Ways to stave off Fatigue in our own music

Arrangement, instrumentation, lyric writing, music theory, inspiration… it’s all here.

Ways to stave off Fatigue in our own music

Post by tea for two »

Some of us perhaps don't feel fatigue working on our own music.

I sure do.

Sraightforward is to stop making music lol.
Else to take breathers.

One reason I stopped making music nearly a decade was because of fatigue in my music.

These days things that seems to be working for me :

*Working on upto 5 pieces at a time. As soon as I feel fatigue on one piece, I switch to another.
*Different arrangements, structures for different pieces. I try not to have too many similar arrangements, structures. There's some pieces without arrangements structures.
*Different sounds. I try not to use same sound twice.
*Different accompaniment harmonies for every piece. This is important to me.
*Different scales. There's some favourite scales I have, I consciously look to move away from them.
*Different drum grooves from different genres.
*Not overusing a riff. This is hard so I like having variations on a riff.
*Something unexpected, not in every piece just in some pieces.
*Stopping over tinkering.
*When a piece, an album, is completed including mastering that's it I won't listen to it except to check the mastering. I won't beat myself up over it.
tea for two
Frequent Poster
Posts: 3658 Joined: Sun Mar 24, 2002 12:00 am

Re: Ways to stave off Fatigue in our own music

Post by Arpangel »

Fatigue in music making is unavoidable for me, especially if I’m expecting something to sound like an idea I have in my head, and it doesn’t match.
That’s why I like leaving things to chance most of the time, I wait until something comes out of nowhere, that I like, rather than constructing it from scratch, it’s a bit lazy, but it works for me, it’s also a very equipment intensive way of working.
I watched 30th Century Man, about Scott Walker, that made me feel like I was complaining about nothing, and my life, musical or otherwise, was a complete bed of roses.
If Brian Eno had produced one of my records, I can rest safely in the knowledge that I wouldn’t have thrown the master tapes in the Thames, that was a big mistake, I would have just buried them in the garden.
User avatar
Arpangel
Jedi Poster
Posts: 16939 Joined: Sat Jul 12, 2003 12:00 am

Re: Ways to stave off Fatigue in our own music

Post by Drew Stephenson »

I find having a day job pretty effective in stopping me getting any fatigue in creating music! ;)
More seriously, but in the same vein, having other pastimes is key for me.
User avatar
Drew Stephenson
Apprentice Guru
Posts: 25312 Joined: Sun Jul 05, 2015 12:00 am Location: York
(The forumuser formerly known as Blinddrew)
Ignore the post count, I have no idea what I'm doing...
https://drewstephenson.bandcamp.com/

Re: Ways to stave off Fatigue in our own music

Post by RichardT »

Yes, I do too!

I often experience that when I’m finalising a track for mastering. Fixing all the faults is very hard work and not particularly satisfying. There’s no way round this for me - but it’s possible to spread the work out over time.

I also experience fatigue when I’m struggling with a difficult piece, especially if I’m outside my comfort zone and I can’t get it to work, or I can’t come up with some new material that I need to fit with what I already have. The best thing here for me is not to force things. If I come up with new ideas, let them be what they want to be and don’t try to shoehorn them into a place they don’t work.
RichardT
Frequent Poster
Posts: 4404 Joined: Fri Aug 13, 2004 12:00 am Location: Ireland

Re: Ways to stave off Fatigue in our own music

Post by Folderol »

For me it's not usually a problem, because I don't compose 'to order' but just when the muse strikes. Other times I'll just doodle around on the keyboard.

The big exception was my latest release, (Tribes) and this was when I did plan out a series of tracks to fit a story. For 7-8 years it was stuck with only three of the six tracks done - even though I was occasionally composing other odd material in the meantime.

I think what cleared to logjam was completion of a heavy-going software project, which, in the first place, gave me more free-wheeling time, and secondly the desire to relax into something quite different. Getting back to Tribes suddenly became enjoyable, while still work - sort of.
User avatar
Folderol
Jedi Poster
Posts: 18520 Joined: Sat Nov 15, 2008 12:00 am Location: The Mudway Towns, UK
Yes. I am that Linux nut {apparently now an 'elderly'}
Onwards and... err... sideways!

Re: Ways to stave off Fatigue in our own music

Post by awjoe »

YMMV, but for me, as soon as I start to feel either fatigue or pressure with musical projects, I pick up an instrument and play. That gets me into body and feelings, and then all's good again. If I'm too physically tired to play, then sleep's required.

