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What is musical inspiration?

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MusicalRocky
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What is musical inspiration? 2009-05-24 13:25:37 Reply

Do you ever ask yourself this question? I often wonder, and ask myself how I get ideas, and even how others get better ideas (though not in an envious way.) I especially wonder this in times such as these, when I have a writer's block. Perhaps it's like people asking what causes an economic boom when they are experiencing a recession. When something is lacking, you begin to wonder about its actual essence.

What do you think causes musical inspiration? Do you view music as all science, frequencies and wavelengths and timbres and acoustics? Or maybe it's just all mathematical to you, the structure of chords and the tempos and the rhythms.

Or is music a more divine, emotional thing to you, representing something intangible and sacred? If so, where do you believe musical ideas come from? Of course, some (like me) believe music comes directly from God or a similar entity, and thus we have no power over musical inspiration, except perhaps to pray for it. But if not from God, where does it come from? And, another thought, why are there long droughts, periods of time with no inspiration at all?

I don't know, I was just seriously wondering about all this, and I'm interested to hear thoughts.

loansindi
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Response to What is musical inspiration? 2009-05-24 13:36:34 Reply

honestly, any time i actually complete a song it's because I engineered it.

I mean, this is the way it is for most of my projects, not just music. I have to be aware of the key, of my chord structure and how the melody is interacting with the bass and how this instrument sounds over that and can I fit this rhythm into this time signature and so on and so forth.

Music doesn't just happen.

not for me
Phoog
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Response to What is musical inspiration? 2009-05-24 14:04:34 Reply

You get an initial idea and then, for most people I would believe, other more broad ideas grow from this. Notes and rhythms in your head, then you try to put them into some medium, whether it be a DAW or an instrument.

The first initial idea would vary for different people. Often for me it's ideas from stuff I listen to or have heard.

I guess some of it can be "science" though. For example, if I made a synth with this melody and it sounded great. If I then applied the same melody with a different synth, one of the notes might not harmonise like it did in the first place. I know why it'd do that, but I can't explain it.

MrSaint
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Response to What is musical inspiration? 2009-05-24 14:09:49 Reply

Don't know, but when I do music, I got the feeling, that my soul is leading me somewhere, to a solution. Of course you cannot manage without certan techniques, but I imagine music, as something more than technique, something, where you must think and create for yourself.

AlexCo
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Response to What is musical inspiration? 2009-05-24 14:13:28 Reply

I just listen to loads of the genre, and create a track when I want to. Like Bjra's Motive where you don't Push yourself to finish a track.

To me it just causes a block.

kristofori
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Response to What is musical inspiration? 2009-05-24 14:20:33 Reply

At 5/24/09 01:36 PM, loansindi wrote: Music doesn't just happen.

Music very emotional (not necessarily emo ;) ). If you look at history some (if not most) of the greatest western composers had very emotional lives (think Mozart and his relationship with his father.) I think emotion is a huge part of the process of writing music. Music expresses emotion in a very unique way. Yes, music is math and a science in of itself, but I think the inspiration starts with an emotion or a feeling and then depending on your attention to that seed of inspiration and your knowledge of the applied science of music (theory), it can turn into something amazing and beautiful.

Before I started studying tonality in school, I would write out melodic lines on the piano that I had in my head and then I wouldn't know what to do with it. It just sat on a piece of paper and while I could hear the harmonies, variations and embellishments on that melodic idea I didn't know how to get to turn that idea into a complete piece. Learning counterpoint and voice leading while taking songwriting has helped me tremendously to figure out a procedure for getting from point a to point b where now expounding on a musical idea isn't as impossible as it was before.

So music is a lot of things, but in the end I believe it's a reflection of the musician in a different reality. In reply to the original poster's statement that they believe the inspiration comes from God: I believe God is a part of you and that you will get inspiration when you're in tune with that energy. I'm not a mainline monotheist, I believe "God" is in everything and is not a physical him or her out floating on a cloud somewhere. I believe you are limiting yourself to the endless possibilities that await you if you think you have to pray to God and beg for inspiration. I think when we are the most inspired is when we've tapped into that infinite consciousness that we are all apart of and it manifests itself through us as music in our heads. At that point, it is our job to get it out into our dimension of reality.

Sorry to go so deep on you, but you had to ask. :) This is actually something I really want to get into later on in my educational career, so I've done a lot of thinking about this as well. I'd say if you are lacking inspiration, go to the places/see the people/do the things that you've found yourself the most inspired. Inspiration can be found anywhere, you just have to look for it. Instead of sitting in front of your computer or piano waiting for something to come, go out into the world and look for the emotion you're trying to capture. When you've found it, try to take it home with you. Personally, I try to capture that emotion by writting in my journal or writting a short story, then I try to put that feeling into a single musical idea. After I have the idea in notation, I expound on it. That's my block-breaker, but whatever works for you, ya know?

Fuoco
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Response to What is musical inspiration? 2009-05-24 14:44:32 Reply

At 5/24/09 01:25 PM, MusicalRocky wrote: What do you think causes musical inspiration? Do you view music as all science, frequencies and wavelengths and timbres and acoustics? Or maybe it's just all mathematical to you, the structure of chords and the tempos and the rhythms.

Or is music a more divine, emotional thing to you, representing something intangible and sacred?

Musical inspiration on its own it's mainly emotional for me. There's usually melodies looping in my head after certain precipitant factors, such as rain, magic thinking, solitude, or simply being relaxed. Everything else you mentioned comes in later, during the actual composition and final production.

