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Any Methods To Compose Music Fast? (Get Rid Of Writer's Block)

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Here's the question: You need to compose a 5 minute long piece (etc.) for FULL symphonic orchestra AS FAST AS YOU CAN (maximum time is 2 days)...but maybe you have some writers block (meaning here: you dont have any idea for main theme etc., or how to continue, or how to connect two sections etc. you get the idea..)...SO How would you do that?

Any methods that worked to you to compose a piece totally "mechanically", only keep in mind the rules of harmony etc, chord progressions, but without any idea of melody etc. so my real question is how would you sketch up a piece (make its skeleton) and than "fill in the gaps" as fast as possible without any concrate idea of melody etc. (in a way that the finaly result is not just a copy/past "forced" thing). Any tips?

I often write music for games and sometimes there are some very strict deadlines, i have some good ideas also sometimes, but after that good period maybe nothing for days/weeks. Any method to get rid of that?



    Pope of Chilli Town

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This probably isn't as theoretical as you (or I) would like, but, in a practical sense (and I never do this), I imagine it's possible to do something along the lines of lifting a rhythm and texture from a piece or pieces, and appllying melodic steps and leaps (or take a melodic 'idea' from another piece) at your discretion to make a melody; then fill in the texture (arpeggios, block chords, imitation, &c.) with your own chords for the harmony, and perhaps expand on it. It'll get you a section of music, but I don't feel that it would be anything to be proud of beyond what it is, which is why I never do it. The only time I ever take ideas from pieces is if I think of that idea myself and know that I've heard it somewhere else, before.

Alternatively (and this is probably more legit), you could make arbitrary key, texture, form, and ensemble decisions; experiment on an instrument or set yourself aribitrary limits/guidelines (leading to connecting ideas, rather than just for the sake of it; e.g., scalar fragment + descending sequential thirds = the opening of Bach's first invention, ideas he uses in inversion in the sequential episodes of that piece) to come up with some melodic ideas, write a (perhaps preliminary) melody with that, add a bassline, and then fill in all the parts using the texture you've chosen. Come to think of it, I should be doing that instead of just sitting around waiting for music to come.

With this or these in mind, what I used to do (and should start again), is know what form I want the piece in from the beginning, and set myself deadlines for certain sections. So far example, if I need to write a sonata-allegro movement in a week, I could set myself Mon-Wed/Thu for the exposition, Thu-Sat for the development, and Sun for the recap and any remaining edits; then I could break that down even further into the subjects, &v..



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I think if you're writing on tight deadlines for large ensembles you should be quite resourceful with you're thematic material. Pass the theme around through different colours, manipulate the melody, take motivic cells from it and use them independently the thematic alterations should lead to harmonic changes and you can deliberately manipulate the melody line tonally.

I think it depends on what style you are writing in as well. I'm currently doing a case study on the first movement of Bruckners 7th symphony. It took him a while to write though the thematic material within it is quite resourceful - He uses inversions quite frequently. I think there is a point where he retrogrades and inverts a cell... My point is that he creates 400+ bars of music with three themes that altogether probably only equal about 26 bars in length. I think as young composers (I my self am a rascal for it) we try and create too much material for one work that doesn't really need it.
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my goodness, two days?! well, I can tell you that I managed to basically "finish" a piece I thought would be impossible to finish in 2 months after 2 weeks, and this was all thanks to support from my peers (it was dedicated to my band director who's leaving this year, and the band's really working to giving him as nice a good-bye as possible) and through inspiration. The best hope you have is to stop worrying so much, and let your mind open up to ideas, and find an inspiration, a reason to write the piece other than 'it's due in 2 days' and before you know it, you're writing and can't stop.

hope this helps, even though it's pretty late
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Guest_Ryan K_*

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I imagine if you don't have a total disinterest in listening to music at the given point, the best method to fully break the writers block would be to keep forcing yourself to write and write until it sounds good. Be much more lenient in your inscription and deletion, than you would just following a musical train of thought of trusting for the best idea to come. This way you can more easily keep track of your thought process or context cues.

Another thing you may try is really stop, take a breather, and delve into and understand what kind of emotional mindset is going into your music.

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