Questions tagged [composition]

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

3
votes
4answers
260 views

What are these “advanced or unknown” nonchord tones that I haven't found out on wiki or other sites?

Nonchord tone (Wikpedia) is one of sources I've learned it from. I'm analyzing nonchord tones on Charlie Puth's song, Attention, to get used to them. However, some of them, I call "unknown" nonchord ...
14
votes
1answer
2k views

What do these symbols mean?

This is part of Hasse's "Mea Tormenta, Properate". I think the one on the second staff is some sort of repeat sign, from the research I've been able to do, but I have no idea what the one on the ...
2
votes
1answer
145 views

Do scales have a relation to certain genres or themes?

If someone was creating music to fit a genre or to match a certain theme/mood would this influence their choice of which scale to use? Are some scales used more than others within a genre of music?
4
votes
4answers
363 views

Relationship between woodwinds and brass in a marching band?

In a marching band I noticed there's three main components: percussion, woodwinds and brass. I was wondering what the relationship between brass (eg. trumpet) and woodwinds (eg clarinet) in a march. ...
13
votes
4answers
5k views

Why doesn't a marching band have strings?

In a regular orchestra the violin takes an important role. Why is it that in marching bands there are no strings usually? To give some context I'm working on a march composition and I like strings ...
17
votes
1answer
1k views

Locrian Harmony

I like utilizing modes in my the pieces I write, but there is one mode I've never been able to fully grasp and utilize and that is the Locrian mode. The chords that naturally occur in the Locrian ...
2
votes
5answers
135 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 ...
3
votes
1answer
122 views

What types of cadences work well in natural minor?

I am currently interested in writing a piece in natural minor, and it seems like "v - i" cadence does not quite work as well as compared to harmonic and melodic minors, which use "V - i". How can I ...
5
votes
5answers
903 views

How can I make 12 tone and atonal melodies sound interesting?

I have recently started learning about serialism (12 tone melody writing) and atonal music. When I attempted to write a short melody, it didn't sound quite pleasing to the ears. Yes, I know atonal ...
4
votes
3answers
672 views

Opposite of “Concerto Grosso”?

Sounds like a joke, but in fact asking for a friend who is not a musician. Was there ever a "Concerto Piccolo" or some such contrast to the "Concerto Grosso" format?
7
votes
3answers
341 views

Learning the concept of Serialism from its basics - where should I start from?

I am completely new to the concept of Serialism. A music theory workbook I have only mentions about the concept in short, with an example of Schoenberg's Variations for Orchestra. It also mentions ...
11
votes
4answers
393 views

How can I make two chords on the ukulele sound interesting for a whole song?

I'm accompanying my friend on one of her own songs with my uke. However, the song only has two chords the whole way through! The chords are Dm and Am - eight even beats of each. It's mostly slow and ...
-3
votes
0answers
100 views

Why did Gustav Mahler use the song “Frère Jacques” in the 3rd mvt of his Symphony No. 1? [migrated]

Mahler used the song "Frère Jacques" in the 3rd mvt of his Symphony No. 1 in D major "Titan". Why?
6
votes
4answers
4k 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 go:...
3
votes
1answer
325 views

How do video game music composers make so many songs for one game? Are all of them some sort of musical talent / genius?

I love video game soundtracks from to 8-bit ones to the very orchestral pieces but it's not clear to me how they can make so many songs for one game. Even if there are motifs which can help make ...
6
votes
2answers
271 views

Why does a Serialist composition sound like a random one?

Why can random notes and a structured Serialist composition sound the same? This Reddit comment cites Ligeti: The irony, noted Ligeti, was that the kind of music pioneered by Boulez and ...
14
votes
6answers
9k views

How to Write A Ragtime Piano Piece?

I tried writing a ragtime piece several months ago and wasn't successful. What defines the ragtime style? Are there known go-to theoretical resources that discuss how to compose ragtime music? My ...
1
vote
1answer
77 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 ...
2
votes
4answers
65 views

What would be the effect of a modulation downward by a small amount?

