Good news is I've been starting...

… quite a few songs. :stuck_out_tongue:

Bad news is I’m not finishing them. :angry:

I’ve got 7 in various stages. Problem’s been I come up with an idea and get a scratch track going to a click to get it down before it’s forgotten. I put some drums and bass to it and plan on getting back to it the next weekend. Next weekend comes and I fire everything up to loosen up a bit and I get another idea. Same thing, get it down so it’s not forgotten, put drums and bass etc…, last weeks slips by the wayside. I guess the bright side is they’re all complete arrangements instead of bits and pieces. Hopefully I can work on the tune I’ve been writing solos in my head for all week. Been trying to discipline myself all week for this.

Hi Nate,

I know exactly what you mean, happens to me all the time… but I do what Steve says, when I get idea for another song when I’m working on a song, I only record (or write down) the basic idea, so no bass or drums or anything. Just the chords and/or melody.
And then it’s a matter of focus and discipline, like you said yourself… :wink:

Pick one of the songs and finish it… we wanna hear it! :smiley:


The other producer that works at my place just completed his whole back catalogue of unfinished work, took him the best part of a year to get it all together. What he did was to approach it like a job and put time aside every week and during that time only allowed himself to focus on the unfinished tracks. I must say I think it’s some of his best work to date.

Steve and Wim … now that makes sense. Brings to light how often I’ve got bogged down in arrangements.

Nate - you’ve got such a lot on your plate at the moment. Well done on getting to where you’ve got!

OMG - this is so me, I have a little room in my soul with a sign on the door that says: “Here is your musical self-loathing place, because you can’t get anything close to finished musically”. I’ve got about a dozen or two songs that are in various stages of initial construction … going all the way back to VST5.x. Deep in my heart I am so happy with each of them musically. However,it seems that my lack of engineering/production skills just gets me bogged down in B.S. details of a song, then I crawl out a month later with nothing really usable to show for it.

I promised myself something a month or two ago, and I’ve kept my promise, and it has worked wonders for me: I was going to work in a parallel fashion on many songs, (what I think is the opposite of what you guys are saying here), and GET EACH COMPLETE SONG DOWN ON TAPE, bare bones skeleton, before moving on to later stages of engineering/mixing, etc. … I promised myself to NOT be tempted to work on any individual song more than that until they are ALL down on tape.

So, what I’m doing now is:

  1. Get every song written in complete fashion, words and music, start to finish. Completely. This usually involves singing to the wall, learning inflections, timing variations, etc.
  2. Put every song in MIDI form via keyboard, rough playing with errors is OK. Put the words in finished form in “notepad” (this is the stage I’m at).
  3. Render each song to audio.
  4. Put each song on youtube for family and friends. Lots of errors and no vox yet, but hey, it’s a product!

I plan for it to go linear from here, i.e., complete each song individually before moving on to the next:

  1. Go back to the MIDI, tighten up the playing till it’s just right for a backing track, re-render to audio.
  2. Put vox/harmony. Try reasonably hard to get it right, BUT DON’T GO FOR PERFECTION!!!
  3. Send off to one of those companies that will “play” your song with a live band, and send you the tracks.
  4. I’ll have a finished song then!!!
  5. Here’s a key step: LEARN how to record and mix and master by examining the product I get back.

Yes, it’s a long project, but as long as I am moving forward, that sense of frustration will be replace by a sense of accomplishment. Like I said, even having shown discipline to move forward and not get sidetracked by “this and that” in Cubase, or something like, “Hmm, let me spend 4 weeks choosing the best compressor for this background harmony” has made me feel so much better.

Sorry for the uber “me”-ism aspect of this post … what you guys wrote “hit a chord” with me, because it’s right where I am, and it kind of triggered an avalanche here. Maybe by putting it down in black and white it will give me the strength to stay disciplined when I want to tinker!!

we’re not alone then … :sunglasses:

In all my years I must have hundreds of unfinished songs. Bits and pieces stored away. There
are thoses finished without lyrics. I guess we all have the same problem. In fact, I just finished
two these last couple of weeks without lurics. Now I just sit with my pad and pen waiting for
inspiration. Who knows, maybe someday they too will get finished. Then again there’s always the
next unfinished songs to contend with. :cry:

Just wondering…

Has anyone started a song about never finishing a song and not finished it :laughing:

I think every one has a bunch of unfinished musical ideas. I’ve got loads.

Couple of years ago I started a cover of JohnCage’s 4’ 33" - still haven’t finished it.

It refers to 4 minutes and 33 seconds …
Not 4 years and 33 weeks :wink:

Ahhh that’s a relief. I was wondering where I could get a big enough hard drive :slight_smile:

Glad I posted this. Just had a schedule-clearing event in my life and now have completely free weekends. Don’t have to cram music into the wee hours of Fri and Sat nights. Now I just have to decide what to work on. I think I’ll approach this chronologically. :sunglasses:

Had a feeling I wasn’t alone in this. :sunglasses:

I think most of our problems in this regard is simply a lack of discipline. I know it was for me for a long time,
and I still struggle with procrastination - but I have found a way to get my projects done.
Most of us can come up with a chord progression and a decent vocal/instrumental line on top of it.
If we keep playing with it we’ll find the right B part or chorus that compliments it.
This is the easy/fun part. There was a time when I often didn’t get past this stage.

We now need a bridge, it has to flow from the other 2 parts, yet add contrast somehow and be musically
distinct yet it must work it’s way back to the original idea. This can be tricky, and sometimes requires
discarding of some ideas, much experimentation, sometimes frustration - it’s harder than the first part
of the process - but, of course, if you stick with it and work your way through it, it’s one of the more
rewarding parts.
Then there is the fine tuning of the arrangement, which also requires discipline, but once that is hashed out,
the final stages of the production can get easier and more fun again - like adding ornaments, playing around
with layering, singing on top of your big production etc etc.
I tend to have one or two projects going at a time, with maybe a collab or 2 on the side,
then I work at these 'til they’re complete.
Having lots of unfinished ideas and little or no finished songs means, at least to me, that you’re avoiding
doing the work.
If you work at it long enough, what were once the more difficult parts of the process can also become fun,
as they have for me.

I hear you, Lenny. I have found that having a bunch of parts lying around has made writing a lot easier for me. While I’m doing mundane tasks, I have tunes I’m working on going though my head. All of a sudden I’ll realize an old part I came up with is just the ticket for the new song and I’ll go and find a way to make it fit. I think a lot of my tunes are Frankensteins as I’ve put some crazy mixed up parts together. Take 4 is a good example.