Questions tagged [composition]

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

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7answers
1k views

Advice on writing for music boxes?

I need to write two different short pieces for music boxes. The main limitations I'm facing are that I have to stay within 2 octaves and I can only(ish) write in the key of C major (or just C, D, E, F,...
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1answer
53 views

Polyrhythmic clash, how to get rid of the rhythmic dissonance without losing the polyrhythm?

So I'm midway through composing a movement of a suite I am working on and I have reached this section that is primarily triplets. It starts off as a solo violin, and then later, more instruments are ...
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10answers
6k 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 ...
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1answer
76 views

Associating modulations with emotions

I once read a book (pdf) from imslp or forgottenbooks that was about composition (or harmony), and it had a list of every possible modulation and its emotional association. For example, Up a perfect ...
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0answers
34 views

Why are Tarantellas usually in a minor key?

Why are Tarantellas usually written in a minor key? Is this an unwritten convention?
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1answer
49 views

What percentage of the time did Bach and others use chord inversions in chorales?

I know the frequencies of his "Normal Fundamental Harmonic Progressions" i.e., the progression of chord roots. I'd like to know the percentage of time that he used 1st or 2nd inversions in his ...
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1answer
69 views

Are there any other tempo descriptors that imply melancholy?

So I got this inspirational idea for composing a piece from a fellow composer: His life was good, a girlfriend, friends and a nice family; then out of nowhere, he loses the love of his life for ...
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3answers
95 views

What criteria do composers use to choose the key of a song? [duplicate]

I would like to know what criteria composers use when choosing the key of a song. In the case of music composed for orchestra or, in general, for instruments with limited tessitura or tuned in a ...
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5answers
132 views

What is the theory behind this chord progression?

first time posting here, although I've read quite a few posts before. So, I was analyzing the theory behind a song (Savatage - Gutter Ballet), and while it is primarily in the key of D Minor, it ...
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3answers
132 views

Using an augmented chord to modulate to a distant key, will this work?

So, in the same piece for which I asked about how to notate my 2 layered staccato, I'm halfway through writing the piece and I feel like I want to modulate again. Here are my modulations so far: E ...
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1answer
102 views

Bach Reference in “The Penitent Man Will Pass” [from Indiana Jones]

I was recently listening to the composition John Williams - Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade: The Penitent Man Will Pass and was wondering if the first few notes of the theme of that composition are ...
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3answers
109 views

Is the C chord here C minor or C major?

I’m composing a funeral march and I have noticed that just from looking at the bass, the C chord is ambiguous. The piece is in the key of F minor. That doesn’t really help because both C minor and C ...
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8answers
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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
79 views

Substitution of minor chord for major VI chord

I came up with this progression while trying to make a song that involves guitar arpeggios and string sections: Em Cm Em/B C6 Em C B-B+ Cm6 (Em/B I mean with a chord inversion and B-B+ I mean half ...
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1answer
76 views

Changing time signatures

As a songwriter im wanting to understand how to change the time signature/ meter of my lyrics to give them a more interesting affect? I've read many articles indicating that changing the rhythm/ meter ...
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2answers
74 views

Alternate Criterias for MA in Music (or any other Degree that increases likelihood of getting Orchestras play my works) [closed]

Greetings MusicStackExchange, I put my intention first (I'm in HighSchool, You might need this information to understand why I'm asking this question) : I wish to work with Orchestras and Hopefully ...
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1answer
111 views
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1answer
134 views

Adagio sounds like an Allegro, should I change the time signature to reflect this?

So, after a bout of composer's block, I started composing this piece for Cello Piano Duo. I find I have fewer issues with the Cello Piano Duo than the Violin Piano Duo when it comes to things like ...
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2answers
798 views

Meter/ Rhythm/ Time signature

Can someone explain to me what meter is and how to change and control it? Im a beginner songwriting and im not sure if meter refers to feet per line or if it refers to duple, triple, quadruple, simple,...
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9answers
4k views

Is it possible to write a melody which can't be notated?

Is it possible to have a piece which can't be notated using the musical notes we currently have?
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3answers
8k views

recognizing the motif

I encounter the term motif in composition books, and still have no idea what a motif is. Many sources (including some dictionaries) try to define it as "prominent sequence of notes" or "basic theme of ...
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1answer
120 views

Is there a place to get scoreless film clips to practice with? [closed]

I have written a lot of pieces that I feel would fit nicely for a film or commercial and I would like to practice doing some scoring for films. Rather than filming myself, is there a website made for ...
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0answers
67 views

Emulating the Beethoven's Fifth Finale without making it sound like it isn't original? Sounds hard

So, I got a comment from someone on a composers forum about the C major ending of my 10 minute orchestral piece, Escape from the Minor Trap, saying this: Bar 187: I can hear a very triumphant ...
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2answers
77 views

How to make ideas as different as types of weather sound like they belong together?

I have had this idea come time and again for me to write a suite about different types of weather. However, when I think of the different types of whether in musical terms, each one is different. Here ...
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0answers
77 views

Should I have the time signature change from 4/4 to 2/4 or from 2/2 to 2/4?

So, I am composing another piece that involves time signature switching. I'm starting with the piano solo improvisation that I recorded and I'm thinking of expanding it from solo piano to orchestra. ...
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2answers
68 views

Where to cut off a sonata theme for Theme and Variations?

