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23

The fact that you are in A minor without G# (or F# and G#) means that you are in A natural minor. What defines a scale as minor or major, is the third of the scale, not the accidentals. If you have A as the root of your scale and the third is a C, then the scale is a minor one. There are 3 different types of minor scales: A harmonic minor (it has G#) A ...


17

A fugue is one of the most polyphonic musical pieces you can write. In a typical fugue there are 3 or 4 voices in play that are each treated independent melodies. While this is going on, you have to not only have to keep all the rules of counterpoint in mind for each voice and make sure the harmony always make sense, but you have a structure to keep in mind ...


15

What @user13423 wrote is right, but I think maybe it doesn't really answer what you're really asking. So allow me to elaborate. There are two fundamental relationships to music: that of being audience, and that of being performer. All performing musicians are putting on a show. Performance is the making of an illusion, of casting a glamour on the ...


14

Listen, listen, listen to lots of new kinds of music. Regularly. Not just your style or your favorites. Don't just listen. Marinate. Challenge yourself. It'll be tough initially, and it may not hold your attention, but the exercise does pay off. You'll start to hear things "out of the box" that you didn't before and you'll have fresher perspectives on your ...


13

The list above is a great start. I'll add a few names below, but first let me speak to the technical question. There are a few basic techniques that characterize so-called minimalism in music. Not every minimalist or post-minimalist uses all these, and a number of composers who used to be called minimalists have changed style dramatically over the years, but ...


12

In my experience, unfortunately, writing melodies is one of the most "magical" parts of writing music. Some melodies just sound great, some just don't. There are, however, a few things to keep in mind that can help you deliberately write a melody for a particular emotion or style and help you understand why a particular melody sounds good. Intervallic and ...


11

There are a lot of different kinds of Minimalisms, so my first suggestion would be to explore a bunch of different composers with extremely open ears: Philip Glass - Personally, my favorite work is his opera Einstein on the Beach, but his string quartets are also great, and the piano etudes can be a nice introduction. His work tends to still operate within ...


11

On a practical level, knowing some theory can be useful to a composer in certain circumstances. First is when a composition is not as interesting as the composer would like it to be. He/she would like to evoke something different than whatever the music inspires at that stage of composition. Examining the melody for how it conforms to standard scales, ...


10

Your question is very vague, but I'll try to answer it to you anyway. You are actually pointing at three different skills: Songwriting Composition Musical Knowledge I'll explain to you what these skills are and how to learn them. Songwriting Have you ever seen a dude with a guitar playing love-songs in a corner surrounded by pretty girls? Yeah, ...


10

Just a few ideas: A keyboard instrument provides a lot more freedom in terms of the number of notes that can be sounded together and the distance between them. It's difficult on a guitar to play a fluidly moving bassline and a chord pattern two octaves above; it's trivial on a piano. The sustain mechanism of a piano allows for all notes to sustain at once; ...


9

I'm sure someone more experienced will come to help, but for now, here are some suggestions: Make use of dissonant chords. In particular, augumented fifths, and diminished major sevenths. In particular I'd just look into the various scale modes (e.g. Lydian) and pick out chords from there. If it's a slow horror song I'd suggest using a Dorian mode for ...


9

Is it possible to create a completely new genre of music This question might appear really weird, but still I ended up asking. Its not weird at all. Many composers throughout history have asked this very question. I will give a tentative "yes" to this portion of the question, with the clarification that by genre we are referring to the stylistic ...


9

MattPutnam's answer covered technical aspects very nicely. Here I have some further thoughts that are often overlooked. String quartets require you to be careful about more than notes. Even though the three (there are two violins in the quartet) instruments belong to the same family, they have each their own perks: they respond differently to dynamics; ...


9

It's rather like language. Treating the rules as prescriptive allows you to always be generally understood (or compose something non-irritating). You need to understand the rules in order to know when it is OK to break them, even though you could accidentally break them and still make a comprehensible sentence (or pleasing melody) without knowing why. ...


9

It's a key change: it changes from E minor to C# phrygian without preparing the listener. That's probably why the beginning of the solo sounds dissonant to you, i.e. dissonant in relation to what came before. Unexpected (i.e. unprepared) key changes will always have such an effect. The more notes change from one key to the other, the stronger the effect ...


