Music Composers Unite!
I've been learning to compose for a few months now. I started with 'the Study of Counterpoint' which has gone from writing 2 voice pieces using strict counterpoint to 4 voices with strict counterpoint and the smallest note length being quavers/eighth notes. It's been great for learning the basics but it's also been quite limiting in many ways too.
Because it's a beginner book it doesn't allow tritones, everything's in 4/4, and there's no focus on harmonic/melodic minor scales or on what rules are to be followed with more advanced rhythms.
I have 2 books "Structural functions of harmony" and "Fundamentals of musical composition" but compared to the book I've been through they are vastly advanced and I'm looking for the next appropriate step in learning to compose.
I've played guitar for 9 years and have a good grasp of scales and music theory, just not how to apply it to composing music which is what led me to the book I've been learning from.
I'm experimenting with different ideas but what i'm looking for is something that I can progress through and know that I'm advancing with.
Does anyone have any advice or good books to go for?
I attached a file of one of the little experiments I did so you can hear where I'm at with It now
There are many things you need to do next;
But the most important thing to do above all else is COMPOSE. Just start composing music. Don't worry about applying your the theory to your music, just write. Remember their are no "rules" to follow when writing music. I not a fan of some of these books implying that their are rules that young composers must follow because that is simply not true, so keep that in mind. The only rules of music apply to what instruments can and cannot do and the practical things for each instrument, but even those rules are in the grey area.
Bottom line, just start writing music.
Okay. My advice is to be as self determined as possible. Continue doing exactly what you're doing; asking the right questions to the right people. But still, take what you want from their advice, and don't feel guilty if you don't do all they say. Like, tyler has a point. Bottom line, just start writing music. But even that point is shit because it might take something like a flower to get you going. And in that case, don't write any music, pick a flower. See what i'm getting at? Just call yourself a composer and really mean it and it'll happen for you. Don't rush it. Let it happen. And even that is bad advice. It might take rushing it for a while in order to learn how to let it happen. So in that case, rush it. See what i'm getting at? Your subconscious knows what to do, just trust it. Or don't trust it in order to get to the point to where you trust it.
Not editing this gibberish because it's full self expression and that's what it's all about. and never forget that there's people who know less that are better; that keeps you from being a hack composer.
I like Taylor's list. Good advice.
I would add that when you hear music that you really like, get the score and study it in great detail. Attempt to find samples from a variety of periods types. Look at the way the lines of music interact, analyze how the melody(s) were developed, see if you can find inner connections (there are usually many) between the elements. Great works of art -- music or otherwise -- find a way to tie many different elements into a unity that is so organic it seems inevitable. But it wasn't inevitable until the artist created that unifying force.
The tools you have studied so far, of counterpoint, basic theory and harmony, are simply the way of cracking the code -- seeing the structure, following the compositional trail. If you want to set yourself a goal of studying directly from the masters in this, study a great work or two in each major period of writing in great detail.
For a start, from the master works of earlier western music I would suggest Bach Well Tempered Clavier or Cello Suites or Brandenburg Concerto, Last 3 symphonies of Mozart (39,40,41), Beethoven late string quartets studied as a whole (127,130,131,132, 133, 135) and Beethoven symphonies 3,5,7 &9, Schubert String Quintet in C.
Just because these were written in a style and period of music different than the musical tastes of today does not mean there isn't a great deal to learn from the past about how to handle the basic problems of structure, of line, form, consonance/dissonance, musical unity and variation.
There is a difference between analyzing and studying and learning from the masters. Analysis is often deadly as it is taught in schools but personal knowledge of music as a tradition is important. It is quite possible to learn from the past.
Keep up the good work and someday there may be people who think of you!
Your piece is based on a simple ground motive.
The brass passage starting at measure 8 doesn't work. I don't understand what you're trying to do in measures 8 and 9 at all. It's partially open harmony and then it's sort of quartal harmony. The lines don't sound good. Keeping some consistency in the types of vertical structures used within a single phrase is generally the better way to go. What harmonies are you trying to convey in this section? At m 17 there is doubling and a crossing of parts.
Meausure 38, the "F" in the clarinet part clashes with the "E" going in in the violas. Try moving the violas to "D" on m38 beat 3, and beats 1 and 2 of m39.
The same issue comes up in m44 when the trumpet enters. Move the violas to "D".
As far as what to study, you can't use yesterday's methods to write today's music. I completed a 4 year study of the System of Horizontal Composition Based On Equal Intervals, a.k.a. The Equal Interval System. It is the study of intervals in every conceivable combination and it is not based on any particular musical style. It is a completely original way of looking at music and it encompasses and confirms all theories that preceded it. Even completing the first two books would give you harmonic skills that you never knew existed. Just my $0.02.
Now get good
Jump into the pool and swim. Copy one of your favorite composers. Let the inspiration propel you forward.
answer: whatever you want, or in MY case: WRITE WRITE WRITE WRITE WRITE WRITE!