Imagine one plays a chorus in, say, A major, then repeats it later for the second chorus, but this time in G major. What would that do? I know that moving upwards by a whole or half step usually seems ...
4
votes
3answers
127 views

Will this help me avoid parallel octaves in future fugue attempts?

So, I wrote a canon before I was even thinking about writing a fugue and I found it to be trivially easy. But then again, I did take the Pachelbel approach, decide on a bass line and then make ...
-2
votes
1answer
104 views

Is the “sad” side of a major scale the relative or parallel minor? [closed]

I know that whenever anybody talks about happy/sad it gets downvoted. But please hear me out. I think that major/minor is so prevalent because as humans we tend to always be in a shifting state of ...
3
votes
2answers
89 views

Composition by Hand: Workflow, habit, and handwriting [closed]

I have been composing using the computer for over two decades. However, I think this is not a very productive approach and I now wish to compose more often. To my understanding, very little is known ...
28
votes
8answers
10k views

Are doubly augmented and doubly diminished intervals practical?

In music theory when naming intervals, a lowered diminished interval is a doubly diminished interval (dd) and a raised augmented interval is a doubly augmented interval (AA). One example is a C♯ ...
2
votes
0answers
67 views

What additional skills are necessary for a composer to transition to songwriting? [closed]

I've been studying composition and theory for a few years now. I'm interested in attempting to write pieces with text for solo/small group that are of a duration typical of a pop song. Are there any ...
2
votes
1answer
83 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 ...
3
votes
3answers
652 views

Are there any sonatas with only two sections?

In a classical sense, the Sonata is a structure composed of three sections: exposition, development, and recapitulation. Are there any examples of a Sonata with only two sections?
2
votes
4answers
880 views

Stuck in composition

I've been giving composition a try lately. Something I've noticed, is that most stuff I do manage to complete, ends up being a mashup of really different ideas, with the similarity of being in the ...
11
votes
5answers
949 views

Can someone explain the theory behind the changes in Superstition by Stevie Wonder?

I'm learning Stevie Wonder's Superstition on guitar (an awesome song) and I'm really curious about the theory behind the changes in the chorus. The intro and verse are just a riff in E minor ...
3
votes
3answers
62 views

Can you arrange choral music from a classical string section? [closed]

For instance, can I take classical sheet music and assign the first violins to choral soprano, second violins to choral alto, violas to choral tenor, cellos to choral baritone, and double basses to ...
5
votes
3answers
197 views

What scales can I play over Maj7 with lowered ninth?

I know that I can play a b2 Dorian scale over a DomSus chord with a lowered ninth, but what about over a major7 b2?
11
votes
8answers
664 views

Is there a “fourth wall” to break in song writing or performing?

The "fourth wall" may be a concept more suited in movies, plays, video games or even literature. For instance, in a play the actors and actresses are not supposed to interact with the audience, ...
5
votes
4answers
357 views

How exactly tell the root of a song over a defined scale on ambiguous harmonic context?

I play a song in either C major key or A minor key. Usually I determine the root (C or A) taking into account clues like: The happy or sad feel of it all The first chord (C or Am) Stereotypical ...
12
votes
6answers
16k views

Ritardando, Rallentando, and Allargando

Three common musical markings for gradual slowing down are ritardando, rallentando, and allargando. How do these differ from each other in interpretation and execution? For example, I was taught many ...
2
votes
6answers
727 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 ...
2
votes
1answer
54 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. ...
-8
votes
1answer
151 views

Jaws vs. Dvorak [on hold]

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 ...
3
votes
2answers
215 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?
8
votes
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.
2
votes
3answers
176 views

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

(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 ...
7
votes
3answers
15k 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 ...
3
votes
1answer
40 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 ...
1
vote
3answers
105 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 ...
1
vote
0answers
50 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 ...
1
vote
4answers
931 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, "...
11
votes
2answers
344 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 ...
3
votes
3answers
504 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 ...
2
votes
6answers
123 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 ...
0
votes
1answer
81 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 ...
2
votes
2answers
142 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 ...
2
votes
5answers
443 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 ...