Production Time

I was reading the beatbattle forums, and a few people were treating the deadline as really really close - like 2-3 weeks will be a rush. I thought that was quite interesting, as I never spend a considerable time on a track. (usually 3 nights at the very very most, sometimes only about 5-6 hours). I usually get bored, and I’ve found that I generate tracks which are overproduced if I go over 3 days.

I was wondering, how long do you guys take to write a peice of music?

Yes, thats true. When you do one track too long, you get like def for it. So if I must “polish” something, I usually make some other tracks, and then get back to that song.
Sometimes my songs come ready in 2-3 days, sometimes it takes longer.
Depending of energy and stuff (really, with stuff I mean all kinds of drugs
:dribble: )… Im having

the “core” of a song of mine can sometimes be written in 2-3 days, but it’s really difficult to see a complete progressive rock song by me produced in less than 2 months, sometimes even 4. There has to be said, however, that this period can include one week without touching ReNoise

To me it depends if creativity is flowing. If it is, a whole song, mastered and everything can take about 5 days.

If creativity is low, it can take 3 to 4 months. :(

Creativity is kinda low right now for the competition and after 1 year off producing things are a bit more complicated, but the track is coming along and the deadline is on the corner.

Gotta go back to work. :D

I’d say about 10 to 12 hours per track. Then another ten spent on mastering.

90% of my time is taken getting the instrumentation to sound right, just getting the general sound. Once I have that together, I find the rest is downhill. I personally find the composition easier. My tunes are never complicated though, so listening to your stories of weeks and months has been really weird for me - maybe I should work harder!!

These tunes took me 2 nights (including mastering):…outofmyhead.mp3…pon_theurge.mp3…_FLTLONGMIX.mp3

These tunes took me 1 night only:…unforgotten.mp3…on_scarybop.mp3…dsmigration.mp3

However, these tunes took me 4 or 5:…pon_balance.mp3…_remastered.mp3

I think Fuzzylogic is too produced. Too technical. If I worked faster, it would be so much more spontaneous and enjoyable to listen to. I ended up resenting it. I like Balance though, but it’s 100% sample-based and no VST - took me much longer.

I am going through a personal experiment, where I am going to work on the beatcompo tune all the way until the deadline, which will be a record for me! How does one avoid overproduction? It’s an attitude thing I guess.

I used to take too long and never finish most of my tracks. I’ve found that this is often because I can’t achieve a sound that’s in my head fast enough and get frustrated and bogged down in technicalities, which for me is anti-creativity. Well, maybe it’s creativity of a different kind, but it’s definitely anti-music, since music has to flow intuitively, and nuances can be lost when re-recording and going over a part over and over and over.

This beatbattle will be an experience for me too (I’m very new school to tracking). I like Keith303’s samples, they have a lot of body and are easy to squeeze good tunes out of.

Sometimes I go off on tangents and never return…

I’ve always appreciated (envyed?) your ability to compose quickly.

I also spent a lot of time (even more than two weeks) in refining the song, listening to it endlessly, mainly touching only volumes. On the mastering side, I tend not to work on it too much, as this would really be an enormous work in most cases, which I’m not going to make for free :)

I think I’m more emotion-driven kind of composer in respect of you, that’s why I need much more time (I also have no theorical skills at all), and then that’s why my songs are so everchanging: during the creation period, many things occur in my life, and the song gets influenced by them so that is sometimes difficult to find a title which summarizes everything.

You could try to “experiment” this way of composing, though everyone has his own.

See, I am not sure I agree in some respects! Tweaking and tweaking and tweaking actually could potentially strip the humanity away from a peice of music.

