The art and craft of creating new music.

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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
107 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
84 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
128 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
114 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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1answer
488 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
78 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
116 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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2answers
903 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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1answer
142 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") ...
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2answers
216 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
525 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
206 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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5answers
610 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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3answers
637 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
400 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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6answers
196 views

How do I find chords to go with my melody in music I write

I have written a number of tunes using just A,B,C, etc. to indicate notes. I have no musical knowledge so I am unable to find the appropriate chords to go with my tunes. Is there a an online program ...
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2answers
449 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
3k 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
354 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
215 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
328 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
191 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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1answer
583 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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4answers
163 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 tabulature notation and often even some music theory, I personally can read notes but not in all keys ...
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3answers
439 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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2answers
113 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
119 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
413 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
218 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
193 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
68 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
140 views

How to mimic the sound of the '60s-'70s era? [closed]

I am into composing and I really love the era. I would be interested to get hints how to write music which alike. How would you arrange vocals like in Mamas and the Papas? How should one arrange a ...
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1answer
96 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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3answers
484 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
410 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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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
105 views

Terminology for tension idioms in composition

As a hobby composer I often reason about the flow of a composition and I often find myself inventing words for what the composition does during a certain passage. E.g. I found that many guitar riffs ...
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3answers
337 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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9answers
608 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 ...
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4answers
183 views

Composing in Phrygian mode

I tried to compose in the Phrygian mode which seems to be harder than the natural, harmonic and melodic minor. The biggest challenge was to end my piece in its tonic chord. My song was intended to be ...
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3answers
294 views

proper uses of minor seventh chords

Having used dominant seventh chords extensively,I am now trying to incorporate minor seventh chords into my compositions... Based on my [rudimentary] knowledge, minor seventh chords are usually used ...
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3answers
546 views

Creating Happy Melodies and Chords

I've been listening to a track, such as this https://soundcloud.com/wave-racer/flight-facilities-stand and it seems to have a very happy vibe about it, to the extent where it's "over happy". But I ...
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3answers
371 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 ...
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2answers
265 views

What should I be trying my hand at to practice composing?

I don't really know how to play any instrument, but I do have some USB keys that I have plinked with in Garageband. I'm not interested so much in learning to perform my works. I enjoy and am inspired ...
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4answers
250 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. ...
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3answers
2k 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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2answers
417 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 ...
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2answers
273 views

Cadential Six Four Chord

Must the V chord always immediately follow the I 6-4 in a cadential six-four or can there be maybe a passing six-four in between like in measure seven of beethoven's piano concerto no.1 op.15, I? ...
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2answers
161 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 ...