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How to compose music...?

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How to compose music...?

Post by VictorCS on Fri Mar 14, 2008 6:47 am

I dont really know how to start, but I've been making some music, mainly pieces i can play on my brothers guitar. Whenever I practice on my keyboard I tend to do
some improvisation, and sometimes, out of the blue, I find a good riff, that I write down in Guitar Pro. And then I try to use that piece of music to make a song.

My problem isn't to make 1 line of music, playing 1 key each time, making the melody. That's fairly simple, you need to find the right speed, and the right key, to make
it sound like you want. But when I wanna add another line ( basscleff or maybe another instrument ) I get trouble. What other keys will fit to the melody I already wrote?
And what if I wanna add another "line" of music, like making music for several instruments, how do I make these fit into the rest? How should I pick other keys?
Should I use chords or just 1 key? Should I copy some of the melody of the first line into line 2 or 3?

There are alot of questions I dont know how to ask either, because I dont really have the question.... :/

Example of a song I wanna make:
1 line: Guitar - I will use this to play the main melody
2 line: Flute - I wanna add some touch to the melody
3 line: Piano - Another layer of piano here and there
4 line: Drums and stuff

I just wanna add some life into the melody, "lets pretend" I've recorder my guitar, it sounds great, but there is no depth.... And with drums and guitar it's like
it doesnt have any atmosphere, with a flute I can add some atmosphere, and another touch with the piano. If you play with your left hand on the piano
it sounds kinda flat, but if you add your right hand it sounds much better.

So my question is, how do I compose music? What's the best way?

( I hope you guys/girls understood some of it, it's pretty cryptic )
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Re: How to compose music...?

Post by Admin Andrew on Fri Mar 14, 2008 6:09 pm

Yea, that's an age old question you're asking now ^_^ people have been wondering how to compose GOOD music since the beginning of music!

Most of your Idea's are pretty good though. The thing is, I don't think it's possible for me to pass on all the information you'd need in a post on a forum. Composing is a VAST topic. BUT I think I can point you in the right direction.

The part where you need the most creativity in music is creating those " melodies" The easier part (If you've got the knowledge of harmony that is)

Anyway! What you'll need to learn about is Harmonic progressions and learning about chord functions. Learning about scale degree's such as tonic dominate, leading tone etc. (I created a thread on this actually)

Next when writing your song, you'll have to think about what role each instrument will have in the song. Are people going to be listening to the guitar the most? or the piano? OR maybe you'd like to give the same melody theme to different instruments, maybe guitar than create a section where the piano takes over the lead and the flute finishes it up for a soft ending (depending on the song) the possibilities are endless.

A good song hassome sort of theme of music or rhythm to tie it all together. ^_^

As for writing different parts. You'll want to understand how chords function, AND if you really want to get in there, you could learn some music counterpoint Wink The alternative to learning is to just mess around until you "acsidently" find something that sounds good. Where as by the time you finish learning music harmony, you don't need to guess, you just KNOW what will sound good. Sort of like if you're great with fashion and clothes, you wouldn't need to try on a bunch of things until you acsidently found something that looked good together, you know that this colour matches with that one, and this style of shirt goes good with that. ^_^ I highly suggest learning about harmony. You could look into taking a class at your local college or music school ^_^

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Re: How to compose music...?

Post by VictorCS on Sat Mar 15, 2008 4:53 am

I searched www.scribd.com for music theory, and there is alot of stuff there,
I feel this theory is like math, and I hate math....

But since it's music I'm gonna read alittle.
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Re: How to compose music...?

Post by Admin Andrew on Sat Mar 15, 2008 8:40 am

Well, as much as you might hate it. It's invaluable, and even if you reject the concepts, it will help you bring understanding to the chaos right now ^_^

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Harmony?

Post by Phobik2000 on Wed Apr 02, 2008 5:13 pm

Hi folks, I've been about to post this question before, you know when you hear a music being played, whith rich chords and stuff and it's "catchy". The catchy part is the melody itself, which I myself find eay to replicate back in my piano. So far so good.

The next part is how do i get back to those initial chords, that where creating the melody? I believe the chords sound like a given note and tha's what we kep easy in memory. But I would like to know how to get to those chords from the note they sound like.

I believe this could also be related to the topic, on how to match an alredy going melody with chords to make it richier.

Your thoughts welcome.
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Re: How to compose music...?

Post by Thomandy on Thu Apr 24, 2008 9:49 pm

I have written 2 songs now. One short lullaby, wich is in the same key and mood as the original. Used actualle qute some time to do that, even thoug it is maby 30 sec - And another one, Nocturnal Dream - I used some hours. It is well over 3min -

I just sat down, and started to find chords and melody that I thought sounds nice toghether. One can ofte hear if it doent match. So I think it is a good idea to improvise Smile
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Re: How to compose music...?