It's one of the reasons I abandoned 12-tune albums with multiple overdubs - it was becoming not fun. I'm okay with 'not fun' if it's episodic. But if it becomes chronic, it's time to read the signs.
User avatar
awjoe
Frequent Poster
Posts: 4676 Joined: Tue Mar 08, 2011 12:00 am
"The ionion was grown up with a pistol and motor."

Re: Ways to stave off Fatigue in our own music

Post by tea for two »

One other thing I've done is listening to music from various parts of the World. Such a breath of fresh air for me.

Most of my life I've listened to Western music.
Most of music I make is Western.
I've only got 4 pieces that sound Non western.
I've started including samples of World instruments into my music.

::

Arpangel wrote: Mon Oct 18, 2021 9:57 am
I watched 30th Century Man, about Scott Walker, that made me feel like I was complaining about nothing, and my life, musical or otherwise, was a complete bed of roses.

Yep. I'd say the same. When I see homeless near where I live, when I see families with toddlers in refugee camps, my life been a comparative bed of roses.

Still I would say without the things we see in the world, I don't think I could make some of my music.
Personally it's as if the barbed wires were necessary for some pieces.

::

blinddrew wrote: Mon Oct 18, 2021 10:56 am
More seriously, but in the same vein, having other pastimes is key for me.

1000%
It's exploring my interests other than music for a decade that's enabled me to return to making music.

::

RichardT wrote: Mon Oct 18, 2021 11:08 am Yes, I do too!

I often experience that when I’m finalising a track for mastering. Fixing all the faults is very hard work and not particularly satisfying. There’s no way round this for me - but it’s possible to spread the work out over time.

This is just a pain in the.... for me too.
It's gotta be done yet I put it off as long as I can lol.

RichardT wrote: Mon Oct 18, 2021 11:08 am The best thing here for me is not to force things. If I come up with new ideas, let them be what they want to be and don’t try to shoehorn them into a place they don’t work.


I can say I was guitly of forcing things, getting scores from library to make something fit into something.
Was quite distressing in a way. Once I left this method, the result were better musically as well as for my well being.

::

Folderol wrote: Mon Oct 18, 2021 1:05 pm I think what cleared to logjam was completion of a heavy-going software project, which, in the first place, gave me more free-wheeling time, and secondly the desire to relax into something quite different. Getting back to Tribes suddenly became enjoyable, while still work - sort of.

Yep I think this is it. For me music making is something to feel energised to make.
Doing something else that's mind numbing or taxing, then returning to music for relief.

It's probably why I can't make music to order, commission, I'd get fatigued very quickly. I just don't have this makeup.

::

awjoe wrote: Mon Oct 18, 2021 8:43 pm

It's one of the reasons I abandoned 12-tune albums with multiple overdubs - it was becoming not fun. I'm okay with 'not fun' if it's episodic. But if it becomes chronic, it's time to read the signs.

Chronic. When it stops being engaging meaningful, we've had it. It took me a while to read the signs. When I did, that was it.
tea for two
Frequent Poster
Posts: 3658 Joined: Sun Mar 24, 2002 12:00 am

Re: Ways to stave off Fatigue in our own music

Post by Drew Stephenson »

Revisiting this and building on your last post, I generally try and make sure each 'collection' of music I release, be it an EP or an album, has a distinct style. And I'll try and do something different with the next one. This forces me to push myself a bit more each time and does help to avoid some of the potential ruts.

[EDIT - the previous comment disappeared! Now it looks like I'm talking to myself.]
User avatar
Drew Stephenson
Apprentice Guru
Posts: 25312 Joined: Sun Jul 05, 2015 12:00 am Location: York
(The forumuser formerly known as Blinddrew)
Ignore the post count, I have no idea what I'm doing...
https://drewstephenson.bandcamp.com/

Re: Ways to stave off Fatigue in our own music

Post by tea for two »

blinddrew wrote: Wed Oct 20, 2021 1:38 pm Revisiting this and building on your last post, I generally try and make sure each 'collection' of music I release, be it an EP or an album, has a distinct style. And I'll try and do something different with the next one. This forces me to push myself a bit more each time and does help to avoid some of the potential ruts.

[EDIT - the previous comment disappeared! Now it looks like I'm talking to myself.]

Lol i put it back again. Was just editing with replying to comments.

This is something been doing since I returned to making music.
Each album has a theme, with pieces in the album to correspond with the theme. Somehow it's made composition easier.
tea for two
Frequent Poster
Posts: 3658 Joined: Sun Mar 24, 2002 12:00 am

Re: Ways to stave off Fatigue in our own music

Post by Arpangel »

tea for two wrote: Wed Oct 20, 2021 1:06 pm Still I would say without the things we see in the world, I don't think I could make some of my music.
Personally it's as if the barbed wires were necessary for some pieces.

