Thursday, 1 March 2012

Composers' Block

Hi guys, welcome to Orygyn!

Yesterday was probably my most creative day ever. I posted my comprehensive response to my video "Taxation Is Not Theft", and I finished and uploaded 2 songs to my other YouTube channel, AxyssTV, and my music library which can be found from that channel. It was in stark contrast to every single day I've had since I set up that music library. I know for a fact that I want to write music professionally. I have a very good ear for music, even perfect pitch, and I can hear what mainstream songs seem to religiously have in common, or tell when someone's done something very different. However, this is simply not enough to be a composer. Being able to identify norms so you can do something different, while being in tune with music so that you can tell what works and what doesn't: all of that is simply the first step.

The next step, actually writing the music, whether it's in sheet music form or transcribed on some computer software, requires enormous patience and persistence. Whenever I listen to what someone else has done, and then compare my own stuff to it, no matter how proud I might be of what I've written it always seems to come up short. This idea is common among artists that they hate their own works, but in my case, I can point to specific examples. I repeat phrases a lot. I feel like all the chord progressions I use are similar, even though I'm aware of many different types beyond what appears all the time in the mainstream. I could blame my software, as much of the synthesised sounds are woefully inadequate, but an experienced user of the software can use its capabilities to overcome that, and whenever I've tried to do that, it's felt so much like a chore that I mentally can't put myself through it. This is my single greatest failing as a composer. My lack of patience and persistence leads me to, as a motivational move, say "this is good enough, I can stop here, I need to publish it in my library to feel like I've achieved something", when this is only how I feel about it after hours of trying and failing to find something that works. I'm not truly satisfied with anything I've ever made. One song, "Falcon", I've listened to literally hundreds of times, but even it seems really simple to me, and the most musically complex parts are samples that came with the software.

I'm writing this because it's been rare that I've heard this particular kind of introspection from other composers. Admittedly, I haven't gone out and looked for it, but I guess this just confirms that failing I mentioned. A piece you've written which you think is written well can be extremely rewarding, and that was the case with "Falcon", but never be in any doubt that it requires work.


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