Questions tagged [composition]

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

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42
votes
5answers
27k views

Does it really make difference to play a song in a different key?

I hear sometimes players and composers say that this song won't sound good in F Major for example, and you should play it or write it in G Major (this was just an example). In other words, it seems ...
3
votes
5answers
38k views

What notes to sing with chords

Ok, lets say you are playing a guitar and you have a song with 4 chords ( C D Am and F ). Should I sing the C note for C chord and D note for D chord and A note for Am and F note for F chord ? Or ...
38
votes
10answers
28k views

Is there any practical difference between 3/4 and 3/8 time?

Is there any practical difference between 4/4 and 8/8? regards a common and unusual time signature; both 3/4 and 3/8 time are pretty common. What difference in performance is implied in the the ...
33
votes
11answers
17k views

How can I learn to compose?

I am aware that Stack Exchange questions should be on-point, and not too broad, but I really would appreciate a response from people who know what they are talking about: I recently saw Boublil and ...
19
votes
7answers
9k views

How to make melodies effectively?

Are there any tricks that help make melodies besides just experimenting until you find something that sounds nice?
18
votes
2answers
2k 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?
29
votes
8answers
11k 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♯ ...
0
votes
3answers
961 views

What significance does the Key have on a composition?

I'm struggling to understand how the key signature effects a composition. If you took an average person and played them the national anthem in any key (as long as you stay major of course) they would ...
41
votes
8answers
2k views

What exactly should I have to learn to understand why certain combination of chords are harmonic when played in a sequence?

I am an intuitive music composer trying to move to a technical music composer. As a dummy, I see music as a composition of 'pieces' (my word). Each piece is a set of notes that are melodical when ...
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 ...
24
votes
9answers
26k views

How to select a key-signature for a song

There are so many songs in pretty odd key-signatures like 4,5,6 sharps or flats. At least this is my impression when I listen to songs on the radio/net while trying to follow them on my piano/guitar. ...
19
votes
8answers
2k views

Any advice for a novice composer? [closed]

I have been learning the acoustic guitar for about 3 years, but just recently started writing my own songs. I am currently learning music theory. Given that starting point what advice would you give ...
16
votes
8answers
14k views

Want to learn composing and producing music with a DAW. Where do I start?

I am a computer engineer and a passionate music listener. I have been listening to movie scores and soundtracks for many years now and it has really inspired me to want to learn more about music and ...
17
votes
8answers
2k views

What gives a piece of music its personality and feeling? [closed]

What makes a piece of music sound angry, dark, sad, happy, or otherwise? "La Chute" by Yann Tiersen sounds so angry to me and "A Dark Knight" from "The Dark Knight" movie sounds so dark and ...
13
votes
6answers
15k 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 ...
4
votes
3answers
2k views

What are the different ways of adding non-diatonic chords? [closed]

I'm trying to add more detail to what I'm playing by using non-diatonic chords. So far the main ways I have found are: Borrowing chords from parallel key (mode mixture) Chromatic Mediants (playing ...
35
votes
5answers
44k views

How to turn any (pop) song into a jazz song?

Quite often there are pop songs wich get covered in a jazz style. These covers are seen from youtube to tv. Now I tried doing something like this, with for example Bad Day by Daniel Powter. It's ...
18
votes
4answers
6k views

What are the most common ways to “decorate” a melody?

Yes, I know, there are way too many possibilities and it depends on the style of the music... I would be happy with an incomplete list for beginners (like me). Here is what I have so far: ...
30
votes
7answers
31k views

What is the relationship between the melody line and the rhythm chords?

Let's say I've written a song with the chord progression I-IV-V in the key of A (just as an example). So, the chords I'm playing are A-D-E. When playing a lead over this rhythm, what notes do I need ...
20
votes
5answers
4k views

Guide-lines for creating a simple chord-progression?

I am working on a computer program that generates a simple melody, based on a simple chord progression of four chords taken from the 7 triads of the C Major scale. The program is also supposed to ...
28
votes
9answers
22k views

How to dramatically change the feeling of a song while keeping the melody largely the same?

How to dramatically change the feeling of a song while keeping the melody largely the same? Let's say we have a happy, upbeat pop song and we want to turn it into a sad song (or vice versa). Is it ...
43
votes
9answers
17k views

Key signature for writing in modes other than major and minor

I have trouble deciding what accidentals to put in the key signature for pieces in Dorian, Phrygian, Lydian or Mixolydian modes. There seem to be trade-offs associated with each choice. For example, ...
28
votes
9answers
5k views

Is there any way to improve composing?

Beside playing drums I'm toying with software to create music. The problem is when I need to advance further. I may have some good, let's say "riffs" (or pieces, or melodies, or ideas), and I'm pretty ...
13
votes
9answers
34k views

A total newbie wants to learn how to write songs. What does he need?

I am recently being interested in writing my own songs/my own music. However, I'm a newbie when it comes to music. I am not really musically talented nor inclined. I only know basic guitar chords and ...
11
votes
7answers
6k views

Techniques for creating melodies

I've posted this question: Learning to create melodies I've got a few ideas of techniques towards creating melodies but wanted to ask if there are any specific methods to help get better. I've read: ...
6
votes
3answers
41k 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 ...
15
votes
2answers
7k views

What components make military music especially rousing?

