Software, tools, creativity ideas

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Great suggestions for means of creation already on the forum! And as I enjoy finding out about these sorts of things, here is a short list of various ways I have used to make music or create ideas you may/may not know! These can be used for your Demo production, as a rough first draft can be the initial seedlings for later polishing into a jem of a finished piece. Some aren't entirely linked to demo production per say, but could help with the creation between idea stage and demo production. Apologies if I posted in the wrong sub forum.

1] Alternative DAW Software through Video Games = Music 2000 Playstation 1 / Beaterator PSP / Dreams PS4 / Korg Gadget Nintendo Switch / Gameboy Camera

For those with more of an incline for controllers and the use of games consoles, these games span from being pocket DAW to more advanced. Some of hese are more than music creation software and allow for other sorts of creations, like Dreams seems very advanced and I couldn't figure it out, but the others are more user friendly and allow for creation of music either through self input on a timeline or samples. If you happen to have these knocking about somewhere or even fancy spending a little money to having a play about with em, worth a shot!

2] Board/Card Games idea generation = Bard Cards / Story Cubes / Mozart Music Generator

For the more systematic or on the fly improvised approach, these can allow for some interesting results! Story Cubes and the alternatives are great prompts to create quick ideas based on dice rolls. You use them as you like, and I like making a system to apply these tools Mozart Generator is a good way to see music differently, with sonatas being the classical form of piano and harpishchord music back in the day, create like a genius! I do mean to buy some Bard Cards when I eventually get spare funds, they'll be a good addition to my small collection of offline generators!

3] Other means of challenges in creation, NaNoWriMo / Inktober / ArtFight / Game Jams

Other creative challenges may be worth considering while undertaking or separately done from 50/90, because this can spark other ideas from other sources. Art and drawing, sculpture, game creation, character creation, world building, etc, is a good way to think of art from a different angle, and by learning another medium to be creative adds an extra dimension to your creative insight on matters. Helps in looking outside the box or maybe even box ticking or categorizing if you prefer to label things in certain ways.

4] Written form, Bullet Journal / Sketch Books / Every Day Notepad Carry

Some may use these already, but by carrying either of these along with you, an idea you may have when out and about or doing housework etc, this gives you a means to write down ANYTHING you like. A profound quote, TV shows and media references you like, a journal entry about your day, things you want to remember later, research topics, a subject you want to read up on, lists of song title ideas, whatever you want to get done, a notepad can save you time and effort. An alternative to this is to just rely on being able to remember, because sometimes things stick out in your mind for use later without you needing to write anything down and stew around a while, later to flower a great idea. Either way it's a tool that can be used for anything you assign it to. Go Nuts!

5] Concept Albums / EPs

Thought I'd include this as it's a fun way to look at creating ideas.... There is a history of the concept album all over the world that still gets used as a medium today. Should you not be aware of examples, type in list of concept albums wikipedia in your search engine. There is a huge drove of ideas just waiting for you to look at music from another angle. Exploring lyrical themes, fictional worlds, social commentaries, interpretations opinions etc, find something you like the look of. Genres such as Prog Rock, Hip Hop, Pop, Metal, and countless others use concepts to make their albums tell a different story. What would you like to explore as a concept? Anything goes!

Feel free to contribute to this thread! I'd love to see your alternative software/prompts/tools and ideas, things I haven't thought of before Biggrin

Brilliant ideas. Thank you for sharing. For me: participating in 50/90 and FAWM. That's where all the inspiration is, every time! That's where kind people share what they know. How wonderful and inspiring! Happy Summer Creativity.

I usually try to do NaNoWriMo as well, sometimes just missing the first month of 50/90 in favor that instead. This year I have some personal projects I'm working on outside of monthly contests.

I'm a big fan of concept and themed albums. I'm planning at least one this 50/90, though maybe I'll also finish some of my works-in-progress.

I keep a notebook. A few weeks before 50/90 I start writing down ideas and snippets and bits of inspirations. I keep a list. A lot of them get done. This year my list is still pretty short, which is maybe not a good sign. I'm running out of stories to turn into songs. Although there are a few that I have turned into songs that I was never satisfied with, so maybe I'll just write new ones of those.

I've found a great tool for prompting my creativity towards new ideas is to start writing a song on my non-primary instrument.

I've been playing keyboard for years, and definitely have "patterns" I fall into. By contrast, I only started playing ukulele last year, and it's obviously an entirely different feel and workflow.

On the one hand, I'm much more constrained on ukulele; I only know so many chords, and am not particularly skilled. I'm definitely "better" at keyboard.

But on the other, the constraints of working with an instrument I'm not really that proficient at yet definitely pushes - indeed, forces - my creativity and songwriting in an entirely different direction. And I've managed to "surprise" myself as a result (always a good thing)!

1) DAW - Not really an alternate. I'm a Mac guy and keep coming back to Garageband. I don't do complex stuff and the available effects settings are plenty for me to get a good enough recording. The main challenge in my case is the singer or musician, and not the DAW or gear Lol
3) NanoWriMo/Art - Writing, writing and painting have inspired lots of songs in the past for me. When I was writing stories, I feel like it was more a vehicle to writing the soundtrack as a NaSoAlMo album. Then I decided I just needed to be a NaNoWriMo rebel and write songs based on more freewriting. I also write songs based on my (or other artist's) paintings.
4) Written form - I still do a form of journaling/freewriting and clustering with pencil and paper. The rest of my song development is in Scrivener and when away from paper and I get an idea, I use the Notes text app on my phone, which I almost always have with me.
5) Concept albums - Its is the old idea where narrowing the possibilities sparks creativity. In past 50/90's, I did soundtracks (of sorts) to Food Inc., a NaNoWriMo story about Johnny Cash as an unwilling time traveler to lead a revolution in a future dystopian society, and my own sort of memoir. Current concept project is a musical in the personified voices of our electric cars.

I did NaNoWriMo and wrote such a mess, I couldn’t save it - lol! And this from somebody who has written/published several novels. But NaSoAiMo has me intrigued. Had to look it up.

I bought a looper pedal last summer. It's an effective way to help with songwriting. Used with an amp it gives an instant backup of what you have been playing and allows you to add one, two or many additional parts to the original.

Gameboy Camera has a small sequencer in it??? I have a GBC and a camera in a box somewhere that was my kids'. I had no idea. [@nerdjealous]!


One thing I tried years ago was playing my brother's left-handed acoustic guitar (I'm right-handed). I played it right hand, so essentially I was playing it upside down. It forced me to really re-think how I played the instrument. I also played around with random tunings for a while as well. Again, it forced me to re-tool my approach to the guitar.

So try taking an instrument & playing it in an unconventional way.

See You In The Shadows…

I love my Bard Cards and use them often. When I'm stuck I like to pick a few cards at random and see what sparks something. I also use the Lyricloud tool from the FAWM muse tools a lot.

iZotope have Neutron Elements on special offer at $29 until the end of the month.

Well worth picking up if you want to give your DAW tracks more punch without spending big bucks. The transient shaper can completely transform the sound of your drums. And it works intelligently, so you can hand off decisions on eq and compression to it without worry.

IA's picture

That's a good deal, Chris. And if you get it on pluginboutique, you'll get two plugins for free.
iZotope Trash 2 and UJAM CARBON Bundle

Here's link to Neutron Elements.

Trash 2 is *glorious* on synths - I use it all the time!