Tagged Questions

The art and craft of creating new music.

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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
191 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 ...
15
votes
9answers
6k 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. ...
9
votes
7answers
614 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
3k 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 ...
19
votes
4answers
9k 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
612 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 ...
26
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
922 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
5k 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
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 ...
3
votes
2answers
151 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
358 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 ...
16
votes
4answers
1k 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 ...
14
votes
4answers
650 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
510 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
1k 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 ...
31
votes
9answers
4k views

Key signature for writing in modes other than major and minor

I have trouble deciding what accidentals to put in the key signature for pieces in dorian, phrygian, lydian or mixolydian modes. There seem to be tradeoffs associated with each choice. For example, ...
17
votes
2answers
895 views

How do I begin finally making music on the piano?

It's been almost 4 years since I had too much time on my hands while living in student dorms so I decided to learn to play the piano. I always loved listening to classical and suddenly listening ...
14
votes
3answers
770 views

How can I develop an interesting or challenging 8-Beat rock rhythm?

The band I play with generally wants a simple 8-beat rhythm but I can find it a bit boring to play! So I'm looking for suggestions/tips/sheet music/video on how to develop a standard 8-beat drum ...
6
votes
1answer
899 views

Influences of Mozart

Wikipedia article only mentions Hummel from Mozart's childhood but gives no further information. I will appreciate if someone could shed more light here, in particular which composers have had an ...
7
votes
3answers
185 views

Registering with a Performing Rights Organization

Out of curiosity, I've recently taken a look at the websites of ASCAP and BMI, two big PROs. As a musician, if I wanted to hypothetically register with such an organization: Should I register as a ...
7
votes
4answers
492 views

What should I do about composing 'soft' accents for piano?

When composing for the piano, I often find myself writing a lot of sudden soft notes. I need an accent mark that suddenly softens notes. From my knowledge (and searching the web), I can not find any ...
15
votes
5answers
2k views

Prokofiev's style

I have a predilection for music from the first half of the 20th century. I can't pinpoint the exact reason why, I suspect it is from absorbing so much music from movies, tv series and computer games ...
12
votes
1answer
1k views

What components make military music especially rousing?

If someone were going to compose a piece of military music to especially rousing, what components would they be looking to emphasize? Like is there a certain key or time that military music is often ...
2
votes
4answers
177 views

What criteria are used for classifying composers?

What criteria are used for classifying composers?
9
votes
4answers
343 views

Composition of music suitable for concentration

What are the parameters of music to consider so that the resulting composition is suitable as a background music when reading, studying or doing some mental work? I'm interested in parameters like ...
10
votes
3answers
2k views

Training and Influences of J. S. Bach

Johann Sebastian Bach is undoubtedly among the most celebrated of Baroque composers, and to many the great composer in all history. The era of the late 17th and early 18th centuries in which he lived, ...
6
votes
2answers
407 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 ...
9
votes
4answers
245 views

How can I stay informed of new art music?

As a composer, it's vitally important that I'm aware of what's happening in the contemporary music world. I find it very difficult to keep myself informed of a field that often flies below the radar ...
7
votes
3answers
436 views

How do you compose tuplets against straight notes?

I would like to know how to compose tuplets of odd numbers against even numbers on the piano (ie. 3 against 2). How would you go around composing something like this? I have been composing for some ...
7
votes
5answers
939 views

tips for writing the drum notes to a song in a band

I play the drums in a band, and the song has already been written and everything that the vocalist, guitarist and bassist will play. The drums were left out and I have to write them to fit the song. ...
11
votes
2answers
1k views

Well-known composers or piano pieces generally suitable for someone with small hands?

One of my struggles with playing the piano is that I have small hands. I can reach an octave - mostly. I can reach it, I just can't maneuver between octaves quickly. Often times a piece will have a ...
31
votes
8answers
901 views

What exactly should I have to learn to understand why certain combination of chords are harmonic when played in a sequence?

I am an intuitive music composer trying to move to a technical music composer. As a dummy, I see music as a composition of 'pieces' (my word). Each piece is a set of notes that are melodical when ...
22
votes
4answers
4k views

What is the relationship between the melody line and the rhythm chords?

Let's say I've written a song with the chord progression I-IV-V in the key of A (just as an example). So, the chords I'm playing are A-D-E. When playing a lead over this rhythm, what notes do I need ...
18
votes
8answers
760 views

Any advice for a novice composer?

I have been learning the acoustic guitar for about 3 years, but just recently started writing my own songs. I am currently learning music theory. Given that starting point what advice would you give ...