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Old 01-03-2019, 10:02 PM
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Default Avoiding fizzling out when composing

I get a tune going well, section a is good, section b is usually smaller and ok and then section C just fizzles out and I look for a way to end prematurely and the tune doesn't really reach where I was trying to go. How do you deal with this?
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Old 01-03-2019, 11:11 PM
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Spend more time on developing a tune. Some come fairly quickly but most don't. Resist the urge to crank things out to the public prematurely.
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Old 01-04-2019, 04:21 AM
Mandobart Mandobart is offline
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I'm not a composer and not much of a writer at all, but there are many great tunes with just an A and B part. No C, no bridge. Its definitely not a requirement. Think about everything by John Prine, most of Dylan's songs, a lot of Paul Simon, etc.
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Old 01-04-2019, 07:57 AM
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When I was studying composition, my professor said that composition was something that had to be exercised. You have to do it and do it often. Some days you get diamonds, some days you get rust. But do it. So, when I get three quarters and fizzle, I drop the current project and work on something else until a legitimate finish arrives for the first. Then I go back to the project. Otherwise your compositions are limited by the low quality of the material during your fizzles.

When I'm composing to a deadline, say for a score or something, the time between the first attempt and the brick wall and the second and completion may be short because of the deadline, but it needs to happen. You need space when you hit a wall. You also need to be able to relax and forgive yourself for not being perfect and getting it all at the same time because nothing closes the creative tap like frustration with yourself.

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Old 01-04-2019, 08:19 AM
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Good ideas everyone, thanks.
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Old 01-04-2019, 08:28 AM
Nymuso Nymuso is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rick-slo View Post
Resist the urge to crank things out to the public prematurely.
I have one I've been working on since 1972. Any day now . . . .
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Old 01-04-2019, 08:48 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rick-slo View Post
Spend more time on developing a tune. Some come fairly quickly but most don't. Resist the urge to crank things out to the public prematurely.
I think this is the one so far that hits the nail on the head. With my stuff, I don't feel a need for a C section, although one might arrive unexpectedly! If I'm stuck, I'll work on the A section for potentially quite a while. Maybe a little theory to more clearly figure out what I'm into.......but mostly it's taking advantage of time, mood, moments and repetition to move things along. Mostly a LOT of repetition until this unlocks the pathway I'm looking for. No rush. Record the A section on your phone so you don't lose it. Use time away from the guitar to hum or visualize what you have already in place.

Time of day might help.....if you compose always at one time of the day (evening?)change that up and see what happens. Some of my stuff has come along directly as a result of playing in a different physical space, or even outside in good weather. A glass of wine (or 2) can also do wonders!
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Old 01-04-2019, 10:06 AM
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My songwriting duo partner tells about the song that took him 20 minutes to write. 10 minutes one day, and 10 minutes 10 years later.
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Old 01-04-2019, 11:32 AM
FrankHudson FrankHudson is offline
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As has already been mentioned, there's no international treaty that says you have to have a C section.

But if you want one, and are stumped, there are little rule/idea things you can try just to see if something works for a piece: play another section again, but reverse the cadence. Modulate to a new key, including the old favorite switching major to minor or vice versa. The same chord progression, but change one chord. Change the rhythm, not the harmony. Drop the top line melody and just play the bass/lower end notes for a section....There are more of course. There's even the Brian Eno Oblique Stategy cards which tend to be more philosophical/approach-ish.

And when you try one of these things it may sound absolutely wrong, but reacting to that can still break you out of your rut in a different direction.
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Old 01-04-2019, 12:57 PM
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This issue applies to all types of composition, whether music, fiction, poetry, etc.

Sometimes, after working hard and concentrating on a composition, you hit a wall or "fizzle out" temporarily. I just put it aside and let my subconscious play with it for a while. Then I revisit it later with an open, curious, positive attitude. Then repeat as necessary.

Like others, I have stuff that came together quickly and some (a lot) still waiting for me to complete. I try to enjoy the process and not get frustrated.
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Old 01-04-2019, 05:20 PM
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Great stuff, thanks again everyone!
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Barry

Avalon L2-220C, Gibson J-45, Guild D-55, Guild D-120ce, Larrivee OM-05, Martin D-16GT

Alvarez AP66SB, Seagull Coastline Folk, Washburn D-10S,

Lucero LC-100 classical



Barry's tunes on ReverbNation


One of mine, "Nameless":

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