Musical inspiration – it’s around you

Musical inspiration is the ever elusive muse you are chasing. It’s the very thing you’re lacking when you’re in a rut. And I bet you get into one, from time to time. Nonetheless, if you are someone who likes to improvise lines over the sustained pedal point of the vacuum cleaner, you will understand the gist of this little crap below. The principle is just that: try to make music out of everything around you.

Animals know it

musical inspirationListening to birds sing is a good starting point, and is actually the opposite of the vacuum cleaner stuff mentioned above – you can catch entire melody lines or interesting phrases that you can use for your own compositions, accompanying them with the chords of your choice. Stealing from animals? You betcha! Of course birds are not always in tune, but that’s the charm of the whole thing, to get some inspiration. Maybe it helps if you look at it as an ear training, to try and correct the lines the bird creates, and transform it into something musical. You can repeat the same procedure listening to barking dogs, arguing monkeys in the zoo, even the buzz of flies or bees – you get the idea.

Nature can be inspiring musically

But you don’t have to rely on animals only, you can use the whisper of the trees on a windy day or the sound of the cars and bikes rolling by, or listen to the rhythm of trains (a well-tried tool of blues musicians of the old days).

Patterns – endless stimulation

There’s also a more abstract way to drain inspiration from the world around you: start looking at things with a musical eye! Try to notice patterns wherever you are, the ornaments on houses or the tiles on the floor or in the bathroom, the way the clouds are in the sky – these things can all be transformed into rhythmic and melodic patterns. Just don’t be afraid to use your imagination.

As usual, my advice is: be creative (yeah, right?), and don’t worry if something weird comes out. Unless it smells real bad. In that case, check with your doctor. All you have to do is repeat whatever melodic and rhythmic stuff you got once or twice, and use some kind of harmonic context to support it. That way, you can turn anything into some sweet piece of music. That’s of course the hardest thing, to not stop carrying through the whole process. But it was about the inspiration part only, so we’re good. Hehe.


  • My 2 Cents

    When I was hanging round some pretty darn good musicians in the south I was under the boardwalk (no kidding) where we were talking bout our influences at that time in the universe.

    I mentioned that I like “Whole Lotta love” “Bring it on home” “Catfish Blues”. Mostly one chord stomp stuff. I was told by an old guitar player (with lineage to the famous blues players) that “You like train songs”.

    He explained that a lot of old country songs mimicked the rhythm of horse hoofs and that moved to blues mimicking trains. Different songs mimicked when you were on one, all the way to one passing by, to one approaching the station etc.

    Changed me learning chords and scales to mimicking what the song was about. You will begin to hear things.

    “Down by the Seaside” Led Zep has church bells in the bridge/solo part.

    Best new train song…………… Gonna Know We were Here by Jason Aldean. Drums doin the chugga chugga

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