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WIGGLING 'LITE' IN GUEST MODE

How do you capture inspiration?
MUFF WIGGLER Forum Index -> Production Techniques  
Author How do you capture inspiration?
ciso
I'm sure there are a lot of folks here who, unfortunately, don't do music as their "day" job. I'm one of them.

I only get to spend a couple hours a week to do anything musical, during my lunch breaks at work. I guess I'm fortunate to have an employer that tolerates that, however....

My inspiration seems to come at the most inopportune times. It could be right as I start my work day, or right as I'm going to sleep, when my gear is nowhere within reach. I've tried a couple iPhone apps to capture ideas but haven't found anything, or at least haven't spent enough time with them, to find them quick enough to actually get those ideas out of my head.

How do you, wigglers, capture inspiration when it strikes at inopportune times? What apps/tools do you use?
Blueowls
I'm really after the melodies, and I'm a chronic whistler, so things really started changing for me when I just started recording myself whistling whilst out walking, cooking, working, whatever... if a melody comes to me I'll whistle and record. Same stuff applies to patterns, rhythms, just bang on something at hand and record it straight to your phone with the most basic dictaphone thing you have. Even if the result comes out terrible, the point isn't having a good result, it's about having that idea there, that you can then flesh out later. Doesn't matter if your out of tune or sync, no-one will ever hear that stuff apart from you, so who cares?

Apps and more sophisticated tools don't work for me, since by the time I'm fitting myself into the mold of whatever method of notation (keyboard, sequencer etc.) I'm trying to recreate whats in my head on, its already in its next steps of development, which might be ok, but probably frustrating if you feel your original concept was purer.
PhineasFreak
diagrams and notes on post-its.

lots and lots of post-its.
TheColdUnknown
Iphone notes and built in recorder. I've had rhythms that I would record just by tapping on my iPhone or what surface it's on.
calaveras
you can get garageband for iphone or ipad. So that makes it easy to be able to do simple arrangements just about anywhere.
I am always carrying my laptop with me. So I often have put together tracks while commuting to work.

The other side of this is the whole home recording thing.
When I first got into home recording I had a lot of gear from being in bands. Mixer, microphones, cables etc. But I did not have a very easy to use set up when it came to 'press record and go'.
Computers were a total pain back then. And open reel tape is expensive and requires a lot of housekeeping to work properly.

Over the last decade or two I've put a lot of energy into setting up a control surface, dedicated computer, audio gear etc so I can roll out of bed, or come home from work and just press record and go.
It costs a lot more to have everything plugged in. I needed two MOTU audio interfaces to get me up to 20 inputs. And then I needed that many cables to plug all those things in. But it is really helpful to not have to make a detour into 'how do I make signal show up on the input' side of my mind.
Going over to that side of things seems to be a pretty fast way to lose my creative train of thought.

The funny thing is I rented a studio space for a while out in East Oakland, but I recorded almost nothing good there. I had a whole room to myself. Full of synths, guitars, and drums. Everything mic-ed up and ready to go. But something about that warehouse just sucked the energy out of me. Lack of windows? Lack of a couch? I dont know but I ended up hating that place, then moving it all back into my TINY apartment.
memes_33
i make a lot of "beat" oriented stuff and prefer drum samples over synthesized sounds, so when i have time to work on music but not feeling inspired, i organize libraries or clip drum samples, or set up sampler instruments in ableton.

obviously this doesn't fit everyone's style/workflow, but i think the point is to find "busywork" like organizing you can do during those moments where you feel uninspired that can make those moments when you do feel inspired much more fruitful. think about the things that slow you down when you're totally in the moment, and see what you can do to minimize them.
calaveras
that is a good point.
I often do the same thing, however I keep busy working on patches or editing/cleaning up one of a dozen recordings in my backlog at any given time.
It can be tedious work, but often the editing itself can lead to creative insights.
Hainbach
OP-1 is really handy whenever wherever.
Bojmir Raj Raj
being all olde-schoole, I notate melodic and rhythmic ideas in notation with pen and paper, on the backs of old receipts, business cards and other scraps of paper including Post-its!
Muzone
Mainly with note pad and pencil, sometimes as actual notation others as abstract squiggles representing movements of tone and rhythm.
I also use the phone to record any environmental noise that strikes me as inspiring, usually machinery or town-sounds
TheRosskonian
memes_33 wrote:
obviously this doesn't fit everyone's style/workflow, but i think the point is to find "busywork" like organizing you can do during those moments where you feel uninspired that can make those moments when you do feel inspired much more fruitful. think about the things that slow you down when you're totally in the moment, and see what you can do to minimize them.


