Writing Tunes

I love writing tunes.

I’ve always maintained the belief that you can’t force a tune to be written, that the tunes I’ve written that I think work the best are ones which have just come to me rather than me trying to write them. I always thought that if I sat down to write a tune I could, without a doubt, write one but most of the time I wouldn’t be overly excited by it.

In October I attended Distil in New Lanarkshire. This opened my mind to new possibilities for composing. I learned different methods for writing and it was exciting. Methods which mean that you should never have writer’s block. I’ve already used some of them. One which worked particularly well was the time limit rule. I tried it out the week I got home from Distil. I was making my tea and it had 10 minutes left in the oven. I decided to write a tune. I gave myself 5 minutes for the A part and 5 minutes for the B part and I was surprised and delighted with what I managed to write. I came up with one of my favourite tunes that I’ve written so far, a jig in A minor named “Superknit”.

Following on from this I have decided that I am going to embark on a different journey for my tune writing techniques. I aim to write one tune a week and see what I can come up with. I don’t expect them all, or any, to be master pieces but then again I never do. The fantastic fiddler and composer Adam Sutherland said that it is important not to think about whether a tune you’ve written is good or not, it’s whether you like it. I agree 100% with this and it’s something that helps when composing.

I think I will create a page on my website for my tune of the week and post each new composition as and when I write them. The hope is that, like most things, the more I do it the better I become at it. It’s an experiment and one I’m looking forward to starting. Maybe I’ll start today!