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

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8answers
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Which advanced chords can I use for a song composition in scale of G?

I am making a song composition in a scale of G. I have already used major chords G, C and D and in some places I have used Am, Em and Bm. I would like to make this composition richer with some ...
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4answers
4k views

Why have I never found any music written in the key of C Sharp Major?

Music is written in almost every key that corresponds to every note that is on my piano keyboard. There is clearly a C Sharp (black key right of C) on my piano keyboard but I don't recall ever seeing ...
9
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8answers
1k views

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 ...
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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
714 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
10k 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
282 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 ...
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2answers
4k 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
855 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
360 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
731 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
579 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?
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5answers
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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 ...
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2answers
335 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 ...
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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. ...
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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 ...
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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 ...
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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
247 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?
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3answers
224 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 ...
8
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2answers
215 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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2answers
130 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. This is known as a Truck Driver's Gear Change, and some tunes will even do it multiple times ...
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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 ...
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4answers
378 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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11answers
6k views

Is it acceptable to change tempo in the middle of a song or is this a bad idea?

I wrote a song that could be classified as Pop or Country that starts out at a medium slow tempo in the first two verses and bridge. Then there is a section after the bridge that can best be ...
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
986 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
170 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 ...
7
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4answers
700 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
543 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 ...
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2answers
444 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 ...
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2answers
386 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
619 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
3k views

What purpose do accidentals serve in music?

I'm having trouble writing music containing accidentals. If the diatonic scale contains 7 related notes, what purpose do accidentals serve? If the accidental notes are not related to the overall ...
6
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5answers
810 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
4k views

How do you compose using the chromatic scale?

Writting a piece of music using the chromatic scale would be interesting, but I can't think of a way to start it? What kind of structure would a piece have? Is it all subjective and up to the composer ...
6
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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 ...
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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 ...
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?
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5answers
425 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
votes
4answers
893 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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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 ...
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5answers
641 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
696 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 ...
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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 ...