Music Composers Unite!
Hello there... Thanks for checking out my thread!
I haven't been too active on the forum lately because of some film projects I've been working on, but that's done and gone now, and I once again have the time to hang around here (jay!!).
Ive had some feedback from my composition tutor in writing of good melodies (that seem so be the main problem behind my in-satisfaction with my own work.)
here are few pieces that i composed in an attempt to improve my skills at just simply writing a good tune... of course i wasn't pleased with that ether so i went and orchestrated and produced them into something that's more interesting than just the melody and harmony.
I hope you'll like it!
"Long way home"
"They arrive at night"
ps. all the woodwinds you hear on these pieces are from WIVI band... IMHO it's not that good for brass section stuff (solo trumpet is awesome tho), but for woodwinds it blows everything else out of the water!
Your orchestrations are great!
I see what you're going after with the melodies and I think you are getting there. All you need to do is expand them as I hear it.The melody for the first one is the start of a good melody (I'm talking about the tune that starts around 50 seconds), it has an identifiable rhythmic character and is singable. However, I feel like it needs to take a journey to be memorable.
An example of a great melody to me is, for example, the top line in Beethoven's Pathetique, 2nd mvmnt. It has direction, expansiveness, motivic manipulations that give it a built in repetition within the forward motion, and a clear sense of form. The last piece you posted has more of an expansive melody, but it still seems like more of a good beginning to a melody. An A that needs a B. All in all, you have some entertaining "once upon a time"s here, just finish up the stories, rescue the princess!
One idea that I have found helpful is Heinrich Schenker's notion of the urlinie. My grossly simplified definition is that behind a great melody is a background structure moving from mi to do. If your melody emphasises the note C# for example and is in the key of A, make a B section that emphasises the note B, then have the return of A (the section) desend to the tonic at the end. Your background structure doesn't have to be 3-2-1, or even tonal for that matter, but an underlying melodic goal of some sort helps to give a melody forward momentum.
thanks for the feedback!
i find that the biggest problem with my pieces is indeed the shortness of the melodies. or that i rarely expand/stretch them out too well.
this time i tried to hang with the one central idea more than run from a theme to another, since usually when i do B part it have very little to do with the A part.
Okay just to get this right, this is movie music right? It's attempt at making music that would go good with films?
First, it would work well for a hero-style action movie intro. Has that big sound and it's pretty nice. I don't think it stands well on it's own without a movie in the background though.
Second, same goes for this, it sounds very movie-esque. Mostly sounds like an expanded "produced by" jingle. I like the composition but again I don't think it stands on it's own as a musical composition for musical ends, rather as a compliment to some filmproject.
Third, castlevania meets zelda, but a bit less catchy. Sounds a lot like some rpg music for video games. Again I don't think it stands on it's own, it's good for what it is but short of being in a videogame I don't think it makes itself much justice.
This might sound very negative or positive depending on what you want out of these pieces. They're all "good tunes" if video-game music or filmscoring is what you want to do, but if it's creating music for the compositional value, I'd encourage you to experiment a lot more.
Writing memorable melodies is one of those things that can be quite hard, some composers just seem to get them effortlessly , others struggle, others don't even want to be melodic.
In the examples you posted I think the first one is actually mostly there, depending on what you tried to achieve. For me it certainly works already to a point, some more tension and expansion and you are there. The two other ones, although good compositions didn't really have a very memorable melody yet but certainly could be leading up to one.
In my experience it's all about anticipation and the right combination of predictabilty and unpredictability .
When I'm writing music that needs to have a strong melodic theme I write the whole piece in function of that. I start with a part where the melody is playing in it's full glory and than come up with all the harmony, rhythm etc and than organically expand it in both directions.
The melody itself usually works best if you think of it in terms of question / answer . First you build a certain tension for the listener with the first part of the phrase and than resolve that tension ( or make some unexpected turns before resolving to keep it interesting ). The whole composition can also be build this way, build up the tension , tease the listener until you give the whole melody. You can play around with this endlessly, having 'false starts' , sudden turns , 'B' , 'C' ... themes that lead back to your 'A', etc...
If you do all of this right than even a quite short , simple melody could have a massive effect, 'long' melodies aren't always 'better'. I refer to Beethoven's 5th... A very simple phrase lies at the heart of this work ( played at full force in the opening) but I think it's hard to find anyone who doesn't have it ingrained in memory, the whole symphony seems to be built in function of this phrase, using all the points I mentioned above in a brilliant way.