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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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281 views

Transitioning from E minor to an “Asian” G major

For a mutual friend's wedding, a cellist friend and I (violin) are trying to adapt Ludovico Einaudi's "Divenire" for the groomsmen walking in (as it's the groom's favorite song as of late), ...
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2answers
138 views

How to write separate instructions for piano hands

Apologies for the very newbie question (I’ve never had any real lessons): On a piano grand staff, how do you (as the composer) properly annotate that one hand should play differently than the other? ...
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3answers
3k views

Why use the key of C#?

I was reading about Brahms, and it was mentioned that he had composed a piece in C# Major. AFAIK, we generally don't use C# Major in jazz or rock music because the key signature has 7 sharps, so it'...
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2answers
206 views

Musical cryptogram

Shostakovich uses his monogram in his symphony no.10.... DSCH. This equates to the notes D Eflat C and Bnatural. The H I understand as Bach used B natural to spell his name, but how does S turn in to ...
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2answers
653 views

How are the 4 French Horn parts in an orchestral piece paired/arranged range-wise?

I am composing a piece for full orchestra and want to make sure that my parts are conventional. I know that there are typically four horn parts, but are 1 and 2 high parts, 1 and 3, or something else?
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7answers
1k views

Expanding chord progression repertoire when composing

I'm working on writing some sad sounding songs. Every time I'm jamming by myself on the guitar, I can play a few chords and sing or whistle what the leads could be. Leads come to me easily, and I can ...
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1answer
217 views

What does “potential dissonance” or “potential consonance” mean?

The passage below is quoted from the paper, "Seven Steps to Heaven--A Species Approach to Twentieth Century Analysis and Composition" by Henry Martin. It should be emphasized that the ic-0 and ic-5 ...
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3answers
172 views

What progression is most commonly used together with the '50s progression?

I have I-vi-IV-V repeated three times (I think it's called the 50s progression) plus turnaround I-vi-ii-I, and want a similar progression repeating afterwards but that subjectively feels at a higher ...
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2answers
170 views

What could I do to make this part have no tonal centre?

I have an assignment for a composition class in which I have to compose a tonal piece with no tonal centre (in the context of Dmtri Tymoczko's theory and what he underlines as the 5 principles of ...
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5answers
175 views

B5 power chord in A minor

I'm trying to write a rock/punk song in the key of A minor and the chorus goes: B5, C5, G5, F5. The B chord in A minor is B diminished, does that mean I have to use the diminished chord or can I use ...
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3answers
856 views

Natural in key signature

Something I haven't run across before. In an exercise, the beginning of the staff has A key signature. However, past a double bar, there's a natural on the G space and sharps on the F line and C ...
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4answers
825 views

timing of a bar where it's 3/4 for a bar and 4/4 for the next?

I'm composing a song, and I made it so it goes 3/4 for 1 bar then 4/4 to kinda create a jerky-weird feeling in the song. But I have no idea what timing that would even be named as? Any help is much ...
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3answers
306 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 ...
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2answers
205 views

Where To Start With Contemporary Theory

I would like to study contemporary music such as 80's pop, 90's rock, video game music (NES, SNES, Genesis) and more. However, my background knowledge of music theory is in tonal harmony. I have ...
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1answer
107 views

Where do we draw the line between a new composition and an arrangement In folk-themed pieces?

Take for example Mozart's variations on "Ah vous dirai-je, Maman!", or Bartok's Romanian Dances, or Komitas' Armenian Dances. What makes them "original" compositions? Does taking a melody not count ...
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1answer
89 views

Minimum of knowledge about different clefs for composing songs

I have started composing songs and the instrument arrangement since 1 year now. I have learned guitar from my friend and he taught me treble clef,by searching on internet I had understood the bass ...
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6answers
16k views

I accidentally composed a song that sounds like a famous song

About six months into learning guitar, I tried my hand at composing a song. Looked into some basic composing theory, picked a specific tempo, learned how to record and actually play the thing, and ...
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1answer
84 views

Leading tone for strings harmony

how to write a seventh leading tone chord for 4 part harmony for strings?. Thank you
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3answers
397 views

What is the term for a single note usage to indicate a given chord progression?

What if i only play the 3rd of each chord in a 1-6-4-5 chord progression, it of course sounds like the progression just without the extra notes. I'd also like to add that im not referring to chord ...
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3answers
198 views

Chord Progression Composition

If I want to create a chord progression e.g. I -> iii -> IV does this affect all instruments? E.g. I have Drumkit Bassline Pads Melody 1.) Do I need to tune all lines e.g. the drums? Or ...
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2answers
210 views

What is the term for out of key playing with a singular monophonic instrument?

Lets say im playing a violin piece that's primarily in C major/G mixo-Lydian but i start to use notes outside of the scale without any chord accompaniment , technically those notes wouldn't be ...
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1answer
443 views

Is there a term for this compositional technique?

There are many examples of a particular compositional technique, so I was wondering if it had a name. The example closest to me right now is Beethoven piano sonatina in F, 2nd movement (Anhang 5), ...
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0answers
48 views

In a music scale why C ? why not D♭♭ or B♯? [duplicate]

Theoretical speaking how can I tell the correct scale name between these three scales? B♯ ==> C <== D♭♭ ?
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3answers
2k views

Why is a Cadence important in music?

