Testing Yourself

13th October 2015

The quest for motivation, or even artistic inspiration can be an elusive thing. It’s often when you’re up to your neck with work or in an inopportune moment you have that spark of an idea with no means of getting it down before you forget, or when you have ample time to yourself with the intention of being creative and writers block kicks in to add to the irony. This is quite often the case with myself, especially with down time on set. But I have the perfect cure for this problem:

Set yourself a challenge.

Seriously, it works! It all started back in university when my mate challenged me to write a song which had three bars of 11/16 followed by one bar of 15/16 repeated *NB (see below if this makes no sense), and I did it! So today, whilst sitting on set in 70’s clothing reminiscent of what my Dad would’ve worn (don’t ask) I decided I wanted to be creative so I challenged myself to write something using only two chords repeated and here’s the result!

The hardest bit of writing a repetitive track like this is trying to make sure it isn’t boring. If you listen carefully, the initial notes you hear at the start are repeated throughout the whole track for two minutes, but the track still works

The repetition is cleverly disguised with a dynamic build up and introduction of new instruments every 4 bars and adds a subtle element of suspense which rises but instead of going into an expected loud section, it is ultimately dropped into the intro notes again but with a 5/4 bar to end to add space into the lead section. A few other techniques which you will notice is the use of ambient noise to distract the listener from the repetition and I got the creative and programmed some interesting panning effects which is especially noticeable when listening with headphones.

So yeah. If you’re ever in a slump; set yourself a challenge. No matter how simple or complex it maybe. Hope this advice will be of some use to you and hope you enjoyed the track!



So imagine your typical chart/pop song. 99% of the time, it is going to be in 4/4 which means there are 4 beats per bar. The beat is what we call an accent.

1                      2                     3                     4                        4/4
1       and        2       and       3        and       4       and           8/8
1-ee-and-ah-2-ee-and-ah-3-ee-and-ah-4-ee-and-ah-   16/16

So aloud count 1, 2, 3, 4 repeatedly. Now at the same tempo say “and” between each accent. This demonstrates an 8th note rhythm. Now things get a little more complex, now we’re going to add “ee, and ah” between the accents. Why those words? Who knows! Probably because it’s easier to say. Anyways, the difficulty is you’re saying more things so people tend to speed up but the 1, 2, 3, 4 stay exactly the same! This is your 16th notes. Got that down? Now try:

1-ee-and-ah-2-ee-and-ah-3-ee-and                           11/16
-ee-and-ah-2-ee-and-ah-3-ee-and                           11/16
-ee-and-ah-2-ee-and-ah-3-ee-and                           11/16
-ee-and-ah-2-ee-and-ah-3-ee-and-ah-4-ee-and   15/16

Have fun with that…

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