When you are writing, you are forcing your perception and beliefs of yours music onto your listener - you are presenting a bunch of ideas and implementing them. More often than not, you are exceeding the perceptual barrier of your audience. (They’re not going to perceive it like you do). So all that hard work adding attention to detail is often not going to be perceived at equal value, or in the same way as you do. Or is actually going to enhance the listener experience, let me explain …

A column of bongo drums. Might give your percussion a little extra groove. If you listen to it 150 times, you are going to tweak it down to 75% volume, and then less and less. Because you are sick of it, you become unrealistically hypercritical. So as time goes on, you are slowly stripping the character away; chiseling away; removing all the pointy edges - because you think that it’s going to offend your listener like it’s offending you. What I am trying to say that you are unavoidably increasing the rift between how you are listening to a peice of music, and how it’s going to be perceived, by tweaking.

So how does one go about solving this? Well for starters, trust your instincts. Learn that imperfections add character, and are not always weaknesses. Aim for humanity, not perfection. Perfection is motherfluckingly boring. Theory is overrated - only to be used as a guideline on certain occasions - I never consciously thing about rules.

Music is about humanity. Sincerity of effort, not effort of sincerity.

This is so true dude… I’ve been forcing myself to do ‘speedcomposing’ and the tracks that come out of it are more raw/honest and they are finished! I set myself a deadline that a song has to be finished from start till end after 6 hours or so… it really works. It is really confronting on a psychological level also… almost therapeutic :lol: I even take this to the real world with situations. Normally I think a lot before I speak out or present an idea but now I just spit it out and people notice that it is an honest thought or feeling you are presenting they really appreciate it!

This is all true, it doesn’t have to be tight and following the books, but i rather have my music to sound right (pleasant) as well in the last place.
If it doesn’t, i don’t feel tempted to release it, no matter how good the musical quality may be.
I’m just discussing mixing and mastering in particular which is my main problem and actually spoils my ambitions and mood to start or finish a song because in the end, it will sound like shit anyway.
I do release eventually but i don’t bother myself spending weeks in mixing or mastering the because that’s just a waste of time IMHO.

what you all write is surely true for structured music, but my music isn’t.

what I mean is that after your 5 hours of composing, I just have a bunch of ideas not glued together.

An example: this is how my new module sounds like at the moment, after 3 weeks. Apart from the volume levels, which are obviously bad, and the notes skipped by the rendering, would you release such a mess?

Well, I won’t.

When I write more structured music (my electronic songs are most of times like that), I need much less time indeed.

I’m not saying that I’m right and you’re wrong; I’m saying that, like I said before, everyone has his own methods, and should not try forcing them. My music is at the same time a cause and an effect of my way of composing it, and since I like it, after all I’m fine with it :)

Something I’ve realised is that you can spend forever on a track, especially on the mastering stage, getting those finer and finer tweaks. Eventually, you will have to say, “Ok that’s enough, Time to render”.

This is exactly a situation i get often into. I’ll usually let my ears make a holiday from the song and come back to it, after not listening for a month or so and begin to tweak the levels again. This works for me very well.

Sometimes i can complete a track in a single night session, sometimes i only have a small idea finished. When i get bored i listen to my unfinished ideas and the boredom turns out to be a busy music session in the end, catching up an idea, which i had on my harddisk for months or sometimes years.

I also suppose, that for people with theoretical background, the actual composing is much easier. A drummer hacks a beat in Renoise with structures one never thought of, a jazz pianist might simply hit the record button in Renoise and starts to improvise a complete song, which only needs some small corrections.

I’d have to say I side more with Itty than Mr. Rip.

My shortest song gestation period would be six months standard. I did a speed track last year (the one in the sig) that lasted 2 days, but that was because it didn’t have my vocals. Nor did I care about it much.

