This is an excerpt of the book Processing Creativity: The Tools, Practices And Habits Used To Make Music You’re Happy With. If you would like to download an excerpt or buy a copy you can do so here.

Superfluous - adjective

            1.         unnecessary, especially through being more than enough.

            2.         "the purchaser should avoid asking for superfluous information"

 3. Synonyms - surplus (to requirements), non-essential, redundant, unneeded, excess, extra, (to) spare, remaining, unused, left over, in excess, waste, more.

Any detail to a production that’s not adding to the emotion of a song is superfluous. Understanding superfluousness is important since it's one of the most common creative pitfalls. Superfluous contributions are commonly justified since they'll "add more thought" to the production. Whether this thought helps further the emotion of a song or not isn’t considered, since it’s falsely assumed that more will strengthen the song. Musicians commonly add more parts for the sake of adding more parts. They ride the volume fader on every track since surely this helps make a better song. They add harmonies to a vocal since "that's what you do." Superfluousness adds to a song by doing more for more's sake instead of emotionally reacting to a deficiency in a song and choosing to act upon it.

When you begin to see music through the lens of creating music with the intent to evoke an emotion, you start to notice the flaws in other works as well as understand why you don't enjoy certain songs: you hear superfluous parts added that don't help a song's intent. You notice tones that detract from the intent. You begin to understand why a part doesn't work in a song.

Adding parts to a song without thought as to how they further the emotional intent of the song doesn't add to it – it detracts by taking away attention to other more emotionally resonant moments. If an addition doesn't help further add to the emotion you're trying to convey, it's superfluous. If you can't hear the difference an idea makes or it adds no emotional content, it's superfluous, unnecessary and more than enough.

This is an excerpt of the book Processing Creativity: The Tools, Practices And Habits Used To Make Music You’re Happy With. If you would like to download an excerpt or buy a copy you can do so here.