::

The barbed wire is the reason I make music, the music is there for one purpose, to take my mind off of the world, and what it is capable of.
User avatar
Arpangel
Jedi Poster
Posts: 16939 Joined: Sat Jul 12, 2003 12:00 am

Re: Ways to stave off Fatigue in our own music

Post by Drew Stephenson »

Interesting, you make music to keep the world out, I do so to let it in.
We're a funny old species aren't we? :)
User avatar
Drew Stephenson
Apprentice Guru
Posts: 25312 Joined: Sun Jul 05, 2015 12:00 am Location: York
(The forumuser formerly known as Blinddrew)
Ignore the post count, I have no idea what I'm doing...
https://drewstephenson.bandcamp.com/

Re: Ways to stave off Fatigue in our own music

Post by tea for two »

To the list is added

*Not forcing things. Letting an idea arise naturally. Letting an idea be what it is instead of shoe horning it (from Richard T).

*Returning to making music as relief from whatever taxing, excruciating, mind numbing thing we are having to do (from Folderol).

*Taking a breather from a musical project by just picking up an instrument and playing.
Also if the musical project is chronically not fun any longer, then it's time to look elsewhere musically (from AwJoe).

*Selecting a distinct style for an Ep, Album. Making it different from the next Ep, Album.
Then making music to fit this distinct style (from Blinddrew).

*Having other past time interests to explore (from Blinddrew).

*Listening to music from other genres, other parts of the World. Thereafter including aspects of them into the music we are making.

*Making music to give something to someone whomever this maybe including Animals.
Making music some people could relate to, could mean something to some people.
tea for two
Frequent Poster
Posts: 3658 Joined: Sun Mar 24, 2002 12:00 am

Re: Ways to stave off Fatigue in our own music

Post by awjoe »

Wow, you've applied yourself to this. Okay, set up a Zoom session with each of us and get some backgrounds, some elaboration, some more pithy quotes and you've got a research paper on the way. Maybe get a microcredential! Maybe write an article for SOS!
User avatar
awjoe
Frequent Poster
Posts: 4676 Joined: Tue Mar 08, 2011 12:00 am
"The ionion was grown up with a pistol and motor."

Re: Ways to stave off Fatigue in our own music

Post by tea for two »

awjoe wrote: Sat Oct 23, 2021 5:16 pm Wow, you've applied yourself to this. Okay, set up a Zoom session with each of us and get some backgrounds, some elaboration, some more pithy quotes and you've got a research paper on the way. Maybe get a microcredential! Maybe write an article for SOS!


Oh no that would be quite scary.

A forum thread is as far as I'm comfortable drawing any attention.

But anyone is welcome to do this, add to this.
tea for two
Frequent Poster
Posts: 3658 Joined: Sun Mar 24, 2002 12:00 am

Re: Ways to stave off Fatigue in our own music

Post by awjoe »

Not a serious suggestion. But your list shows the possibility.
User avatar
awjoe
Frequent Poster
Posts: 4676 Joined: Tue Mar 08, 2011 12:00 am
"The ionion was grown up with a pistol and motor."

Re: Ways to stave off Fatigue in our own music

Post by awjoe »

'Neurosis and Human Growth' by Karen Horney is a recent read of mine, and excellent. On p 59-60, there's a bit on fatigue and how unconscious claims along the lines of 'what I want should all just come to me' can mean inertia. She would sometimes suggest to a patient with this attitude that they take on what needed doing as a challenge to their ingenuity, like a game or a puzzle. It didn't get to the root of the patient's attitudinal problem, but it got things done.
User avatar
awjoe
Frequent Poster
Posts: 4676 Joined: Tue Mar 08, 2011 12:00 am
"The ionion was grown up with a pistol and motor."

Re: Ways to stave off Fatigue in our own music

Post by Arpangel »

awjoe wrote: Mon Oct 25, 2021 4:53 pm 'Neurosis and Human Growth' by Karen Horney is a recent read of mine, and excellent. On p 59-60, there's a bit on fatigue and how unconscious claims along the lines of 'what I want should all just come to me' can mean inertia. She would sometimes suggest to a patient with this attitude that they take on what needed doing as a challenge to their ingenuity, like a game or a puzzle. It didn't get to the root of the patient's attitudinal problem, but it got things done.

