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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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String Ensembles for Playdowns [on hold]

I use Finale to write scores, and I publish and sell them. The sounds are great, but maybe too great, sometimes, and you don't hear the gaps or poor intonation you'd get from writing a hard-to-play ...
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6answers
672 views

Do chord progressions usually move by fifths?

I'm wondering if chords usually move down by fifths. It seems so by the diagram, so iii to vi, vi to ii, ii to V, V to I. etc. Other chords can also be thought of like that, because IV/ii and V/vii ...
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1answer
46 views

Thoughtfully Voicing Chords

I've begun to experiment with arranging for jazz big band. Something I don't quite understand is how to thoughtfully voice chords. I understand generally how instruments should be voiced in a chord. ...
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1answer
93 views

Jaws vs. Dvorak

There is a worldwide-viral debate involving the Jaws theme as if it is a "rip-off" of the finale of Dvorak's Ninth Symphony. Some say if the theme is sampled from Dvorak. Did John Williams really ...
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2answers
170 views

What does “con piu fuoco possibile” mean?

Towards the end of Chopin's Etude No. 4 in C# minor, Op. 10 No. 4, it says "con più fuoco possibile." What does this mean?
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what makes Handel's “Largo” become a hit? [on hold]

"Handel's Largo" is the popular title for an aria composed by George Frideric Handel. He wrote it in 1738 for the opera Serse (English: Xerxes). The opera was a failure. It closed after only five ...
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6answers
2k views

What's the difference between “con brio” and “con fuoco”?

Do they just have different names but are meant to be played the same? Also, it seems like if "con fuoco" never appears in major keys, except for Beethoven's Piano Sonata No. 18.
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3answers
121 views

What other activities can I do to become a better musician and composer? [on hold]

(Apologies for my bad English, I'm not a native speaker) What are the things that I should know to get better as a musician and improve my composition? I basically love pop/rock music and that's what ...
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3answers
14k views

Using multiple scales in one song

Currently I am in the process of learning theory to be able to compose rap beats more efficiently and I have one question regarding (minor) scales. I know the formulas for natural, minor and harmonic ...
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1answer
36 views

Rights on publishing music [closed]

I gather that, in the U.S. at least, any work created before ~1923 is in the public domain now. Does that mean that anyone can publish and sell, say, an unaltered sheet of Bach? What about ...
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4answers
96 views

How to do songwriting starting from the lyrics, if I don't play any instrument?

I usually write new songs starting with a free backtrack. Then I imagine which words and melodies can go with it and in that way it's pretty easy to write a new song. Finally I can sing them at open ...
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3answers
81 views

How can I get started with melody writing?

I have a basis in music theory(took an AP course, read a few online texts) and now seek to create melodies, though am never able to start. I'm aware that this has been asked before, though have not ...
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0answers
38 views

Were partimenti purely improvisational exercises?

Burney describes Neapolitan conservatory students "pounding out" accompaniment exercises that were full of "jargon and dissonance" in his history of music and Robert Gjerdingen suggests that these ...
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4answers
867 views

How do pink floyd create their groovy basslines?

I'm heavily inspired by Roger Waters' basslines, and they are the reason I picked up bass - Yet, there's a problem -- I can't find any tutorial on how to create basslines like they do. For example, "...
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2answers
290 views

Piano Concertos: Why is Brahms 2 considered more mature than Rachmaninoff 3?

I'm not completely satisfied with the answers so far, so more answers please! There's a nice bounty to be had! These two titanic concertos are two of the most difficult often played concertos in ...
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3answers
486 views

start with lyrics or harmony?

I want to compose a song. I have composed some music harmony and lines. I need to write some lyrics but I have a question: When creating songs, generally we write the lyrics and then compose a ...
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1answer
61 views

Accompanying a RH melody (improv/comp)

Are there any interesting rhythms/patterns for accompanying the melody (because I can play those by ear), such as breaking chords or etc. For doing piano covers of pop music, I am able to play the ...
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6answers
103 views

Is there any point to regular phrase lengths?

I have gotten several comments on my scores saying that they would be better if I had regular or at least even numbered phrase lengths. But what is the point of say sticking to 8 bar phrases for a ...
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1answer
56 views

Tips on writing 12 bar or 16 bar melodies

I need to write 12 bar or 16 bar melodies for my Grade 8 Music Theory exam. I know how to write melodies, which didn't require any modulation. I am new to the concept of using modulation in melody ...
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2answers
132 views

Transitioning from music theory to composition

I have a good foundation in music theory (ABRSM grade 7 and currently studying grade 8) but don't know how to begin when composing my own works. My main emphasis is Baroque music. Are there any ...
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5answers
386 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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4answers
134 views

How can someone mentally improvise music? [closed]

For a long time I have wondered how musicians have been able to create music internally without the use of an instrument i.e improvising physically or in some other real way. I think the idea that ...
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6answers
12k views

Why have I never found any music written in the key of C Sharp Major?

Music is written in almost every key that corresponds to every note that is on my piano keyboard. There is clearly a C Sharp (black key right of C) on my piano keyboard but I don't recall ever seeing ...
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1answer
448 views

How to compose a Shout Chorus

How do you compose a Shout Chorus? I don´t know how to start and I need to compose one for Wine and Roses.
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1answer
99 views

Did Stravinsky and Craft have a dual piano built?

