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Am I really the only one who composes rock music? i have found at most 2 songs one hear that are some sort of rock. the rest are orchestral. I'm not saying orchestral is bad but I'm saying be different.

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I too compose in many styles and rock is one of them. There's a site you will like:

http://www.icompositions.com/

You will meet many people here that composes in many genres.
I do what has been called progressive/symphonic rock. I used to write everything out but since I am the one playing everything on the recordings , except lead guitar, I got lazy and now I only write the melody and do everything else on the fly because when I am recording I will change some of the notes as I play.

Jan Civil said:
I identify as a composer and if you have to hang a sign on me, it might as well be "rock". However, I think that genre tagging is the job of someone who has to figure out 'what bin' in a record store and doesn't mean a whole lot as per this or that musical object.

I agree with 'getting it done in three minutes', a whole lot of the time. Where you have Big Ol' John Adams taking two hours to give you three minutes of content.

I'm more oriented myself to the attitude of rock, or musics that some people have an automatic feeling of 'that's not respectable'. But, people who go for a lot of it will be alienated by what I do. This happens when we stick to the tag instead of 'it's some music'. Music is music. If the musicians are doing their job right, it's good.


I think posing 'rock' VERSUS 'orchestral music' is a kind of mistake.
What I most like doing is progressive rock and jazz fusion. I've also worked a lot in more mainstream/commercial pop, rock and jazz genres. It's been quite awhile since I've done anything I'd consider "classical", although my formal education was focused more on "legit" theory/comp, and techniques I've picked up from that find their way into most of the music I work on as a composer or arranger. Even with classical, though, I never did anything very traditional. I'm not a very big fan of classical prior to the late 19th Century (and luckily for that, I went to a music school with a heavy emphasis on the avant-garde).
"Through Composed" does not mean "written down music." The compositional technique of writing something "through-composed" means that you use different music through the writing (of a song). New music (most) all the time. That is unlike Strophic form, which sets the same music to every Stanza. This is a guideline: not a hard rule forever-the-end. But it might help to read more:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Through-composed
All types of music, especially vocally-oriented music use one or the other: Through-composed or a set form. And there are a lot of set forms. There are Jazz specialists, and popular writers here on this forum who can fill you in on various pop forms. Knowing something about form will make your rock music more interesting. Trust me.
To the youth that started this thread...

I myself took classical snare lessone for several years when very young. Went on to a year or three of full set... then I was "a drummer". In the course of several years of classical snare instruction, though (Hell on the Wabash, anyone? LMAO) i was taught to sight read, and painstakingly so. EVERY possible rest, repeat, time signature you can THINK of. But, pitch is nothing to a drummer. Every line of MY sheet music was a instrument in my drum kit... i vaguely understood that every line or space on the piano sheet music was a different KEY to hit.

I was a drummer for years, but this early instruction left me withteh curious ability to read proper sheet music, but, I didnt play any pitched instruments (guitar, piano). I always had an ITCH, but... many years later, I discovered I could simply PROGRAM notes into a computer, and have the computer play them. Cool... I decided to learn to compose one day. I STARTED OUT wanting to mnake guitar music and mayby some lite pop/adult contemporary music...

I had always realized that many of the bands I liked (Asia, Queensryche, Floyd...) were PROGRESSIVE... meanign they were "classically trained musicians and composers" yet, still working in rock music... You can easily HEAR a big difference between the Ramones or the Misfits and Pink Floyd-The Wall... its like night and day!

I realized the only way I was going to get "good" at that type of music I liked... to be even close, I was going to have to study... pure classical music. SOMEwhere along the line in the last several years trying to accomnplish this... doing "classical exercises" to learn as much of composing as I could... doing teh classical composing became the very POINT, and I found myself going "back" to rock guitar and pop songwriting much less frequently.

I fell in love with the classical itself...

NOW when i go back and write something for guitar or a pop with piano... it is apt to have "something in it" that i can HEAR. Oh, its not Asia or Floyd, not by a long shot... but, I am beginning to hear it in there... the classical training I am giving myself is "leaking" over into my rock and pop. Like I always intended.

I have set for myself the goal of writin a "credible" sonata, with classical instrumentation. I figure that when I finally pull it off... i will be able to bring so much "progressive" to BEAR on rock and pop, it should be "obvious". I've abandoned lyrics altogether... that will be someone else's job. i write music. I compose.

when you write chord progs in rock, your using modulation from classical... when you try out a "standard" bridge in relative key... and change the style drastically to set it off? You are making the "2nd subject group" from a classical sonata form, whether you know it or not. The 3 chord song? Pent Minor? all the "rules of thumb" you pick up to write rock songs... ALL come from classical music theory.

