The art and craft of creating new music.

learn more… | top users | synonyms

3
votes
1answer
163 views

The Swan of Tuonela: Sibelius, Wagner, and Smetana

I was very much impressed by the clarity of expression and romantic beauty of Jean Sibelius' 1893 The Swan of Tuonela as performed by the Gothenburg Symphony under Neeme Järvi and as featured on ...
11
votes
1answer
499 views

Can someone explain the rhythm of a Mazurka?

While perusing some Chopin and Liszt sheets, I tried to play a Mazurka or two. But, I simply don't understand how the rhythm works. It feels awkward and unbalanced when I try and I just don't get it, ...
4
votes
1answer
2k 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 -- ...
8
votes
4answers
828 views

What does an arranger do?

When you see the "arranged by" attribution on a score, what did the arranger (typically) do?
2
votes
1answer
189 views

Arranging a copyrighted song [closed]

I have a friend in high school who wants me to arrange a copyrighted work for her high school band to play in concert. What do I need to do to make sure that the final composition is legal and ...
4
votes
2answers
191 views

How to compose an acoustic guitar chorus?

I've been playing guitar off and on for years, and every once in a while I come up with some lyrics and chords that seem to be really great for a few verses. The problem is that I can never seem to ...
3
votes
2answers
365 views

How to write partitures for an orchesta

I know a single musician would read from a partiture in real time and that is no problem, the partiture has its silences and tempo. I am more a lyric musician but I like composing music because I ...
4
votes
2answers
186 views

Capturing music in my head

Here's a strange question, so I welcome improvements... Since I can remember, I've had grand orchestrated music pop into my head throughout the day-- sort of a musical dreaming. It's really good ...
5
votes
5answers
454 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 ...
3
votes
1answer
261 views

General methods for turning a riff into a song?

Say if have a really nice 2-bar riff that I like a lot. How would I go about composing a song around that? Ok, the obvious answer is "play it a few times, then make some variation of it, play that a ...
1
vote
3answers
460 views

How to write a keyboard part for an existing song?

I was asked to make a keyboard part for a song somebody else has written. It's probably going to be organ. I have no idea how to do this. I've been playing for a few years and I can improvise a bit, ...
19
votes
8answers
851 views

Is there any way to improve composing?

Beside playing drums I'm toying with software to create music. The problem is when I need to advance further. I may have some good, let's say "riffs" (or pieces, or melodies, or ideas), and I'm pretty ...
3
votes
3answers
147 views

How can I establish myself as the creator of a given work [closed]

If I write a composition and want to share it with the world, what's the best way to establish that I am its creator? I remember reading a book where you could do something like write it down and ...
5
votes
6answers
928 views

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 ...
11
votes
3answers
260 views

Is there a name for this sort of ambiguity with respect to the rhythm of a piece, and/or is this a recognized technique in composition?

If you listen to the first 40 seconds or so of Veridis Quo by Daft Punk, you'll probably feel like you have a pretty good idea of the beat of the song, each of the chords starting on the first beat of ...
2
votes
1answer
189 views

Is there a formal name for this type of composition?

So, say there's a musical piece that has the following structure: [A.1] [A.2] [A.3] [A] Where A is a "harmonic theme", in the sense that it's treated as a theme, but its melodic content is contained ...
1
vote
2answers
373 views

Notating Augmented Chords

When writing an Augmented chord, which inversion of the chord should I use? The problem came up while I was composing (piano). I came to an augmented chord and couldn't think of which version to use ...
2
votes
3answers
1k views

How to understand layering of multiple elements in composition (pop/jazz)

I'm trying to understand more about how to compose music and most importantly combine multiple instruments at the same time. I'm quite capable of composing a bass-line, chord progression, or main ...
0
votes
3answers
434 views

Instruments to compose a song or theme for setting in the desert

Im composing a song or theme for a setting in the desert. I'm trying to get instruments to use to capture the feeling being in the desert.
18
votes
3answers
4k views

How do classical composers write music?

I am starting to learn about music theory and today it hit me how do classical composers such as Mozart and Beethoven are able to write music for instruments they don't play, such as (for example ...
1
vote
1answer
134 views

Best way to notationally indicate that a solo phrase in an instrumental section should end

After writing "solo" over a part intended for one instrumentalist in a section, what's the best way to indicate that the the entire section should again begin playing?
14
votes
8answers
7k views

Tips on counting and playing odd time signatures

I'm pretty interested in learning, composing and playing along to songs using odd time signatures (3/4, 5/4, 7/8, ...) and I'd like some advice on how to wrap my head around all this stuff. For ...
3
votes
4answers
212 views

Is there something like the Köchel catalogue for other composers?

