Questions tagged [composition]

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

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6 votes
1 answer
229 views

What is the best way to notate/convey this ornament?

I'm currently writing a piece of music (solo piano) which has a certain ornament. This is the way that I want it to be played: It would be really nice if I could notate it something like the ...
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0 votes
0 answers
51 views

How to compose for 5 notes/two octaves

I am playing a ngoni, a 10 string gourd harp. I have been happily playing various traditional African songs, but I want to progress to writing/improvisation. It seems like with the traditional setups (...
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-3 votes
3 answers
147 views

Solo piano: Why not compose everything in or including the keys C major and A minor? [duplicate]

This is a follow-up question to What's the point of keys other than C and Am? After going through that question, I wrote down the key general facts: The C major and A minor keys have the simplest ...
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1 vote
3 answers
86 views

What are good range limits for STARTING a phrase?

Range suggestions abound online, divided by skill level, resonance, and so on. Range is also a big part of trumpet culture: how do trumpet players flex on each other? "I can play higher than you.&...
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6 votes
1 answer
337 views

Can I use/when can I use dotted rests in time signatures such as 5/8 or 7/8?

I'm writing a song that changes to 7/8 and I'm wondering if or when dotted rests are appropriate (assuming that dotted rests are appropriate for compound meters).
5 votes
7 answers
787 views

How can Key be understood differently when composing music vs playing it as a musician?

When I was younger, for years, I played musical instruments such as the french horn, violin, acoustic ("standing") bass, electric bass, piano, and electric guitar. During these years, I also ...
0 votes
2 answers
91 views

How to study part-writing as a self-taught musician?

I've recently picked up Schoenberg's "Preliminary Exercises In Counterpoint" after reading most of "Fundamentals of Musical Composition" as he indicates there and in other texts ...
2 votes
1 answer
64 views

What is the reason that I don't lose the sense of tonality in these measures

The question itself is rather subjective hence the 1st person pronoun. However, I believe that many of you reading this question agree with me and hear 'Bb major'. If you hear it in a different way, ...
2 votes
1 answer
110 views

Harmonic Voices Alongside Counterpoint

I'm writing a piece for a rather large ensemble: full string section SATB choir plus soloists 2 of oboe, bassoon, and trombone c-g timpani In one of the sections, the chorus sings a fugato while the ...
0 votes
1 answer
76 views

In an arrangement, what rules/heuristics do you use to determine when it's okay for notes to stack on one another?

For example, say you have a piano playing chords whose top notes are between middle C and the C above - in what situations would you say it's okay for some melody line to cross over those top notes? ...
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2 votes
0 answers
86 views

Baroque composing [closed]

What defines a "trio" style. As in, if I were composing a piece on the piano how do I compose it in a "trio" style
2 votes
1 answer
110 views

The reading of a song: what a beginner in composition needs to pay attention when reading a song? [closed]

Firstly, I'm a beginner in composition and all of my songs were quite "intuitive". I'm at a stage where I really need to know music theory in order to produce better songs. I) Introduction ...
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2 votes
2 answers
95 views

Doubt on scale shape creation and plagiarism

First of all, -Tone := T -Semi-Tone:= ST. Suppose you have the well know C major scale pattern: T T ST T T T ST Well, this is just one example of what we can do in music: ...
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2 votes
2 answers
131 views

Arranging Pop and Jazz Songs into Piano

What is the first step in arranging a jazz or pop song into piano? I find composing classical is a little easier, but I would like to try jazz and pop. I'm a little bit confused because I don't know ...
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8 votes
1 answer
1k views

How do I notate alternating quickly between two notes an octave away from each other?

I'm vaguely sure that an ornament exists for this but I'm not sure which one it is. I'm a music theory beginner, so pardon me if there's a simple answer. Basically, I want to alternate quickly between ...
0 votes
0 answers
44 views

Composing romantic pieces

I am a fan of the organist Wolfgang Seifen. Recently, he played a piece which fascinated me: An arabesque in the style of German romanticism. (Hear it) Being myself interested in improvisation, I did ...
6 votes
2 answers
183 views

Replacing chords with riffs

I'm kind of unsure as to where I can look for help regarding this but I've become very interested in the guitar playing of Jack white and Dan Auerbach. Both seem to have this amazing playing style ...
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7 votes
7 answers
1k views

How can I avoid a C Ionian theme when I am playing in Aeolian?

