Miscellaneous Rumbles

Finding your muse without The Great Pumpkin

1

The power of music... The amazing thing about music is that it has the ability to tap into human emotion. It speaks to us in a different way than almost any other form of communication. What I admire most about what I “feel” defines great music is its ability to stir my soul. I have come to use the term believable when describing music that moves me. It is the same quality that myth has over people. When we are able to feel something from a performer, when they pour their soul into a piece, when they let us in, we are transformed. We become larger than ourselves. This is is the gift of being human. Within us is the ability to be moved, and in this way we grow.
It is a gift to be an artist, yes it requires years of practice and sacrifice, but it is an honorable calling. Art and life are intimately connected.
Many times as an artist I find it difficult to find inspiration. My question is; what stirs you? What is your muse, your inspiration for creating?

2

Love, Hate, Pain, Euphoria. Usually one of those to an extreme or on a whim. In a moment where one has to contemplate the next move. Mostly....LIFE.

5

It’s not intended to be funny. It’s just an honest question, that I believe was answered very quickly.
...and as a professional artist in both the visual and performing/music arts it is a very real issue that many of us face. How do we find inspiration? One of the greatest ways I find inspiration is with the collaboration of others. Many times I need that initial spark from someone else to trigger my creativity.

6

For me, it's always better as a collaborative effort.

Sometimes, it's just a clever turn of phrase. About a year ago, two of my friends and I started goofing around, just writing down cliches to try to make a song entirely out of them.

By the end of the evening, we'd composed a thoughtful, slightly dark cautionary tale about trying to outrun one's problems.

Point is; it was the camaraderie and musical abilities of my friends that made this happen. We laughed, pondered, plunked guitars and generally just enjoyed each others' company for about four hours and came away with a whole song.

7

One can be inspired to create based on so many things, a beautiful woman, a toddler's laugh, war, wildfires, the ocean, a mass of ants, it's important to keep your eyes and ears open. Intake is as important as output, I believe, and time should always be set aside to breathe, clear your mind, and let your mind do it's thing.

8

I always do my most creative stuff when I can get out of my own way. The closer I get to quieting the inner critic, the more authentically me it is. Only my inner critic has a problem with authentic me.

BTW, what do you mean by “without The Great Pumpkin”? I would think “Finding our muse” was an accurate title considering the discussion.

9

I always do my most creative stuff when I can get out of my own way. The closer I get to quieting the inner critic, the more authentically me it is. Only my inner critic has a problem with authentic me.

BTW, what do you mean by “without The Great Pumpkin”? I would think “Finding our muse” was an accurate title considering the discussion.

– Bob Howard

The Great Pumpkin and Politics thread.

10

The Great Pumpkin is in reference to myth and magic, which seems to be taboo now on the GPD.

11

I think it's important to keep the Great Pumpkin analogy in context. I could be wrong, but I think Baxter included it to add a little levity, to sweeten what could well be a less-than-tasty morsel of instruction he's asked us all to chew carefully. For the record, I support his decision.

I cannot construe from the directive that myth and magic is forbidden. Neither are Peanuts prohibited, just don't spill them over Baxter's nice carpet.

You ask an Interesting question, with a multi-faceted answer. This year I've been, by my own miserable standards, quite productive. I don't quite know why this should be, but a few external influences have definitely contributed.

Piano- I'm a hopeless hack on the piano, but have written several pieces on it. Stumbling through a song I like results in dreadful mistakes that are sometimes full of possibilities. The big sound of the piano even lends a simple F major chord which is a contemptibly familiar shape on the guitar a strength that can be the starter motor to something new.

12 String- This year I bought an electric 12 string. Got two songs out of it within a fortnight. It's wonderful, the less you do on it, the more it seems to give.

Embarrassment- I know plenty of actual, bona fide, creative people. They send me the latest thing they're working on- paintings, sculptures, mosaics, films, music. They get up early and get to work. Stuff gets done, wonderful stuff. I want to keep them as friends, so I get on and do something.

Fear- For some reason, fear has vanished. Maybe it's age.

Finish- Get the work completed. Leave nothing half-baked, finish the damn thing.

