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Old 01-05-2021, 05:47 PM
TBman TBman is online now
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Default How do you name your instrumental tunes?

Now that I'll be home more I will have more time for my attempts at composing.

Using the tuning and number sequence is fine for me, but not if I want to share some things. Many of the things I write are just made up out of thin air... there's no real external inspiration which starts my process so most of the time I'm at a loss for naming ideas. What do you do?
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  #2  
Old 01-05-2021, 06:32 PM
FrankHudson FrankHudson is offline
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Although my current project is entirely based around melding music with words, I spend about a decade concentrating on guitar-based "Instrumentals." So even if music and words is my current thing, music without words sometimes resists titling.

I think I was somewhat influenced in naming them by what I know of the practice of modern Jazz composers and players in naming their tunes. In many cases the titles used on records were somewhat casually applied, or supplied by someone in the studio not even the bandleader. I think sometimes of the live piece played by the electric-band Miles Davis that was released with the title "Call It Anything."

I sometimes named the tunes based on something I was dealing with, or thinking about when I wrote or improvised the tune. Other times I would use whatever description made sense to me about the way the music turned out.

To a potential listener the later might guide them to listen to it The former are often mysterious, but even that can intrigue a listener.
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Old 01-05-2021, 06:47 PM
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From some idea I had when starting the composition.
eg "Pinky Bee","Hannah and Her Chickens"

From the mood of the piece
eg "Nowhere to Run", "Felicity", "In The Mists of Time"

From the general structure, tempo and types of chords.
"Bossame", "Sustain Me"

etc.
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Old 01-05-2021, 07:43 PM
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I like to name mine from the feeling of a person, place or thing that the tune reminds me of. Like "Riverside Cakewalk" or "Franklin's Rag"
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Old 01-05-2021, 07:49 PM
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I had a fool-proof system for a while - I'd play a new tune for my wife, and she'd tell me what the name should be. Then one day I didn't like one of her names and didn't use it... Now she won't give me any more names :-)

Ideally, the tune is inspired by something, and that prompts a name.

One cute story I recall came from Chris Proctor (I think), who said he came up with names by going to the tea aisle at the grocery store, giving him names like "Morning Thunder" and "Evening Delight" and so on. A bit new agey...

You can always use the classical approach: Opus #2, Movement 11, or Prelude in Em.
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Old 01-05-2021, 09:11 PM
Brent Hahn Brent Hahn is offline
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I don't have too many instrumentals, but I was asked to submit a potential theme for a PBS show. While I was still writing it, my wife and I went to the kind of jampacked family gathering where my brother-in-law always mentally teleports to a more peaceful planet. So the piece was called "the Ernie Zone."
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Old 01-05-2021, 10:20 PM
The Bard Rocks The Bard Rocks is offline
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Many of mine eventually find names, but more are untitled. Once in a while I will have the name selected before the music, as in my series using names of US Presidents from NY ("Chester Arthur's Jig" "the Millard Fillmore Strut"...)
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Old 01-06-2021, 07:01 PM
Brent Hahn Brent Hahn is offline
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I played bass on a band's record a long time ago, and they had a stack of chord charts with titles, didn't think too much about it. At the end of the last session, I asked about the title of a really pretty ballad called "P.N.O."

"Oh -- that's Phil's New One."
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Old 01-06-2021, 08:19 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TBman View Post
Now that I'll be home more I will have more time for my attempts at composing.

Using the tuning and number sequence is fine for me, but not if I want to share some things. Many of the things I write are just made up out of thin air... there's no real external inspiration which starts my process so most of the time I'm at a loss for naming ideas. What do you do?
I have a theory; there's no such thing as "thin air" when inspiration causes you to compose a new tune.

In my own experience the name usually reveals itself when you give it a bit of time and the opportunity to reveal itself.
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Old 01-08-2021, 08:36 AM
j3ffr0 j3ffr0 is offline
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I will mostly name them for what was on my mind most when I wrote the song. I'm usually happy with the results of that approach (but not always). I have a few songs that have been around a long time that are still struggling to find names. One of them has been around over 30 years.
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Old 01-08-2021, 10:43 AM
Brent Hahn Brent Hahn is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by j3ffr0 View Post
I will mostly name them for what was on my mind most when I wrote the song. I'm usually happy with the results of that approach (but not always).
You might have to rename that song you wrote yesterday. Especially if you had the TV on.
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Old 01-08-2021, 11:00 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TBman View Post
Now that I'll be home more I will have more time for my attempts at composing.

Using the tuning and number sequence is fine for me, but not if I want to share some things. Many of the things I write are just made up out of thin air... there's no real external inspiration which starts my process so most of the time I'm at a loss for naming ideas. What do you do?
For a while I liked the Latin name of plants, but I would forget them. One piece had a descending scale I liked so I named it “Cascade”.
But usually my recording ends up being the date of the recording. super lame. but Im not very good, and nobody is listening anyway.
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Old 01-08-2021, 01:09 PM
Howard Emerson Howard Emerson is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TBman View Post
Now that I'll be home more I will have more time for my attempts at composing.

Using the tuning and number sequence is fine for me, but not if I want to share some things. Many of the things I write are just made up out of thin air... there's no real external inspiration which starts my process so most of the time I'm at a loss for naming ideas. What do you do?
Hi Barry,
For me it's usually something quite obvious that will get the ball rolling.

For instance: The first time I wrote something in open D, capo 2, the root of which was the V chord, I knew the piece was 'cross tuned'. I thought about the word 'cross', and figured the song wasn't mad at anything, so maybe it was 'crossing' something. I like alliteration, and had recently visited a friend whose summer home was in Crystal Lake, NY, hence Crossing Crystal Lake.

The same friend, Andy Pitt, heard a jaunty piece I'd written and he said "Howard, that is great walking music!" Hence 'Keep Walkin'.

On my new CD (thank you for the purchase!) the opening tune has me frailing the upbeats with the back of my nail. I just made up a word because I needed a title, and Frailure Is The Option resulted.

Number Three was already named by Ben Harper, but I made it work by making it the 3rd track. I have no clue why he named it that.

Loki's Lament was easy because the song sounded sad, and alliteratively our big male cat had the right name. I tell people he's lamenting not having opposable thumbs for opening food cans when he wants to.

You get the picture. Don't think too much about it.

Howard
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Old 01-08-2021, 03:23 PM
TBman TBman is online now
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I'm going to try picking a name first, and then write to fit. Let's see how that works out.

Howard, your CD has been promoted to the official "car CD," great stuff. I was wondering about "Number 3."
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https://soundcloud.com/barry329

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  #15  
Old 01-08-2021, 03:44 PM
Howard Emerson Howard Emerson is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TBman View Post
I'm going to try picking a name first, and then write to fit. Let's see how that works out.

Howard, your CD has been promoted to the official "car CD," great stuff. I was wondering about "Number 3."
Hi Barry,
Thank you for the promotion!

As far as getting the title before the tune goes: That's going to be a tough row to hoe for an instrumental, but hey: Ya neva know.

Best,
Howard
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