I'm looking for public databases containing data about the works of different composers, just like the Köchel catalogue. I'm not really interested in any particular artist, genre, or time period. ...
7
votes
4answers
3k 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 ...
9
votes
3answers
2k views

What are the most common ways to “decorate” a melody?

Yes, I know, there are way too many possibilities and it depends on the style of the music... I would be happy with an incomplete list for beginners (like me). Here is what I have so far: ...
5
votes
6answers
344 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 ...
1
vote
2answers
997 views

Audiation, Mental hearing, Composing/Reading scores without sound reference

Many composers in the past (as well as the present) were known to do that. So, are there any ways in order to achieve this? Any exercises and so on?
21
votes
9answers
2k views

How to dramatically change the feeling of a song while keeping the melody largely the same?

How to dramatically change the feeling of a song while keeping the melody largely the same? Let's say we have a happy, upbeat pop song and we want to turn it into a sad song (or vice versa). Is it ...
5
votes
3answers
264 views

Composing a song in Cm with major chord substitutes

I am composing a song in Cm with a very basic chord progression of I-IV-I. So, normally, in Cm, that would be Cm7-Fm7-Cm7, but I am actually playing Cm7-F7-Cm7. First of all, why does this work? This ...
6
votes
2answers
1k views

What are the characteristics of Negro Spiritual vocal arrangements?

I've tried several times to write vocal arragnements that are in the style of Negro Spiritual music. Here's an example of the style I'm referring to. Typically, I use simple SATB style arrangements, ...
5
votes
1answer
179 views

Difference between Fantasia and Rhapsody?

This question is pretty straight forward. From my knowledge, both forms are written freely without much restriction. How can I tell the two apart and what are some of the things that make them ...
5
votes
3answers
118 views

What's the best way to provide musicians a copy of a song to use to prepare for a recording session?

I have a few originals I am ready to professionally record and want to provide the musicians that will be recording with me an opportunity to listen to a "skeleton" of the song (most basic outline ...
13
votes
8answers
5k 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. ...
8
votes
7answers
542 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, ...
5
votes
5answers
2k 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 ...
17
votes
4answers
7k views

How to turn any (pop) song into a jazz song?

Quite often there are pop songs wich get covered in a jazz style. These covers are seen from youtube to tv. Now I tried doing something like this, with for example Bad Day by Daniel Powter. It's ...
4
votes
1answer
3k views

What makes a happy song happy? [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: What gives a piece of music its personality and feeling? What makes a happy song a happy one? What are the elements that give this particular property to a music piece? ...
1
vote
3answers
584 views

Understand how to build drum patterns with computer

The guy playing bass in my band was so lucky (and great) to be endorser for a brand. It's local, nothing outstanding, but we're double rainbows. He asked me to help him building a very fast / cheap / ...
5
votes
3answers
1k views

Scales, modes, techniques for writing “Super Mario” style music

I'm looking for a push in the right direction as to how to go about writing Super Mario type video game themes. What scales/modes work best, time signatures, etc... Examples of where I'm trying to ...
23
votes
8answers
2k 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 ...
5
votes
2answers
812 views

What is this chord (spelled 2nd, 4th, 5th) and how is it used?

For the piano/composers: I compose music for the piano in my spare time, and one particular chord that has caught my attention (as one that I like a lot) is the D-F-G chord in C Major. I have seen ...
25
votes
5answers
4k views

Does it really make difference to play a song in a different key?

I hear sometimes players and composers say that this song won't sound good in F Major for example, and you should play it or write it in G Major (this was just an example). In other words, it seems ...
3
votes
3answers
1k 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 ...
3
votes
2answers
146 views

How could I create a musical vocabulary based on a group of similar classical pieces?

Sometimes I'll be working on a group of pieces and realize that I'd like to experiment with abstracting some of the musical ideas (rhythms, harmonies, etc) into a musical vocabulary that I could use ...
11
votes
2answers
332 views

Techniques for memorizing a musical idea and “saving it to paper”

Sometimes I have a very nice musical idea, with orchestration too, and I clearly hear it in my mind as if I was listening to a CD. But I cannot retain it. The only way is to play it over and over in ...
14
votes
3answers
906 views

Software for microtonal MIDI?

I'm looking to make some microtonal music (19/22 tone equal temperament). I want to produce it with midi. Timidity++ used to be able to produce a WAV file from a microtonal tuned .MID file, but it is ...
12
votes
4answers
588 views

What gives a piece of music its personality and feeling?

What makes a piece of music sound angry, dark, sad, happy, or otherwise? "La Chute" by Yann Tiersen sounds so angry to me and "A Dark Knight" from "The Dark Knight" movie sounds so dark and ...
6
votes
3answers
2k 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 ...
9
votes
3answers
470 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 ...
5
votes
3answers
785 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 ...