I’ve got songs I’m still, very dedicately, working on since early 2001. So that’s up to 4-5 years right? I have no problems with that. I feel very confident about my process and skills as a composer. Like It-alien said I can spend long periods just touching up volumes, or in my case effect settings. I have a few rules:

  1. Always give a song the ‘overnight test’, you’re ears will hear it fresh the morning after. If this is taking months don’t stress over it - it will be worth it.
  2. Always work on more than one song. I’ve got about 20 songs I’m giving special focus to, and I rotate work on them. Out of that 20 I’ve got about 5-7 I’m hot on right now. Working on mulitple songs also allows you to thematically thread the writing so you get comprehensive flowing albums.
  3. Never treat the melody or lack of it in a song as sacred. Counterpoint and variety always improve a song.
  4. Never treat the structure of a song as sacred - often what you have isn’t tight enough or is boring to anyone but you.
  5. Always start with lyrics and if you can help it melody with those lyrics. Again look to improve those to something more hitting, relevant and emotive.
  6. Take the time to get a valid second opinion from a mentor/equal.
  7. preMaster (eq/comp) the song only when it’s sister songs are done. Then send the group/album to someone who has better monitors than you to do a final Master (hard limmit, final tweak).

This is why it takes a long time, but well worth it I might add. You cannot be down on yourself for not releasing songs. I say “fek everyone else I’m putting stuff out when it’s perfect.” I know people who do otherwise and they always regret it.

Perhaps we need to decern composition flow as opposed to rushing a tune. What’s the rush anyway? Your satisfaction is at stake.

the time isn’t important … the result counts.

for instance Stanley Kubrick - a great director and producer … in his life he produced only a couple of important movies (11) but all are unbelievable great and unbeaten movies!

some people are faster, some people are slower … there are no rules for production time. after some years everybody gets his own way for music creation.


This is a very interesting topic… and I like to read how (and how long) other people do “their job” on a production… Maybe there will be other user’s comments soon. :dribble:

I am currently total lost in anything about composing 'coz I didn’t it for a long time. So my tracker knowledge is near zero now. In the past I worked with OctaMed on Amiga, later only with piano rolls.

Yesterday I tried to compose something with the new renoise 1.5 … my first attempt since loooong time… motivated by the BeatBattle IV. But after some tracks (And I mean tracks, not full songs/mods ;) ) I lost the overview… And that’s my biggest problem in old fashioned trackers… No arranger like in all the other sequencers on the market so I get crazy after some time. :w00t:

So I canceled my first attempt for the battle and heard some songs from the other guys of the battles before… And now I know, where my learning level is… My last project years ago was in Cakewalk and it was the first time that I tried to extend the production time to a whole week… Because new day, new fresh ideas and another view on it… But sometimes I forgot some ideas from the previous days…



sounds like coding a software ;) … imho music creation should be spontaneous thing. it’s right that on complex songs or commissioned works (e.g. a soundtrack), it’s could be necessary to make some notes

but please … let’s keep it intuitive and the moving spirit should be the muse and the love to the idea/music. B)

I typically approach it the same way.

Normally I have a certain sound in my head and when I have a generally idea of the flow I will then begin setting up individual patterns and making necessary edits.…Circuscharm.mp3

The above song has been worked on for about 3 hours. Most likely less. I am being generous.

I didn’t have a clue what to do with it and it shows. I started from the beginning and just played some different sections. Added the piano today in a few minutes.

I find that the songs I usually have to spend a lot of time on are forced and I am typically not satisfied with the end result.

The ones that I throw together in a few hours seem to satisfy me most. Not because I was able to create something so quickly, but when I am inspired I don’t have to worry about what to do next.

It just happens. I find when my emotions are guiding my composing I could close my eyes and produce.

Sitting down with the intent to create without that feeling to drive me just results in music that sounds mediocre.

I do have a few songs I spent weeks on that I am satisfied with, but like most of us here who have created 200+ songs that’s to be expected.

as most of the previous posters already said, the time it takes to write / finish a song varies a lot over here as well. it can be done within hours, it can also take months, years or an infinite amount of time, which applies for those tunes that never ever get finished because one lost interest in them.

just wanted to allude one thing i noticed during the past years, especially in conjunction with compos and deadlines:
my bb4 track has been written within just two days, which were also filled with the daily job, the social parts and of course sleep.
altogether it maybe took five hours from first note entry to adding the last touches.
so the more mental pressure there is regarding quality and the given time-frame for production, the more creative and efficient i tend to get.
one could say i actually love stress and need it to be seriously productive.