9

I think, Dom, that you would need to do a few things: Truncate the tonic - it will always be root and third. (This kind of truncation wasn't all that unusual in late Renaissance and early Baroque modal polyphony, by the way, even though the Locrian mode itself wasn't used at all.) Borrow procedures from the Phrygian mode, which is the closest in ...


8

First off, I'm going to say that many people have key preferences and there's nothing wrong with that. If you want to adapt to major keys for listening or writing, it's all a matter of preference. And not all songs in minor keys have to sound sad; there are several examples of this. Panic! at the Disco, for example. Each key has different components and ...


8

Here are some cases where slash chords might be used: Pedal point The most boring case. The bass holds (or repeats) a note while the harmonies change. Useful in everything from bagpipe drones to the codas of Bach organ fugues. Passing tones Sort the reverse of the above. The bass is moving around while the harmony is staying relatively static, leading to ...


8

That depends on you. Just write first what comes natural to you. If you grab your guitar/play piano and you see that you can work your way in a harmony you like, start with that. If you are thinking some lyrics without having any harmony, write them down. There isn't any specific order in which to do that. Usually when I write a song, I first write the ...


8

Let's take two archetypal rags - Black and White Rag and The Entertainer. The left hand mostly plays a steady pattern of a bass note on the 1 and 3, and a chord on the 2 and 4. 1 2 3 4 1 2 3 4 LH chord * * * * LH bass * * * * Pretty much all ragtime has this regular oom-pah backing throughout, along with lead-ins and linking ...


8

Actually, a major chord is formed by using a root, a major third and a perfect fifth. Doesn't necessarily have to be the 1,3 and 5 of the scale. Let's take the C major scale and see for which root notes we have the major third and the perfect fifth: C; the third is E (major third), the fifth is G (perfect) -> Major Chord (I) D; the third is F (minor) E; ...


8

This is going to sound rather trite, but… Put the gear away & write a song on the piano. You're suffering from a modern dilemma - Instant Gratification Syndrome. If it doesn't immediately make your music for you, you get bored. You have the gear, you want it to 'do something for you'. It's not going to happen. …alternatively - find a noise, any ...


8

Is changing tempo during the song and back again a common device used on modern popular music? Or is there a good reason to avoid this type thing? No, it is not a device commonly used in popular music. However, this technique is extremely common in other forms of music. There are no good reasons to avoid this technique, band musicians are still ...


7

To me, the tempo of the music is the primary factor in what makes a piece of music relaxing. In the video above, the bpm hovers around 55-60 which makes it ideal for synchonisation to your brainwaves/ resting heart rate. (source) While listening, your heart rate gradually comes to match that beat. It is important that the song is eight minutes long ...


7

"Technicality" tends to be related to skills in execution. Focusing on technicalities detracts from expressiveness. For the listener, noticing random aberrations also detracts from expressiveness which are, in a manner, deliberate aberrations from a mechanical execution. "Technicality" does not distract a listener. But when it occupies the attention of ...


7

You know what used to work for me? Take the chords off a popular song and write to those. Or take the rhythm of a melody and see how it works with other chords - maybe in another mode. You know the Mickey Mouse March? Dam-dadam, dam-dadam, dam-dadam-dadam? Nice, now find an interesting sequence of chords. In minor, even. Now try to come up (in your ...


7

I'm reminded of how the sci-fi author, Lois McMaster Bujold, keeps her books moving along: "What's the worst thing that can happen to the protagonist now?" You, of course, don't want to write the worst thing, but you do want something that will a) give you a hook to work with, and b) keep the song hopping, and that means a very similar way of working. The ...


7

Absolutely not late at all. Not only is it never late, but you are extremely young. I started learning classical music at the same age as you (I am currently 28), and I now compose and play piano and am starting music school as a hobby (late night after work classes). I did all my theory learning via self study. You can definitely find resources online. ...


6

Sometimes just singing over a chord progression can do wonders. However a melody that sounds 'good' on vocals may flub on the keyboard (or other instruments). Try changing the chords under the melody - sometimes its easy to dismiss a decent melody because it wasn't in a very good context (chord substitution is a great way to go here). Try to identify what ...


6

Of course there are infinite ways one might explore a scale or harmony compositionally, but one aspect of the pitch collection that made it interesting to Scriabin is that it can be used to resolve in a more-or-less traditional manner to a number of different distantly related harmonic areas. First off, a reminder about the harmonic possibilities of a ...



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