Music for your projects. songtradr.

Art. Music. Design. Thoughts. Projects.

Letting It Flow

From Within...

Composing ~ Inspiration, Part 4.

My 4th approach in this series is "Letting it flow (from within)".

What does this mean?

It means Writing without any clearly defined intention other than to create. This isn't to say that what I'm writing isn't inspired by a piece of music or genre, or even an abstract idea, it's just that the inspirations are subconcious or unintended.

This kind of writing might start from the need to express a feeling, or it might extend from the exploration of a guitar lick, or maybe a few notes on the piano. It might start with a finger exercise. From that initial seed, whatever it may be, I allow the piece to change, or not change, based purely on how cohesive it sounds to me. Adding and taking away elements as needed. I'm not composing by comparing it against a genre or a specific song, or artists to see if it is successfully reminiscent of, or clearly inspired by something. I just let the music do what it sounds like it should do. Certainly the piece may belong to a specific genre, and carry with it the guides and limitations of that genre, but it might also break away from the genre and move in a different direction, if that's what it seems like it needs to do.

Pieces created with this approach will be as wacky, funky, or beautiful as they turn out to be. And, of course, they may be horrible, or end up unfinished, or hidden away somewhere to ensure their ugliness is never heard. It's the exploration involved that matters most, the confidence building as well as confidence shattering that takes place when you just let it flow. This approach provides so much insight into ones self, that; the end result becomes of far lesser value. It's a bonus if the finished piece sounds good, but the process, even when frustrating, takes place somewhere beautiful, here, in the moment, just being, living and breathing in the process of creating.

Clearly this approach is high risk, and might look like a waste of time, especially as far as business and productivity are concerned. The end result might be good, or it might not - now there's a result you can bank on! Of course, if value is only placed on artwork/music as a finished commercial product, then this approach might just be a waste of time. But art in the eyes of the artist (in this case, my music), is not just a product. For me, creating is not simply a career choice or even a pass-time. It is a necessary process, as fundemental as thinking and feeling. Art is integral to the very process of living. So, as far as Art is concerned.... this approach taps directly into the place where it happens, along with meditation, self-exploration, and meaningful expression as a bonus. I also know that I work best when I combine the results of unrestrained creation with planned and thought-out, logical, patterns of design. So, I also enjoy the process of combining the abstract with the viable and seeing the result come to fruition as a finished product.


Here are a few pieces in different styles, created using this approach.

1. Wah Guitar Groove

The seed of this piece is a simple piano part that bounces between F# Minor, and C# Major (which starts at 0:13 in this track), this is actually part another piece that I've been working on for a couple of years, but for whatever reason, I felt I needed to try it as a backing track for some guitar wah groove exploration.

2. Fragile Heart

Fragile Heart is a cross between approach #3 and #4. The Seed of this piece was a challenge to myself; to write for 2 Violins, Viola, and Cello (String Quartet), but beyond that, this is purely the result of “Letting It Flow”. I should point out that this recording uses ensembles of each instrument, rather than solo instruments, so the sound is more orchestral in expression and quality.

3. FM Pigeon

This is pure exploration from my 2015 release Heptad, letting it flow with synthesizers and sequencers. Synthesizers are great for exploration because they have such a broad range of possible sounds. Sounds that have a very limited history of use and therefore have less of a tendency to force the piece toward a specific genre.

And there you have it. 3 very different pieces from the approach of "letting it flow".

This post also wraps up the series on my current approaches to composing and where I get inspiration. As I said at the beginning of this series: it is more often the case that these approaches overlap, and I'm sure that these approaches will change over time. For the most part I try not to analyze my process, but for some reason it seemed like the right time to have a closer look. I hope there are ideas in here that are of a benefit to you, or ideas that might help you relate to some of the art that you see and hear in the world around you. At the very least this series will help you better understand how and why I create art and music.

~ Cory

Previous Article Previous   |   Next Next Article
Cory (Daniel) Todd is a Canadian Artist and Musician. | Listen: Spotify and iTunes. | Watch: youTube | Visit for more info.
Donate Cash or Crypto