Some of us use only DAWs, others prefer to write the score, with a pencil or with the computer...

Sometimes we compose on an instrument, other times we use only our head...

Knowing that the graphical representation is not the same on a piano-roll or on a score, knowing also that on a computer you hear immediately what you compose, and finally knowing that you play in a certain way on your instrument : Do you think that the way of composing has a big influence on your music?

 

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  • I like to do a play around on a piano until i get something that i like. then record the stuff i came up with in a sequencer. then i go to piano roll and do the string parts and what not on top of the recorded track (this way i have a greater ability to decide the different melody lines and voice leading than just doing all live on a keyboard). then ether play in some additional features or draw them in the piano roll manually. after that is done i usually record my dynamics on top of the the lot with mod wheel on every single track.
    and yes, i work in a sequencer with samplers.

    i think this has some influence, one because i always tend to be composing in cminor or dmajor or any other familiar scales that seem to fit well in my hand. and also for the reason that i have a tendency to end up in familiar places over and over again.

    (a demo here: http://soundcloud.com/socq/king-of-the-skies

    and here: http://soundcloud.com/socq/mind-of-genious )

     

    then i also compose on just solely on a piano roll.

    , just doodling. and i tend to end up in a completely different place when working like this.

    (demo here: http://soundcloud.com/socq/string-arrangement-practice

    and here: http://soundcloud.com/socq/some-day )

     

    the difference is a very big one imho.

  • But I still often write things out!

    Norbert Oldani said:
    Ditto!!!

    Andrew Gleibman said:
    Absolutely. I hate writing music and only improvise/record/post-edit it in MIDI form using available sounds. Not only this way of composing has influence on the music: my just-in-time emotions and thoughts influence it still more. What remains relatively stable is only the performance technique I acquired long ago. Of course this method has positive and negative sides.
    Has your way of composing any influence on your music?
    Some of us use only DAWs, others prefer to write the score, with a pencil or with the computer... Sometimes we compose on an instrument, other times…
  • For myself, composing mostly at the computer, I find I have to keep a very close eye on whether or not parts can actually physically be performed...I have a bad tendency to get carried away with the sound alone, overlook such practicalities, then have to check up, backtrack, and fix such things. On the plus side, as long as I bear that in mind, I much prefer to write away from the instruments I somewhat play, so that I'm not confined by my technical limitations, falling into old, familiar patterns, etc., and thereby can put a lot more focus into all kinds of things I would otherwise probably miss. But, you know, now that I think of it, for those instruments I've written for which I've never actually played, it may be I've mostly been TOO careful, and haven't dared enough to venture into more obscure territory for them, utilizing them in more exciting ways. They've been like strangers I've been especially careful not to offend !
  • I really like the idea of having two separate words for composing. I think I'll keep that in mind for a while, and see what comes of it.

    I personally spend more time exploring than I do transcribing from mental images.. so differences in instrument, means of recording, etc. are kind of common place..

    hmm...
  • Improvising into a sequencer is not composing.  You're just re-hashing the stuff that falls easily under your fingers.  Real composition is done with pencil and paper (and the other end of the pencil) and it has nothing to do with my instrumental playing vocabulary.
  • That's a fairly limited way to look at it, isn't it? With that definition most of the great in modern music has never composed. If improvising can't be a part of the compositional process people like Cick Corea and Herbie Hankock are left outside. Not to mention the thousands of less known improvisers out there!
  • Some artsy fartsy type once said that the medium is the message and I agree with that, fo sho.  Writing using finale gives me vastly different results than when I use my guitar or flail about helplessly on piano.  Yep.
  • Chaick and Herbie are fantastic improvisers, but they are also well versed composers.  They would both tell you that even much of their improvisations are worked out in advance, though I'm sure it's not as set as a fixed composition.  It is their skills at composing that has kept their improvisations sounding fresh. 

     

    I know that Herbie in particular has studied portions of the "System of Horizontal Composition Based on Equal Intervals" a.k.a. the "Equal Interval System".  I've been studying it privately for 4 years and I'm nearly finished. It's been an eye opening experience from the very beginning.

    Lennart Östman said:

    That's a fairly limited way to look at it, isn't it? With that definition most of the great in modern music has never composed. If improvising can't be a part of the compositional process people like Cick Corea and Herbie Hankock are left outside. Not to mention the thousands of less known improvisers out there!
  • Hi Jerry,


    I think I'm on board with you, but your statement about my statement is a materialistic distortion ;-D

    Jerry Gerber said:

    To say that the imaginative act of composition...must be done with a pencil is a literal, materialistic distortion.  By this logic Bach was not composing--he was using a quill, not a pencil. 

  • It most definitely has had influence on my music, and arguably DOES have an effect on any composer's music.  I've come up with things in my head before, away from a keyboard that I probably wouldn't have come up with at a keyboard or on FL Studio with the mouse.  I've come up with things on keyboard that I probably wouldn't have come up with on FL Studio, because when I use the keyboard, I tend to take a more theoretical approach to choosing chords and arpeggios, even if I'm not consciously doing so.  When I'm on FL Studio, (or any DAW) I know I come up with things that I wouldn't come up with on the keyboard because of my physical limitations (can only stretch a 7th) and the limitations of my playing ability.  I think balancing out those ways of composing can be very helpful for variety's sake and if you are getting writer's block.

    My uncle is a professional composer, and he introduced me to writing based on a few sentences, where you try to describe in music what the sentences describe.  Of course, even with this method you still have the choice of using a DAW, your keyboard, or coming up with something away from technology, so the possibilities are numerous.  Great topic BTW!\

    I almost forgot to mention how great the book "Composing Music: A Different Approach" is.  It's a workbook that introduces the idea of writing on the piano with certain limitations put on the melody, according to each exercise (i.e. abab format, no tone lower than C3, no tone higher than G4.)  It's a very interesting way of approaching writing that I had not thought of until buying the book, so the concepts presented I think are even more valuable than the actual exercises.

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