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Questions tagged [composition]

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

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51 views

How to improve writing transitions between ideas?

I seem to have the absolute worst time writing transitions. Any musical project that I start that has even a semblance of requiring a transition ends up taking months, trying dozens of combinations of ...
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2answers
51 views

Does Presto fit with a Minuet and Trio form?

So I have seen third movements of sonatas that are presto. But usually these are the rondo movements of 3 movement sonatas such as those by Haydn and Mozart. My piano sonata in A major that I am ...
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53 views

Why are there so many love songs? [migrated]

If we take a look at lists of the top songs (e.g. Billboard Hot 100), they're likely to be dominated by love songs. Why? Sure, it's a powerful emotion, but there're other powerful emotions out there (...
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3answers
310 views

Retrograding a melody that ends on a whole note

If I was retrograding a melody that ends on a whole note, should I count it as a first beat quarter during reversing it or should I count it as 3 quarter rests + a quarter? I've attached an example ...
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1answer
24 views

A question regarding transposition and fugal answers

Is it compulsory to introduce the answer of a fugue at +5 or -4 scale degrees relative to the home key? I'm not asking whether it's necessary to transpose the answer; my question is whether ...
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1answer
59 views

Is the time signature of this composition 4/4 throughout or not?

I'm wondering whether the time signature in the following composition is 4/4 throughout the 4 measures (as seen in the following picture) or does it change to 3/4 in the fourth measure (please bear ...
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1answer
108 views

Harmonics in composition

As a composer, I never took under consideration the harmonics and natural overtones of note frequencies and never had trouble, as long as it all sounded well and was not very dissonant (unless I ...
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0answers
48 views

Why such a difference in balance adding 1 instrument?

I am writing a canon for piano quintet and I notice I'm getting a lot of balance issues. When it starts with 2 measures of piano solo, of course there are no such issues. I introduce new variations ...
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1answer
44 views

Creating a cadenca (Boccherini Concerto No 3 in G Maj)

I need to create a cadenza (A virtuoso passage inserted near the end of a concerto movement) for cello for the first part of Boccherini Concerto No 3 in G Maj (Allegro, starting at measure 98 in my ...
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2answers
91 views

Are weird chord types a byproduct of improvising and sound?

Say we have on one hand the basic chords of triads (major/minor) and sevenths. And then on the other hand we have less common chords like sus4,add9,augmented,diminished,six chords,extended chords, ...
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2answers
135 views

What are the most important chord types? [closed]

I've mainly been practicing triads (major/minor) and sevenths (major/minor/dominant) as I think those are the most important chords. If this is wrong, please let me know. I mainly play pop songs on ...
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3answers
87 views

Chords symbol and playing

maybe this is a dumb question but I want to ask when you have in the music sheet for example the symbol of the chord C7 or whatever; to put a symbol instead notes means you can play random the keys ...
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4answers
71 views

Time signatures and verse

Recently I challenged myself to set a piece of religious text to music for SATB. However, I encountered timing issues caused by irregular numbers of syllables in verses, and when to break off phrases. ...
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2answers
79 views

Whenever I attempt to compose, my head contradicts every note I think of

I was listening to music, and I got a sudden burst of inspiration. Normally, I'll just listen to my gut on what to start making, since if I wait too long, or think too hard, I tend to lose that ...
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2answers
79 views

I find composing for transposing instruments hard

So I have gotten into writing orchestral works and I have a bit of a problem. You see, I can transpose, but I am not used to adjusting the notation of the transposition. So if I transpose from C to ...
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2answers
76 views

Prepared myself for symphonic writing, still very nervous

History of my compositions and how I feel about composing a symphony I have been composing music for years but it was mostly intermittent and studying music theory. Now it is more regular. I have ...
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4answers
77 views

Localization in scores

Is there some way to make localization (translate to other languages) an easier task when digitally making scores? Currently, I have two options: write a page before the score with all the ...
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2answers
54 views

Finding musicians to play new compositions

I've been composing for most of my life. Lately, I've started to accumulate a rather large number of completed pieces. I recently realized that it may be time for me to start looking for musicians to ...
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1answer
71 views

Is this a reasonable start to my string quartet? [closed]

This is what I have of my string quartet so far. I am using Musescore for composing this, so I put in 100 measures because I didn't know how long the first movement of the string quartet would be. If ...
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1answer
66 views

Why are most string quartets in a key with few accidentals?

The most accidentals I have seen in a string quartet is 4 flats or sharps. Now I have been told that this is because C major, G major, D major and A major are the easiest keys on a string instrument ...
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4answers
165 views

Compose with pencil and paper [closed]

I see many composers argue that one of the best ways to compose is with pencil and paper, without using an instrument. What is the process for composing this way? Does one have to imagine a fairly ...
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1answer
145 views

Why is the final section of Liszt's La Campanella working so well?

The ending section of Liszt's La Campanella is the most beautiful I've heard so far. I'm referring to the change in melody, from this point all the way to the end: ...
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1answer
65 views

What are the common problems when it comes to ear training and how do I fix it?

I can think of a few, first in formost, there is 2 different type of struggles transcribing in real time which requires you to hear and identify chords and melody and improvising, which requires ...
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0answers
81 views

Why is writing in free counterpoint so hard? [closed]

I have had this overwhelming feeling for weeks. 1 day I even had to listen to Mozart just to go to sleep because I was feeling so overwhelmed. I have tried everything I did in the past for composer's ...
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3answers
581 views

Tension and Tonic

It is widely known that music "wants" to be resolved on the tonic. But does it mean that I can end with the tonic, let's say, one/two octaves higher or lower than the whole melody that is being played?...
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1answer
93 views

Is 2 measures sufficient for a fugue subject?

