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16 Years - Printable Version

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16 Years - Mattias Westlund - 09-18-2020

In memory of our cat Simba, who left us last week. He was 16 years old and his health had deteriorated to a point where he could no longer lead a happy cat life, so we had to say goodbye to him. This is not completely finished yet, so any thoughts on the arrangement and mixing would be welcome.

On an unrelated note, once this is finished it will probably be my last VO piece for some time. Over the past year I've grown increasingly frustrated with my progress (or lack thereof), and I'm at a junction where I need to stop and have a good long think about where to go from here. Do I try to rekindle my passion for composing somehow, or do I simply move on to other more gratifying pursuits such as writing? I don't know. Perhaps the urge to write orchestral music will come sneaking back eventually, as it usually does, but right now, I don't have the patience for it. It takes too much damn time, and even after spending all that time, I'm rarely happy with the results. Rather than keep frustrating myself further and risking becoming so disgusted with it all that I'll give music up altogether, I'm going to just back away and focus on other things for a while.


RE: 16 Years - Paul Battersby - 09-18-2020

It's unfortunate that you've lost your cat, losing a pet is never easy, and it's a shame your desire to compose orchestral music has faded.

I certainly know what you mean about how long it takes to compose for an orchestra. Perhaps a break will help or perhaps restricting yourself to a small number of instruments for a while would be an option? I've read many times (and experienced it myself) that imposing restrictions can spark creativity.


RE: 16 Years - Michael Willis - 09-18-2020

Double sad news, but I agree that you shouldn't force yourself to do virtual orchestration if you're just finding it frustrating. Maybe at some point you can try Paul's suggestion to give yourself some new creative constraints, but for now if you're enjoying other things more, then why not pursue them?

I enjoyed the piece of music, although I don't really have any technical feedback. Who knows, maybe at some point you'll have a whole album inspired by pets who are no longer with you. You already have two, and that would give you time to recharge in between compositions.


RE: 16 Years - Samulis - 09-18-2020

Mattias, this is BEAUTIFUL! Seriously. That cat must have been lucky to have a human like you. Smile

(09-18-2020, 07:42 PM)Paul Battersby Wrote: I certainly know what you mean about how long it takes to compose for an orchestra. Perhaps a break will help or perhaps restricting yourself to a small number of instruments for a while would be an option? I've read many times (and experienced it myself) that imposing restrictions can spark creativity.

To be honest, I found myself in a situation very similar to yours several years ago, Mattias. I hated composing, I hated what my music had become. I had become jaded and worn out, in short. I found my solace in writing duets and quartets and other short, "simple" chamber music, only using basic sounds and no attempt at virtual orchestration, and devoted much of my time to improvising, playing, and making sample libraries. I still don't write the same way I used to, but I have found new places in music I enjoy exploring (and of course new hobbies/interests too). Through that I eventually started accepting my shortcomings and the perfectionism and dissatisfaction that stopped me from working has slowly diminished to a... slightly more manageable level, to the point I can write at least simple orchestral music again.

As always I think it's important to give these things time. That said, as you put it, I think once you are bit by the composition bug, it will always come back eventually to bite you again. Wink


RE: 16 Years - Mattias Westlund - 09-19-2020

(09-18-2020, 07:42 PM)Paul Battersby Wrote: I certainly know what you mean about how long it takes to compose for an orchestra. Perhaps a break will help or perhaps restricting yourself to a small number of instruments for a while would be an option? I've read many times (and experienced it myself) that imposing restrictions can spark creativity.

Imposing restrictions can spark creativity, for sure! And that's probably what I'm going to do, though not in the way that you might think. I'm leaning towards focusing my attention on a progressive metal project which has symphonic elements, but not classical orchestration per se.

(09-18-2020, 08:05 PM)Michael Willis Wrote: I enjoyed the piece of music, although I don't really have any technical feedback. Who knows, maybe at some point you'll have a whole album inspired by pets who are no longer with you. You already have two, and that would give you time to recharge in between compositions.

I actually lol'd at this! I know you mean well, Michael, and I see what you mean. But my morbid brain interpreted it as using the demise of pets for musical inspiration, maybe actively. "OK, let's see, two cats gone, but we still have two more, and two rabbits. That makes six tracks. I'm going to need another four for a full album. Hamsters are cute and they only live for a couple of years, don't they?"

(09-18-2020, 11:55 PM)Samulis Wrote: Mattias, this is BEAUTIFUL! Seriously. That cat must have been lucky to have a human like you. Smile

Thank you, Sam! I know the music sounds like Simba was an alien that got stranded on Earth, phoned home and then got picked up by a spaceship at the end, but... eh. I much prefer doing these Williams-esque things over the modern VO thing, which brings me to...

