©2017 by Arpeggio Creative.

Limit to beat creative blocks

February 20, 2018



Recently I got stuck creating music. It was absolutely bizarre. For some reason everything I was doing seemed boring.


This was mainly because I was overthinking everything. When creating music, I would start with a riff, but get bored quickly (because I was rushing to get to the next bit) and start to complicate the structure of the music, add too many instruments and make the parts too busy, then I’d try to over-engineer the sounds by adding way too many effects to try to create interest that way. Of course, in the end it just sounded terrible. For me, the particular problem was structuring my music. I kept wanting to create really busy structures, thinking that would make everything much more interesting. 


The reality is that the music just comes out confused.


So what did I do? I simplified and used some classic structures like Ternary and Rondo. 


I went back to basics with making music. I’d choose a lead instrument or group which would define the feel of the piece (for example, acoustic guitar, or string quartet) and I concentrated on writing a really great 8 bar section. I also used the Ternary form for instrumental music. This is a really easy structure, which is just A - B - A.


What happened was I suddenly wasn’t being overloaded with ideas and the music came out great! It naturally developed as I recorded one part, making clear what my next move should be! I also expanded on that simple structure by adding an intro and outro, and some short C and D sections. It was a harsh reminder to start small, and let the music guide you. 


If you’ve ever been stuck creating instrumental music, try choosing one instrument and compose an 8 bar A section, then an 8 bar B section, then simply repeat A (perhaps with an additional instrument). You’ll be amazing at how much you focus on the quality of the composition and it’ll come out great!


What have you found causes you problems when creating music? Have you ever had a creative block? Let me know in the comments!

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