I remember being told 20 years or so ago that Igor Stravinsky used to compose with Robert Craft as an in-person assistant to play things together as they were being composed. I also remember being ...
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9answers
3k 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 ...
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1answer
46 views

What are the instrument parts, that goes under the song lyrics

What do we call the instrument parts, that goes under the song lyrics? The parts that doesn't equal to the melody of the lyrics but add lot of fullness. EDIT Here I am talking about music parts ...
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1answer
44 views

Duration of lexical directives like “dolce,” “espress.,” and “marcato?”

What is the duration of lexical directives like "dolce," "espress.," (espressivo) and "marcato" when they appear in a written score beneath a bar? Is it until the end of the bar, for the remainder of ...
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0answers
33 views

Did Beethoven write any modes other than the Ionian / Aeolian / Lydian modes?

The Ionian and the Aeolian modes are considered major and natural minor keys, and all composers used these modes all the time, including Beethoven, who also wrote Lydian mode in one of his string ...
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0answers
64 views

How did Nadia Boulanger teach students? [closed]

What was the general method that Boulanger utilized when teaching composition students? Please be specific, what exercises did she use? What books did she prefer? etc.
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5answers
138 views

Does this song have a tempo or time signature?

Does this song have a tempo or time signature ? How do you write and play this kind of music ?
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2answers
1k views

What is a Neapolitan 6th?

In studying music theory I have heard the term Neapolitan 6th quite a few times, but I'm not quite sure what it is. What is a Neapolitan 6th and how is it used in a composition?
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6answers
8k views

Ending a song with a dominant chord

As far as i know, almost all songs end in the tonic chord, because this is the most "stable" condition. On the other hand, a dominant chord at the end of a progression (or song) sounds "incomplete". ...
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3answers
59 views

To compose music, do you have to be able to hear?

I am asking this question out of sheer curiosity. Ludwig van Beethoven was deaf but still made some amazing songs. Just like Beethoven, do your ears have to work normally (Like not deaf), to be able ...
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1answer
57 views

Is this minimalist? [closed]

Can this piece of music be described as minimalist? Does it portray all of the appropriate characteristics?
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0answers
45 views

Kinetic Rhythm in Pop Music

This is something I've noticed that I don't hear anyone really talking about... Essentially it's the way that separate rhythmic elements of most pop songs interact in a kinetic way with one another. ...
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1answer
614 views

What is a fanfare and on which instrument would it be best to play it on?

I want to compose a song for a woodwind or a brass instrument. I am not too experienced at composing and am wondering what a fanfare is and what are some good and/or famous examples of them. Also, ...
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2answers
64 views

What is a traditional instrumentation for a Polka Band?

I'm a high school trombonist getting into composition. I've been writing stuff for a few years now, and I was posed a task by my band director to right a polka out of a piece I wrote this year. ...
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0answers
44 views

What do you call a lightwheight version of chorus inside a verse or in between them?

If you have two different choruses, where one is a more mellow version of the "real" chorus. What do you call it? For instance on this form: Verse, X, Verse, Chorus. What do you call X? It's not a ...
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3answers
114 views

Which notes are skeletal?

I have been told to figure out which notes in Mozart's theme are skeletal and which ones are just embellishments before I develop my Theme and Variations. But I don't know how to tell if a note is ...
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1answer
96 views

How did composers use the technique of “fauxbourdon”?

I've recently learned of a harmonisation technique called fauxbourdon (or faux bourdon, fauxbordon or false drone), used in the late Middle Ages and early Renaissance, e.g. by Giullaume Dufay; you can ...
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3answers
531 views

Is divisi notation needed for brass or woodwind in an orchestra?

I'm composing for orchestra. I've read that divisions [of parts] should be notated using divisi. (or div.) above the staff. But I'm wondering whether this notation is mandatory for all instruments. ...
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1answer
208 views

Why does a Serialist composition sound like a random one?

Prof. Dan Román MM DMA (Hartt School of Music) from Rethink: The Abyss of Music in the 20th Century: (Paraphrased by reason of poor audio quality) It [a Pierre Boulez's serialist piano composition] ...
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2answers
43 views

How to get a satisfactory ending to a Theme and Variations?

I have always wanted to compose a Theme and Variations. I got the idea yesterday of taking a Mozart theme and varying it. Now I have gotten even more specific. Even though the Turkish March is not my ...
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7answers
240 views

Orchestral Composition Process

I'm trying to find out about the process of composing for the multiple instruments in an orchestra. Do you just write on the piano for all the instruments and then present the finished piece to the ...
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0answers
15 views

Tanglewood BUTI

Having just recently been accepted to Tanglewood BUTI composition, I was curious how competitive it was. How many apply to composition, and what is the admissions rate?
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3answers
34k views

Is there a simple way to transpose a song from one key to another? What is the methodology?

What is a simple way to accomplish transposing a song from one key to another key? In other words if I am looking at a song written in the key of C and can't sing it in that key and I want to ...
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1answer
27 views

Are there books specifically on the subject of modulation?

Questions concerning smooth modulations, especially how to effect them, keep coming up in my own efforts at composition. Apart from Max Reger's little treatise (which in some ways is and in other ways ...
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1answer
48 views

How should I got about re-creating a melody in chiptune?

I am trying to recreate "Pure Vessel"(A.K.A. Path of Pain theme) by Christopher Larkin in chiptune. However, my first attempt at it was awful(my failed attempt), and I would appreciate it if I could ...
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2answers
55 views

Nature 'composing' music? [closed]

Many of you may be familiar with the interesting musical piece, Birds on The Wires, created jointly by Jarbas Agnalli (arrangement), Paulo Pinto (photogrpaher), and birds (notes?) about 10 years ago. ...