Composers' Forum

Music Composers Unite!

I find something extremely annoying when composing music and I'm just wondering if anyone else has the same problem! I don't even think there's really an answer to it, but, hey, you are all very intelligent people out there and may come up with some good advice! If not, then share my pain!


Whenever I'm writing a piece of music, I find that after a while I begin to think I've heard it before somewhere else. This doesn't really happen until very nearly completing it but it's very annoying as I lose all confidence in what I've just written and am tempted to leave it altogether. I guess this is happening because I'm listening to the work on my ipod all the time to work out my next moves to develop it and so it becomes (too!) familiar!


Does anyone else experience this? Of course getting people to listen to the work always helps - I keep asking my husband if he has heard it somewhere before but although he shares my passion for music, he has the memory of a little goldfish!


Hope your day has been filled with inspiration!


Beth Patterson



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A friend of mine was very comforting to me on this subject since starting this discussion. He said something very profound, well, actually it was a quote from Ecclesiastes in the Bible but I'm honestly not trying to comment on the other posts that are on Christianity/Atheism here although I am a Christian myself: 'There is nothing new under the sun'.
When it comes to me, you do have something there, Lennart, for sure. I've found that in my little pop, rock, and even 'jazz' pieces, about which I care far less than my classical ensembles, I pull off a considerably less obviously derivative result than in these latter, which I slave over every last detail of. Other than an innate lack of as much genuine creative power as I could have wanted ( had I been ASKED...), I guess some of the reason for it is exactly that lack of much concern about how it turns out in terms of intrinsic value. Those pieces for me are like musical tranquilizers: 'pop' one every now and then to get away from the stress, doodle your bottom lip for an hour or two, and then stop acting like a slacker and get back into the larger, harder world. But in that world, I've learned what lessons I HAVE learned maybe a little too well, and there's a constant, overriding fear in me of what the CEO's are going to think about what I've done, precisely as if I'm in process of committing a crime and all my efforts are only an attempt to cover it up. I TRY to take my own advice and come in by the front door honestly, but in my case I probably ought to be happy to have a foot in the building at all, however it got there.

i have aborted many many projects based on over familiarity and some times you dont realise it till someone outside of your bubble drops a bombshell and you scrap it and move on yet again.


a lot of it can be very subconscious as you listen to a vast amount of sounds and music without really noticing your absorbing elements that make perfect sense to you.sometimes a sound,a chord progression or a few subtle notes of melody.

even if you are somewhat a master with composition and possess a massive range of skills and technique,you cant always avoid it.


if after an extensive and long period of writing,you simply cannot write for copying other works,then you have to evaluate if you really compose as such at all or if it makes you a very good blender of sounds and 'feelings' through music you have fully taken in.

most very well known composers have written something which is derivative and everyone has used familair cliches as such that tie elements together or set a tone.

its the mission of breaking away from safe known areas that helps you slowly but surely define a new sound which belongs to you.doing this and making this discovery isnt something everyone can do or ever achieve.

identity is for me,the true key of a composer of note.if the work has feeling and description yet feels fresh,daring and new,then it tends to stand head and shoulders from everything else.

for me personally after 22 years,i still dont think i carved out a definite 'sound' or identity of my own.Having learned a lot of ways to accomplish a project or writing objective,i do share the concern that it might never arrive and ill stay firmly seated in the truly continental sized plains of mediocrity for the next 22 years lol. 


I find that when I keep in mind the thing that I'm describing or trying to say with a piece, no matter how similar it might be to other works it usually only reminds me of the thing I'm describing or trying to say.



Black Sabbath and Gods Intent: Personal taste isn't a rational qualifier to uniformly dismiss things as an affront to gods plan. unless you're taking on the mantle of godhead yourself.. in which case - thy will be done.

Oh jeeze.. a million responses since I started trying put that into a short succinct message. >.<

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