Composers' Forum

Music Composers Unite!

Or is it a myth ?

Did you ever dabble with any drugs and find that your compositions improved ?

I am including all legal and illegal, from caffeine upwards.

Does a cigarette help you to concentrate.

Did you write a great tune while stoned ?

And listen back to it the next day and decide it was garbage ?

Didn't the Beatles' music improve after they discovered weed (Rubber Soul) and LSD (Sgt Pepper etc) ?

Did composers of the classical period get high in German coffee parlours ?

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HAHAHA.  Turning the string bass into a wind instrument, and then a percussion instrument.

Drugs have aided musical innovation.

Jon Corelis said:

Watch out!  I am ripped on my afternoon double Greek coffee without sugar, and I could chew up a string bass and spit out the pieces.

They definitely aid the process of procrastination.

I think you've got a point, John - there are those who say that poetry should be "enjoyed" before it is/ rather than being studied. I think the same is definitelty true for Shakespeare, which is thrust upon us all at a certain age, but unlikely to be ever revisited.

Jon Corelis said:

The two phenomena, I think, are cause and effect.

Adrian Allan said:

Poetry is one of the only art forms that is studied in school, but for 99.9% of the adult population, never ever looked at again.I have digressed, too.

Well said! :)

Geoff Gallegos/Double G said:

They definitely aid the process of procrastination.

Hahahaha!  Touche!

Raymond Kemp said:

Let me add, if there were no procrastinators or prevaricators in the world, forums like this would not exist.

Where would we be without those who would rather talk than do and quote the experience of others as if, their own.

I'm only saying :D

Since Chris brought up process I will share this. I read something about Group Think recently. Here is the link Group Think
 The article talks about how Group Think is counter productive to creativity. I think what Chris is saying about slacking off and taking the time to smell daisy's is correct. I also believe that you need to get comfortable with the hermit inside and put the world on hold to accomplish large projects. If rolling one gets you in that state of mind it is indeed a tool but so is shutting off the TV tuning out and taking the time.


Chris Alpiar said:

I couldn't agree more Ray. The composer process must involve a mixture of discipline and executing but also plenty of time to "slack off" where we reflect on life those things that people often dont take the time to explore emotionally. Maybe they get a tear or a giggle in a movie or tv show, but thats about it these days. So part of our job is indeed, to live in our own fantasy, to explore mentally and emotionally parts of our world. And so being people that ALSO need the discipline and craft, often drugs (downers) can help us disassociate with the anxiety of producing results and drugs (uppers) can help us get to it when we aren't feeling it. Anything in excess is never good, whether its coffee or something more hard. So don't use this thread as an excuse to start injecting heroin directly in your jugular :P

I would never use this thread to start injecting into the jugular.  I would go to my ''local addiction centre for harm reduction'' and acquire a 2ml barrel, 1inch pin, a sachet of vitamin C powder, an alcohol swab, a filter, spoon and lighter.

Chris Alpiar said:

I couldn't agree more Ray. The composer process must involve a mixture of discipline and executing but also plenty of time to "slack off" where we reflect on life those things that people often dont take the time to explore emotionally. Maybe they get a tear or a giggle in a movie or tv show, but thats about it these days. So part of our job is indeed, to live in our own fantasy, to explore mentally and emotionally parts of our world. And so being people that ALSO need the discipline and craft, often drugs (downers) can help us disassociate with the anxiety of producing results and drugs (uppers) can help us get to it when we aren't feeling it. Anything in excess is never good, whether its coffee or something more hard. So don't use this thread as an excuse to start injecting heroin directly in your jugular :P

Now I haven't read through all the replies so maybe someone has said this before but I think drugs may aid in an awakening process for the person in a whole, and give a lot of inspiration. However I think that one should strive to have that inspiration without drugs.

Also, David Lucas Burge says that people's perfect pitch abilities tend to diminish after using drugs so it's probably not a good idea to take drugs extensively.

I will usually drink a fair amount of tea whilst composing. Especially green tea and peppermint tea. I find they help me stay focused. I've never tried composing under the influence of other substances.

I have used LSD, Mushrooms, Marijuana, and Caffeine.

Marijuana: I occasionally get high to listen to my work and add notes above the parts I want to modify. Marijuana increases my sensitivity to sound and the (emotional) expression of my work. For example, instrument overtones becomes more prominent. Subtleties brightly pop out at me that I normally would not have noticed, and voila, a new idea is born. Sometimes I realize mistakes I made can be turned into new ideas. I don't compose while high. It doesn't put me in that state of mind.

LSD/Mushrooms: I have never composed while tripping before, and I don't think I could. LSD/Mushrooms increase my sensitivity to sound more so than marijuana, but not in a useful way. I have to agree with what Calle Edlund stated. Both have aided me in an awakening process as a whole. They are just another way of experiencing, which brings up new opportunities to learn. I would like to note that LSD increases my sensitivity to the outside world, while mushrooms increases my sensitivity to my inside world, which can give two different experiences for the same piece of music.

Caffeine: does not increase my sensitivity to sound, but can cause me to expertly focus on my work, for an hour or two.

So, to answer the question: "Can drugs aid in the process of composition?"

Answer: You will have to do some experimenting if you want to find out.

Chase,

Good sleep and exercise are also huge experience enhancers and will improve your brain instead of messing it up.  Coffee also meets with my approval, albeit being highly addictive.

Have you heard Bach's Coffee Cantata?  In it, Schlendrian, trying to keep his daughter away from drinking coffee, promises her the only thing she could possibly want more than coffee, namely, "ein Mann".  And she responds "Ein Mann!  Heute noch!  Heute noch!" (Still today!  Still today!  She wants him delivered still today!  By drone.) "Lieber Vater, tut es doch!" (Dear Father, do that, do that!)

Here's a link, so you can learn to pronounce "Heute noch!"

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Hi1PY0N3iGs

I'll have to dig the link to Bach's Anti-Drugs Arias and get back to you later.

Mariza

Mariza,

I agree with you: sleeping well, exercise, and I'd like to add: meditation, open mindedness, and mindfulness are also huge experience enhancers which will improve one's brain. And there are plenty more. But the question asked by the OP was about drugs, thus my narrower answer. 

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