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bananasv3

I can't extend my scores without relying on existing music

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Hello! It's my first post here, I hope I'll find this community comfortable to stay 😄

So, I am a very amateur composer, I have a lot of "experience" with music, since all my life I've been listening to and playing instruments, my father is a songwriter and singer, my brother is a videogame composer, and I've always been quite interested in music. Recently, after meddling in MuseScore for a few months, I got the chance to write some music for some indie, new amateur game developers, and while they absolutely loved my compositions (even though I, myself, think they are quite mediocre) they did notice that they were quite short, and I would need to extend them a bit.

Now, I am no expert composer, and while I always try to make up my music off the top of my head, it's unavoidable to look to inspiration (for me, Martin O'Donnell and Yoko Shimomura are the ones), but when I try to extend those scores, I realise that it always ends up sounding like music from other composers, instead of something original made by myself.

I've been blocked because of this issue, because no matter how much I wait, or how much I focus I can't seem to extend those pieces without falling back into what has already been done by professionals.

Don't get me wrong, I know that making something 100% original is very difficult, but most of the time it's really easy to see that the music I make sounds very similar to those other pieces, and I feel like I should be able to do better.

What can I do to help make my scores sound a bit more unique? I have been blocked for quite some time now 😕

Thanks in advance!

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5 hours ago, bananasv3 said:

I can't seem to extend those pieces without falling back into what has already been done by professionals.

Welcome to the industry. You'll find yourself thinking this a lot, then eventually going, "eh, fuck it". This is pretty standard for most art, let alone music.

Compositionally speaking, find ways to transform your melodies, through augmentation, segmentation, or diminution and extending melodic fragments with portions of new melody to keep the familiarity in new contexts. 

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I would say to think about what parts of your music you're truly happy with, and think about why. Analyze them and consider what makes them sound different from the composers you mentioned. Then, as Monarcheon suggested, expand on those ideas that are uniquely yours. Explore them from as many angles as possible. And, when possible, use the basic elements that you consider to be uniquely yours to create new material.

Of course, nothing's really original. Hardly anything, anyway. But I look at the making of music as one big conversation, and while what you have to say may be similar to what others have already said, the point of view is uniquely yours.

Sincerely,

Someone Who's Not That Great At Composing

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Hey thanks for your tips! I felt like, even if nothing's truly original, my scores were too close to copying others, but I will take your advice and work on the parts of my music that truly feel "unique" and see if with some effort I can improve on my own work. Hope you have a nice day 😄 

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It's all about imagination. In a way, you have to think outside the box: try new harmonic areas, consider different ideas of melody (what is melody anyways?), look at taking simple techniques and expanding them into something truly worthwhile, and -most importantly- identify the solutions to problems that work for you and add that into your play book. Hope that helps.

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I would say that, although you think your music sounds too much like other people's works, thats probably because you know where exactly the inspiration came from. Most people won't associate what you did with your inspirations, and even the fact that you got inspiration from THOSE specific places already makes everything somewhat unique.

I say that because I used to feel exactly the same way you did, and when I showed my music to my teacher or friends, they would point out the places I felt the less inventive as being nice-sounding or well-placed. Thruth is your inspirations probably borrowed what they have from somewhere else, and you only think they are so original because they managed to mix it all in a way that's concise.

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1 hour ago, Luis Hernández said:

Many times, I don't feel the need to expand my scores. The music is what is, and if short, I don't mind, If I feel it is "complete". 

 

I guess the problem is that he needs longer music for the soundtrack. If that's not the case, I completely agree with you.

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Hey everyone, thanks for the advice. As Jean said, as the scores were for a soundtrack, some of the pieces needed to be extended. While some were simple enough that would be looped, others were supposed to last between 2 and 3 minutes, while my original scores would last around a minute, 90 seconds at max. I've been reviewing all of my "finished" themes to see  what I can do in other themes to make them longer. Again, now I'm worried that this will just make all my scores feel the same, but I'm putting in all my efforts to make sure it doesn't happen.

When I finish, I will upload it to this website and see your opinions. Have a nice day! c:

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