The image here is of the unfinished Foreshore Freeway Bridge in Cape Town. Thankfully, none of my unfinished projects have been as bold, as expensive or as public as that; but they do leave me with a profound sense of failure. The problem, though – and a reason they don’t get finished – is the fear of that failure being even greater if I do finish them and they turn out to be rubbish.
Often, things are just left, half-complete, to gather dust. This is the worst situation, because the thing hasn’t reached a state of usefulness and I hate myself for failing. Sometimes, though – particularly with music – the thing gets tweaked and tuned and tampered with ad infinitum. I’m quite happy with that; I don’t think anything can ever be truly finished and I enjoy watching them evolve.Recently, I finally bit the bullet and bought Logic Pro X. I’d been procrastinating for months: did I really need it? After all, I had various bits of free software for writing music (such as the excellent MuseScore) and I would only be using it as a hobbyist; it felt a bit extravagant.
I’m glad I bought it. What I hadn’t appreciated before was the range and quality of sampled sounds bundled in with the software. For years I’ve had musical ideas flying around in my head. Initially, there was nothing I could do with them: I couldn’t write music well enough or fast enough to transcribe what was in my head, and even if I had the money to pay an orchestra, I wouldn’t have been able to describe to them what I was imagining.
Musescore was a wonderful discovery, because I could set ideas down in black and white a lot more easily and also listen back, thanks to some pretty decent attempts at instrument sounds. But it still wasn’t enough. With Logic Pro, though, I finally have the wherewithal to declutter my head and reproduce what’s in it in a way that is pretty close to what I was imagining. I’ve started importing some of the midi from Musescore, as well as playing around with other projects. I’m still starting more things than I’ll ever finish, but at least some of them will now see the light of day.
So, dust-gathering fragments of musical ideas are now making their way into fully-realised compositions. And that is hugely gratifying.