If someone were going to compose a piece of military music to especially rousing, what components would they be looking to emphasize? Like is there a certain key or time that military music is often ...
10
votes
4answers
10k views

Is it too late to learn music theory and composition?

I have been playing electric guitar for 5 years and have pretty decent technique. I have a decent ear too (I'm still improving it). I listened to rock guitar virtuosos like Yngwie Malmsteen, Paul ...
6
votes
2answers
383 views

Understanding Time Signature: How do I identify the time signature of a song?

I have played music for years and I still don't understand what a time signature actually signifies. I understand it from a superficial sense. If given sheet music I could tell you what time ...
4
votes
3answers
1k views

Places to publish compositions [closed]

Over the years I have compiled a number of original compositions (orchestral, choir, string quartet, etc...). I would now like to share/make them public. However, I have no knowledge of where people ...
12
votes
6answers
18k 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 ...
9
votes
4answers
1k views

Proper understanding of dissonance

I have recently had a big eye opener with one of my guitar pieces in how it uses dissonance in a musical way to make interesting music. I have always thought that for music to be dissonant is for it ...
7
votes
2answers
2k views

What is so special about the devil's interval?

I'm interested in learning more of the Devil's interval, how it originated, some of its uses and what exactly about the interval of a diminished fifth makes it sound ominous?
6
votes
1answer
1k views

Natural vs tempered semi-tones

I am reading "Fundamentals of Musical Composition" by Arnold Schoenberg. Chapter XI, page 99, states: Chromaticism is difficult partly because the natural semi-tones differ in size from the ...
14
votes
2answers
2k views

Do orchestral string instruments need a pause before con sordino?

I’m a self-taught wannabe composer who’s playing with strings in Sibelius and I’m trying to learn the intricacies of writing for different techniques, such as con sordino, sul pont., etc. My question ...
11
votes
3answers
8k views

What is a parallel mode?

What is a parallel mode? How are the parallel modes used in composition and/or improvisation?
10
votes
8answers
1k views

Does following “musical forms” suppress “creativity”?

I'm not a professional musician (actually, I'm a computer programmer), but I'm playing Guitar and Recorder, and I also sometimes write some themes coming to my mind. Thus, let's assume that I'm a ...
8
votes
1answer
3k views

Examples of acoustic instruments producing sounds very close to pure square, triangle or sawtooth waves

I've been able to find plenty of info about acoustic instruments that create sounds close to sine-waves, and I understand that sounds approximating square, triangle and sawtooth waves are produced by ...
7
votes
2answers
909 views

Accidentals in First Species Counterpoint

On page 39 of Alfred Mann's The Study of Counterpoint there is a passage concerning justification of using accidentals in first species counterpoint. Here is the passage: Aloys: [...]but why did ...
6
votes
5answers
8k views

How do you compose using the chromatic scale?

Writting a piece of music using the chromatic scale would be interesting, but I can't think of a way to start it? What kind of structure would a piece have? Is it all subjective and up to the composer ...
5
votes
7answers
9k views

Key choice for brass instruments

I've been told several times that brass instruments prefer to play in keys with flats, rather than sharps. As a trumpet player myself, I cannot relate to this preference. E major is just as easy or ...
1
vote
2answers
4k views

Audiation, Mental hearing, Composing/Reading scores without sound reference

Many composers in the past (as well as the present) were known to do that. So, are there any ways in order to achieve this? Any exercises and so on?
29
votes
6answers
4k views

How to create Chord progressions that make sense

I've been reading over Walter Piston's Harmony book, and it has been an eye-opener to say the least. I understand concepts like tension and release, voice leading and so forth, but I still don't ...
54
votes
11answers
24k views

Why isn't there a classical composer like Beethoven, Chopin or Mozart today?

Why there aren't composers writing in a classical style today? Why don't we hear of classical composers today like we do of Beethoven, Chopin or Mozart? My question may be strange, but I am really ...
26
votes
21answers
6k views

How do I get out of my song writing rut and compose something new and fresh for a change?

I have been writing melodies for my original lyrics since 2008 and have written quite a few songs in that time. But the more songs I write, the more difficult it becomes to write melodies that don't ...
15
votes
12answers
7k views

Use of Music Theory in Composition

I've been told by many people that music theory is not normative; it doesn't tell you what to write or do in music to create something beautiful that sounds good. I've been told that it's strictly ...
22
votes
4answers
5k views

Software for microtonal MIDI? [closed]

I'm looking to make some microtonal music (19/22 tone equal temperament). I want to produce it with midi. Timidity++ used to be able to produce a WAV file from a microtonal tuned .MID file, but it is ...
21
votes
4answers
2k views

Why do melodies have harmonies?

It seems to me that every melody can be assigned chords. Although different people may assign different chords, in many cases, only certain chords (a small subset of all possible chord choices) seem ...
23
votes
2answers
2k views

How do I begin finally making music on the piano?

It's been almost 4 years since I had too much time on my hands while living in student dorms so I decided to learn to play the piano. I always loved listening to classical and suddenly listening wasn'...
20
votes
3answers
2k views

What does it mean to be able to write a fugue?

My theory teacher told me once in passing that she had written fugues. Later on people let me know that to write a fugue you need to be somewhat of a theory genius. Why is this so? What makes the ...