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

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8answers
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Sound-to-color synesthesia - a good and helpful thing?

In hearing about sound-to-color synesthesia, or rather Chromesthesia1, I have always been rather jealous, and wanted to experience this unexplainable phenomenon for myself. I have read up a little bit ...
9
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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 ...
9
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9answers
1k 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, ...
9
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5answers
689 views

chord progressions - Fm to Bb, sounds different to Cm to F

I recently started trying my hand at composition and could not figure out why the two chords progressions sounds different: F minor followed by B flat major, which is an interval of a 4th C minor ...
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6answers
9k views

Uses for augmented chords in composition

I've been studying for music theory for many years and I enjoy just writing little chord progressions and melodies to see what certain progressions sound like and how interesting I can make them. The ...
9
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4answers
281 views

How can I stay informed of new art music?

As a composer, it's vitally important that I'm aware of what's happening in the contemporary music world. I find it very difficult to keep myself informed of a field that often flies below the radar ...
9
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2answers
3k views

Composing/Arranging for a String Quartet

I've been taking arranging and composing classes at the college I'm attending and I have recently been tasked with writing a piece for a string quartet. I would like to know in general, what should ...
9
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2answers
843 views

Finding the “Starting point” when creating a composition or score

This is a fairly simple one, and hopefully not too wide-open to be permitted here: what approaches are available when sitting at a fresh screen or sheet of paper, or at your instrument, to create the ...
9
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3answers
354 views

How to give a song this sense of “conclusion”?

Alt-J's first album ends with the song Taro -- a song whose outro leaves a very strong impression on me. The outro sounds like a very fitting ending to any album, because the music simply gives me ...
9
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3answers
711 views

Online counterpoint materials

For a long time I've wanted to teach myself counterpoint, but haven't been able to find any materials online. Are there any hidden tutorials anyone knows of, or good books written in English in the ...
9
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4answers
556 views

How do I write an original melody? [closed]

I'm trying to write a song, and I keep thinking of a melody, but they have all been taken. How do I find a melody that hasn't been taken?
8
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6answers
531 views

Does following “musical forms” suppress “creativity”?

I'm not a professional musician (actually, I'm a computer programmer), but I'm playing Guitar and Recorder, and I also sometimes write some themes coming to my mind. Thus, let's assume that I'm a ...
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5answers
2k views

If A minor doesn't have any accidentals, is it still minor?

As part of a music course, we have to compose a 3 minute long piece based on a river's journey. Having finished the composition, we now have to write a set of sleeve notes - basically an analysis and ...
8
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2answers
324 views

Does technicality detract from feeling?

Sorry in advance if you're not a metal fan--I don't mean to limit the scope of this question. Feeling has its place in a lot of different music. For a concrete example for this question, I am ...
8
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5answers
2k views

tips for writing the drum notes to a song in a band

I play the drums in a band, and the song has already been written and everything that the vocalist, guitarist and bassist will play. The drums were left out and I have to write them to fit the song. ...
8
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3answers
1k views

Compositions or songs written for black keys only

I was taught to do improvisation by practising playing random tunes using just the black keys on a piano, and although it had a very oriental sound, the tune was quite pleasant if you introduced ...
8
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3answers
2k views

Is there some trick for counterpoint beyond 2 voices?

I really suck at chord harmony, so whenever I compose, I tend to use counterpoint a lot. Counterpoint is somewhat easy when you just have two voices. Because I just compose for fun, I generally do ...
8
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4answers
2k views

How many voices do violins usually play in modern orchestral music

I've been into arranging and composing for orchestral music for a few years now, however, my music is usually fully computer-rendered (ewql), so I don't have any practical limits of how many ...
8
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2answers
229 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?
8
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2answers
211 views

Why in the study of counterpoint by johan fux are minor sixths allowed but not augmented fifth?

If augmented fifths and minor sixths are enharmonically equivalent why does johan fux in his book study of counterpoint allow minor sixths but not augmented fifths if they sound the same? How does one ...
8
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1answer
1k views

How would one create music based on the principles of Cubism?

How would one create music based on the principles of Cubism? (e.g., 20th century painters: Pablo Picasso, Georges Braque, Juan Gris, Fernand Léger) The basic definition of Cubism calls for the use ...
8
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4answers
372 views

Resources for “popular” counterpoint?

Basic "About Me:" I was a music and actuarial science double major, dropped the music major, and am now working as an actuarial educator full-time. I'd like to get back to composing. The biggest ...
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9answers
2k views

What instrument can an old guy learn if the main goal is to write music

At this old age I began, two years ago learning to write music. I write it using Sibelius and let the computer play it for me. I have been strongly recommended to learn to play an instrument. I have ...
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2answers
3k views

(Post)-minimalist compositional techniques

I was wondering if anyone out there knew of any techniques associated with the minimalist tradition. I've been really interested in the philosophical notion of minimalism over the last few months or ...
7
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3answers
1k views

How do I use slash chords in music composition?

After studying pop music composition for a while I noticed that many composers use slash chords in their music. How do I use those in my own composition? When is it more preferable to use slash chords ...
7
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4answers
943 views

Why am I always sticking to minor keys?

