few years have been invested in sound itself, which has actually always been an interest ever since I had a relevatory experience on how many different ways one note on a tenor sax could sound. That's taken me deeper into the harmonic series, and by extension, chord construction/theory, and psychoacoustics, and into the mechanics of sound reinforcement, with quite a bit of investment in synth programming and sampling.

 

Definitely a lot of ways to percieve and approach music that aren't strictly song structure or melody or rhythm-based alone... (though all of those continue to interest me)

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RicBassGuy: Oh, and greenboy, I still haven't had time to sit down with your composition that you posted on that other thread here. Anything with 3 bass parts is worth checking out! :thu:
Too bad I didn't notate the entire works. Lots of sonic treatments, effects, and additional synth/sampler-supplied parts there. I remember most of it including faux french-horn section, pitch-shifted/time-expanded voice, drum programming, etc. But if it ever gets used again some different approaches would be likely so I wouldn't have to attempt to recreate what was already formed.
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Originally posted by greenboy:

Definitely a lot of ways to percieve and approach music that aren't strictly song structure or melody or rhythm-based alone... (though all of those continue to interest me)

A lot of truth in that. Gold Sparkle Band does a lot of experimentation like that. For one song, the drummer holds a ride cymbal in one hand, takes the butt end of a drum stick in the other, and slowly grinds a circular path following the ridges. It's a very different sound than one would expect out of a cymbal. It was used to represent the sound of train wheels grinding against a train track when the train starts moving.

 

Performance artists like Laurie Anderson and even Viggo "Aragorn" Mortensen try different things with sound. It can get a little out there and doesn't typically fly well with the mainstream listener.

 

My recent foray into sound was to investigate all the different ways you can produce sound with a vibrating string. Some of the interesting finds were aeolian (wind) harps (strings set in motion by the passing breeze, like a wind chime) and the Long String Instrument (strings that vibrate longitudinally).

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RicBassGuy: It can get a little out there and doesn't typically fly well with the mainstream listener.
Well, the concepts of say looking at the overtone series and seeing how that relates to chord constuction or whatever is applicable to any type of music. Similarly, if one plays an Old School bass rig that has a lot of second and third order harmonic distortion when it's cranked starts messing with octave juxtaposition, they can also dig into psychoacoustics a little bit deeper and find all kind of phenomena that can enrich bassline or composition. One can mess with headphone hard-panned hocketing to get some astounding "brain fills in parts that aren't even there" illusions happening, mess with multiple low frequency instruments playing close intervals and pitch bends to get rhythms, etc.

 

And all of it can be dumped into pop productions ; }

 

My recent foray into sound was to investigate all the different ways you can produce sound with a vibrating string. Some of the interesting finds were Aaeolian (wind) harps (strings set in motion by the passing breeze, like a wind chime) and the Long String Instrument (strings that vibrate longitudinally).
Yeah, I've URL'd Ellen here a couple times, and I've seen some variations of the Aeolian harps. Wind-driven pipes sets also were something I liked to mess around with, especially after loading recordings of real big ones that were outdoors at the Sandpoint (Seattle) Navy base, into my keyboard samplers and really warping them in several directions. Combine that with hollow light poles being banged on for tuned percussion and put it into a House vibe and you can meet the people ; }
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I have a notebook that is only for my basslines, lyrics, song ideas. It comes in handy and keeps your thoughts organized so you don't forget. Then when I have band practice I have everything ready to show the band. (It helps having a g****r player as a brother and a drumset in my basement along with my bass, that way I can write ful songs.)

"All things are possible through Christ." (Matt 19:26)

 

My band: http://www.purevolume.com/fadingsilence

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