The art and craft of creating new music.

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365 views

How does one compose fills and solos for the drumkit?

I keep hearing that rudiments are the building blocks of drumming. How do you create drum fills and solos out of rudiments? They say they're made from rudiments, are they ALL made from nothing but ...
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1answer
455 views

Natural vs tempered semi-tones

I am reading "Fundamentals of Musical Composition" by Arnold Schoenberg. Chapter XI, page 99, states: Chromaticism is difficult partly because the natural semi-tones differ in size from the ...
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2answers
257 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 ...
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2answers
289 views

Uses for the Prometheus scale?

I was looking up info on scales today and found this page on scales: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_musical_scales_and_modes Scrolling through the page, I found a few interesting scales, but ...
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3answers
303 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 ...
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2answers
1k 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 ...
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3answers
122 views

short segment of different time signature

Is it frowned upon to have a short segment of a song, perhaps only one measure, to be in a different time signature? Does the level of frownage vary by style? Background: I'm working on a classical ...
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3answers
100 views

Composing Music- Interpretation

When writing music, does one: Let the musician interpret the music more (less dynamics, tempo markings, etc.), or Let all musicians follow the same general interpretation (more dynamics, tempo ...
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1answer
152 views

Composition - How to connect musical periods

How do you exactly keep a continuum between musical periods? And somewhat related, how exactly do you tell a story with it? I am trying to compose something for piano, and while I'm able to connect ...
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1answer
125 views

How to create fast runs (i.e. speedy notes)?

I am a competent composer. I am trying to improve a particular skill: creating sequences of very fast notes that sound pleasant. Examples: Chopin's Fantasie Impromptu Chopin's Etude Op. 10 No.5 ...
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2answers
1k views

Composing chord progressions for samba

I know that there are questions on samba chords, samba rhythm, samba shapes and samba melody but, as far as I am aware, this site does not have a question about the tonality and harmony of samba ...
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3answers
102 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 ...
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1answer
145 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 ...
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1answer
770 views

What are some commonly used chord progressions in contemporary Musical Theatre styled songs?

Are there any commonly used chord progressions in musical theatre styled pieces? I've been trying to compose a piece in this style for a while now, and I'm having trouble finding appropriate sounding ...
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2answers
80 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 ...
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1answer
252 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 ...
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1answer
73 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 ...
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3answers
219 views

Ritardando, Rallentando, and Allargando

Three common musical markings for gradual slowing down are ritardando, rallentando, and allargando. How do these differ from each other in interpretation and execution? For example, I was taught many ...
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2answers
107 views

Composing a piece using the idea of Dual Modality

I've recently been studying a few early 20th century techniques and I would like to learn more about the concept of dual modality. I've read as much as I could find on the on the topic, but the only ...
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2answers
140 views

Suggested text material about Italian baroque composition

As a hobbyist composer who composes in "almost" traditional music styles (baroque-like, classical-like etc.), I am at a stage where I would like to compose authentic music in a specific style. I have ...
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1answer
165 views

How can we discern the melody of a piece of music in variations of that piece?

Example: Mozart's Twelve Variations on "Ah vous dirai-je, Maman" ("Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star") Even though each version sounds drastically different, you can ...
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1answer
4k 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? ...
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2answers
398 views

What is a good freeware MIDI editor for minor changes running on Windows?

I compose music on my CVP-501. I record the tracks on a MIDI (.mid) file and record them as a wave (.wav) file. However, being human, I make mistakes. Plus, my setup for recording could be a lot ...
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1answer
726 views

Examples of acoustic instruments producing sounds very close to pure square, triangle or sawtooth waves

I've been able to find plenty of info about acoustic instruments that create sounds close to sine-waves, and I understand that sounds approximating square, triangle and sawtooth waves are produced by ...
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1answer
229 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 ...
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3answers
398 views

How many bars can a clarinet sustain?

Apologies if the question is too silly (my profile might explain why I don't know the answer). I am writing a piece and at some point I want a clarinet to hold a note until the performer runs out of ...
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3answers
902 views

Why do modern popular songs composed on piano sound different than songs composed on guitar?

