For questions about the creation of new music and the techniques used to do so.

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12
votes
5answers
9k views

A total newbie wants to learn how to write songs. What does he need?

I am recently being interested in writing my own songs/my own music. However, I'm a newbie when it comes to music. I am not really musically talented nor inclined. I only know basic guitar chords and ...
2
votes
3answers
68 views

Which of two enharmonic note names to use? [duplicate]

If during composition, an accidental note is used, is there a method/reason for using one name instead of the other? For example if a song is in the key of A, but a Eflat/D# note is written is there ...
6
votes
4answers
1k views

Is it too late to learn music theory and composition?

I have been playing electric guitar for 5 years and have pretty decent technique. I have a decent ear too (I'm still improving it). I listened to rock guitar virtuosos like Yngwie Malmsteen, Paul ...
5
votes
2answers
140 views

Composition Training (with Hindemith)

I am looking to get back into composition and trying to get some advice on textbooks. By way of background, my biggest liability is my lack of formal training (I have none). During my early teens, I ...
14
votes
5answers
2k views

How can I improve my piano accompaniments?

When I play piano or keyboards, I've noticed that I keep slipping into playing the same chords (and variations thereof, such as very simple bass lines) with my left hand while I use my right hand to ...
4
votes
2answers
271 views

What are the characteristics of medieval music? [closed]

What I would like to know is what make medieval music sounds the way it sounds? What are its characteristics? Are there some specific keys? Are there some specific modes? What about rythms? I ...
8
votes
2answers
173 views

How do I express humming in music notation?

I have a section in a vocal piece where I want singers to hum. I'm going to include "mmm" in my music notation, but is there a good way to more clearly express the intent to hum in the notation?
9
votes
7answers
6k views

Want to learn composing and producing music with a DAW. Where do I start?

I am a computer engineer and a passionate music listener. I have been listening to movie scores and soundtracks for many years now and it has really inspired me to want to learn more about music and ...
3
votes
0answers
60 views

Why does the right hand/high instrument usually play the melody? [duplicate]

I've been playing piano for 10 years, and I've never really thought of it until now, but it seems as if the right hand almost always plays the melody, and the left hand plays the accompaniment. ...
34
votes
9answers
7k views

Key signature for writing in modes other than major and minor

I have trouble deciding what accidentals to put in the key signature for pieces in Dorian, Phrygian, Lydian or Mixolydian modes. There seem to be trade-offs associated with each choice. For example, ...
1
vote
1answer
60 views

How could I recreate this particular synth sound?

I was wondering if anyone has any ideas about recreating a synth sound, or at least getting something relatively similar: https://www.dropbox.com/s/kswhzrr0ywoijfj/synthexport-28082015.mp3?dl=0 I've ...
6
votes
2answers
190 views

How did the plagal modes differ from their authentic counterpart in practice?

In the traditional modal system there were eight modes. Four that were authentic and four were plagal. These modes are depicted below: Based on the description of the modes the final note of the ...
1
vote
1answer
84 views

Are pop songs often composed on “layers” and is there a common set of layers used in pop music?

I was reading this question and this question, both of which discuss the parts that are often present in a piece of music as it progresses from beginning to end. The question I wanted to ask is about ...
3
votes
2answers
201 views

How to indicate left hand for piano sheet music

The Chopin - Godowsky Revolutionary Etude No 12 is arranged for the left hand only, and we're only informed about this by a note under the title. Please see the excerpt below: I am currently ...
3
votes
4answers
259 views

What are some effective ways to use a key change during a song?

In my own songwriting, I might change keys to reinforce a change in the direction of the lyrics. For example if the first two verses are first person but the last verse is 3rd person, I might ...
4
votes
4answers
707 views

Temporarily Changing Keys - Which accidentals to use?

I've was taught that whenever you write a run of notes going up, you should use sharps instead of flats; And whenever you go downwards, you should generally write flats instead of sharps. My question ...
6
votes
3answers
821 views

How to determine what key changes are appropriate?