12

Inspiration.... tricky. I stopped "looking" for it.... it either happens or it doesn't. I just try to take advantage of it when it DOES hit. Really interesting book related to the topic I read last year:

Moving to Higher Ground, How Jazz Can Change Your Life - Wynton Marsalis

BUT... it doesn't have to be jazz. Jazz and blues are inextricably linked, and pretty much ALL music is applicable here. It's a book everyone that creates music should read.

On the subject of how music affects us, I have always found it interesting that, when we have the blues, we listen to the blues, and it makes us feel better. Funny how that works. (of course, other music can work too- sometimes when I feel down, all I have to do is put on Louis Jordan, there's NO WAY to not smile listening to that stuff!)

13

"Finish- get the work completed. Leave nothing half-baked, finish the damn thing."

I don't believe in forcing an ending. Not if I want it to be good. It'll finish itself when it's ready. Luckily, I'm not a recording artist with a deadline so I have the luxury of time to allow that to happen.

I've never been prolific in my writing; I'm one of those guys that would write 15 songs, and 12 of them get used. I'm not the type who crank out 50 songs, only 12 of them good enough to BE used. But everyone works differently; neither approach is right or wrong, except to the writer.

14

Good observation Ruger, on 'looking' like trying to remember something and it just can't be retrieved, until you forget about it, relax and do something else then, bam!, there it is. It goes without saying that 'getting it finished' is a rule set for myself, in no way is it an instruction to rush to a hasty or sloppy conclusion. In fact, none of my reflections on creative strategems should be construed as prescriptive advice at all.

Anyways, lately I've been revisiting the sort of pulpy, unsettling story styles of Weird Tales, Creepy Worlds, Edgar Allen Poe and Dennis Wheatley that intrigued me as a lad. It's been fun writing little stories in that vein and setting them to music.

15

I create best alone without collaboration. I'll bring the finished ideas to the stage, or to the band, and go from there. And the reason for this is that I'm very slow. Songs don't come easily for the most part. I've gone months without so much as putting a drop of ink on paper.

And I have another excuse. I've really been working hard on my thumb style playing over the last three years. That has taken time away from writing.

16

All I can add is (1) I am grateful to Bax for suggesting we steer clear of potentially inflammatory topics, and (b) this is in the wrong forum. This should really be in Misc Rumbles, surely? It's probably not that important but if we disregard the different forum sections then I fear I'll miss something good!

17

I understand what Ade is saying about finishing. Sure not right away, always, but for me, if I don't get a song created written and done in 45 minutes, It just doesn't happen. It's too difficult to come back to a nearly finished song and finish it off but it has happened. Just not the norm, for me.

like Jim Krause, I do all of my writing alone and bring it to the band. My lead guitarist sometimes does some restructuring. He's great at that.

I also get inspiration when I'm doing something like working on the car or cutting the grass. When I was a server at a restaurant, I came up with a lot of ideas but I did that for many years so that may be why.

Picking up a new or different instrument has been an inspiration at times, too. When I first got my Clipper,I opened the case and began to play a song that I had never played before.The case had this certain smell to it. It still does, doesn't it Bob Howard. A friend of mine was present when this all occurred and he said that guitar is haunted. I laughed my ass off.

18

All I can add is (1) I am grateful to Bax for suggesting we steer clear of potentially inflammatory topics, and (b) this is in the wrong forum. This should really be in Misc Rumbles, surely? It's probably not that important but if we disregard the different forum sections then I fear I'll miss something good!

– JimmyR

Earth to JimmyR this is Misc Rumbles? ... and you’re a little off topic... and you are missing something good by not reading what inspires people.

19

I moved it. It was in Modern Gretsch guitars.

20

I moved it. It was in Modern Gretsch guitars.

– Baxter

Whoops my mistake!

21

my writing typically starts with an appealing guitar sequence that inspires a melody and lyrics. at least part of the melody has to be there for the lyrics to be built. usually my inspiration starts from the style of another artist i enjoy, and i then change things to make it more mine, more individual. lyrics are usually developed from a line or two that serves as a setting for the rest of the lyrics. once in a great while the chords, melody, and lyrics come to me all at once, but that's vanishingly rare.

22

I’ve decided to put some focused attention into doing portraits. The human face has a wealth of inspiration. Sometimes when I draw it’s difficult for me to connect to a piece, hopefully this will bring some soul into my work. I’m not sure this piece is done but it’s close.


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