The art and craft of creating new music.

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3
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1answer
2k views

Figuring out the difference between major and relative minor scales?

I always seem have difficulty determining whether a song is in a major scale, or the relative minor. (the 3rd note back into it, but minor) Lets use the Pokemon theme song for example. As I ...
3
votes
2answers
223 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? ...
1
vote
6answers
154 views

Diminished Intervals

If I go from F# to D# down (F#-D#) is that a diminished third or augmented second interval? I am composing in minor mode and want to know because augmented intervals are forbidden in part writing.
1
vote
1answer
125 views

Diminished Intervals in Voice Leading

I know that augmented intervals within part writing in both minor and major keys is forbidden but what about diminished intervals? For example if I we're in e minor and in 3/4 time and I'm writing a ...
19
votes
4answers
2k views

As a composer, should I be composing music for an instrument I don't play?

I wanted to know if composing music for a specific instrument demands that you know how to at least play the instrument. I'm sure if you know how the instrument sounds by itself as well as within an ...
2
votes
2answers
321 views

What is this 4 bar part of music called?

In the song Amie by Pure Prairie League there is a repeated section of muisc that is about 4 bars long(or 2 depending on how you count it). It occurs between every section of music except near the end ...
8
votes
2answers
401 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 ...
6
votes
2answers
406 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 ...
-2
votes
1answer
116 views

2 guitar progression [closed]

These are progression from a song that I was playing with a friend but we don't understand it at all. Can somebody please explain conceptually why they sound good when played together i.e first ...
7
votes
9answers
1k 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 ...
3
votes
3answers
286 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 ...
-3
votes
1answer
65 views

Who's the composer to this music? [closed]

I came across this fascinating video on Youtube, and I'm wondering who composed the music. My apologies in advance, I'm naive in this area. Any thoughts will be appreciated.
4
votes
2answers
382 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 ...
3
votes
2answers
235 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 ...
0
votes
2answers
797 views

Myspace is dead. What are the alternatives? [closed]

I've been playing and composing music all through my life, and I want a sort of showcase to store and make it available. I was thinking about Myspace, but from several sources I heard it is in a ...
4
votes
3answers
391 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 ...
0
votes
3answers
105 views

Music and time, “natural” time

To play music rhythm in time it was always something difficult to me, with a metronome also. Basically I can not count time. On the other hand I have some intuition to compose simple music, and when I ...
11
votes
3answers
895 views

How can I improve my piano accompaniments?

When I play piano or keyboards, I've noticed that I keep slipping into playing the same chords (and variations thereof, such as very simple bass lines) with my left hand while I use my right hand to ...
3
votes
1answer
171 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
615 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, ...
5
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
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4answers
1k 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
207 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
199 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
384 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 ...
5
votes
2answers
198 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
519 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
289 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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vote
3answers
559 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
935 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
1k 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
273 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
200 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 ...
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vote
2answers
383 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
523 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
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3answers
5k 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
153 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
8k 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
227 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. ...
9
votes
4answers
4k 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: ...
6
votes
6answers
364 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
1k 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
3k 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
273 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
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, ...
5
votes
1answer
186 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
121 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 ...