Do you get stuck on a song often and how many unfinished tracks do you have?
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Old 02-05-2016, 01:49 AM   #1
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Do you get stuck on a song often and how many unfinished tracks do you have?

I tend to get stuck A LOT. I know many people suggest to keep listening to music but that has only helped me minimally. I'm guessing it's mostly because I'm still a beginner at this and have close to zero knowledge on sound design. This is the main reason why I have so many unfinished tracks mostly because I have no idea where to go with it.

How do you guys deal with this, beginners and pros alike?

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Old 02-05-2016, 02:17 AM   #2
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Re: Do you get stuck on a song often and how many unfinished tracks do you have?

Probably 1000 or so sitting on drives..accumulated over a few decades..once I lose the emotion of whatever I am feeling I tend to stop...sometimes will go back after a while and rework things..but most of my stuff is short things written for other people that I wanted to do more with but never did..happens....I think we all have a bunch of them sitting around...sometimes I combine them to see what would happen..sometimes good sometimes not so good..but I am not an artist so it is all well to me..

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Old 02-05-2016, 02:19 AM   #3
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Re: Do you get stuck on a song often and how many unfinished tracks do you have?

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Originally Posted by Str8Jaketed View Post
Probably 1000 or so sitting on drives..accumulated over a few decades..once I lose the emotion of whatever I am feeling I tend to stop...sometimes will go back after a while and rework things..but most of my stuff is short things written for other people that I wanted to do more with but never did..happens....I think we all have a bunch of them sitting around...sometimes I combine them to see what would happen..sometimes good sometimes not so good..but I am not an artist so it is all well to me..
Yeah I have many unfinished tracks that I felt had great potential but I just don't know where to go with it. It's frustrating but I guess that's part of the process.
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Old 02-05-2016, 02:24 AM   #4
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Re: Do you get stuck on a song often and how many unfinished tracks do you have?

I find I am finishing more of what I am starting these days but taking longer at it maybe.
Not saying my stuff is better than before, or good or anything but I am certainly finishing more than before.
Maybe I am just not paying enough attention to details in my arranging tho TBH I kinda always rush that bit.

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Old 02-05-2016, 02:26 AM   #5
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Re: Do you get stuck on a song often and how many unfinished tracks do you have?

It is part of the process for sure..but never hurts to take some time away from a track then go back with fresh ears and a fresh start..Id o feel bad for artist though especially when they are on a deadline..like one of my current clients..5 tracks in two days for a movie..when he dropped the tracks off he looked completely spent and almost bewildered..felt bad for him..

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Old 02-05-2016, 02:29 AM   #6
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Re: Do you get stuck on a song often and how many unfinished tracks do you have?

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It is part of the process for sure..but never hurts to take some time away from a track then go back with fresh ears and a fresh start..Id o feel bad for artist though especially when they are on a deadline..like one of my current clients..5 tracks in two days for a movie..when he dropped the tracks off he looked completely spent and almost bewildered..felt bad for him..
Yeah sometimes I'm surprised at how fast some of these artist pump out new songs. The thing with me though is if I get stuck I'll actually have something in mind but have no idea how to reproduce it with a synth.
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Old 02-05-2016, 02:30 AM   #7
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Re: Do you get stuck on a song often and how many unfinished tracks do you have?

I have probably over 100 unfinished songs

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Old 02-05-2016, 02:37 AM   #8
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Re: Do you get stuck on a song often and how many unfinished tracks do you have?

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Originally Posted by Kyrpto View Post
Yeah sometimes I'm surprised at how fast some of these artist pump out new songs. The thing with me though is if I get stuck I'll actually have something in mind but have no idea how to reproduce it with a synth.
Sometimes just running through stock patches on whatever vst you are using can spark somethings..or finding one that is close enough to tweak can help..then over time you will just know what to tweak or do in a certain synth or use a certain synth to get the sound you want..takes a bit of time and lots of practice..

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Old 02-05-2016, 02:42 AM   #9
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Re: Do you get stuck on a song often and how many unfinished tracks do you have?

I have about half a dozen songs (progression, melody, arrangement, need mixing and percussion mostly, maybe a new element) laying around. Then I have another dozen that are just musical ideas sketched out with one or two synths, no progression, just a looping pattern. But these loops are my favorites, I've been learning music theory and it's giving me better ones lately.
I don't keep a bunch of stuff around because I work on a laptop with an SSD, so hard drive space is a premium for me. I delete stuff after about a year if I don't have any idea what to do with it. I've regretted that maybe once so far, but I usually don't miss them once they're gone.
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Old 02-05-2016, 02:48 AM   #10
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Re: Do you get stuck on a song often and how many unfinished tracks do you have?

You don't have an external drive that you can back your stuff onto?
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Old 02-05-2016, 02:58 AM   #11
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Re: Do you get stuck on a song often and how many unfinished tracks do you have?

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You don't have an external drive that you can back your stuff onto?
I do, but I hacked it together myself, it's fairly finicky and I'd rather not make it part of my workflow. Strictly backup/archive. Though I do probably have older stuff on there I could resurrect if I wanted to.
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Old 02-05-2016, 03:01 AM   #12
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Re: Do you get stuck on a song often and how many unfinished tracks do you have?

Ahh okay. I usually just back all my stuff onto an external RAID drive as well as a USB thumb drive.
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Old 02-05-2016, 10:49 AM   #13
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Re: Do you get stuck on a song often and how many unfinished tracks do you have?