Just get a classical instrument generator for your sequencer program... and start learning to make classical stuff. I GUARANTEE YOU, that in a few years as you begin to actually make some classical stuff... you will see a H-U-G-E improvement in your rockin'.

You know, all those heavy metal guitar heroes? Its their dirty little secret that all the really GOOD lead guitar players, are classical theory geeks, LMAO. many of them just PRETEND to be party animals, to sell albums, LMAO.

Classical Composition applies to ALL music forms. jazz, pop, punk, rock, metal... you NAME it. Its ALL based on the same set of theory.

I soent a couple years starting from SCRATCH knowing NOTHING about music theory at ALL. I dont play any pitched instruments... its only the last coupel years i have been gaining ground in this, it didnt take that long. You already play rock guitar some? WOuldnt take you long at all. You give "this" a couple years or "fun work"... and I promise you... you will hear something SPECIAL go into your rock songs you like to write... guaranteed.

Dont fall into the "trap" that all cool lead guitar players put out there for you. "Whoa... you like, play by ear dude..you, like, make sounds, and you move them around... till they are cool. You know?"

My buddy always told me that. When I finally BUSTED him talking musical calculus with hsi singer... he sheepishly admitted to being a heavy music theiry "geek". i asked him why had had been lying to me for 12+ years.

"I didnt want you to make fun of me, dude."

LMAO... so make your choice. You want to sound like the Ramones, or Queensryche? You want to sound like Misfits, or Pink Floyd?

The choice is yours. i can led a horse to water... and I can even dunk his head in it... but I cant make him drink.
Sylvester's hit the nail on the head. The definition of 'through-composed' means 'without verse and chorus' as opposed to 'strophic' which is (obviously) 'with verse and chorus'.

But even 'rock music' comes in many forms and certainly many levels of quality. For instance, I would class 'Jane's Addiction' or 'Radiohead' extremely artistic as opposed to 'Status Quo' or 'Slayer' who, whilst having a large following, don't come across as particularly sophisticated or artistic.

Anyway, it's not as if we on this forum are just restricted to just writing 'classical' music. Even I, whose ambition it is to become a successful concert composer (one of these days.... lord knows when) have written music that is far from classical (on my profile page, there is a piece called 'The Hunt' which I wrote as a challenge to write something resembling sharks).

However, by remaining on this forum, you will learn a lot that could help your 'rock music' become more interesting than a basic three or four chord rant.



Sylvester Wager said:
"Through Composed" does not mean "written down music." The compositional technique of writing something "through-composed" means that you use different music through the writing (of a song). New music (most) all the time. That is unlike Strophic form, which sets the same music to every Stanza. This is a guideline: not a hard rule forever-the-end. But it might help to read more:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Through-composed
All types of music, especially vocally-oriented music use one or the other: Through-composed or a set form. And there are a lot of set forms. There are Jazz specialists, and popular writers here on this forum who can fill you in on various pop forms. Knowing something about form will make your rock music more interesting. Trust me.
Great post Sean!! Learning 'classical music theory' isn't about learning 'classical music theory'. It's just learning 'music theory'.



Sean E Duvall said:
To the youth that started this thread...

I myself took classical snare lessone for several years when very young. Went on to a year or three of full set... then I was "a drummer". In the course of several years of classical snare instruction, though (Hell on the Wabash, anyone? LMAO) i was taught to sight read, and painstakingly so. EVERY possible rest, repeat, time signature you can THINK of. But, pitch is nothing to a drummer. Every line of MY sheet music was a instrument in my drum kit... i vaguely understood that every line or space on the piano sheet music was a different KEY to hit.

I was a drummer for years, but this early instruction left me withteh curious ability to read proper sheet music, but, I didnt play any pitched instruments (guitar, piano). I always had an ITCH, but... many years later, I discovered I could simply PROGRAM notes into a computer, and have the computer play them. Cool... I decided to learn to compose one day. I STARTED OUT wanting to mnake guitar music and mayby some lite pop/adult contemporary music...

I had always realized that many of the bands I liked (Asia, Queensryche, Floyd...) were PROGRESSIVE... meanign they were "classically trained musicians and composers" yet, still working in rock music... You can easily HEAR a big difference between the Ramones or the Misfits and Pink Floyd-The Wall... its like night and day!

I realized the only way I was going to get "good" at that type of music I liked... to be even close, I was going to have to study... pure classical music. SOMEwhere along the line in the last several years trying to accomnplish this... doing "classical exercises" to learn as much of composing as I could... doing teh classical composing became the very POINT, and I found myself going "back" to rock guitar and pop songwriting much less frequently.

I fell in love with the classical itself...