When I'm improvising on my keyboard, or trying to compose a melody, I always find myself playing in a minor key -- and never a major one. (For keyboard it's usually G minor or D minor, but that I ...
7
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4answers
687 views

What should I do about composing 'soft' accents for piano?

When composing for the piano, I often find myself writing a lot of sudden soft notes. I need an accent mark that suddenly softens notes. From my knowledge (and searching the web), I can not find any ...
7
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4answers
2k views

The concept behind relaxing music?

I am interested to start making some songs that are very relaxing, like the one posted above. The song above is indeed one of the most relaxing songs in the world. ...
7
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3answers
218 views

Registering with a Performing Rights Organization

Out of curiosity, I've recently taken a look at the websites of ASCAP and BMI, two big PROs. As a musician, if I wanted to hypothetically register with such an organization: Should I register as a ...
7
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3answers
538 views

How do you compose tuplets against straight notes?

I would like to know how to compose tuplets of odd numbers against even numbers on the piano (ie. 3 against 2). How would you go around composing something like this? I have been composing for some ...
7
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2answers
443 views

Accidentals in First Species Counterpoint

On page 39 of Alfred Mann's The Study of Counterpoint there is a passage concerning justification of using accidentals in first species counterpoint. Here is the passage: Aloys: [...]but why did ...
7
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2answers
380 views

What's so off about the intro to Prokofiev's Dance of the Knights?

Now this question is by no means an attack on any conductor or orchestra, nor Prokofiev himself, but why does it seem that it's hard for everyone to get right into time with one another with this ...
7
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2answers
2k views

Selling arrangements online

This summer, I want to earn money to buy sequencing software. I really enjoy arranging songs (as well as writing them) so I thought it would make sense for me to try to sell some online. Can I do that ...
7
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1answer
1k views

Influences of Mozart

Wikipedia article only mentions Hummel from Mozart's childhood but gives no further information. I will appreciate if someone could shed more light here, in particular which composers have had an ...
6
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3answers
602 views

In 12-tone music, how frequently do composers allow themselves to alternate between adjacent notes of the tone row?

In Vi Hart's video on twelve-tone nursery rhymes, she says that one of the rules of twelve-tone composition is that you're allowed to alternate between adjacent notes in the tone row as much as you ...
6
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5answers
801 views

How to keep practicing to compose music when you're too picky to listen to yourself playing

I'm a pianist, and I also compose songs in DAWs. My main spare time occupation is to improvise on the piano, and I've been doing it for several years now. Even before I learned any instruments (when ...
6
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5answers
2k views

How to start making musique concrète?

This is probably one of the more obscure music styles, and some of you may not even consider it as a style of music. Music or not music, it is a form of art that I am interested in making. I am a ...
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4answers
2k views

How to Write A Ragtime Piano Piece?

I am a competent composer who has written as variety of pieces ranging from string quartets to hip hop. However, I tried writing a ragtime piece several months ago and wasn't successful. What ...
6
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3answers
2k views

What is a parallel mode?

What is a parallel mode? How are the parallel modes used in composition and/or improvisation?
6
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5answers
419 views

Some fear of composing?

I'm not sure if this problem is unique onto to those who start composing or even just me, but I seem to sometimes have a fear that if I tilt towards certain chord progressions while composing ...
6
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4answers
872 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 - ...
6
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5answers
613 views

Skills for writing your own songs

What are some good starting points to begin writing songs for someone who possesses limited theory knowledge and playing experience (beginner)? What are the essentials skills and knowledge for ...
6
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2answers
1k views

Changing key in a song convincingly

Update 3 I have started to break down this broad question to specific, smaller questions. 1) Classical music example for seamless transition from one section to other with changing keys Say, I ...
6
votes
2answers
687 views

Tips for using complex time signatures in a “catchy” pop song?

I'm looking to write some music in the vein of a band I discovered recently called Icarus The Owl, who use some pretty wacky time signatures (anything from 21/16 into weirder territories) but always ...
6
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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 ...
6
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1answer
5k views

What is “Sonata-Allegro form” and what other similar forms should I be aware of?

There are lots of classical pieces called "Sonata", and they usually have 3 movements. But there are guitar Sonatas by Paganini that only have 2 movements! And I heard there's a crazy Tchaikovsky -- ...
6
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3answers
3k views

Most important musical concepts for writing songs on acoustic guitar

I want to be able to write catchy/"cool sounding" guitar parts for songs. I am currently studying music theory extensively. I am just wondering, are there any guitar-specific musical concepts that I ...
6
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2answers
549 views

What is the earliest known use or indication of “col legno”

col legno or col legno battuto meaning : strike (the string) with the wood (of the bow) is commonly found in 20th century chamber music. But I have heard it might have been used earlier (at least 18th ...
6
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1answer
276 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 ...
6
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1answer
287 views

Does a taste in music reflect an understanding of that music?

It has been my experience that often times I will not like a song the first time I hear it, but the more I hear it the more I begin to like it. I think it has something to do with understanding the ...