Post by Thomandy on Thu Apr 24, 2008 9:51 pm

phobik2000 wrote:Hi folks, I've been about to post this question before, you know when you hear a music being played, whith rich chords and stuff and it's "catchy". The catchy part is the melody itself, which I myself find eay to replicate back in my piano. So far so good.

The next part is how do i get back to those initial chords, that where creating the melody? I believe the chords sound like a given note and tha's what we kep easy in memory. But I would like to know how to get to those chords from the note they sound like.

I believe this could also be related to the topic, on how to match an alredy going melody with chords to make it richier.

Your thoughts welcome.

This is axactly the same for me. I can relativly easy fuigure out the melodynotes, but the chords is harder to find. I guess, it is easy to make up chords, based on the melody IF you know the theory. Learn harmony, and it will become easy. The you can create them yourselfe and it will sound very simular unless you want to create twists =)
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Re: How to compose music...?

Post by Admin Andrew on Thu Apr 24, 2008 9:55 pm

thomandy wrote:
phobik2000 wrote:Hi folks, I've been about to post this question before, you know when you hear a music being played, whith rich chords and stuff and it's "catchy". The catchy part is the melody itself, which I myself find eay to replicate back in my piano. So far so good.

The next part is how do i get back to those initial chords, that where creating the melody? I believe the chords sound like a given note and tha's what we kep easy in memory. But I would like to know how to get to those chords from the note they sound like.

I believe this could also be related to the topic, on how to match an alredy going melody with chords to make it richier.

Your thoughts welcome.

This is axactly the same for me. I can relativly easy fuigure out the melodynotes, but the chords is harder to find. I guess, it is easy to make up chords, based on the melody IF you know the theory. Learn harmony, and it will become easy. The you can create them yourselfe and it will sound very simular unless you want to create twists =)

"Learn harmony, and it will become easy. " Exactly ^_^

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Re: How to compose music...?

Post by VictorCS on Thu Apr 24, 2008 10:52 pm

Maggi posted a video of a guy "teaching" 5 year olds how to improvise, and I learned alot.

What I think is "right" is that if I play a F-chord, I need to stick inside the F-scale, and when I play a Dminor, I need to stick in the Dminor scale? Is that right?
Ofcourse, you could always touch a key ouside the scale to, but not to often, or you could do it often, but it wouldn't sound good.

Still, music is an artform, so you could just push random and make some noise, and it'll still be music, but nothing the brain will prossess ( is there a c in this word? ) as beautiful.
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Re: How to compose music...?

Post by Thomandy on Thu Apr 24, 2008 11:22 pm

Well, I saw the movie to. And its okay. But in the end its boring for you as a composer to follow this, but it is a start. I havnt read alot of harmony, but there is many ways to play outside of the scales. One thing I have learned is that you can allways play a note in another scale, if it is in the chordline togheter with the first note.. Really badly explaned by me - But lets say:

You play - c e g - then you can play melody lines that is in a c - chord, e- chord and a g-chord - Even if it isnt in the c scale, and you can use leading tones from other scales to lead you back to a note in the scale your in Razz And manymany other rules.

For me it is simplest to improvise, and remebmer what fits, and then put it all toghether, and boom, a song is made Razz hehe
I dont care about the scales, but I think my hearing is good, and I sence if it dosnt fit. Most of us here got that skill I think =)
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Re: How to compose music...?

Post by Phobik2000 on Fri Apr 25, 2008 12:39 am

Hmm, yes Harmony is the way to go. I sitll have to re-read berklee harmony 1/4 again, the first time didn't stick, and probably the neither will the few next ones.
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Re: How to compose music...?

Post by Thomandy on Fri Apr 25, 2008 12:43 am

phobik2000 wrote:Hmm, yes Harmony is the way to go. I sitll have to re-read berklee harmony 1/4 again, the first time didn't stick, and probably the neither will the few next ones.

I think it stick when you get to try it out, and experience it with your fingers Smile
At least its like that for me. When I use it, it stick, but when I just read, it is gone very fast, unless I can reach the piano while the theory is fresh Smile
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Re: How to compose music...?

Post by Phobik2000 on Sat Apr 26, 2008 3:15 pm

Yes that's a valid point. I only reached the soft keyboard, so it isn't the same Rolling Eyes
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Re: How to compose music...?

Post by armughan on Mon Jul 07, 2008 12:28 pm

i think simple 4-part is pretty easy to learn and understand, you just need to practice it a bit (like math)Very Happy
i learned it very quickly, became my teacher's assistant and stated checking other peoples work in my theory class:P
so it is easy!!!

there are 6 main steps to take while composing a simple 4-part piece.

this is what my teacher taught me

you are given a melody....your own or someone else's..