I get stuck all the time, and I have loads of unfinished tracks waiting for me to come back to them. Sometimes I do, other times I just steal pieces of them for other tracks instead
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Old 02-05-2016, 03:13 PM   #14
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Re: Do you get stuck on a song often and how many unfinished tracks do you have?

You should know by now, reading the replies from the guys here, that this has nothing to do with being new to music production..or even your personal levels of creative skill..it's just one of those pain-in-the-ass things all of us have to deal with..just like writers have to deal with writer's block..we have to deal with "staller" tracks..the ones that start out just fine, but then just seem to stop..not die or dry up..just stop..like the muse has fucked off some place else and left you high-and-dry starting at you DAW on screen.

I used to get caught up in this and worry it was a sign I was a crap producer or something..but I now understand it's just part of being a producer..something you need to adapt to in order to benefit from.

I suggest you keep all these tracks and come back to them from time to time and for various reasons. Obviously you can try and inject new life into any of them at any time, with the hope you will finish the track..but you can also use them to help you grow your production skills even more, using them as "test files" to work on, while going more in-depth into EQ, Compression, Reverb and everything else in between.

The reason for this is you already have something that is relatively solid and complex enough to give you an idea of how different settings are going to effect your "sound".

You can use them to come up with completely new tracks, by morphing / mixing various tracks together..or you can go back to basics and try messing with arrangements..sometimes all it takes is a new arrangement to kick a track back to life and move it on to the finished phase.

In short, don't dump them..never dump anything..rework them..use them to learn..or understand the fact they bother you is an indication you are growing as a producer, which is a good thing. It's a phase that passes, but one which comes around again.

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Old 02-05-2016, 04:45 PM   #15
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Re: Do you get stuck on a song often and how many unfinished tracks do you have?

The longer I write music the more half finished songs I write. Once you begin to make music a daily practice you are bound to have a tons of things that aren't finished pieces. Like an painter's sketch book or a writer's journal. Nothing wrong with it at all. Some of the half ideas become something finished, others don't. I wouldn't worry about it. Unless you don't ever finish anything and want to finish things.

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Old 02-05-2016, 05:25 PM   #16
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Re: Do you get stuck on a song often and how many unfinished tracks do you have?

All the time. Don't worry about it. Leave them for a few days and come back with a fresh mind.
Never delete them!

Worst thing to do is "bang you head" against it. Listening to it on loop thinking about how you don't know how to finish it.

Some random ideas you could try:
  1. Whip out a synth or an instrument you play (I sometimes use guitar) and solo over it.
  2. Try exporting it as a .wav and then making a track out of that .wav with cuts and edits.
  3. Drum/percussion solo.
  4. Take your existing melody/chord progression/whatever and reverse it (pretty "uncreative" but can yield good results.
  5. Anything you can think of!

Hope this helps

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Old 02-05-2016, 05:40 PM   #17
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Re: Do you get stuck on a song often and how many unfinished tracks do you have?

I have LOADS of them. What i tend to do is get them to a point and then render a version down and keep it in the session folder so I don't have to launch the session to know whats in the folder.

Every 6 months or so I go through and either set sessions aside that i think have promise or trash them. I'm fickle, a lot of the time they end up in the bin. I think im a pretty good gauge for my own material of what has promise and what doesn't.

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Old 03-05-2016, 06:58 AM   #18
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Re: Do you get stuck on a song often and how many unfinished tracks do you have?

I rarely get stuck anymore, if i do I just take a break and then come back later more fresh. Keep in mind that the brain works efficiently for like 20min and we sit for hours with our music sometimes. Take some breaks, reflect, try playing around with ideas in your head. I still mostly make unfinished songs but that is more a matter of loosing interest rather then getting stuck.

If you stuck, try play around with something, effects, arrangement, melodies, when you know your tools just trying things and playing around is kinda efficient and a fun thing on its own.
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Old 03-05-2016, 07:31 AM   #19
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Re: Do you get stuck on a song often and how many unfinished tracks do you have?

So different for everyone.

I have 427,963 unfinished tracks.


However, I learned how to finish tracks, so now I can finish anything that's seems worth the effort
.

I'm convinced that finishing a track is a skill all to itself. I think that the main component of it is not takin yourself so seriously and thinking that you can't move on to the next 8 bars or whatever until this 8 bars is UHMAZING. If I want to finish a track, I sketch out the big picture ASAP, then take as long as I want massaging the different sections.

Think about writing a story. You wouldn't be like "I have to get these first three sentences perfect before I move on." No you'd probably have an outline in your head or on paper and go ahead and get a draft out and then go back and polish it later. Hopefully we are trying to tell stories with our tracks, so the same process would be applicable.

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Old 03-05-2016, 06:17 PM   #20
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Re: Do you get stuck on a song often and how many unfinished tracks do you have?

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Originally Posted by chasedobson View Post
I have LOADS of them. What i tend to do is get them to a point and then render a version down and keep it in the session folder so I don't have to launch the session to know whats in the folder.

Every 6 months or so I go through and either set sessions aside that i think have promise or trash them. I'm fickle, a lot of the time they end up in the bin. I think im a pretty good gauge for my own material of what has promise and what doesn't.
Yes. After a while you get a sense of what a stinker and winner is, at least for yourself.

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