Is it time constraints? Not knowing how to technically do what you want to do? Not knowing enough theory?  Notation? Cant afford the programs you need?

Feel like your composing in a vacuum, and no one hears or cares?

Music sound too dated, simple, derivative etc?

Whatever it is we ALL have stumbling blocks that we need to navigate in order to get our music done..

Whats yours, and how you try and work around it?

Thanks Bob https://soundcloud.com/bob-morabito

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  • My biggest stumbling block is my own perfectionist, perfect melancholy personality, and the struggle between trying to be a independent minded, shut me away from the world and let me work mentality vs. the human side which pretends to be a functioning member of society. I could go deeper into the subject, but my goals and personality have always been my biggest restraint both professionally and personally.      

  • Thanks so much for your honesty and openness.. Id appreciate it very much if you would go deeper into the subject.

    I hope Im understanding correctly, but it seems you're saying you're only comfortable, and would rather be, in a space occupied solely by you and your music, and that you feel uneasy and fake it in public. This is very understandable for many of us, but for myself I embrace the "outside world" of loving family, friends etc and enjoy it for the treasure it is, and also as a kind of "counterpoint" to my composing space..

    and I take back experiences, feelings, impressions from this that find their way into my music.

    Is this basically it, or did I totally misunderstand?  Again, please share more..

    Thanks so much Bob https://soundcloud.com/bob-morabito

  • but other than that......

    :) :) :)

    1) I do not have sufficient training and skill to notate or in other ways indicate what I would like.

    Hi Fredrick-- 

    I heard a bunch of your music here, and its really good--

    so how are you doing it now?

    If its all in a DAW then I would take your favorite, and hopefully simplest piece, export a Midi file (or XML)  from where you recorded the piece in a DAW, and then open that in a Notation program.

    If its a midi file, when the sounding notation matches your DAW file, then look at how it looks in the notation program--you already know how the piece sounds, so just try and associate how it looks with how it sounds, and  hopefully its a beginning.

    Then In addition to simply messing around in the notation program and entering some notes, and see what results you get-again just to get the feel of what it looks and sounds like,  Id also look online for pieces you really like that open natively in your Notation Program, or are in Music xml format so you can easily open them, without having to go thru importing a midi file which would need some work.  Again all to see what it looks and sounds like.

    2) I am not sure what I would like my music to sound like. The target keeps moving.

    Is it possible to at least define what harmonic language youd most like to use? For example, triads, or dissonant etc..

    From there we could find out what MAKES what you like sound that way--intervals used, etc--and youd at least have the letters of the alphabet to form words in your musical voice..again, Its hopefully a start!

    3) I lack imagination and originality therefore merely ape other composers who have made significant statements.

    We all start by aping or copying composers we like, to one degree or another..its a starting point, and then by trial and error change at thing or two, and you might hear your own musical voice coming thru...little by little

    Hope this helps in some way Fredrick:)

    Thanks Bob https://soundcloud.com/bob-morabito

  • Hi Bob, I am off on sick leave for the first time with depression etc...  And part of the depression is that I have always had a compulsion to compose, it helps me deal with depression.  I do have a family and kids etc but find composing is my own source of validation more than family life.  

    At the moment I have written over 400 pieces, and have them uploaded onto my own website (www.thewrittennote.co.uk) and have had one or two performed over the last decade.  Before then I was too emotionally vulnerable in the pieces to tell anyone about them.  I was in a professional early music group for 10 years and non of my other musicians/friends new about my composing.  

    I have had one piece on a comercially available recording but I had to pay for the service a couple of thousand pounds.  The company (Parma) are very good and they want to promote me and mine but since they have to make money as well, it will only work with funding from other sources.  

    Self promotion as I think you will glean from above is not one of the things that I find easy (like a lot of us) so the gap between the number of pieces and seeing any of them played seems ever widening, leading me to question what the hell I am doing.  Hence aspects (though not all) of my current depression.  

    But I also have this compulsion so I continue to write.  Circles.

    Nearby to where I live there is an art festival where over 200 artists (sculptures painters etc) come together to attract buyers and outside interest.

    I have often pondered (gloomily) on the fact that composers would need hundreds of musicians for such an event to happen.  Though I have thought about having a string quartet weekend, where I get 3 or 4 string quartets together with composers, maybe 6 to 8 composers with an evening concert and workshops on pieces that the general public could wander around in and then come to the evening concert.  All in a serious but accessible way, with people able to come and go from different rehearsal venues and composers having an hour with a couple of quartets.  Then in the evening the quartets would perform a couple of the pieces and then maybe combine to form a string orchestra to some larger works.

    Any road, good discussion so far, and sorry for the ramblings above.