1. Determine Key
2. Make Chord Chart (skip, if you know all the chords in your head)
3. Harmonize (assign chords to melody)
4. Bass Line (contrary motion to melody sounds good)
5. 4-Part (avoid parallel 5ths, and octaves, make as smooth as possible)
6. Add Passing/Auxiliaries Tones

i can go through each of them in detail, and compose a short 4-8 bar piece with you guys if someone is interested:)

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Re: How to compose music...?

Post by Thomandy on Mon Jul 07, 2008 12:48 pm

armughan wrote:
1. Determine Key
2. Make Chord Chart (skip, if you know all the chords in your head)
3. Harmonize (assign chords to melody)
4. Bass Line (contrary motion to melody sounds good)
5. 4-Part (avoid parallel 5ths, and octaves, make as smooth as possible)
6. Add Passing/Auxiliaries Tones

Nice little thingie Smile Personally Im not sure what you mean by paralell 5ths are. And paralell octaves?
Got alot to learn about theory still Smile
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Re: How to compose music...?

Post by armughan on Mon Jul 07, 2008 4:24 pm

thanks:D
notes that are 5th or octave apart moving together to a perfectly same interval in the same direction ....hope that helps:)
how about previous steps:P

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Re: How to compose music...?

Post by Thomandy on Mon Jul 07, 2008 8:10 pm

armughan wrote:thanks:D
notes that are 5th or octave apart moving together to a perfectly same interval in the same direction ....hope that helps:)
how about previous steps:P

Well I know what 5ths are and octaves. But, when doing paralelle 5ths, do you do the 5th of the tonic or the 5th of the 5th? In the paralell one? Razz Might be a strange question, hehe =)
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Re: How to compose music...?

Post by armughan on Mon Jul 07, 2008 10:46 pm

Thomandy wrote:
armughan wrote:thanks:D
notes that are 5th or octave apart moving together to a perfectly same interval in the same direction ....hope that helps:)
how about previous steps:P

Well I know what 5ths are and octaves. But, when doing paralelle 5ths, do you do the 5th of the tonic or the 5th of the 5th? In the paralell one? Razz Might be a strange question, hehe =)

hmmm not sure what you mean Suspect
my answer would still be: any two notes that are octave or 5th apart......stay the same interval after some movement in same direction....: lol! ........they could be any two notes on the earth:P (5th or octave apart)

for example....i have playing c and g together on 1st beat...on next beat i play d and a or b and f# together....these would be parallel fifths.....samething with the octaves..........moving from c and g to b and f would not be a parallel 5ifth for it is not perfect because c is moving a minor second and g is moving a major second....
try it on your piano....play chords of a key without 3rds in ascending and descending order....you will get an idea of why they should be avoided:D

feel any better?...... Laughing

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Re: How to compose music...?

Post by VictorCS on Mon Jul 07, 2008 11:13 pm

I think Andrew could make a video of this, and explain stuff like that in close-up...
Why do they behave how they do etc...
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Re: How to compose music...?

Post by Thomandy on Tue Jul 08, 2008 10:58 am

armughan wrote:
Thomandy wrote:
armughan wrote:thanks:D
notes that are 5th or octave apart moving together to a perfectly same interval in the same direction ....hope that helps:)
how about previous steps:P

Well I know what 5ths are and octaves. But, when doing paralelle 5ths, do you do the 5th of the tonic or the 5th of the 5th? In the paralell one? Razz Might be a strange question, hehe =)

hmmm not sure what you mean Suspect
my answer would still be: any two notes that are octave or 5th apart......stay the same interval after some movement in same direction....: lol! ........they could be any two notes on the earth:P (5th or octave apart)

for example....i have playing c and g together on 1st beat...on next beat i play d and a or b and f# together....these would be parallel fifths.....samething with the octaves..........moving from c and g to b and f would not be a parallel 5ifth for it is not perfect because c is moving a minor second and g is moving a major second....
try it on your piano....play chords of a key without 3rds in ascending and descending order....you will get an idea of why they should be avoided:D

feel any better?...... Laughing

Yupp, I got it now Smile Tnx, good exmple. Smile
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Re: How to compose music...?

Post by VictorCS on Sat Jul 26, 2008 7:58 pm

So I was just explaining my brother about why he needed to learn scales,
when I opened FruityLoops, and composed something using the "musical algorithm",
based on the C major scale....

I did this without listening to it, I just told him that this mess, since it
was based on the rules of music, it would sound "good".

Then I pushed the play button, I was kinda impressed:
VictorCS's deaf composing ^_^
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Re: How to compose music...?

Post by Thomandy on Sat Jul 26, 2008 8:00 pm

VictorCS wrote:So I was just explaining my brother about why he needed to learn scales,
when I opened FruityLoops, and composed something using the "musical algorithm",
based on the C major scale....

I did this without listening to it, I just told him that this mess, since it
was based on the rules of music, it would sound "good".

Then I pushed the play button, I was kinda impressed:
VictorCS's deaf composing ^_^

It was very good Smile Cute! Smile hehe
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