How long do you need to finish a song?

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TygerTung
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Re: How long do you need to finish a song?

Post by TygerTung »

Maybe 20 hours? It takes a wee while to do all the mixing as I just do it during smoko breaks at work, and I am just usually learning how to record and work different software. I've only recorded a few songs so far. I hope to get faster as I get more experienced. I am fortunate to not be a perfectionist, so I am happy for it to be "rough enough". Mixing and editing takes the longest I think.

jonetsu
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Re: How long do you need to finish a song?

Post by jonetsu »

Define 'finish'.

At one point in time I dropped the notion of a 'finished' song. And in retrospect I find it's good for the song itself as it can be expressed in different ways. It so happens that at one point in time tracks are recorded, worked on, mixed and mastered. The intent and feeling at that time during those processes belong to a certain situation. The same song can be expressed in subtle or major different ways at some other time.

So many possibilities exists. It's almost like a fractal expression. A tiny mod here and there can have many repercussions down the line. At every moment decisions are taken that have repercussions.

I think a piece is 'finished' when its first jest was laid down. Many will not agree because at that stage a song is hardly palatable for listeners. But the rest is all about cosmetics, I find.

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Digital Larry
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Re: How long do you need to finish a song?

Post by Digital Larry »

Here's one that started as a bass riff 30+ years ago. I fleshed it out over the past 5 months.

https://soundcloud.com/gary-worsham/sal ... on-the-bmi

Here's one that came together on a family vacation last summer. It was 80% done in 4 days. I still need to tweak the mix a bit but it's basically there. This one was recorded on an iPad.

https://soundcloud.com/gary-worsham/mountain-memories

I could keep remixing these things forever so I just stop when I'm tired of hearing it again and nothing about it bugs me too much.

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Re: How long do you need to finish a song?

Post by tavasti »

lilith wrote:
Fri Aug 03, 2018 10:13 pm
I wonder how long do you typically need to finish a song and how your workflow looks like. And do you work on several pieces in parallel?
I never have possibility for full time working with music. In max I have 8 hours / week for working with music, and most of that time is late in the evening when I am not at my smartest. And most weeks, that is something like 3 hours/week, in smaller than 1 hour shreds.

I am still pretty novice, so my earlier stuff has been simpler, and they have been done faster. Most of the tracks have been something like 1-2 weeks to snoop around how the track would go, and then recording has been one live play, with video recording at same time. Then edit video, and it is there.

Now working on my first real mixed track. It started something about 9 months ago. Basic layout of guitar was done in one play. Then got volunteered vocalist for it, and it took maybe 1 month for lyrics, then 3-4 months he got suitable vocals recorded. And then there was waiting before I got back to work with it. Now on that limited few hours/week pace, I have been working it 1.5 months, and it is getting near releasing. Sure, as first real mixed track there has been much learning time. Learn to edit audio, make drum track better, try to mix, etc. Now it is in shape it could be released, but having some hints for improvment, so I might still do some polishing for it.
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Re: How long do you need to finish a song?

Post by folderol »

I think the fact that after two and a half years, this thread isn't 'finished' rather makes the point :lol:

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thumbknuckle
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Re: How long do you need to finish a song?

Post by thumbknuckle »

I am an obsessive reviser. It's pretty ridiculous really. I have given up on the notion of any of my compositions ever being 'finished'. My scores live in an SVN repository with more branches than a small forest.

When it comes to recordings of things I am pretty much the opposite. If it isn't finished in one session it's probably going to be discarded. Once in a blue moon I will open up an old session and fiddle with the mix but that's pretty rare.
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tripomatic
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Re: How long do you need to finish a song?

Post by tripomatic »

Finishing a song, it depends.(it's finished for me when i've made a pre-master).

This weekend i did one in 2 days (on headphones), fatest ever for me :), but i first have to check it again the studio to make sure everything is good. Never mixed on headphones.. But busy with studio works like accoustics etc. On other tracks it can take also weeks or months. Depends all of the creative flow. If i got stuck i just leave it, and sometime i pickup it up half year later and could be that i can finish it, but sometimes the magic doesn't happen :).

Death
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Re: How long do you need to finish a song?

Post by Death »

Short answer: Months.

