Published on June 24th, 2012 | by Tom10
Earthbound – How I Wrote A Song Without Any Inspiration
A week or so ago I wrote a post that asked ‘Is it possible to write a song without inspiration’.
Yesterday, I tried to answer that question.
You see I’m trying to release 52 new pieces of music this year – one a week. After spending the start of the year mixing old recordings and finishing off half-done projects, I’m now at the stage where I have to write new music.
Come 7pm yesterday, I had literally nothing for this week’s music. Not a thing.
I was determined to meet my arbitrary, self imposed deadline though – was going to do it! In 30 minutes I created a new song from scratch, without any inspiration or flash of insight.
I picked two chord shapes, tweaking them on the guitar until I had two that I don’t think I’ve played before:
I recorded a bar of each, picked as an arpeggio, into Reaper. I then looped this for about 6 minutes.
Step 2. Layers
I recorded three extra layers. First a second guitar part, using the same chords but in a different voicing. This I looped along with the first.
Next I recorded a synth part, then a strings part. Both of these were played into Reaper using a cheap guitar to midi interface I have called the Sonuus G2M. These were improvised, at random but staying in key. I made sure I stuck to atmospherics and left lots of gaps
Step 3. Lyrics
I had no idea what I was going to write about. I didn’t want that to stop me, so i spent a while messing around with the MUSE tools over at www.fawm.org and google translate. This are great fund. Put some random words into ‘lyricloud’ – copy the results into google translate, translate through several languages then back into English and hey presto, randomised words that are kind of connected.
I then sang the result into Reaper, improvising a melody as I went. When I heard a line I liked I repeated it.
Here’s the result of all that, free to download if you’d like a copy. 52 Things #17, Earthbound:
Is it the best song I’ve ever written? Maybe not, but it works and I’m happy with it. And not once did I feel inspired – it was all hard work and craft. It was improvised and sounds it, but it is a genuine piece of music that works.
Have you ever written a song to a deadline, without feeling inspired? Use the comments to share!
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