In the month or so until my band get back together I've been working on writing some new material, and want to try and expand how complex my songs are. I apologise if there are a lot of questions - ...
2
votes
2answers
91 views

Looking for software to combine notation and recorded loops

Looking for some guidance about pieces of software to help w/ my compositions. I've been composing music for a while using Sibelius (and Finale at times) to scribe out parts, but recently I've been ...
6
votes
3answers
186 views

Melody Writing - Tension & Release

I'm back with a more specific question. I read in a book entitled 'Complete Idiots Guide for Music Composition' which has a detailed discussion on writing melodies and techniques to do so. As I have ...
10
votes
4answers
561 views

Raised leading tones in Phrygian mode counterpoint

In most cases the penultimate note of the counterpoint will be the leading tone, which must be raised in minor to establish a sense of tonality. But why is the leading tone in the Phrygian mode ...
9
votes
9answers
977 views

Is looking for chord after having the melody unusual?

Most people I encounter seem to have the opinion that the definitive way is to first have the chords and then "mess around" with the harmony notes until one founds a desirable succession of notes, ...
3
votes
4answers
582 views

Instrument range cheat sheets

I am just beginning to learn composing (lots of fun so far!) and I am beginning to move from compositions for solo instruments (mainly piano) to making scores for groups/orchestras. I have not ...
13
votes
7answers
4k views

How to make melodies effectively?

Are there any tricks that help make melodies besides just experimenting until you find something that sounds nice?
1
vote
2answers
165 views

Writing a melody tips [duplicate]

I have posted before about improvisation but may be jumping ahead of myself, I am familiar with basic music theory and have knowledge of major/minor scales and chords. I am interested in composition ...
4
votes
2answers
79 views

Book that concentrates on how composers express emotions/concepts in music [closed]

I am trying to learn about composing on my own and I already have books on harmony and counterpoint that I am generally quite happy with. However, I found that these books concentrate on the ...
4
votes
3answers
121 views

Proper understanding of dissonance

I have recently had a big eye opener with one of my guitar pieces in how it uses dissonance in a musical way to make interesting music. I have always thought that for music to be dissonant is for it ...
6
votes
1answer
271 views

Over/under pitch note

I know there is a quarter tone notation, but is there a symbol for music score that will simply say over/under pitch? I think quarter tone notation might be too strict/rigid in music arrangement that ...
4
votes
3answers
152 views

Why aren't songs with 11 beats 13 beats, common?

I wonder why haven't I heard songs that have 13 beats or 11 beats (or may be 17 beats or other complex number) per measure. Are there any songs like that? And, why don't people and music directors ...
4
votes
4answers
174 views

How exactly tell the root of a song over a defined scale on ambiguous harmonic context?

I play a song in either C major key or A minor key. Usually I determine the root (C or A) taking into account clues like: The happy or sad feel of it all The first chord (C or Am) Stereotypical ...
15
votes
11answers
1k views

Looking for a high level Music Programming language

I'm looking for a high-level programming language. I did some googling and found a number of examples (some summarized here http://users.soe.ucsc.edu/~sasha/proj/musicpaper.pdf) but haven't found ...
27
votes
8answers
4k views

Is it possible to write a song without a key?

"This song is in F Major", "That song is in A Minor", "This song is in D Minor, but modulates to F Major in the middle", etc. Can we say "This song has no key"? Are there songs that have/follow no ...
3
votes
2answers
108 views

Is it common in song structure for a “Bridge” to be shorter than the verses?

I am a songwriter. I write Western Music - mostly in the Country genre. Every song I have ever written has at least two verses and a chorus. I don't always add a bridge as I recognize that a ...
6
votes
1answer
222 views

What is the Lydian Chromatic Concept?

