I like to listen to different types of music. They provide me with different perspectives, and they fit the different moods that I have. But I also like different music because it gives me different ideas for creating new music. That’s the topic of this article, borrowing aspects of different music to incorporate into your own music.
When you think about creating a song there are two main areas you can consider.
1. The song’s foundation or chord structure
2. The melody
I’ve always felt that a great source of ideas for a song foundation can be found in new age and ambient music. Those styles often focus on the atmosphere of the song. Lush pads and eerie landscapes can last for several minutes. During that time, an occasional string pluck or keyboard tingle helps provide focus.
Of course, you just can’t steal someone’s work. But you can take chord progression ideas and modify them to suit your style and taste.
When I’m listening to new age and ambient music, my mind usually embellishes the sound. It inserts a few notes here and there to fill in where it thinks something is missing. After a while into the song, I’ve created a basic melody. The song provided the foundation and I’ve added a little melody, sometimes without even noticing.
It’s the same with the rhythm. The song may have a distant repeating bell in the background, or a pulsing drone. Many times my mind will add a low bass drum to emphasize a rhythm. Maybe even add some toms to fill in a transition.
You could even record all of this on your cell phone so you can retain it. Without even realizing it, you can have the start of a new song.