    Cheers.  Jim 

  • Hi Bob, I am off on sick leave for the first time with depression etc...  And part of the depression is that I have always had a compulsion to compose, it helps me deal with depression.  I do have a family and kids etc but find composing is my own source of validation more than family life...... 

    Self promotion as I think you will glean from above is not one of the things that I find easy (like a lot of us) so the gap between the number of pieces and seeing any of them played seems ever widening, leading me to question what the hell I am doing.  Hence aspects (though not all) of my current depression.

    But I also have this compulsion so I continue to write.  Circles.

    HI Jim--Thanks so much for sharing, and I hope youre feeling better real soon, and getting the help you need. Please keep us posted how you're doing--we're all rooting for you :).

    And I listened to some of your music and really liked what I heard!

    What you describe is common to many of us Jim --we write, and write and write and get NO performances or one in a blue moon. It really can get very disheartening, but for myself I change the focus of my composing, so this doesnt get to me--

    I dont worry about performances, I just compose the best piece of music I can, and then go on and do the next one.

    And while Im composing and building up my list of works, I use Soundcloud, Facebook, and the many groups on FB, composers forums, etc plus theres Twitter, Competitions, etc etc..all to get my name and music known. Its a little time consuming, but I do it as part of a kind of "counterpoint" to my composing, along with family and friends.

    (And I watch NETFLIX!! :)

    So I basically keep almost all of my focus on composing, and not worry about performances, but take the steps Ive written about above to address possible future performances, with NO pressure about this. I really do want to hear my music performed, but considering the difficulty of the musical language and level of virtuosity I deliberately use in my music, its very limiting as to performance,  but its simply how I have to speak musically.

    And just like you, I simply HAVE to compose.

    I belong to over 100 groups on Facebook, and post in all of them with every new work. And I have many online friendships, and we all support each others works, so this helps too--the "social networking" aspect of this, which is very important.

    So the best advice I can offer, and its not much, is to first and foremost address your depression completely, and possibly consider changing your focus almost completely to just composing the piece, and not worry about performances, but also think about possibly joining all as I did to get and keep your name and music out there. Its kind of like, "well if it gets performed, fine, Id love that--but more importantly Ive composed a really good piece of music"- and I take all my satisfaction from that.

    This works for me, and Im sure it might not work for others, which of course is fine--

    but its all about not letting the disappointment of no performances, interfere in my life and composing., while still getting my name and music out there.

    Thanks so much for sharing Jim--its very much appreciated, and again, please keep us posted how youre doing, musically and otherwise. Nice to meet you:)

    Thanks Bob https://soundcloud.com/bob-morabito

  • Hi Bob thank you for your kind and helpful comments.  I am very fitful when it comes to networking.  And can find it just one to many things to do. 

    The depression is life long.  But made more acute at the moment with work issues and home issues bringing other frustrations into focus.  And these issues are not going to get better so I am also looking for escape particularly from work. 

    I know this is the mantle of being a creative person.  And I have read quite a few memoirs of other composers to try and get perspective. 

    Living in Scotland rather than London does have some benefit as the community is  smaller there fore musically I have been able to meet a lot of different musicians.  We have a mutual friend on facebook in Derek Williams a composer living in Edinburgh.  

    I have listened to your music and like the flow.  You hover on the very edge of tonality. 

    What do you play? Piano? do you imagine the music on the page (which is a great feat).  Or use technology for honing a piece?

    Cheers

    Jim

  • HI Jim--

    Youre more than welcome :)

    And yes networking can be a PITA, but I believe its a necessary evil--and the fact that a great deal of it can be done online. versus having to do it face to face, in person, really helps.

    (One very small, fast and easy way to do this is to have a "signature" with all your posts--for me, a link to my Soundcloud page, which brigs an awful lot of people to my music, and is no effort at all)

    Thanks about my music--Im the worlds WORST pianist, but have taught myself how to get the computer to (hopefully!) play it convincingly for me! I also play guitar. And i use all of the techniques available to me in a good notation program to get the music written as fast and correctly as possible. I know what I want to do at a certain point, and have taught myself how to do it. I used to improvise wildly in a DAW and then try and import its as a midi file into a notation program, but it was an awful lot of work, and it never was quite right. So I bit the bullet, and decided to do EVERYTHING in the notation program--ie, compose in it-- thus  doing away with trying to get good  notation from an imported midi file of complex music.

    And I got to know Derek way back when "Save Sibelius" was formed. We really tried very hard to Save Sibelius :)

    The depression is life long.  But made more acute at the moment with work issues and home issues bringing other frustrations into focus.  And these issues are not going to get better so I am also looking for escape particularly from work.