Songs that I hear that are piano based - ie. composed and originally performed on piano, seem to have a different feel than those composed on guitar. The flow, the movement, the chords used - are ...
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2answers
445 views

Why do so many pieces written in a minor key sharp the 7th?

I've been going through several pieces (mostly of Bach, but also others) and I noticed that very commonly, the 7th is sharped when played coming down from the tonic. Examples: Little Fugue, Toccata ...
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2answers
501 views

Aiding the transcription of naturally occuring sounds. e.g. Horse whinnying, bird singing, etc

I edited the question extensively. The comments helped me to phrase it to reflect more what I really wanted to ask. .................... I don't have perfect pitch and badly trained and imprecise ...
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8answers
5k views

How to make your own samples?

I'm trying to compose music with Ableton Live 9 and every tutorial I see uses samples. I don't want to use samples since I would like to create my own sounds. How should I create a kick for example ...
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3answers
409 views

How to compose a simple “introduction” to a short musical piece?

I would like to add some music to a video clip I made (it lasts about 2 minutes). The video is basically some panoramic view of nature sights, nothing fancy. I am going to play a simple Sor's etude in ...
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2answers
895 views

What scales can I play over a A 13 flat ninth chord?

Okay, so I have been studying the music of Joe Pass and he loves to substitute minor seventh chords for dominant seventh chords. For example take a typical vi-ii-V-I progression on C, instead of ...
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221 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 ...
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1answer
602 views

Is this a dissonance? What causes it?

My question is about the use of dissonance in music. In the song Heart Of Amsterdam (for German users, click here instead[*]), from the Lucassen-van Giesbergen "The Gentle Storm" project, at the 3:00 ...
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1answer
645 views

Elements of a horror musical song?

When composing horror music for musical drama in general, what does one need to consider as in harmony, melody and rhythm, etc.? For harmony, I am especially interested in what chords are normally ...
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2answers
249 views

Who can remix a song?

I'm thinking of trying to learn how to remix songs with GarageBand and similar applications. So far I'm a total noob, and I'm just wondering who is allowed remix what songs? Is anyone allowed to remix ...
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3answers
472 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 ...
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4answers
198 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 ...
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3answers
548 views

Tutorials or advice on layering synths

so I have been into some music production for a few weeks, and I feel like I am improving gradually. The problem I am having currently is layering synths. If I listen to a track, I can sort of make ...
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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 ...
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203 views

The Elements of the Oratorio

I have had the privilege of singing in choirs performing classical oratorios, which I loved. I am a composer of simpler forms, but have been toying with the prospect of composing what I have been ...
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3answers
328 views

How do you write successive, non-functional chord progressions?

Elements of non-functional harmony is ubiquitous among contemporary music creations. In most cases, it materializes in the way of non-functional chord progressions, which are characterized by its ...
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4answers
452 views

How to compose (a starting point)?

I am asking for any idea or starting point in order to learn composition on my own. My goal is to create my music and unlock creativity, but I do not know where to start or how to start. I know some ...
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1answer
239 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 ...
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2answers
210 views

Diatonic Function of Accidentals in Counterpoint

Why is it in counterpoint that the fourth degree of natural mode "F" lowered to "Bb" instead of remaining as "B"? Why isn't the fourth degree lowered for other modes? Shouldn't the "B" ...
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2answers
75 views

What are some techniques to alter a repeated phrase

I'm working in composing several times a week using my musical imagination and computer software. In the piece I'm working now I show the melody I created. For the next section, where I repeat the ...
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1answer
103 views

Older Hexachordal Systems referred to in The Study of Counterpoint

What are the hexachordal systems discussed in The Study of Counterpoint? I would like an explanation of them and how they relate to the modal first species exercises written out by Joseph. The ...
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4answers
602 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 ...
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1answer
491 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 ...
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2answers
118 views

Why do so many symphonic works that are named “minor” end “major”?

For example, Schumann's Symphony No. 4 in d minor has the 4th movement end in D major. There are many many other examples that I have seen of this pattern; some that end on the major version of the ...