Oblique Strategies: ideas for creative lateral thinking
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Oblique Strategies: ideas for creative lateral thinking

Oblique Strategies is a list of ideas to help break creative blocks by encouraging lateral thinking.

  • Abandon normal instruments
  • Accept advice
  • Accretion
  • A line has two sides
  • Allow an easement (an easement is the abandonment of a stricture)
  • Are there sections? Consider transitions
  • Ask people to work against their better judgement
  • Ask your body
  • Assemble some of the instruments in a group and treat the group
  • Balance the consistency principle with the inconsistency principle
  • Be dirty
  • Breathe more deeply
  • Bridges -build -burn
  • Cascades
  • Change instrument roles
  • Change nothing and continue with immaculate consistency
  • Children's voices -speaking -singing
  • Cluster analysis
  • Consider different fading systems
  • Consult other sources -promising -unpromising
  • Convert a melodic element into a rhythmic element
  • Courage!
  • Cut a vital connection
  • Decorate, decorate
  • Define an area as `safe' and use it as an anchor
  • Destroy -nothing -the most important thing
  • Discard an axiom
  • Disconnect from desire
  • Discover the recipes you are using and abandon them
  • Distorting time
  • Do nothing for as long as possible
  • Don't be afraid of things because they're easy to do
  • Don't be frightened of cliches
  • Don't be frightened to display your talents
  • Don't break the silence
  • Don't stress one thing more than another
  • Do something boring
  • Do the washing up
  • Do the words need changing?
  • Do we need holes?
  • Emphasize differences
  • Emphasize repetitions
  • Emphasize the flaws
  • Faced with a choice, do both (given by Dieter Rot)
  • Feedback recordings into an acoustic situation
  • Fill every beat with something
  • Get your neck massaged
  • Ghost echoes
  • Give the game away
  • Give way to your worst impulse
  • Go slowly all the way round the outside
  • Honor thy error as a hidden intention
  • How would you have done it?
  • Humanize something free of error
  • Imagine the music as a moving chain or caterpillar
  • Imagine the music as a set of disconnected events
  • Infinitesimal gradations
  • Intentions -credibility of -nobility of -humility of
  • Into the impossible
  • Is it finished?
  • Is there something missing?
  • Is the tuning appropriate?
  • Just carry on
  • Left channel, right channel, centre channel
  • Listen in total darkness, or in a very large room, very quietly
  • Listen to the quiet voice
  • Look at a very small object, look at its centre
  • Look at the order in which you do things
  • Look closely at the most embarrassing details and amplify them
  • Lowest common denominator check -single beat -single note -single
  • riff
  • Make a blank valuable by putting it in an exquisite frame
  • Make an exhaustive list of everything you might do and do the last
  • thing on the list
  • Make a sudden, destructive unpredictable action; incorporate
  • Mechanicalize something idiosyncratic
  • Mute and continue
  • Only one element of each kind
  • (Organic) machinery
  • Overtly resist change
  • Put in earplugs
  • Remember those quiet evenings
  • Remove ambiguities and convert to specifics
  • Remove specifics and convert to ambiguities
  • Repetition is a form of change
  • Reverse
  • Short circuit (example: a man eating peas with the idea that they will
  • improve his virility shovels them straight into his lap)
  • Shut the door and listen from outside
  • Simple subtraction
  • Spectrum analysis
  • Take a break
  • Take away the elements in order of apparent non-importance
  • Tape your mouth (given by Ritva Saarikko)
  • The inconsistency principle
  • The tape is now the music
  • Think of the radio
  • Tidy up
  • Trust in the you of now
  • Turn it upside down
  • Twist the spine
  • Use an old idea
  • Use an unacceptable color
  • Use fewer notes
  • Use filters
  • Use "unqualified" people
  • Water
  • What are you really thinking about just now? Incorporate
  • What is the reality of the situation?
  • What mistakes did you make last time?
  • What would your closest friend do?
  • What wouldn't you do?
  • Work at a different speed
  • You are an engineer
  • You can only make one dot at a time
  • You don't have to be ashamed of using your own ideas
  • [blank white card]