Beautiful Boundaries

When talking about greatness, many talk about moving beyond boundaries. That's backwards. Great art is created from making the best out of limits, from imposing artificial constraints -- boundary conditions -- not from limitlessness.




Mixed Messages Day 9


September 5


Vocals, vocals, vocals. Yesterday, we started Mixed Messages Demo #22. Today, I'm working on the vocals to it. So far, I've tried three different melodies. This process will continue until I stumble on a good fit. 


Usually, I start with the melody and add words much later. Although the words and delivery matter, I like having to work within the boundaries of a melody when writing lyrics. The already formed melody provides structure, which accelerates progress by giving a frame for what can and cannot be said. 


For as much as I like the method, I've noticed that as I've become a better songwriter, the entire process can flip. Sometimes, I start with a set of words and add music too it. Sometimes, it's best to start with a drum beat and add guitar. Sometimes, it's best to finish the instrumentals, then let an already formed set of lyrics dictate the places that a melody can go. 


It's good to explore changing the order of the creative process. Each starting place looks at the problem from a different point of view, which leads to a different truth. Each variation reworks connections, destroys the comfort zone, and scrambles predictable patterns that are all to easy to fall back on. Safe, but not satisfying. 


Order matters. Rearranging it keeps the music fresh.