(09-18-2020, 11:55 PM)Samulis Wrote: To be honest, I found myself in a situation very similar to yours several years ago, Mattias. I hated composing, I hated what my music had become. I had become jaded and worn out, in short. I found my solace in writing duets and quartets and other short, "simple" chamber music, only using basic sounds and no attempt at virtual orchestration, and devoted much of my time to improvising, playing, and making sample libraries. I still don't write the same way I used to, but I have found new places in music I enjoy exploring (and of course new hobbies/interests too). Through that I eventually started accepting my shortcomings and the perfectionism and dissatisfaction that stopped me from working has slowly diminished to a... slightly more manageable level, to the point I can write at least simple orchestral music again.

Yeah, I definitely know what you mean regarding "I hated what my music had become". I know I can whip up a nice orchestral track or two, or three, in a limited range of styles. But when I try to do something different and the end result sounds pretty much the same as track one, two and three combined, I'm realizing something's wrong here. And it's not down to just style and personal preference. I've been stuck inside my little box for well over a decade now, and I feel I need to move outside it to be happy. But how? I don't know. Maybe I need to do what you did and start playing real instruments more instead of struggling with virtual ones?

(09-18-2020, 11:55 PM)Samulis Wrote: As always I think it's important to give these things time. That said, as you put it, I think once you are bit by the composition bug, it will always come back eventually to bite you again. Wink

I'm sure it will. I went through a similar phase some seven or eight years ago. I spent a couple of years playing guitar and writing non-orchestral music, and that rebooted my brain and got me enthusiastic about music in general again.

I'm so envious of people who have just one single love and interest, a single purpose in life. Those who truly know they want to be a writer, painter, chef, poet, sculptor, journalist, gardener, director, programmer and so on. I love doing lots of things, but life's too short for exploring more than one or two to its fullest Sad


RE: 16 Years - Terry93D - 09-19-2020

(09-18-2020, 10:44 AM)Mattias Westlund Wrote: In memory of our cat Simba, who left us last week. He was 16 years old and his health had deteriorated to a point where he could no longer lead a happy cat life, so we had to say goodbye to him. This is not completely finished yet, so any thoughts on the arrangement and mixing would be welcome.

On an unrelated note, once this is finished it will probably be my last VO piece for some time. Over the past year I've grown increasingly frustrated with my progress (or lack thereof), and I'm at a junction where I need to stop and have a good long think about where to go from here. Do I try to rekindle my passion for composing somehow, or do I simply move on to other more gratifying pursuits such as writing? I don't know. Perhaps the urge to write orchestral music will come sneaking back eventually, as it usually does, but right now, I don't have the patience for it. It takes too much damn time, and even after spending all that time, I'm rarely happy with the results. Rather than keep frustrating myself further and risking becoming so disgusted with it all that I'll give music up altogether, I'm going to just back away and focus on other things for a while.

Beautiful, beautiful composition. I wish I could say more on it then that, but I don't have anything else to say -- it's a beautiful piece of music.

And, I am so, so sorry about the loss of Simba. Sad

(09-19-2020, 01:08 AM)Mattias Westluns Wrote:
(09-18-2020, 11:55 PM)Samulis Wrote: Mattias, this is BEAUTIFUL! Seriously. That cat must have been lucky to have a human like you. Smile

Thank you, Sam! I know the music sounds like Simba was an alien that got stranded on Earth, phoned home and then got picked up by a spaceship at the end, but... eh. I much prefer doing these Williams-esque things over the modern VO thing, which brings me to...

(09-18-2020, 11:55 PM)Samulis Wrote: To be honest, I found myself in a situation very similar to yours several years ago, Mattias. I hated composing, I hated what my music had become. I had become jaded and worn out, in short. I found my solace in writing duets and quartets and other short, "simple" chamber music, only using basic sounds and no attempt at virtual orchestration, and devoted much of my time to improvising, playing, and making sample libraries. I still don't write the same way I used to, but I have found new places in music I enjoy exploring (and of course new hobbies/interests too). Through that I eventually started accepting my shortcomings and the perfectionism and dissatisfaction that stopped me from working has slowly diminished to a... slightly more manageable level, to the point I can write at least simple orchestral music again.

Yeah, I definitely know what you mean regarding "I hated what my music had become". I know I can whip up a nice orchestral track or two, or three, in a limited range of styles. But when I try to do something different and the end result sounds pretty much the same as track one, two and three combined, I'm realizing something's wrong here. And it's not down to just style and personal preference. I've been stuck inside my little box for well over a decade now, and I feel I need to move outside it to be happy. But how? I don't know. Maybe I need to do what you did and start playing real instruments more instead of struggling with virtual ones?