Getting things done, hhhmmm?
I used to collaborate with a guy, he used to infuriate me immensely, he never used to finish "anything" his excuse was it can always be better.
It was a shame, as he was very talented, extremely so, but he had no focus.
We fell out, big time, and I haven’t seen him for about fifteen years.
I hope he went on to do great things, but like a lot of people, no confidence, scared to stick his neck out in case it got chopped off, if we all thought like that, we wouldn’t do anything, criticism just makes me stronger, and builds up my resolve to carry on.
User avatar
Arpangel
Jedi Poster
Posts: 16939 Joined: Sat Jul 12, 2003 12:00 am

Re: Ways to stave off Fatigue in our own music

Post by tea for two »

Another to add to the list is exploring different Feelings in our compositions.

I get that if we make music of a particular style then our tracks will end up expressing a set of similar feelings as Adele, Ludovico Einaudi.

Here is a small list of diverse Feelings we can go through, that we can compose for
https://www.soundonsound.com/forum/view ... hp?t=80476
tea for two
Frequent Poster
Posts: 3658 Joined: Sun Mar 24, 2002 12:00 am

Re: Ways to stave off Fatigue in our own music

Post by Drew Stephenson »

tea for two wrote: Thu Dec 16, 2021 10:06 am Another to add to the list is exploring different Feelings in our compositions.

Very good suggestion this, I was challenged once to write an 'ugly' song and it was a very interesting experience and allowed me to examine a whole range of feelings and vocabulary that I wouldn't normally touch. :thumbup:
User avatar
Drew Stephenson
Apprentice Guru
Posts: 25312 Joined: Sun Jul 05, 2015 12:00 am Location: York
(The forumuser formerly known as Blinddrew)
Ignore the post count, I have no idea what I'm doing...
https://drewstephenson.bandcamp.com/

Re: Ways to stave off Fatigue in our own music

Post by Arpangel »

I’m almost tempted to record something today, emotion? Yeah, I know what I’ll be doing.

"NOISE"

I need acoustic power today, not electronics, I need to hit something, blow something, drums, percussion, brass, you can’t beat the power of an acoustic instrument, also a guitar through an amp up full, I’ve done this before, with useable results, but I don’t have access to any of these things right now.
User avatar
Arpangel
Jedi Poster
Posts: 16939 Joined: Sat Jul 12, 2003 12:00 am

Re: Ways to stave off Fatigue in our own music

Post by RichardT »

I sometimes feel a sense of fatigue when I’m faced by big problems with a track, or even small problems that I don’t know how to fix.

What works for me is to break problems into smaller pieces, if that’s possible, and then tackle the easiest problems first, and build up to the difficult ones.

Somehow the difficult problems get simpler when the easy ones are fixed.
RichardT
Frequent Poster
Posts: 4404 Joined: Fri Aug 13, 2004 12:00 am Location: Ireland

Re: Ways to stave off Fatigue in our own music

Post by James Perrett »

Arpangel wrote: Sat Dec 18, 2021 7:51 am I need acoustic power today, not electronics, I need to hit something, blow something, drums, percussion, brass, you can’t beat the power of an acoustic instrument, also a guitar through an amp up full,

A few years ago I went on a course which ended up being very intense. At the end of one of the days there were some percussion instruments left out around the room. One of them was a djembe. I had never played one before but I picked it up and started tapping out a rhythm. One of the other participants (who was also a drummer) picked up some bongos and started playing along. Other people started to join in so that, after about 15 minutes the whole room was engulfed with people banging, shaking and scraping whatever they could. It was an amazing cathartic experience.

Nowadays I make sure that I have some percussion instruments around - just in case.
User avatar
James Perrett
Moderator
Posts: 14585 Joined: Mon Sep 10, 2001 12:00 am Location: The wilds of Hampshire
JRP Music - Audio Mastering and Restoration. JRP Music Facebook Page

Re: Ways to stave off Fatigue in our own music

Post by OneWorld »

RichardT wrote: Sat Dec 18, 2021 9:06 am I sometimes feel a sense of fatigue when I’m faced by big problems with a track, or even small problems that I don’t know how to fix.

What works for me is to break problems into smaller pieces, if that’s possible, and then tackle the easiest problems first, and build up to the difficult ones.

Somehow the difficult problems get simpler when the easy ones are fixed.