    I hear you Jim--its especially tough when BOTH home and work arent going well, and you cant  use one as a kind of refuge, and a way of coping with the other. Again please find all the help you need to cope with this, and for myself I find deeply immersing myself in my music helps with just about ANYTHING--(except when the music also isnt going well, and then NOTHING else will help but the 3 C's--cake, cookies, and candy--:):)

    I also help people online who have been deeply hurt, by acting as a an advocate for them, and find that helping others is greatly rewarding, and also helps myself.

    How do you write your music Jim?

    Hope some of this helps and thanks again for sharing so much and being so honest:)

    Thanks Bob https://soundcloud.com/bob-morabito

  • Hi Bob, it is good to have a conversation about composing.  I liken myself as an alien in a strange land, as my interests are so outside of current culture.  

    Derek lives in Edinburgh, and I see him a few times a year in orchestra concerts, I play viola, celeste and Harpsichord with a really good conductor (and fellow depression sufferer though his is more aggressive than mine) called Robert Dick.  

    This is the small pond syndrome up here which is a positive.  I also play talk, sing and entertain the general public in Edinburgh Castle and Rosslyn Chapel.  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=unZ0_bBCYxg&t=57s This is a video that Rosslyn made of me.  

    Through this I meet a very wide variety of people and this has helped talking to folk who are interested and I have used this to try and create more interest in my music.

    I really like helping other people to enjoy the guts and bones of music, especially history.  This would be my ideal job.  I have been teaching piano, violin, viola, cello and double bass for over 30 years and has not been a challenge for a long time.  Recently I have done a couple of scary and enjoyable lectures, one was to a Mathmatics company on Music in Maths which was amazing, and the other for STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths) to help girls in particular see that these subjects are not just applied to large technical problems but apply equally to Music, Art, Cosmetics, food etc.

    I write the initial splurge of music (brainstorming) straight onto the page, usually in the pub where a certain amount of noise helps to quieten the everyday mind and I can dream a bit.  Then between 1 to 3 pints and not too many disruptions I can make progress.  My head will not shut up most of the time so I find time in my bedroom with the computer useful more for editing and uploading onto Sibelius.  Though now I have recently changed to Dorico.  

    I then keep playing on the piano or through the computer the music again and again until it does not annoy me any more.  I usually have 3 or 4 pieces on the go at the same time with each one inching along.  At the moment they are all Piano pieces with a few string canons thrown in.  

    But I return often to my pieces and improve them through the years as my skill and ear has improved.  

    The three C's are not for me, savory every time, a nice hot pie and some beer.

    I like the idea of creating a "signature".  

    The stage I have reached at the moment is seeking validation for the work, which again is the networking I suppose.  Like this.  I would love an editor in the old style as book writers have.  

    One of the big hurdles that I am still going over is the self belief.  It is not something that I find easy, my default position is to put every one above in terms of skill and knowledge.  I can do the Rosslyn Chapel etc as it is in character and a performance, as is teaching.

    So how do you earn your way? (if it is not too rude to ask) 

    Thanks 

    Jim

  • Just to say that "I liken myself as an alien in a strange land" is not to say that current culture is wrong.  It is what it is.

  • Thanks so much for sharing that video Jim--I really enjoyed watching it and seeing you perform..GREAT job!

    And Im sure your lectures are just as interesting--is this or could it be a possible source of income and exposure for you?

    Thanks so much for sharing how you compose--I also usually have more than one work going on at a time, and have found that when I've run out of gas on one I can go to the other and feel renewed, instead of just stopping composing at that time whic is what I usually did.

    The stage I have reached at the moment is seeking validation for the work, which again is the networking I suppose.  Like this.  I would love an editor in the old style as book writers have

    Yes I cant overestimate the importance of networking in even the simplest of ways, like the signature I mentioned--and perhaps this might be a good plan to start this networking in earnest.

    1) Find and join as many composing groups as you can find on FB:

    https://www.facebook.com/search/groups/?q=Compose

    2) Make as many friends as you can that you like there--people who have the same interests as you. When a  friend posts a work, support them, and "like" it

    3) Post your works on Soundcloud, or something similar

    4 ) Post links to your works in each of these groups, and do so every time you add a new work

    5) Use the aforementioned signature in groups such as this as I do.

    And there are editors--engravers who also edit, but it does cost money.

    One of the big hurdles that I am still going over is the self belief.  It is not something that I find easy, my default position is to put every one above in terms of skill and knowledge.  I can do the Rosslyn Chapel etc as it is in character and a performance, as is teaching.

    I did this too when I started, and then slowly came around to seeing and believing if so and so did it, then I could also. And Id try, and succeed some, and take that little bit of gained confidence with me, and watched as it increased, and just kept going.

    And part of that is seeing that what I once thought was "magic" that the big composers did, and I could never do, was able to be looked at and understood--and applied in different ways to my own music.

    So I really learned to believe in myself--and this has made a TON of difference for me:)

    Thanks Bob https://soundcloud.com/bob-morabito

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