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Harmony or melody first?

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Harmony or melody first? Empty Harmony or melody first?

Post by VictorCS Sat Oct 04, 2008 2:25 am

I've been very interested in composing music, especially orchestra music, I love movie soundtracks...
Anyway, I've looked around on the internet, searching for help, how to start etc.

Ofcourse, composing any music shouldnt be that hard, you press some keys, and there you have a piece.
And as for bands you can compose a rythm guitar, lead guitar, bass, and maybe a keyboard + drums.
When composing for the guitar I've always started with the melody first, none 100% complete yet,
because I actually have a huge problem getting back to A...

I make A,B,C, and really wanna go back to A or B, but I just cant make it get the right turn...
But that wasnt was I was going to write about... ^_^

I've been working on 2 orchestra pieces, 1 is finished, but repeat itself to much, it's like ABABABA, so kinda boring,
and as it was my first it's pretty skinny, not much flesh on it. Then I've started on this second piece,
it's kinda ok, but it should sound fatter than that, but practice makes perfect they say, so I'll keep on making new pieces.

THE STUFF I REALLY WAS GOING TO WRITE ABOUT
I found out that most composers who compose "bach" music as I like to call it, says that they usually start with the harmony first,
then the melody, because that way is just easier..? Is it easier? I've always started with the melody, because I feel this might
be the part where you could make the music.

But I have discovered that adding a new melody or harmony, completely changes the reception of the lead melody.
Might be wise to look at the harmony first. Gonna try making a little piece when I wake up.

So you can say the harmony is the fundation you dont see clearly, while the melody is what you see right away?
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Harmony or melody first? Empty Re: Harmony or melody first?

Post by Thomandy Sat Oct 04, 2008 4:46 am

Well, what is easyest or hardest, Im not sure. But I think thats a personal taste aswell Smile I do both at the same time. At least in my two classicaly and formulacorretct pieces I did that from the beginning. Basicly I look for melody that I like at the same time as searching for good harmony. Cause it is as you say pretty different, and I find that melody in it selfe is worth little if it isnt a part of good harmony. So Id say try to not create only melody then go to find the harmony, but change a little. If you get some great harmony going on, try building on that a little then go back to the melody ect - mess arond and have fun or get in the mood you want that helps, and not maybe think to much about what is right and wrong in the books. What is right for you?? With experience you will get your own methode that suits you perfect Smile
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Harmony or melody first? Empty Re: Harmony or melody first?

Post by pianohama Sat Oct 04, 2008 5:55 pm

take a sheet paper, chose a beat and a beattype, then start working through the chord progressions, so you get the harmony done. And then do the melody. When you have the harmony done it's much easier to do the melody, it's easier to see what you have to work with... good luck
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Harmony or melody first? Empty Re: Harmony or melody first?

Post by Thomandy Sat Oct 04, 2008 7:25 pm

Still I feel the melody is the freedom and that is should control the harmony, if you can do that well and still get great harmonic structure I think you will be able to create better pieces! Smile Choosing a harmony first is totally wrong for me, but as I say up there, it must be a personal aproach to it Smile What works for you? Experiment a little!! Smile
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Harmony or melody first? Empty Re: Harmony or melody first?

Post by Admin Andrew Sun Oct 05, 2008 6:36 am

Harmony and Melody are almost like the Right brain / Left brain complex.

Harmony is organized and structured. Melody I find tends to need more creativity. Although Good harmony that is inventive also takes good creative skills.

I think it is a matter of personal choice. Definietely the more popular method is to outline your piece with harmonic progressions, then add in your melodic line as your play the harmonies.

Bach was famously known for writing Harmony's that were melodically conceived while simultaneously writing Melodies that were harmonically conceived.

All in all. Practicing will help you the most. Choose a style that suites you. Then your music will become unique if you do what comes naturally to YOU.

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"Those who bring sunshine to the lives of other's cannot keep it from themselves."

Harmony or melody first? Piano_10
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Harmony or melody first? Empty Re: Harmony or melody first?

Post by VictorCS Sun Oct 05, 2008 11:33 am

I dont know if it from experience, or that I start with harmony first, but I did a short piece with cello, harpsichord, a horn and a foreign "oboe",
dont remember the name of that one, but it seems fatter, compared to the one I made doing the melody first. But when I first discover
melodies I sit in front of the guitar right now, and that make it hard to come up with harmonies along, because I cant play a chord over a melody with it.

But sooner or later this month I'll get the digital piano. Then I'll be able to work out stuff easier.
Right now I've only just used my computer for my orchestra stuff, not any kind of instrument, so it's hard to play around much.

Here is the harmony made first, quite short, made in 10min + 10min for figuring out the instruments:
Hamony

Here is the melody made first I'm still working at ( used alot of time on this ), to give it a finish. I had played The Deerhunter theme alot,
so I decided to make a acoustic guitar ( should change it to lute ) piece really, but ended up adding cello's and viola's,
and actually a harmonica ( gonna find a more proper old instrument ):
Melody

What i'm gonna do is make alot of small pieces instead of 5 minutes long I'm gonne make 1-2 minutes long pieces. To practice and see what stuff I can do.
Rome wasnt build in one day, neither is Bach's huge collection of compositions ^_^

I have no clue about my style yet, but I'm gonna try making the melody along wit the harmony, so I make both "at once".
First i'm gonna do some classical inspired stuff before I go on and make some movie composing stuff...
But first of all practice, getting better, pieces I make now will sound like crap compared to pieces I make in 10 years, I hope.
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Harmony or melody first? Empty Re: Harmony or melody first?

Post by pianohama Sun Oct 05, 2008 4:30 pm

VictorCS wrote:I dont know if it from experience, or that I start with harmony first, but I did a short piece with cello, harpsichord, a horn and a foreign "oboe",
dont remember the name of that one, but it seems fatter, compared to the one I made doing the melody first. But when I first discover
melodies I sit in front of the guitar right now, and that make it hard to come up with harmonies along, because I cant play a chord over a melody with it.

But sooner or later this month I'll get the digital piano. Then I'll be able to work out stuff easier.
Right now I've only just used my computer for my orchestra stuff, not any kind of instrument, so it's hard to play around much.

Here is the harmony made first, quite short, made in 10min + 10min for figuring out the instruments:
Hamony
...


What scale are you playing in Victor Smile ?
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Harmony or melody first? Empty Re: Harmony or melody first?

Post by VictorCS Sun Oct 05, 2008 5:04 pm

It's based on the Gypsy scale in G, but there are some notes that goes outside...
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