How long does it take you to finish a song?

I am feeling fairly proficient with Renoise and have finished a handful of electronic songs that I don’t think are terrible. I was just curious how long it took folks to build a completed track and what the general creative workflow for people is. It takes me about 8 hours of solid work. I start with a simple beat and then find a synth hook or chord progression I like by playing with samples/VSTs. Then I add to/evolve that to get to a second section/bridge. Then a lot of messing around to create breaks/transitions. Then more messing around to add automation and dynamics for interest and variation. Finally I try to mix it so it isn’t so muddy and doesn’t clip. (Though I haven’t truly done mastering). I am sure there is a lot of variation in workflow and time based on experience, music style, tools, preference, and production values, but I would be interested in other folks’ experiences.

If I basically know what kinds of sounds I want to use, and I don’t decide to make a whole (bad) drum kit from total scratch with the custom wave generator, 8 hours is probably about right once I get focused. What usually drags a song out for me is just designing instruments, particularly drums. I’ve gotten better at knowing what kinds of pitched sounds I like to use, and better at just making them.

One thing I recently started doing that really sped up my workflow was to actually start using the clone pattern feature. I used to just copy paste my repeating patterns, but if I modify something that I want modified in all of them, then it takes forever to go back and actually paste them again. Confusing too depending on the track.

Something else I do it use a ton of groups. You can clone group data too, which is immensely useful.

10 bloody years +.

It totally depends, but ‘good stuff’ takes me ages. I need a lot of time for reflection, and resting my ears and mind from any given project. I’m very picky about vocals too, so a lot of projects get slowed up because of that. I often revisit things and update the mix because my ears and skills have evolved. Or I’ve got better hardware to do better things. It sure is a lot of mental intensity to really get a song in context of a larger project done, and then another whole thing to put that out there in an honorable way. It’s important to get it right, if anything for me, because that’s how I evolve.

For the heart to express the essence of a song? A day or two if it is quick. Making it into a masterpiece? A difficult and slow process.

sometimes i need 3moths for a song, sometimes only 3-4 days for a raw construct, but 8 hours ? seriously? can this be a masterpiece?

For me, anywhere from 8-24 hours, depending on the complexity of the project I guess. Usually 4-6 to do the songwriting/main tracking, another few hours for preliminary mixing. Then depending if there are vocals/instrumentation, another few hours to record/edit those. And then depending on how deep down the rabbit hole I want to go with tweaking/perfection, that’s usually the part that is 15+ hours. This is usually spread out over the course of a few weeks to a month for me.

^ Something like that is “average” for me. Though it can always vary. :) There are still unfinished songs from 10 years ago that I may still pick up, etc.

I don’t know if comparing against others is very useful though. Everybody works in a different way and at their own pace. And we do this music thing for different reasons too. I think ultimately if you are enjoying the experience, that is what matters most.

INF, still just mostly making loops, to evolve them into 2-7 minute songs, well I don’t know but I got a lot of skills to learn in that area.

it is hard for me to estimate the amount of time it tooks for me to complete a proejct, since I usually work on songs on spare time, and I have not so much spare time so I do a lot of brief sessions, plus some longer sessions during some weekends.

moreover, my songs can last from a couple to way more than 10 minutes, so it really depends.

what is for sure is that, once I have finished the song at 99%, the last 1% still takes ages to complete, and usually leads to completely new parts of the song to suddenly… “happen”.

If I work hard it would take at least two good days (a weekend) to make something decent, but usually I only finish 1 out of 50 songs I start so my average time must be horrible.
When determined though I can make things fairly quick, like my Entry for Mutant Break that took a saturday.

To finish a song I’m truly happy with, I usually spend no less than 50-100 hours.
A LOT, I know. but that includes several hours of revisions, testing new arrangements, different soundsystems, etc,
and I guess 1/3 of the time goes solely to mixing and mastering.
But I’m also very fond of details, which eat up a lot of time when producing… it’s a true love/hate relationship.

Of course, sometimes everything falls into place right away and I can be happy after 10 hours,
but then when I listen to it again some days later, I usually realize it’s a load of crap, and I either bin it or start from scratch.

Typically, between 2 minutes and 2 decades.

A lot longer than it takes me to masterbate.

this leads me into a long time wish :) count and save the songedit time (running renoise time with that certain song loaded).

For me it’s two to four hour sessions varying over a period of two weeks, where two days usually churn out most of the work and the rest is chiselling.

It depends quite a bit on the style of the music, though.

Pretty much this, for me. If I spend more than 3 hours on a song I may have reached the point where I must finish it, and have the drive to do so. But most of the time I burn out after 1 or 2. I also really don’t like ‘putting off’ finishing a song to the next day, so I’ll stay up as long as I have to to finish it, and then upload and never want to touch it again. Time spent mastering or fixing things is minimum.

So basically you should ignore this post entirely as I have the worst workflow and habits.

Can’t this be used for that? Or does it not stay with the song session?

dont think so, i tried such stop/watch things also to record my working hours for other things, i always forgot to activate/deactivate it.
it would be better to have a counter which really reacts on loaded songname in editor / how long the editor runs with that loaded songname, and maybe stop counting time, if no key was pressed for a certain time (10 minutes for example). this value have to be safed ofcourse in to the song but keep merged if you just reload the song after you have messed some things up. its tricky to code such things.

I agree this feature would be a fun addition to see which songs I have spent more time on then others.

Well considering how many tracks I’ve actually finished, I’d say on average a song takes me about 5 years to finish. No, on second thought that should probably be about 10 years.

Early versions of Impulse Tracker had this secret feature (timer) that counted how long was spent working on a song… later on the corresponding fields in the .IT format were used for other more useful stuff.

Exexctly the same in my case. In time measures it takes from a month to four months roughly.