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

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2answers
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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
658 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
703 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
2k 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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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 -- ...
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3answers
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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
555 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 ...
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1answer
295 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 ...
6
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1answer
632 views

Guidelines for piano composition/transcription

I'm a classical guitar student but I always loved the piano. Though I never owned one, most of my musical ideas come to me as harmonies on the keyboard so I often have to translate that into something ...
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2answers
2k 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, ...
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3answers
285 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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2answers
421 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 ...
6
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1answer
285 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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3answers
2k 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 ...
6
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1answer
153 views

Is writing important for electronic composition?

I am an electronic producer, and I was wondering if electronic music producers even write down their music on scores? Is that important enough to do for this category of music genres? Or should I do ...
6
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1answer
82 views

Representing the snapping of the damper pedal to create an ambient tone in sheet music

The other day I was sitting down at my piano while composing when I encountered something that I had noticed a few times in the past. Here is what happened: I pressed the down the damper pedal ...
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6answers
301 views

Tonal harmony: 18th century counterpoint vs. Accessible contemporary harmony and composition

I have a fair amount of knowledge when it comes to "rules" regarding music of the bygone days of the traditional prelude & fugue, the motet, and four voice harmony of the Baroque era. Specifically,...
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5answers
1k views

Techniques for creating melodies

I've posted this question: Learning to create melodies I've got a few ideas of techniques towards creating melodies but wanted to ask if there are any specific methods to help get better. I've read: ...
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4answers
2k 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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3answers
2k 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 go:...
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4answers
331 views

What chord is this and when is it the dominant?

For a song I've written I do a chromatic descending climb with the bass note in a Cm chord and end up with my fingers like this: First of all I'd like to know what chord this is, my guess is an A ...
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6answers
2k views

Ending a song with a dominant chord

As far as i know, almost all songs end in the tonic chord, because this is the most "stable" condition. On the other hand, a dominant chord at the end of a progression (or song) sounds "incomplete". ...
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6answers
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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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3answers
134 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 ...
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2answers
96 views

Are there scales and chord progressions particularly used in Rag music?

I am interested in the underlying scale and chord structures of ragtime music . For example, I was reading in my book Jazzology last night that ii-V-I progressions are frequently used in Jazz. I am ...
5
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3answers
136 views

How to prepare for a music major?

do you guys know how to prepare for a music major? More specifically a composition major, in an university/faculty that emphasizes performance. (or a conservatory) Should I be a master at my ...
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3answers
282 views

How can I create loopable bounces for video games?

I'm writing the music for a video game. Much of the music is going to be looped indefinitely. How can I arrange my music and bounce audio files that can be looped effectively? A naïve technique is to ...
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8answers
7k 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 (...
5
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2answers
392 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 ...
5
votes
1answer
625 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 ...
5
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2answers
311 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
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2answers
388 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
321 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 ...
5
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3answers
4k 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 ...
5
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3answers
140 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 ...
5
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3answers
925 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 "...
5
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1answer
213 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 ...
5
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1answer
148 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
2k 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 music....
5
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2answers
189 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 ...
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1answer
1k 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 ...
5
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2answers
175 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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3answers
96 views

Difficult Trombone passage

I am currently putting the finishing touches on a brass trio I am composing. After meticulously checking every note and every phrase, I realized the technical difficulty of the opening 4 measures of ...
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2answers
186 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 ...
5
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3answers
118 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
207 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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2answers
228 views

Composition Training (with Hindemith)

I am looking to get back into composition and trying to get some advice on textbooks. By way of background, my biggest liability is my lack of formal training (I have none). During my early teens, I ...
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2answers
653 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
6k 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? Can ...