I'm confused as to what a cadence does. The only thing I understand is that like English it's a period in a sentence. Is that its primary purpose to separate pieces of thought? And how important is it?...
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3answers
194 views

Can I remove some of the chords from a song?

I have a song and found out the chords using RiffStation. The software detects more than 2 or 3 chords in some measures which means I should rapidly change chords while playing. My question is can I ...
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5answers
540 views

Does composing and learning music theory solely on DAWs restrict one's learning experience?

As a hobbyist I've been learning and picking up new music theory through a long process of 'experimentation' for about 2 years. When I learned more about different modes, chords etc. I would mess ...
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4answers
1k views

Harmonic Motif vs Melodic Motif?

From my research online it seems that most are talking about melodic motifs/motives in order to develop an improvisation or composition. But in other articles about improvisation I read people ...
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4answers
774 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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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 ...
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2answers
509 views

How did classical composers learn piano improvisation?

https://ericbarnhill.wordpress.com/facts-about-improvisation/ I just came across this old yet interesting article about the improvisation stories of certain classical composers. Since classical ...
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4answers
209 views

Can simple compositions be “good”?

I have been playing piano for about 8 months and I "made" this song when I did not know how to "write or read" music (between month 3 and 6) and when I made it I thought it sounded cool, but now that ...
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1answer
396 views

How do you “slur” two of the same notes? [duplicate]

If I had two Cs that were half notes right next to each other, and I wanted to hold the first one for two counts, then immediately play the second one after releasing the key for a fraction of a ...
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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 ...
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2answers
255 views

Compose Melody/Riffs in 4/4 Time

I'm not that bad at playing guitar and sometimes I come up with useable ideas, but most of the time as soon as I pick up the guitar and have nothing to lock on I start improvising melodies/licks/riffs ...
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6answers
1k views

Should I learn all diatonic chords in all keys?

I'm wondering how important it is to know the diatonic chords of a given key. Like, if a key is given to me like G# major, is it beneficial for me to know the I, ii, iii, IV, V, etc chords of this ...
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8answers
4k views

Do piano composers often start out with C major?

I'm wondering if composers write their pieces starting with C major since it's just the white keys, and then later transpose the finished song to the key of their choice? Or will starting with the ...
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3answers
97 views

Struggling to identify the name of a track element that plays alongside the melody

I'm deconstructing a track in order to create a track template in Ableton for the kids I teach at a youth centre. A base they can use to start when creating a song. I'm struggling to label one of the ...
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4answers
8k views

Are chord progressions used in classical music?

Apart from Pachelbel's Canon which uses (I V vi iii IV I IV V) I didn't see any other classical music that uses chord progressions (?) Think Bach, Beethoven, Mozart kind of classical. Would it be ...
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2answers
213 views

Writer's block: how do you know when lyrics are “ready”?

After a writer's block of at least ten years, this guitarist is "ready" to move on with writing and recording the songs that lurk inside me. My initial approach is diving back into my folders of ...
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2answers
1k views

Are there any modern theories on 5-part harmony?

Are there any modern theories on 5 (or more)-part harmony? Preferably something involving overtone series and chromatic chords
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1answer
462 views

Film Scoring non-diatonic chord changes. Any good books?

so I've been reading about film scoring and how the composers typically use non-diatonic chord progressions (M3, m3 and tritone), for example C major to E-major and C major to E-flat major; to evoke ...
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1answer
158 views

How would I fit a 4 chord progression into 3 bars?

I'm programmatically trying to create a song. If I have a 4 chord progression that i'm trying to fit into 3 bars, what rules of thumb should i be following to make it sound not terrible? If we have a ...
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7answers
2k views

How much are composers aware of the harmony structure they are using? [closed]

I am mostly referring to composers writing complex music, for example, classic composers. In particular, I am referring to change of harmony, and change of key. Let's take for example a fugue for ...
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2answers
81 views

Techniques for arranging multiple, complementary compositions

One thing I find mystifying is the art of arranging multiple compositions. I tend to either put pieces together that are jarring, or else they are too similar in tone, and just banally blend together ...
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1answer
71 views

Chord substituion in Django's Belleville

In the lead sheet I have been working from for Django's Belleville, the A section progression is D - Fdim7 - Emin7 - A7. In most of the backing tracks I can find, the Fdim7 is substituted for a Bmin7 ...
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2answers
131 views

When to start signaling a change in pop music?

As a songwriter I often write songs that uses more than one motif. Without the change to the other motif the song would either be too short or sink into boredom. Most theories I have read were about ...
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4answers
183 views

Composing in one key and then switch to another

This is a question mainly for more advanced pianists: What is a better way for me to compose? As of now, I compose mostly in C or A, as I'm not as familiar with other keys in terms of finding chords ...
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1answer
182 views

AI composing counterpoint?

I have heard of computer programs and AI that try to compose music based off the basic counterpoint rules; are there currently any out in the web?
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1answer
241 views

Does FLow Machine's AI music-generating algorithm rely substantially on current music theory?

An example of Flow Machines artificial intelligence music generator can be found on Soundcloud. Has it been discussed or published to what extent their algorithms were developed with standard music ...
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4answers
577 views

Do Most Pop Songs Have An Instrument Play Chords While The Singer Sings The Melody

I'm very curious if most instruments play a melody at the same time, and work in counterpoint, or it's just a singer playing a melody while some instruments play chords.