"Look after the pennies and the £pounds look after themselves" same principle. Or in computer science and the topics regarding coding, we 'atomise' a problem, break it down to its constituent parts and deal with things as discrete objects, then join the bits up
OneWorld
Frequent Poster
Posts: 4598 Joined: Tue Apr 07, 2009 12:00 am

Re: Ways to stave off Fatigue in our own music

Post by Arpangel »

James Perrett wrote: Sat Dec 18, 2021 3:15 pm
Arpangel wrote: Sat Dec 18, 2021 7:51 am I need acoustic power today, not electronics, I need to hit something, blow something, drums, percussion, brass, you can’t beat the power of an acoustic instrument, also a guitar through an amp up full,

A few years ago I went on a course which ended up being very intense. At the end of one of the days there were some percussion instruments left out around the room. One of them was a djembe. I had never played one before but I picked it up and started tapping out a rhythm. One of the other participants (who was also a drummer) picked up some bongos and started playing along. Other people started to join in so that, after about 15 minutes the whole room was engulfed with people banging, shaking and scraping whatever they could. It was an amazing cathartic experience.

Nowadays I make sure that I have some percussion instruments around - just in case.

Yes, it’s very cathartic, I need to build up a percussion box, a drum kit would be good too.
I love playing the drums, I love getting into a groove, I miss it a lot, there’s nothing like the feeling of playing a groove, and someone else, bass, joining in, then others, the only thing that comes close is singing harmony in a choir.
User avatar
Arpangel
Jedi Poster
Posts: 16939 Joined: Sat Jul 12, 2003 12:00 am

Re: Ways to stave off Fatigue in our own music

Post by Folderol »

I have no idea what triggers inspiration for me, and don't want to try to examine it too closely. I don't have deadlines to meet and it comes when it wants to. As a result I don't have a specific workflow either - just the ability to switch everything on quickly so I can start playing as soon as possible.
There are just a handful that were complete as soon as I hit 'stop', others that I added extra layers of accompaniment/harmonies to, and those that I did extensive editing on. It's all whatever seems 'right' at the time.

P.S.
Forgot to mention 'the time' can be anything from 5 minutes to 20+ years :lol:
User avatar
Folderol
Jedi Poster
Posts: 18520 Joined: Sat Nov 15, 2008 12:00 am Location: The Mudway Towns, UK
Yes. I am that Linux nut {apparently now an 'elderly'}
Onwards and... err... sideways!

Re: Ways to stave off Fatigue in our own music

Post by tea for two »

Folderol wrote: Sat Dec 18, 2021 5:35 pm
P.S.
Forgot to mention 'the time' can be anything from 5 minutes to 20+ years :lol:

Sounds as me :lol:
I've recently finished a few pieces I started around 2004 2005.

Actually this has helped stave off fatigue in those pieces.
Becuase I finished them, I no longer revisit them to keep plugging away at them.

So I would add to the list :
Completing pieces so that we don't return to them time and again.
tea for two
Frequent Poster
Posts: 3658 Joined: Sun Mar 24, 2002 12:00 am

Re: Ways to stave off Fatigue in our own music

Post by tea for two »

It is important I feel to have some sillyness in some music we compose just as it is important to laugh.
To me this helps stave off fatigue.

I have some haha silly tracks. Also some candy floss tracks.
Because there's a silly billy numpty part of me lol also because it gets too heavy for me to always make something meaningful which gets fatiguing for me.
tea for two
Frequent Poster
Posts: 3658 Joined: Sun Mar 24, 2002 12:00 am

Re: Ways to stave off Fatigue in our own music

Post by RichardT »

tea for two wrote: Wed Aug 24, 2022 12:05 pm It is important I feel to have some sillyness in some music we compose just as it is important to laugh.
To me this helps stave off fatigue.

I have some haha silly tracks. Also some candy floss tracks.
Because there's a silly billy numpty part of me lol also because it gets too heavy for me to always make something meaningful which gets fatiguing for me.

Yes, I agree!
RichardT
Frequent Poster
Posts: 4404 Joined: Fri Aug 13, 2004 12:00 am Location: Ireland

Re: Ways to stave off Fatigue in our own music

Post by OneWorld »

I don't overthink things and just stop. I wouldn't bother making lists though. if I had the inclination I'd do what Ed Sheeran pledged to do, and did do, and that was write a new tune each day.

I think Dolly Parton did something much the same and has over 1000 tunes to her name. She says only a handful are anything special, but seeing as a couple of them made her a millionaire, she ain't complaining. What a gal!
OneWorld
Frequent Poster
Posts: 4598 Joined: Tue Apr 07, 2009 12:00 am

Re: Ways to stave off Fatigue in our own music

Post by NickDawes »

One of the ways I like to freshen things up is just by using different DAW's, especially if I've never used them before. With a different workflow and a limited knowledge of the set up, it can force me down different paths and get me out of my comfort zone.
NickDawes
New here
Posts: 6 Joined: Fri Dec 10, 2010 12:00 am Location: Nice, France
Post Reply