I am a beginner in music theory and want to compose something in A Aeolian, but I just noticed that the same notes are used for C Ionian. A Aeolian is supposed to be melancholic while C Ionian is ...
1 vote
2 answers
89 views

What should I know before stepping into orchestral/ fantasy music composition? [closed]

I have completed grade 7 in music theory (Trinity College London syllabus). Due to certain unavoidable circumstances, I have to self-study music hereafter. My passion is to become an independent music ...
5 votes
4 answers
662 views

Notation for rapid diminuendo

I am writing a part for strings and I want a rapid (but not instant) diminuendo across one bar from forte to total silence by the end of the fourth beat. I had four possibilities in mind for conveying ...
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3 votes
2 answers
282 views

How do I Modulate a scale that doesn’t exist?

So I’m composing a song with “3” scales, G harmonic minor, A#/Bb Major and a set of notes that I can’t seem to find a scale for. C-D-D#-F#-G-A#-B I love how it sounds but don’t know much about music ...
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6 votes
4 answers
622 views

How to notate going from staccato to "normal"

I'm writing a piano piece where r.h. is meant to play staccato for a large section. Instead of adding staccato dots to all the notes, it seems simpler to me to state "All staccato" above the ...
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2 votes
2 answers
146 views

How to score study for composition

Could somebody tell, step by step, what is the most effective way to study a score, if my goal is to copy a composer's "language" as an exercise: to create a similar piece and to learn from ...
1 vote
0 answers
90 views

How can I learn orchestration for songs (rather than for movies)? [closed]

I'm looking for tips and guidelines to learn orchestration for music (not a recommendation for a specific product or anything like that). I'm talking about songs or performances that were completely ...
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2 votes
4 answers
109 views

How to develop a musical idea/lyrics without forcing it?

I have many musical ideas, some instrumental and some are parts of songs with lyrics and melody but in most times I can't get myself to develop the musical ideas or to write more lyrics without ...
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0 votes
2 answers
74 views

how are scales of the same class (e.g. major scales) musically different? [duplicate]

I have recently learned the principles of the standard twelve-tone octave applied to major and minor scales. I understand each scale is defined by its main note, and the pattern of intervals, of half ...
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1 vote
3 answers
166 views

Analysing melodies with mathematics [closed]

I am doing a statistics project in which I analyze the most streamed songs on Spotify to create one based on the data I get. I analyze the harmony, structure, key, tempo... I just don't know how to ...
7 votes
2 answers
746 views

How many movements can be in a suite, and how long / short can they be?

I've seen people on the internet argue a suite can only have up to 4 movements plus a prelude, others say up to 18. Is there a minimum / maximum amount of movements a suite has to have? And are there ...
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9 votes
3 answers
856 views

Piano and Guitar playing different Tonic chord in a song

Please bear with me as my music theory knowledge is scrappy! After listening and watching live performances of this song by Maltese band "The Travellers", I've deduced that the piano and ...
3 votes
3 answers
175 views

Why is the second movement to Beethoven's 9th notated in fast 3/4, rather than in 3/8?

Looking at the score for Beethoven's 9th symphony, it surprises me how the second movement is written in a breakneck 3/4 at 116 dotted half notes per minute. Why did Beethoven opt for this 3/4, rather ...
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0 votes
1 answer
106 views

Can you write sonatas as a waltz?

I'm currently writing a sonata, and if I write the first movement normally with exposition, development and recap, but in 3/4 time and with that typical mm-BAP-BAP rhythm, would you still consider it ...
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-2 votes
2 answers
158 views

If I ever compose minor key music, for the original key, should I use A minor or C minor? [closed]

The A minor scale is the first and easiest minor key to learn in music since it has no sharps and flats just like its relative key called the C major scale but I've seen some composers like Grant ...
0 votes
2 answers
129 views

What are the key factors for any composer to select instrument for a song? [closed]

There are lots of instruments in all over the world every instrument have its different sound that could attach differently to the person`s emotion wondering how Music Composer think for selecting ...
5 votes
4 answers
204 views