NOW when i go back and write something for guitar or a pop with piano... it is apt to have "something in it" that i can HEAR. Oh, its not Asia or Floyd, not by a long shot... but, I am beginning to hear it in there... the classical training I am giving myself is "leaking" over into my rock and pop. Like I always intended.

I have set for myself the goal of writin a "credible" sonata, with classical instrumentation. I figure that when I finally pull it off... i will be able to bring so much "progressive" to BEAR on rock and pop, it should be "obvious". I've abandoned lyrics altogether... that will be someone else's job. i write music. I compose.

when you write chord progs in rock, your using modulation from classical... when you try out a "standard" bridge in relative key... and change the style drastically to set it off? You are making the "2nd subject group" from a classical sonata form, whether you know it or not. The 3 chord song? Pent Minor? all the "rules of thumb" you pick up to write rock songs... ALL come from classical music theory.

Just get a classical instrument generator for your sequencer program... and start learning to make classical stuff. I GUARANTEE YOU, that in a few years as you begin to actually make some classical stuff... you will see a H-U-G-E improvement in your rockin'.

You know, all those heavy metal guitar heroes? Its their dirty little secret that all the really GOOD lead guitar players, are classical theory geeks, LMAO. many of them just PRETEND to be party animals, to sell albums, LMAO.

Classical Composition applies to ALL music forms. jazz, pop, punk, rock, metal... you NAME it. Its ALL based on the same set of theory.

I soent a couple years starting from SCRATCH knowing NOTHING about music theory at ALL. I dont play any pitched instruments... its only the last coupel years i have been gaining ground in this, it didnt take that long. You already play rock guitar some? WOuldnt take you long at all. You give "this" a couple years or "fun work"... and I promise you... you will hear something SPECIAL go into your rock songs you like to write... guaranteed.

Dont fall into the "trap" that all cool lead guitar players put out there for you. "Whoa... you like, play by ear dude..you, like, make sounds, and you move them around... till they are cool. You know?"

My buddy always told me that. When I finally BUSTED him talking musical calculus with hsi singer... he sheepishly admitted to being a heavy music theiry "geek". i asked him why had had been lying to me for 12+ years.

"I didnt want you to make fun of me, dude."

LMAO... so make your choice. You want to sound like the Ramones, or Queensryche? You want to sound like Misfits, or Pink Floyd?

The choice is yours. i can led a horse to water... and I can even dunk his head in it... but I cant make him drink.

Fascinating Jan. I would hope to hear more of your pithy, shoot from hip, no-nonsense style in the future.

Jan Civil said:

I identify as a composer and if you have to hang a sign on me, it might as well be "rock". However, I think that genre tagging is the job of someone who has to figure out 'what bin' in a record store and doesn't mean a whole lot as per this or that musical object.

I agree with 'getting it done in three minutes', a whole lot of the time. Where you have Big Ol' John Adams taking two hours to give you three minutes of content.

I'm more oriented myself to the attitude of rock, or musics that some people have an automatic feeling of 'that's not respectable'. But, people who go for a lot of it will be alienated by what I do. This happens when we stick to the tag instead of 'it's some music'. Music is music. If the musicians are doing their job right, it's good.


I think posing 'rock' VERSUS 'orchestral music' is a kind of mistake.

I like to hear... "mastery". IE, the performer has MASTERED their instrument.

when i hear Laura Branigan (RIP) sing? i hear a woman with a gifted voice, and she seems to have mastered her voice and uses it like an instrument.

when i hear old vintage Queensryche? i definitely hear (or feel, maybe) something "classical" in it...

its all personal, but... when i hear "punk" or punk based stuff? I get the idea i am hearing the music equivalent of children on a playground saying "nyah nyah nyah NAHHHHH nyah..." over and over again.

======================================================

when i buy a CD ? i like to hear something... that... how do i PUT it ?? this is supposed to be professional musicians i am paying to hear? i expect something "more" than the teenagers down the street can learn to "cover" most of the CD's songs in a weekend drinking beer and have only learned to play for a year or so...

i like to buy something to listen to, that i get a sense that serious professionals made it, and i shouldnt hear every band at the local bar "cover" it... the local band at the bar should be scared of all the work it would BE to cover it...

Hi Aaron I'm brand new hear and an amateur composer , If I were you I wouldn't get caught up in labels Use this forum to learn  Could you do something different in rock from the others by using really unusual chords or a high level of modulation . If you develop your craft until your're satisfied with your work that is what counts and I'd be interested to hear what you've done ., As a famous jass composer once said " I only listen to one kind of music    good music 

Regards Bob Forrest

Guys, his post was from 2009! Why in the world are y'all responding to this?
Writing for rock groups is worth talking about, responding to "Aaron" is not. Come to think about it though, I think I've written for rock band more than orchestra these last few years.

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