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Nim Nim

When do you get melodies?

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Hi everyone,

So recently I've been trying to compose some music but I hit a wall just when I was about to begin, I couldn't come up with a melody. I always have this problem that whenever I'm sitting down and trying to compose music I have zero creativity. But when I'm anywhere in public and decide to come up with something I all of a sudden have so many ideas, or even when I'm at home with friends and I'm just messing around I have so much more creativity than when I'm trying to seriously write something. So my questions are:

1) When are you able to come up with melodies?

2) Are you able to come up with melodies whenever you want?

3) What could I do that could help me when stuck in a creative block?

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1) I often get ideas when I am relaxed and bored. A bath may help too:grin: On the other hand, for me, writing a piece of music is like writing an autobiography of myself. Whenever I experience some important/ life-changing moments I compose some music to record them.

2) It is easy to start a melody (theme), but it requires some effort to develop it into a complete work. Moreover, sometimes as I may have to discard the theme when I find it too cliche or boring.

3) As a classical music lover, I listen to plenty of music and will remember some of them. So when you are humming, you often recall those excerpts. Try to improvise a new thematic material that can follow the original excerpts smoothly but with a different style. Then you will get some creative themes there.

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I almost never start something with a melody. In fact, many times I don't use a clear melody. I don't think it is always essential. Of course, there always be a melody, but if I write something using chords, or rhythms, or textures the melody is secondary and accidental.

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19 hours ago, Nim Nim said:

1) When are you able to come up with melodies?

Anytime

19 hours ago, Nim Nim said:

2) Are you able to come up with melodies whenever you want?

Yes

19 hours ago, Nim Nim said:

3) What could I do that could help me when stuck in a creative block?

Melodies, or more specifically, "tunes" have a structure, shape, and phrasing akin to grammar. At least...they should.

I'd advise learning more about melodic contour, phrasing, and thematic structures like the musical sentence or period and working within this framework.

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On 8/30/2018 at 8:17 PM, Nim Nim said:

But when I'm anywhere in public and decide to come up with something I all of a sudden have so many ideas,

If you have a phone or anything on you, make a quick recording of yourself humming one of those ideas. When you get into a habit of documenting spontaneous ideas, you'll have something to refer to and build upon.

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I have started writing a piece from multiple directions. Here are the ways I have done it:

Melody first:

This tends to be my most common way. I will think of a melody or a few melodies for a theme and then add the harmony later.

Harmony first:

This is my second most common way. Like I might start with for example alberti bass, and then expand from there.

Score first:

This I only do if I am like doing an orchestration or a reduction. But in either case, I have the original piece as a template. I am doing this currently with the orchestration of the Pathetique sonata that I am working on. I find it very easy with that particular piece because like every line maps to certain instruments. 1 bass line and I typically do it with 3 low instruments in octaves(at least concert pitch octaves, I often find that notation wise, 2 instruments will be in unison).

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1. I may get a melody while working on trying out many melodies, but if it's any good it only comes on its own accord.

2. Almost never, the little buggers.

3. Steal one from someone else.

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On 8/31/2018 at 2:17 AM, Nim Nim said:

So recently I've been trying to compose some music but I hit a wall just when I was about to begin, I couldn't come up with a melody. I always have this problem that whenever I'm sitting down and trying to compose music I have zero creativity. But when I'm anywhere in public and decide to come up with something I all of a sudden have so many ideas, or even when I'm at home with friends and I'm just messing around I have so much more creativity than when I'm trying to seriously write something. So my questions are:

Let me stop you right there. The questions were pretty nonsensical, what you actually want to know is how to get your stuff going when you're actually able to write it. Well, now there are a lot of exercises for "loosening your hand" so to speak, so that you can actually start putting stuff down on paper rather than sit there feeling miserable. However, I've found that often what happens is that people START feeling bad after a few moments of compositional ineptitude and that sets the tone for the rest of the attempt, which leads nowhere.

 

Instead, how about you take it less seriously? Just write down whatever, wherever, even if it's not "creative", since I highly doubt you are not creative in some fashion. In fact, I'm willing to bet you are being way too harsh on yourself for your own good. Let yourself write crap, dude, let yourself just suck at composing. That's the honest path forward, since eventually you'll have gotten all your trash out of the way and you can start writing cool stuff. That's just how it usually works with these creative things, so give it a shot. Don't stop writing, just write even if it sucks and don't set yourself up for "Failure" before you even start.

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Lately I work out a chord progression meticulously.  I start to create some accompanying parts. Then I get to the melody.  I just put my DAW on auto loop, mute, record new track. I just keep going.. eventually I start to get little phrases here and there.  Other times, I think of a melody or fragment I like, sing it, (or just make one up), and then let my fingers find the proper notes.  I record all this more or less continuously, no stops to analyze.   THE NEXT DAY.  I listen to all the takes. find a part or two in each take, I mute the rest of the notes. I end up with some nice ideas.  Then start to 'coalesce' them into something that actually sounds like I know what I'm doing. 

A surprising issue for me was, often I play something interesting, but not in the right place when playing in real time.  The next day.  I very clearly 'get' that if I move this riff 20 bars later, make a few individual note changes, to fit the current chords, it is clever (if I do say so myself)..  There are many many books and sources, of how to 'loosen' your mind to create a melody, or other part. Look into them..  I often just continue to improvise solo's, eventually I figure out little sections, that become defined, then it takes more work to fill in the other areas. 

If  get really desperate, I might take a melody from a midi file I've got, reverse it, chop it up, and lay it into my  piece, coax notes into the right rhythm, and modal scale.  and get some surprising results.  

I once heard a John Lennon practice cassette (someone uploaded online).  He was singing a line from what would be a future huge hit.  He took four of the main words in the line, and continually sang them with every variation you could think of - moving the first word up a 4th,  second word down a 2nd, etc.  He just kept doing this like a Rubic's cube, until one by one, he got the right notes on the right words for the melody he wanted.  That was a 'turning on of the light bulb' for me. 

I sometimes record a hand played melody into Logic, then on piano roll editor move the important notes around, sticking to the stronger notes of the scale, I,V,IV,III.  and then  move what I decide are the weaker notes to a 'passing tone'.  I soften the velocity and duration of these notes.  And what was kinda boring at first takes on an interesting twist..  

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