Of course, sometimes you cannot afford such luxury if you have deadlines to meet. In this "Power of Three", for example, we'll have to compose a lot of songs in a short period of time and I won't wait until it starts raining. Which means musical inspiration also come from rewards or even stress.

I suposse it depends on how each of us work.

And, another thought, why are there long droughts, periods of time with no inspiration at all?

I suposse it's the same with any kind of study. There's moments in which you just can't study anymore because you can't process the information as anyone normally would, you're overloading your brain with the same information. All you need is a period of time doing something completely different. Or else, you might get Alzheimer :o


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Jewelz123
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Response to What is musical inspiration? 2009-05-24 20:18:12 Reply

usually porn does the trick for me :)

EmperorCharlemagne
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Response to What is musical inspiration? 2009-05-24 20:30:46 Reply

Everyone has their own path to song or music writing.

For me, often it would start as a small lietmotif or mini-melody, that I would like to expand upon with chords and other progressions, and that is fine for writing strictly tonal music with melodies and bass lines and all that wonderfully Romantic stuff.

I find as of late that my inspiration comes from a lot of reflection on what music is, and especially what music has come to be in the modern era, at least in the 'classical' sense of music. I have been rather depressed as of late about the path Western music has taken, where total serialism and aleatory music have had musical progression in a death grip for so long, that trying to make tonal music is pointless.

I still haven't answered such beliefs, and I wish I would, but a lot of these reflections cause me to wonder on the nature of music and what it can really do; what one can really do with INSTRUMENTS and the like, as opposed to recklessly experimenting with electronic sounds and experimental 'instruments' simply because there is nothing left to do but pointlessly experiment.

I guess you could call that inspiration in one way or another.


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Psil0
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Response to What is musical inspiration? 2009-05-25 00:44:20 Reply

Musical inspiration for me comes from outside forces, when I'm not involved trying to write something I'm able to absorb the most amount of inspiration. Then when I go back to try and write something new, it becomes a refreshing experience. By trying not to push myself to write a new song every single day, I allow my mind to refresh itself and absorb new ideas. So writing a new song for me can take weeks and even months, just because its so necessary for me to have breaks.

To summarize it, inspiration for me comes from pushing myself away from writing music for a short time and then coming back to it.

Music inspiration is the equivalency of everything you absorb consciously and subconsciously in which you use to create music.

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Response to What is musical inspiration? 2009-05-25 00:49:53 Reply

I listen to a single mix/track over and over again until I can hear it in my head. Then, I do my best to put what I'm hearing inside my DAW. Usually it comes out somewhere close to the intended genre.

The other possibility is that I'm messing around programming synths (which I've been doing somewhat less of lately), and I find something cool to build a track around.

Either way, nothing to do with emotions, divinity, history, or any of that. It's all just about improving my skills and using time productively.

Khuskan
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Response to What is musical inspiration? 2009-05-25 01:02:13 Reply

I find the best way of getting inspiration to make new tracks is by working with a load of different people to make them, maybe a new vocalist or guitarist. Take their ideas and produce them :-)

...also drugs.

HungarianSupermarket
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Response to What is musical inspiration? 2009-05-25 07:15:30 Reply

A lot of my music that I actually bother to complete is inspired by a certain person who is very close to me. So I guess you just need to care about something or someone enough.

And a lot of the stuff I don't bother to complete is just me screwing around making noise when I am bored.

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Firebalt
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Response to What is musical inspiration? 2009-05-25 08:05:25 Reply

I think inspiration is a funny word. I guess I would consider Inspiration a combination of every piece of music that i listen to and take things from. As well as the things I practice. I notice when I write it's usually inspired by something I've heard and my mood at the time usually reflects how I play it.
I come from a rock background but when I was committed to practicing Jazz everyday then the things i wrote all turned out with elements of the things I'd practiced.


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MJTTOMB
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Response to What is musical inspiration? 2009-05-25 08:10:28 Reply

At 5/25/09 08:05 AM, Firebalt wrote: I think inspiration is a funny word. I guess I would consider Inspiration a combination of every piece of music that i listen to and take things from. As well as the things I practice. I notice when I write it's usually inspired by something I've heard and my mood at the time usually reflects how I play it.
I come from a rock background but when I was committed to practicing Jazz everyday then the things i wrote all turned out with elements of the things I'd practiced.

I'd agree with this. In terms of writing, a lot of the time it's good to use another artist as inspiration and start off with the goal of imitating them to a small extent while retaining some of your own style, until you feel comfortable enough to break off of that resource and work from your on compositional chops.


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LewisandJenkins
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Response to What is musical inspiration? 2009-05-25 20:41:37 Reply

You know when you listen to a great song and say, "Hey I want to sound like that."

You take that passion, make something completely irrelevant cause' you're dicking around and BAM you got musical inspiration.

KrisSumara
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Response to What is musical inspiration? 2009-05-26 14:44:06 Reply

To be honest I make my songs out of luck or skill, motley luck. My song "Emotions" took to much little time but yet it is a good song. I got the inspiration from my girlfriend and well I just took out the emotions and put them into the song. The other way I make my music the dark side of music production really, since I have a serious addiction to caffeine I usually drink 3L of energy drinks, and in Poland, where I live its like 12z%u0142 which is 4-5$ in the US, so for 4-5$ I get 3 LITERS of pure suger and caffeine, I drink it all and sit on my laptop for hours and hours, I usually listen to music similar to what I am making and make the music I produced. I would not recommend doing it since its bad for your health to drink that much energy and sitting that many hours on a chair.


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btriangle
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Response to What is musical inspiration? 2009-05-26 18:18:41 Reply

two words, the soul.