I am thinking of writing a Theme and Variations based on a sonata. With sonatas, I tend to gravitate towards the first movement, which is most often in sonata form, and this poses a bit of a problem. ...
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4answers
10k views

Composing For Drums as a Non-drummer

As an instrumentalist I am primarily a guitarist, but as a composer I write for a range of instruments. The one thing I am particularly struggling with is writing for drums. Although I've managed to ...
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2answers
89 views

Is this an acceptable way to resolve a vii° chord?

In a choral-style piece I am writing, someone said that this vii° chord (within a phrase) never resolves properly. I would be grateful if anyone could give me some advice about whether it works or not,...
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2answers
46 views

Composition question…any advice on changing tempo?

I'm writing a piece of electronic music on a Digital Audio Workstation. I'm not sure what you would call the genre - trance, ambient, maybe even electronic jazz. It starts off slow and ...
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1answer
268 views

Why are most string quartets in a key with few sharps or flats?

At most, in a string quartet, I've seen 4 flats or sharps. Now I have been told that this is because C major, G major, D major and A major are the easiest keys on a string instrument because they have ...
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2answers
131 views

Is B major harder or easier to play on strings than Ab major?

I started improvising a nocturne in B major that I think I will write for a piano sextet(string quintet + Piano). But, there is one thing I feel that I need to ask first before I get 25% of the way ...
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2answers
199 views

are there common techniques to make a piano version of a song that has very little musical content?

I'm looking at doing a piano version of very simple rock song and since there is really not much in the original song, this is not a problem I have approached before: here is a cover of the song so ...
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0answers
65 views

How objective is the structure of a notated piece of music? [closed]

How objective can the analysis of a notated piece of music into a hierarchical structure of some "constituents" be? Consider a given piece of music in notated form and structurally analysed by ...
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2answers
4k views

Composing chord progressions for samba

I know that there are questions on samba chords, samba rhythm, samba shapes and samba melody but, as far as I am aware, this site does not have a question about the tonality and harmony of samba music....
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0answers
43 views

How to improve the harmonic cohesion of my canon?

So this canon is what ends the Presto section of my Springtime Springs piece. As it is now, I only get 2 parallel fifths and no parallel octaves in the entire canon, which I am fine with, since I am ...
6
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1answer
135 views

Is this fortissimo passage in the flute possible?

I am writing this piece for a piano flute duet to represent Spring and it has 3 main sections. Those sections are: A - Quiet, Molto adagio, A minor, very melodic, rocking fifths in the bass, melody ...
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4answers
1k views

Are there any popular pieces which periodically modulate down?

Many pop tunes will modulate up a semitone near the end of the piece in order to gain energy or excitement. This is known as a Truck Driver's Gear Change, and some tunes will even do it multiple times ...
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7answers
11k 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". ...
4
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1answer
45 views

Song Cycle Texts, all at the beginning or placed individually before each song?

Following the recommendation that the text for a song be provided separately as part of the front matter of a vocal composition, what is the best way to handle the texts for a song cycle if each text ...
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0answers
128 views

How should a composer use Scales/modes as a tool for composition? [closed]

I've been studying music since I was 15 but I must admit there are many gaps in my knowledge. So although I may know some of the answers to this question, I think it'd be a good idea ask, in case ...
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0answers
73 views

What key to use for the Trio part of my Scherzo?

As you know from my previous question about tempo conservation and time signatures, I am writing a Scherzo in Eb major. Now, if I were writing this for solo piano, I would gladly do an Eb to Ebm key ...
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2answers
452 views

What is the difference between the Romantic and post-romantic periods?

This question came about when I was reading Blair Allen Johnston’s dissertation, ‘Harmony and Climax in the late works of Sergei Rachmanioff’ He loosely groups the post romantic period within 1890-...
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3answers
70 views

What Title For String Music?

I'm working on a musical composition and I would like to know how to title it. It consists of 5 separate, but related, movements that vary in tempo and mood. The instruments are: Solo Violin Violin ...
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0answers
34 views

What authors have tried to compare a wide variety of styles, specifically with regards to orchestration?

I have never found a guide to orchestration which systematically discusses differences in the theory behind the orchestration/composition choices with regards to different typical stylistic genres, ...
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3answers
174 views

Is there a reason an arranger/composer will choose a particular chord voicing when charting chords for guitar on a particular song?

When I look in music books for guitar or chord arrangements (or tabs) online for songs I want to learn to play on guitar, I notice that often a specific voicing for each particular chord is indicated. ...
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1answer
84 views

Are there pieces that have extreme tempo markings?

I'm trying to recall if I ever came across such a piece that uses whole note = tempo, or 16th note = tempo. To my recollection, I don't think I've seen the whole note before. As well, I have seen ...
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3answers
327 views

Method to develop a key change?

I know this question may seem broad, but I am a very mathematical person, I've never had much "ear" for these things. I have a slow tempo song, about 90bpm with a VI - I - IV chord progression for a ...
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3answers
81 views

How can I keep the piece coherent when I have the rhythm of a Waltz and the form of a Sonata?

I just had this idea come to mind after I analyzed Grande Valse Brillante Op. 18 and asked if it was in Sonata form. What if I combine the Waltz and the Sonata? Here is my proposed form for the piece: ...
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4answers
239 views

What is the term for skipping notes in a familiar melody, so that the listener imagines them?

There is a technique in composition where certain notes in a familiar melody are entirely skipped, so that they are not played but are still imagined. This usually happens (or is noticeable) in the ...
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1answer
48 views

Is there a certain way to voice chords for an orchestration?

I am new to composing, and I am working on a piece for an orchestra. Currently, I am working on the string section. I have four parts so far (violin, viola, cello, double bass). I am considering ...

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