(09-18-2020, 11:55 PM)Samulis Wrote: As always I think it's important to give these things time. That said, as you put it, I think once you are bit by the composition bug, it will always come back eventually to bite you again. Wink

I'm sure it will. I went through a similar phase some seven or eight years ago. I spent a couple of years playing guitar and writing non-orchestral music, and that rebooted my brain and got me enthusiastic about music in general again.

I'm so envious of people who have just one single love and interest, a single purpose in life. Those who truly know they want to be a writer, painter, chef, poet, sculptor, journalist, gardener, director, programmer and so on. I love doing lots of things, but life's too short for exploring more than one or two to its fullest Sad

I don't know how much use my advice would be, but everyone has really excellent advice -- limitations, real instruments, and so on. A break, too, can help and recharge -- and perhaps exploring some styles of orchestral music outside of your usual would help also? I don't know. When it comes to orchestral music -- and this is just me personally -- I try to view things in terms of senses of emotion or place, as range/style go, more then more explicitly discernable Stylistic Tics. Perhaps this means I'll end up in my own box soon enough; but I feel that my own composing voice hasn't yet stabilized enough for me to feel stuck into a box yet.

I sympathize, also, with the struggle of multiple artistic interests. I focus on music, mainly, but I also write on the side -- not novels, but short stories. But even beyond that if I had the time or the ability or the money I would be directing short films and documentaries, and painting, and taking up calligraphy, and wittling wood to make little statuettes, and drawing with pencils, and taking photographs, and designing fonts, and acting...


RE: 16 Years - Samulis - 09-19-2020

(09-19-2020, 01:08 AM)Mattias Westlund Wrote: I'm so envious of people who have just one single love and interest, a single purpose in life. Those who truly know they want to be a writer, painter, chef, poet, sculptor, journalist, gardener, director, programmer and so on. I love doing lots of things, but life's too short for exploring more than one or two to its fullest Sad

Yeah, never been remotely that myself. I've done nothing but bounce between ideas and careers my whole life so far, but honestly I don't see anything wrong with that 'play style', if you will. Yeah, the people who dedicate their whole life to one area can indeed become great experts, but they lack the connections. Having written both books and music, you can see and access connections a person who has only composed music will never be able to see or realize. Every art, heck every hobby and field and human endeavor is connected by some way to some other one, and each new exploration will only make the eventual return sweeter imho. Working on sample libraries has opened my ears with music in a totally unexpected but very useful way, just as playing instruments or writing or doing art or designing games or cooking or still photography might. All of these crafts complement each other at a fundamental level. Balance, composition, clarity, texture, shape, form, and function are all things which can be found in every artform; learning to master these elements in any one art will reflect onto other fields too. Smile


RE: 16 Years - peastman - 09-19-2020

I'm so sorry about your cat.  I've been through that many times, and it's always hard.  And thank you for sharing that beautiful piece of music.

Like other people, I avoid burnout by rotating between creative pursuits.  For a while I'll be really into composing and spend a lot of time at it.  Then I'll put it aside, and for a few years I write little or no music.  This year I've been really focused on playing the piano.  And I always keep coming back to writing in one form or another, whether it's short stories or science essays or interactive fiction.  (I have two entries in this year's Interactive Fiction Competition).  And of course programming is always a major focus for me, whether it's for work or various side projects.

I recall hearing that near the end of his life, Bernstein expressed regret that he had spread himself so thin by trying to be a composer and a conductor and a pianist.  If he had focused on just one, he thought he could have been better at it.  When in fact, he was exceptional at all three.


RE: 16 Years - sayan - 09-20-2020

I think you knew that this time was coming but as I said, no matter of preparation can ever get you ready to face it. I know exactly how you feel. Sad
Beautiful track BTW!

If you want, you can send me the track once done and I'll mix and master it for you.


RE: 16 Years - Michael Willis - 09-24-2020

(09-19-2020, 01:08 AM)Mattias Westlund Wrote:
(09-18-2020, 08:05 PM)Michael Willis Wrote: I enjoyed the piece of music, although I don't really have any technical feedback. Who knows, maybe at some point you'll have a whole album inspired by pets who are no longer with you. You already have two, and that would give you time to recharge in between compositions.

I actually lol'd at this! I know you mean well, Michael, and I see what you mean. But my morbid brain interpreted it as using the demise of pets for musical inspiration, maybe actively. "OK, let's see, two cats gone, but we still have two more, and two rabbits. That makes six tracks. I'm going to need another four for a full album. Hamsters are cute and they only live for a couple of years, don't they?"

Goodness knows that it didn't mean it as dark as that! I was mostly just being silly about the fact that you've done this twice now.