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Dec. 6th, 2005

I finally verbalized this thought tonight that I've been having for some time: that I'm afraid to try to write a song because I'll find out the song has already been written. The part I certainly haven't experessed because I don't know how idiotic the idea is that I thought, given certain limits, some genius type with a big computer could write a progam to generate every (pop/rock) song possible. Limits being like, the things you'd find in a standard pop song - certain keys, certain length, a melody, bass, drum, guitar and keyboard part, only the obvious time signatures you'd find in popular music, no notes smaller than say, 16th notes. I told mpeg2tom about this over at Tea. He says he thinks it's possible that there are fewer atoms in the universe. What about just a melody? And he and bizarrojack think it would take ALOT of space. I should be glad about this right? I mean it's a really good chance that if I ever did write a song, it wouldn't be a duplicate? And what keeps me awake at night is how will I know until someone sues me?

I'm sure someone can tell me either why this is ridiculous or why someone else already wrote their doctoral thesis on it.

Non sequitur: I had a dream last night that aliens were invading the earth by implanting something in women that made them try to get pregnant by men and then kill them. Slowly but surely the world was falling into a state not unlike that described in the Y: The Last Man comic. I tried to pack a few things and head out on my own but I couldn't find any clothes that seemed suitable for backpacking that I also felt comfortable in. There was a weird scene with some guy jumping out of an elevator which had doors that opened out the side of a high rise apartment building, but he jumped from only a story up and was OK.

Having a devil of a time keeping with the metronome during drum practice hour. Slew of other things to report but need to do a little online xmas shopping and hit the sack but probably not before reading another chapter in Shakey which, by the way, is rocking my world. I promise to start Ulysses tomorrow.

Four days to The Musical Box in Philly.



( 13 comments — Leave a comment )
Dec. 7th, 2005 05:14 am (UTC)
: I had a dream last night that aliens were invading the earth by implanting something in women that made them try to get pregnant by men and then kill them.

You watching Species again?
Dec. 7th, 2005 03:45 pm (UTC)
Never seen it!
Dec. 7th, 2005 12:25 pm (UTC)
Country songs are always stealing tunes from popular music, it's crazy, and noone sues them that I know of. I think you'll be fine.
Dec. 7th, 2005 03:45 pm (UTC)
I always figured the country songs I hear are 'covers' and that they probably settled that before they put out the song, but then I'm weirdly optimistic sometimes...
Dec. 7th, 2005 12:44 pm (UTC)
Psychic Hacker Network
that I'm afraid to try to write a song because I'll find out the song has already been written.

This is why my novels haven't poofed their way into our existence.

That's so strange. I thought I was the only one who did that. :/

I can tell you that, because I hesitated to write, a few of my ideas actually DID get snacked up by the Psychic Hacker Network about 5 years after I thought them. I should have moved on them.

And you should too. Write your song, and I'll write my novel. Deal? :D
Dec. 7th, 2005 03:47 pm (UTC)
Re: Psychic Hacker Network
Right on. I thought I was the only person who thought this weird stuff. I got the guitar out of mothballs, so we'll see.
Dec. 7th, 2005 01:23 pm (UTC)
It has been a weird week for dreams all 'round! I had another weird one last night but not a horrible nightmare, thank goodness. It did involve bloated corpses, however. It's hard to explain. I personally blame the fact that I just finished the "Hades" chapter in Ulysses, which is unshockingly filled with thoughts about and images of death.

As for songs - write! Of course it's easier to give advice than take it, but I have always heard the best thing to do if you want to be a writer (and I'm going to imagine this applies to songs too, though I couldn't write a song to save my life) what you have to do is write. When I was younger we even did exercises where we deliberately copied the style and voice of an established writer, to learn about how they did things. In other words, just try. You might write some crap. You might write some really derivative stuff. But some of our greatest rock stars started out copying simple blues riffs - if you don't start getting part of the craft down, it will be harder and harder to break out and really write in your own style, your own way.
Dec. 7th, 2005 03:49 pm (UTC)
some of our greatest rock stars started out copying simple blues riffs

In reading the Neil Young book, I am constantly shocked at how many times he says something like, "i built this off an old so-and-so riff" or "i stole a bit of this from so-and-so". Shocked I tell you!
Dec. 7th, 2005 07:01 pm (UTC)
T.S. Eliot said ""Good poets borrow, but great poets steal." He could get away with saying stuff like that, the bastard. =)
Dec. 9th, 2005 12:21 am (UTC)
try playing some of those "riffs" backwards and take it from there,that's one way I try to break out of ruts when I play,it's a good improvising tool to learn.
Dec. 9th, 2005 01:03 am (UTC)
awesome, thanks
(Deleted comment)
Dec. 7th, 2005 03:51 pm (UTC)
I listen to the radio and think approximately the same thing, and then I think about all the aspiring songwriters out there and all this nouveau rock like the Yeah Yeah Yeahs and the Killers and think, "they're already writing my songs!" or I wonder if I could come up with anything better.
Dec. 7th, 2005 07:59 pm (UTC)
From Tom
This is an important Tea followup:

The number of atoms in the (observable) Universe is at least about 4e78, but perhaps as many as 6e79.


Conventional number of hydrogen atoms in Universe: 1.34550(40)E+77


So if a melody was written in a key that only used 10 possible values per note, with 80 consecutive notes you would have a space of possible melodies larger than the number of atoms in the observable universe.
( 13 comments — Leave a comment )


keep it dark

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