I've recently found out about George Russell's book the Lydian Chromatic Concept of Tonal Organization and I've been curious about exactly what the Lydian Chromatic Concept is and how it can be used ...
11
votes
1answer
340 views

When composing for oboe, how useful is it to think about recorder fingerings?

I'm always a bit anxious when writing for winds, because I don't really have much of a clue how passages will be executed on the specific instrument. (And I know how needlessly complicated some parts ...
4
votes
2answers
128 views

Bartok Mikrokosmos Book 3, no. 70

I have recently been trying to master this piece from Bartok's Mikrokosmos, and at first sight, it appeared daunting due to the fact that the right-hand part is in B major and the left-hand part is in ...
3
votes
0answers
348 views

How to determine whether a song is considered musical plagiarism? [closed]

When I a try to compose my own music, I often come up with melody that is a bit similar with songs that I have heard before, and sometime I just feel that I have heard the melody somewhere, but I ...
14
votes
1answer
288 views

Locrian Harmony

I like utilizing modes in my the pieces I write, but there is one mode I've never been able to fully grasp and utilize and that is the Locrian mode. The chords that naturally occur in the Locrian ...
3
votes
2answers
189 views

Voice-leading and Composition

This is a follow up to a post I made a couple of months ago regarding the way the four-part harmony voice-leading, taught in most harmony texts, is to be understood in relation to composition. In the ...
6
votes
1answer
94 views

Are there any popular pieces which periodically modulate down?

Many pop tunes will modulate up a semitone near the end of the piece in order to gain energy or excitement (some will do it multiple times for that extra kick). I've often wondered; are there any pop ...
2
votes
2answers
176 views

How can I alter a melody to fit a new chord progression?

I'm playing around with algorithmic composition, and I have the following problem. I have a melody, a chord progression / scale / both that was used to generate that melody (via whatever method), ...
4
votes
1answer
232 views

Good books for simple composition?

I've taken a year of music theory, so I know all the basic conventions and I'd like to take it a step further and start composing little songs, like minuets or something. Are there any good beginning ...
2
votes
2answers
323 views

Augmented chords and chord substitution?

Say we are in C major; how do we use chords like the Augmented chords, other diminished chords outside the scale (minor to major substitution, dominant 7th substitution, altered chords, chord ...
5
votes
6answers
1k views

Ending a song with a dominant chord

As far as i know, almost all songs end in the tonic chord, because this is the most "stable" condition. On the other hand, a dominant chord at the end of a progression (or song) sounds "incomplete". ...
5
votes
3answers
3k views

recognizing the motif

I encounter the term motif in composition books, and still have no idea what a motif is. Many sources (including some dictionaries) try to define it as "prominent sequence of notes" or "basic theme of ...
2
votes
3answers
1k views

Where can I find Drum Scores / Sheet Music?

What Websites offer quality Drum Scores /Sheet Music (not Tabs)?
0
votes
4answers
3k views

What notes to sing with chords

Ok, lets say you are playing a guitar and you have a song with 4 chords ( C D Am and F ). Should I sing the C note for C chord and D note for D chord and A note for Am and F note for F chord ? Or ...
6
votes
3answers
2k views

What is a parallel mode?

What is a parallel mode? How are the parallel modes used in composition and/or improvisation?
4
votes
4answers
224 views

How to write music using standard notation / Finding key

I would like to ask a typical question from amateur musician. Most of amateur musicians understand tablature notation and often even some music theory, I personally can read notes but not in all keys ...
15
votes
9answers
11k views

How to select a key-signature for a song

There are so many songs in pretty odd key-signatures like 4,5,6 sharps or flats. At least this is my impression when I listen to songs on the radio/net while trying to follow them on my piano/guitar. ...
5
votes
1answer
109 views

How can I get my piece of music for symphonic band published?

A few years ago, I wrote a piece of music for my high school band. I think the piece is high-quality enough that others will want to play it as well. What are the most common venues for publishing a ...