I know what a fugue is. I also have been reading up on the form of the fugue and how to write in counterpoint. I wrote a canon and I have written a sonatina using sonata form. So theoretically a fugue ...
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2answers
81 views

Formalizing “surprising, yet inevitable”

My music teacher told me that one property of great music is that it is both surprising and inevitable - you don't expect something, but looking back you see that it has been carefully prepared for. ...
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1answer
78 views

Is this melody aligned with this drum beat? If so/not - why (not)? [closed]

I wasn't entirely sure how to ask this question, so I'll use visual references. Please look at this piano roll picture: the green "blocks" represent the notes of a melody, the purple ones - the hits ...
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3answers
193 views

What exactly is the difference between C Ionian and D Dorian?

Both modes have the same notes. But why do they sound different. How to approach while composing a song in a particular mode as opposed to a key. Is it the harmony or the pivoting root? I read few ...
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3answers
119 views

What are the appropriate/technical approaches that professional composers do to induce creativity in music making process?

I feel like I've already been "programmed" by pop songs when creating new sound. I always enjoy simply improvising on piano but I can never break through that musicality that is "programmed" in my ...
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1answer
112 views

What are the elementary skills of composition?

I'm interested in learning music composition, but in spite of music being as old as time itself the majority of resources I've come across so far seem to suggest that a beginner learn sections of ...
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1answer
125 views

Are pieces for orchestra written mainly by pianists and keyboard players?

I'm just wondering if pieces for orchestra are/were mainly written on pianos or synthesizers. Is it just written on piano for all the instruments since on the piano it's easiest to play both harmony/...
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1answer
166 views

Solo Cello Composition: Double Stops Question

Can the G or D strings be muted by Cellist so that a double stop can be played on the G and A, or C and D strings? Would greatly appreciate a response.
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2answers
103 views

Best way to learn piano sheet music? [closed]

I've been playing piano for a little while for personal enjoyment. Due to my comfortable environment most of my knowledge of piano has come from what I've learned by ear and sight. Unfortunately, this ...
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3answers
51 views

How to find counter rhythms for vocal melodies over dominant rhythms?

Most of the music theory I have learnt/encountered was focusing on chords and notes of melodies, but not on interplay of melody and backbeat, hence I'm asking this question. We are working on a song ...
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5answers
195 views

How does one teach a subjective art form like music composition in an objective manner?

As someone who has never taken composition lessons, I've always wondered how one teaches composition without straying into the purely subjective. In other words, how does one teach composition in a ...
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1answer
36 views

Who composed “And the Waltz Goes On”? [closed]

I listened to "And the Waltz Goes On" played by Andre Rieu's orchestra a while ago, in the video Andre say it was composed by Anthony Hopkins and never have been played until he did so in Vienna, but ...
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3answers
68 views

Method to develop a key change?

I know this question may seem broad, but I am a very mathematical person, I've never had much "ear" for these things. I have a slow tempo song, about 90bpm with a VI - I - IV chord progression for a ...
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0answers
38 views

Where Xenakis used intersection?

I understood intersection in Xenakis sieve theory, as he explained himself here. But can anyone provide me a musical example from its production where he effectively used this?
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1answer
55 views

Has anyone else composed for the Mahler Hammer?

The title pretty much sums it up: Has anyone else (other than the composer for whom it's named) written music that incorporates the "Mahler Hammer™"? Some more links: Walt Martin's blog about ...
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2answers
110 views

Is there any compendium mapping chord progressions to mood and sentiments? [closed]

Came across an Android app that enlists chord progressions with a mapping to mood or sentiment that it conveys (or expected to convey, I presume to certain audience). For various reasons, I am bit ...
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1answer
73 views

How to write in counterpoint for a sonata? [closed]

So yeah, just as it sounds like, I will be composing a sonata. It will be in the style of Beethoven. The first movement will be slow and quiet mostly. Of course I will be using dissonance such as a ...
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3answers
56 views

Does a cadence cover all “punctuation marks” in a musical phrase?

If we compare it to English, then a cadence acts like a period. But what about other punctuation marks like commas, exclamation marks, questions marks, etc. Are they also called cadences?
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2answers
73 views

Determining if string instruments can play more than one note at a time

I recently started writing a string quartet recently and I want the cello to play two notes (B and C; G and A) simultaneously. How do I know if that is actually playable (not on the same string/...
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3answers
156 views

Does every phrase in music end with a cadence?

I'm just wondering if every phrase in music ends on a Cadence? Much like every sentence in English ends with a period? I am mainly talking about common music such as pop, rock, classical, traditional,...
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0answers
24 views

How to write melody in a way as it is leading to end? [duplicate]

How to write melody which not just feel like jumping towards end, ie tonic note...?
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4answers
176 views

I'm stuck in diatonic land. How do I get out?

I've been playing a lot of diatonic everything. So basically just staying in the scale as I improvise with melody/chords. I play alot of songs by ear and I notice when they use accidentals but I don't ...
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5answers
179 views

Name for ensemble of the same instrument

When arranging music, is there a commonly accepted or easy to understand name for an ensemble (be it a trio, duet, quartet, etc.) which contains all of the same instrument? For example, how could you ...
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1answer
188 views

What makes us recognize the composer of a song?

Here is the situation: I'm at a friend's house, and he plays a song in the guitar. I never heard it before, but somehow I know it's John Mayer, even though I don't like him very much (I can't even ...
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2answers
94 views

Difficulties to compose since I've stopped taking piano classes

I have been playing the piano for 7 years now, and I always loved composing. I've stopped to take piano lessons two years ago because of my studies, and since this, it's getting really difficult to ...