Term for a musical section

I'm looking for the term for a a long, unique intro in a tune. It was prevalent in the mid-20th century in musicals and the like.
-1 votes
1 answer
174 views

composing a piece for pipe organ [closed]

Basically I was asked to write a piece for pipe organ until tomorrow morning. I've played a pipe organ before, so I sort of know how it works, but I don't have an organ I can play on before tomorrow. ...
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1 vote
3 answers
141 views

Choosing instrument for a solo

I am currently arranging a big-band piece to be played by my college big band (4 trumpets; 3 trombones + 1 bass trombone; 2 alto & 2 tenor saxes + 1 bari sax; rhythm section). I'm working on a ...
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3 votes
0 answers
79 views

Writing for the saxophone [closed]

Are there special symbols or text instructions that are more or less specific to the saxophone? What difficulties or peculiarities are there with the saxophone that a composer or arranger would need ...
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3 votes
0 answers
108 views

Did Stravinsky ever work backwards?

I've always been intrigued by this little passage in Stravinsky's "Fireworks" (op. 4). It seems to me to be many things all at once, each masterfully handled. It's a nifty little canon, a ...
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4 votes
0 answers
125 views

Are there varying levels of ASCAP's "plus" awards?

ASCAP offers an annual monetary award call the ASCAPlus award to its composer members whose music does not generally get included in its sampling for popular music royalties. These composers include ...
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2 votes
0 answers
65 views

Process of melody line to orchestral music [closed]

I have a one-note melody song, like a simple folk song. I want to arrange a somewhat simple orchestral piece out of it. I do play piano and I'll be able to change it to a somewhat interesting piano ...
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2 votes
0 answers
55 views

Match voice and different instruments in a composition [closed]

I'm trying to learn how to compose music. This is what I know so far: Music theory How to play simple songs made by others on the piano How to use various DAWs How to come up with lyrics that sound ...
1 vote
2 answers
126 views

How to learn from other composers? [closed]

For a while now, I have been trying to think of ways of learning musical ideas through composers I admire. Just like in visual arts, an artist would copy someone’s style or idea and then create their ...
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3 votes
7 answers
437 views

How do I get started again when I've lost heart? [closed]

I used to compose at the piano when I was younger. When I got married and had children, it was diminished. Then, when I lost house, wife, child 1, 2, then 3 (the last), it was really hard. After ...
3 votes
1 answer
88 views

How can you compose for an instrument that you play shabbily? [duplicate]

Is Adams just effacing himself and being humble? If not, please explain this apparent contradiction? Adès and Adams: Big Composers With Simultaneous Big Premieres - The New York Times “I can’t play ...
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0 votes
5 answers
135 views

Can an original composition be an arrangement part 2

I had written awhile back, and raised the question - "can an original composition be an arrangement.” I don't think I was clear. I found this article that may help someone understand my question: ...
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1 vote
1 answer
79 views

Is/Are there standard approaches to teaching/learning fugal writing?

I am intimidated by the idea of writing fugues. ...but I would like to do it. I have in mind the style exemplified by Bach. In a collegiate "Counterpoint" class (or book, or private ...
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23 votes
6 answers
6k views

Why does G# sound right when my melody is in C major?

I composed the following melody using notes from the C major scale. In the third bar a G# (Ab) seemed a natural choice to complete the loop, but I don’t understand why. G# is not in C major nor its ...
2 votes
3 answers
136 views

What do I call this type of transition?

I'm a complete novice to composing and music theory, but part of what I'd like to do is acquire the vocabulary to describe subtle changes in sound, especially ones that evoke a distinct emotion. For ...
3 votes
1 answer
144 views

Music of the Caribbean

How does the West African heritage in Caribbean music compare with the European influence in Caribbean music? I did research on this but couldn't really understand the european influence.
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4 votes
5 answers
794 views

How is it possible to compose music with chromatic scale when it uses notes other than that of the key of the song?

I'm a beginner in the music world. So my question may seem stupid and confusing. So I'm gonna elaborate a bit. Say, I want to write a track in the key of D. So I have the notes D,E,F#,G,A,B & C#. ...
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