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Escaping Writer's Block

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More than any other kind of software, Synfire confronts you with the essential questions of creativity. What do I want to create? Where do I start?

Synfire makes it easy to come up with inspiring fragments of music that you wouldn't have imagined otherwise. Some of them will inspire you to explore genres and styles you are not yet familiar with or didn't have the confidence to attempt in the first place.

If you are an artist, you already know what makes your style tick and have your preferred sounds ready. Coming up with new ideas is a matter of playing around with harmony, phrases, rhythms and building a structure.

If you are a hobbyist that enjoys creating music in various styles, or if you aspire to be an artist and have no idea yet where to start or how to proceed, you will encounter the situation when you stare at the screen and wonder what to do next. That can be pretty deflating. Now you have this powerful tool at hand and you feel you can't put it to use they way you imagined.

Here are a few tips.


Step away from the computer and listen to music in the style you want to make. Get an idea what kind of instruments are playing, how they are arranged, how they interact, how the piece evolves, etc. Note that down. Also note down the tempo and time signature. Now you have a blueprint that you can resemble in Synfire. No matter how meticulously you rebuild everything, in the end it will be very different. It will be yours.

It can't be stressed enough:

Listen to and analyse music a lot

Writers spend years reading other writer's output before they start writing. Music history is a sea of imitations and rehashes and still, every now and then an artist comes up with something refreshing and recognizable.


Sometimes a single generated phrase can lay the foundation for an entire song or arrangement. You play around with a Factory and suddenly there's a hook line, a rhythm or theme that doesn't go away. It keeps sounding in your head. Once you got the hang of them, Factories aren't that complicated. It is worth investing some time generating stuff. Eventually something will stick.

Some Factories tend to create pretty dense stuff. Delete the symbols you don't want and edit the phrases to match your taste.


Don't use the default 120 BPM. It matches the average heart beat frequency of humans sitting on a couch and is thus boring by definition. It's neither fast enough to be driving (130+), nor smooth enough to chill and relax (100-). Also don't be afraid of trying extremes like 75 or 160. Some Jazz is even around 200. Imagine that. If a phrase from a library becomes too fast or slow, stretch it by multiples of two.

Set your favorite default tempo in global Preferences.


Have you ever tried 6:8, 9:8, 5:4, 7:4 and similar? Escape the boredom of common time and explore other rhythms. Synfire Pro's Factories can generate phrases in any time signature. For anything other than dance tracks or Pop, different time signatures can add a unique character and flow to your music.

You can even mix phrases with different time signatures. Synfire doesn't care. Minimalist orchestra, piano and ambient music do this all the time.

Same for triplets and quintuplets.

What do you do to kick off creative momentum?