Long answer: I usually get the core sort of 'hook' of a song going in the first couple of days. Usually within the first few days, I'll have something that starts to resemble a basic song with a structure, although this can take longer if I'm making synth patches from scratch. Then it starts to get hard because I struggle to take this idea and pack it out with interesting things that take it to the next level. I usually make a little progress here and then get stuck so I decide I'll just start mixing the song instead. Mixing takes ages because I'm very specific about things and I always want stuff to sound as good as I can make it. Once the mix is working well, I'll go back to trying musical ideas again because even though it's pretty well mixed, it's still a bit basic as a song. By this point, I'm gonna be around 30 hours into it and the remaining 20+ hours or whatever will just be me going through hell trying to figure out what to do with the song. I do this until I'm absolutely sick of it and can't handle it anymore, then I come back and do it all over again. If the song is at least OK, I'll release it, otherwise it'll sit in a folder somewhere waiting for me to work it out someday.

So in the space of a year, if I work a lot, I can make about 5 good songs with a few abandoned things on the side. So yeh, I'm a pretty slow worker I suppose. This is the joy of being a perfectionist.... :cry: Oh, and by the way, "finished"!? Nothing's ever finished really, it's just a case of letting it go....

Gps
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Re: How long do you need to finish a song?

Post by Gps »

It depends, but often months.

Although its starting to become more fun, making music for me was often going from one frustration to another.

Almost can't believe how much I learned though, and the frustration over things I could do not are happening less and less often.


Nice example an instrumental cover of mine, Ice Cube - Gangster rap made me do it.
Because I was listening to the original, I was curious about my cover.

There was some percussion element missing in my cover. I remember not being able to hear and or have a clue on what was happening.
Twenty minutes later, I had something, the same as the original or at-least close enough.

Fun fact about this track, somebody played my cover together with the original, I was 100% in sync.
Makes you wonder if Gangster rap made me do it, was created on a pc. :P

Never give up, never surrender, when I started making noise with LMMS, people asked if I was tone deaf.
These days I am slowly starting to hear / understand drums. Want part is the kick, the hat the snare and so on.

With hip hop this is allot easier to hear then with certain hard rock, but I have to start some were,

Death
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Re: How long do you need to finish a song?

Post by Death »

@Gps I know what you mean. Everything is so overwhelming at the start and it takes years to even begin to get good so it's really good for you to step back and acknowledge your accomplishments once in a while. The thing is, don't you find you say to yourself "If I can just make songs that good, I'll be happy!", only to find that once you can make songs that good, you're not happy, it's not good enough and you need to improve?

I'll never be satisfied unless the day comes where I think my music is just as good as, if not, better than anything else out there. That day will never come. But that's OK, because as Bob Ross said, there's nowhere else to go from there..

Gps
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Re: How long do you need to finish a song?

Post by Gps »

My biggest problem is in my character.

Instead of staying calm, when something does not go the way I want it, I get annoyed with myself for failing.
The more I get annoyed though, the worse it gets.

On the bright side my character does help me too, I am usual to stubborn to give up.


I have released quite a few tracks already, but listening to my earlier tracks, makes me at least wanna better mix them better.
But allot I learned has to do with my ears. My musical hearing might be the part what has progressed most.

I already had a good sense for rhythm, when I started making music.
I was trying to put The Cure - A forest into LMMS and used sheet music,
After hours of trying and getting once again frustrated, over 1 bloody note, I put the sheet music away and hooked up my midi controller.
Then hit a key on the midi keyboard, were my sense of rhythm, told me it should be.

Then looked in LMMS were that note had ended up, and suddenly I understood what the sheet music was trying to tell me.

The cure a forest has one note before a bar. so in 1,2,3,4 the 4 was the first note.


I will also never forget a video of LMMS, it was explaining how to find a key of a song.
The person was moving the notes around listened and said no, definitely not, until the notes sounded right. ( in harmony )
The first few times I saw that vid, I could not hear the notes being out of scale, and why the person kept moving the notes.

What did help me is seeing an interview with Jean Michel Jarre.

He said he always had this feeling that the tracks he released could have been better.

Now I am ( not yet ? ) as good as Jarre, but I do recognize that feeling.

jonetsu
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Re: How long do you need to finish a song?

Post by jonetsu »

How long do you need to finish a song? I solved the problem by never considering a piece as being 'finished'. Since then a certain amount of 'junk' was thrown away in doing so. A piece can reach a certain stage where it can be shared and that's only a point in its life. It's not a finish line.

Certain pieces can also take a life of their own. This is certainly the case with "Buta" recently remixed. I feel it's totally on its own. it lives independently. "The Otterworld" is another like that. There are a few. When I'll be remixing them it'll be as if someone else created them.

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