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What Is The Role Of Inspiration In Your Compositions?

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For me, inspiration is almost everything. Without it I wouldn't compose. And the pieces that I write as a product of inspiration bear that mark and are far better than the pieces that are the product of trivial inspiration or no inspiration at all.

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Kind of a dumb premise for a thread, don't you think?

Kind of a dumb answer, don't you think? And moreover, silly; if I thought it was dumb, would I start it?

If you need some clarification, think about the role of inspiration in composition. Think about what inspiration is. Do you think it is a crystallized concept? wouldn't it benefit from some discussion? So I am interested in everyone else's experiences with and concepts of inspiration. If you aren't inspired with an answer, please at least refrain from mocking the thread and thereby biasing other potential responders.

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I could babble a lot about what inspires me - but if my music sounds dry and academic, wouldn't be it easily dismissed as 'banal' or 'lacking inspiration'?

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I could babble a lot about what inspires me - but if my music sounds dry and academic, wouldn't be it easily dismissed as 'banal' or 'lacking inspiration'?

I think you have touched upon an important difference: that of what sounds "inspired" to an audience, and what the composer himself/herself attributes to inspiration. Thus I may compose a piece totally from inspiration but it may still sound dry and academic to a particular audience.

However, here I do not have in mind what the audience qualifies as "inspired", but rather about a composer's sources of inspiration and the extent they rely on inspiration for composition. We may also discuss the role of inspiration in composition in general.

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Just so you can't whine about not 'contributing': inspiration plays the role....of inspiring people....to write music.

/thread

I don't see much "deliberation and thoughtfulness" in that answer either!

Now to give my own definition of inspiration:

I think inspiration has it's source in the unconscious. Often, this inner source of inspiration is experienced as an external source simply because something external stimulates it or resonates with it. I think music is the outcome of the sublimation and transformation of stimuli and experience by the unconscious. Hence the reality of inspiration and the fact that most of the time music is not the simple outcome of a conscious decision to compose or the mere product of "following rules".

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There is no intentional inspiration for anything I write. I draw from my life experiences and the people around me and am perhaps, inspired; however, never is there a conscious selection of an inspirational source.

@ Phil - I don't think this is a stupid thread; perhaps we can all dial down a bit and avoid acting like a dick.

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I think this is a very nice thread; a good thing to talk about.

Only recently, I was writing a portion of my piece and I was stuck for about a month - no ideas. But seemingly instantly one day, I heard a melody in my head with 4 background lines.. and it just flowed and evolved by itself in my head. Naturally, I rushed to jot down the melody and worked on editing it later, but it has so much vitality and energy that it easily surpasses anything I've written that hadn't come from the same basis. Inspiration to me is hearing a fully constructed melody with background/counterpoint in my head and being able to write it down. After all, a memorable melody is a large part of my composition. Inspiration to me can also be a cool textural idea that I stumbled across through listening to music, learning, or doodling on the piano.

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There is no intentional inspiration for anything I write. I draw from my life experiences and the people around me and am perhaps, inspired; however, never is there a conscious selection of an inspirational source.

@ Phil - I don't think this is a stupid thread; perhaps we can all dial down a bit and avoid acting like a dick.

Inspiration IS a life experience, something that you remember well. The music draws the memories from that experience and uses them to portray the feelings your soul wants to convey itself. This means that if its good and tells a story, it has a motive and a memory embedded within. The piece that I'm writing now is based on the ever changing beauty of the world, what people CAN be if they try hard enough. You should listen to it when I am done. :D

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Inspiration IS a life experience, something that you remember well. The music draws the memories from that experience and uses them to portray the feelings your soul wants to convey itself. This means that if its good and tells a story, it has a motive and a memory embedded within. The piece that I'm writing now is based on the ever changing beauty of the world, what people CAN be if they try hard enough. You should listen to it when I am done. :D

That might work for you, but I don't take inspiration from A life experience. The music I make is the result of the culmination of ALL my experiences, along with any number of factors.

I don't set out to portray anything, or to evoke a specific emotion, or to demonstrate any particular inspiration. It's all subconscious, for me as well as the performer and listener.

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That might work for you, but I don't take inspiration from A life experience. The music I make is the result of the culmination of ALL my experiences, along with any number of factors.

I don't set out to portray anything, or to evoke a specific emotion, or to demonstrate any particular inspiration. It's all subconscious, for me as well as the performer and listener.

I totally agree. I would even go so far as to say that inpiration is a sort of random result of cumulative events. Any other kind does not exist

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Here is an interesting discussion of the views of different composers concerning the act of composition and the differing importance they give to the role inspiration plays in it:

http://books.google.com.lb/books?id=T7Og8KV3LpAC&pg=PA168&lpg=PA168&dq=%22composing+rests%22&source=bl&ots=gCFKOMLD56&sig=JwS4voHvIvjmOCAJtJxxVKrkUgE&hl=en&sa=X&ei=gUilT9f1NqLU0QWur8ThAw&redir_esc=y#v=onepage&q=%22composing%20rests%22&f=false

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As a soppy teenager with my hormones running I generally drew upon my emotions to write, often about love, how nobody understood me, or how I was 'trapped in a glass case of emotion'. I'm still a teenager (just) though I don't seem to effected by wild emotions anymore. Its hard to say what inspires me now. Reading books about music or listening to my lectures inspires me. If they talk about a particular style and it appeals to me then i'll give it a pop, I might not be successful but you can still learn a lot from failing.

Its a good question, many works are inspired by different things and its stupid to deny inspiration as a factor of composition. Having said this though I remember a saying my secondary school english teacher use to say: 'Success is 10% inspiration and 90% perspiration.' I think a good composer needs to be able to create with or without inspiration. I've digressed a bit I think, but the question allowed me to so I thought I would.

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Lol... Im only 14.... The puzzling thing about me is that unlike most all of the other students in my school, I have already found my aspirations. I AM talented music. Im good at creating melodies and I play about six instruments; all learned in a range of about three years. I love what I do... and Im shockingly not into finding love at the moment. I might not start dating girls until I reach my last few years of High school and the start of college..... You can tell me that Im definitely different, but I already know that, and I will NOT stray from my path. Yes, Success is 10% inspiration and 90% perspiration, but Im willing to multiply that by 10. I know all that I can and will be, but it is all about how and how soon I start to work on it. :-)

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But wait, with out this idea music is lame and abstract idea and boring. Ergo, we should not compose without being inspire by outside sources. everything and anything does and can do inspire us in music. @ Phil: I admire you sarcasm here. :)

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I draw inspiration from things....once, I was reading a book called "primitive mythology" by Joseph Campbell. He told the story of a story-teller whose stories were unusually powerful to all those who listened/ watched, to the point where he saved the King (takes place in "Napata", wherever that is) from a ritual regicide....that's a simplification of it, but....

It proved essential to finding some of the themes for the first movement of a piano sonata, which I wrote last summer. (I'm not the best/ most prolific composer). As I imagined the story in my mind's eye, it was accompanied by music, in a sort of cinematic way, as if it were an opera or ballet. Though that is how I view life, as a fundamentally cinematic experience.

What otherwise inspires me to compose are my passion for unspeakable beauty and drama, especially the opulence of the natural world. I also like Naruto and Star wars....don't laugh. Since I'm not a very good drawer and don't like writing prose or poetry, music is the foremost avenue I have to channel what inspiration I have.

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