I picked up a similar approach. I got a lot of it from watching Ill Gates' videos on workflow (most of them are free on his site). He talks about separating out those tedious tasks between daytime and nighttime. That way, you have the daytime, or morning, to work on developing compositions and such while the night time, you are doing all the tedious things that would have subtracted or distracted from the composing in the morning.

I would suggest always keeping something to write things down (notepad, phone, whatever works best for you) so you can capture it. But I think the bigger issue is how much you regularly put time into your music and getting inspiration confused with the work required to capture it. Inspiration can come from anywhere and everywhere and it always seems to be the strongest when you are the farthest away from being able to capture it. Comes to me a lot of times in the shower or on long bicycle rides. If you're only wanting to work when inspiration strikes, that could be a lot less time you are actually putting in. But if you're spending more time into your music and doing things everyday, even if only for an hour or less, you have a better chance of getting those ideas down than you would only a few hours per week. Especially if you are used to working with or without inspiration.

I know this doesn't apply to everyone, but as someone who works full time, it's certainly what I've gathered I need to do in order to get anywhere. Hope it helps.
Koa
anything and everything. be sure to have workflow that can be booted up within a minute, including powering up everything.

Obviously the modular system has to warm up, but inspiration doesn't care about perfect operating conditions.
noisejockey
Small notebook
iPhone voice memo recorder
Sony PCM-D50 field recorder (quite literally always at my side, even at work)
OP-1
Spacey Blurr
ciso wrote:
I'm sure there are a lot of folks here who, unfortunately, don't do music as their "day" job. I'm one of them.

I only get to spend a couple hours a week to do anything musical, during my lunch breaks at work. I guess I'm fortunate to have an employer that tolerates that, however....

My inspiration seems to come at the most inopportune times. It could be right as I start my work day, or right as I'm going to sleep, when my gear is nowhere within reach. I've tried a couple iPhone apps to capture ideas but haven't found anything, or at least haven't spent enough time with them, to find them quick enough to actually get those ideas out of my head.

How do you, wigglers, capture inspiration when it strikes at inopportune times? What apps/tools do you use?


I generate vast multilayered symphonies in my mind, when they're gone they're gone. The experience expands your consciousness and the creation lives on within you.

In your situation I would suggest expressing the sound with your voice into your phone. The human voice is the most expressive instrument known to man. So when inspiration hits while you're laying in your bed, pull out your phone and sing your song.
Ichomancer
Beatboxing and Nature.

Over the course of like a billion years of beat boxing in the shower, I've gotten pretty good at it. Beatboxing just comes very naturally, and I can generate complex arrangements just from being in that flow state.

Nature is perhaps my biggest inspiration, so a lot of my inspiration also comes from sampling nature when I'm out on adventures.
ReturnCodeZero
Notes on my phone, post it notes and trying really hard to remember.
ben_hex
Notes on paper then take a pic on phone, wirrten nots on phone or audio recordings of me playing something, humming, beat boxing etc. All sounds lame when I listen back but gets an idea down often worth revisiting.
sparood
You get inspiration for music while working ? fuck, I must be doing something wrong.

I'll guess having a recording application running while tapping the melody or rhythm with your fingers could work okay.
Oblivion
I've got tons of ideas stashed in Evernote. I never think to look at them when I'm in front of the gear, though . . . Good intentions and all. Dead Banana
junglll
I can't say I'm ever inspired when not holding an instrument, but i've got hundreds of short voice memos on my iphone which are just random noodling that turned interesting
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