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Everything posted by SSC

  1. To me that's exactly the opposite that happens, since the music is much more complex to listen to, I enjoy hearing it multiple times and hearing out new aspects of it each every time. There's a lot there you are never going to even hear the first time through.
  2. Dude, this thread is from 2007! This guy is almost 30 now!
  3. Yes. Though I'm mostly alt-rock in how I do things. I usually write using a guitar instead of piano, tho. I also learned how to sing and play at the same time, and I think it's a little easier with a guitar, but that's just preference.
  4. Or you could as well just write music to already existing poetry as a way to practice. I'm sure getting exposed to it is just as important as trying to write it yourself.
  5. I never said it was bad, it's just what it is. I take it as a homage of the stuff I like/know, it doesn't bother me in the slightest if something sounds similar in some detail or other. Considering "serial music" doesn't sound like...anything specific, I don't know. It's just a composition method, like many others. What it produces it dependent on how you applied the method, hence why Stockhausen sounds pretty different than Xenakis or Boulez. As for Schoenberg, he's basically a lot more traditional than Webern, who was much more forward-thinking with his use of Schoenberg's ideas. I find it really hard to call Schoenberg a serial composer when a lot of his music doesn't use any such system and when it does it tends to be still very traditional in many ways.
  6. I think the best thing you can do is play covers of songs you like already and see how they're made. You often don't need much, just a few chords if it's a typical pop tune. Once you have done enough of that, you can go and try making your own combinations of chords and melodies. Obviously, I'd recommend you just pick up a guitar and learn to play the typical 5 or 6 pop/rock chords and play around with that, as that's the most common way pop/rock music gets composed. Piano works as well, sure, but it's a little trickier, I think, but you can do it just as well.
  7. You don't need new material, you just need to work on elaborating your ideas. Specially your orchestration, since a lot of variety in orchestral music is from using the same material in different instrumentation. Yeah that's going to always happen. You can't really avoid sounding like what someone else if you're writing in a musical language that has so much music written in it.
  8. About the piece: I'm kind of sorry you don't have a score, since I would be able to say more things if I had it. Otherwise, yeah, it's got that kind of "movie soundtrack" sound to it, but I think it's competent in doing that. One thing I think hurts it to me is that you basically have the theme in the start and then everything else that happens is just kind of inconsequential until it comes back and repeats. I mean, it's an ABA form, but you could do so much more with the middle segment after the theme is done. About the exercise: It's not bad, but I personally writing four part harmony exercises never helped me in the slightest. I hated those theory classes and doing annoying homework like that. Instead, every time I wanted to try stuff out I'd write actual music with the ideas or chords, or whatever. I did a lot of instrumental counterpoint which has helped me much more than any harmony exercise since I think voice leading is much more important than what harmony you have.
  9. ???? You could've as well said "Follow your heart!" or some nonsense, for all that's actually helpful. Instead of criticizing me, show you actually know something about the topic that can be actually helpful, or just stay out. I did this 9 years ago based on that exercise I mentioned. This is probably a good read if you're curious how it works.
  10. It's like this: Composing and orchestrating are two very different things. Do not confuse them. The point of orchestration isn't to "write for orchestra," rather it is to adapt your ideas to any kind of ensemble. So, to that end, you can learn a lot from making transcriptions as well instead of just writing for orchestra. I'll give an exercise that helped me a lot (and addresses your counterpoint question.) It's like this: Take one of Bach's 2 voice inventions, no matter which one, and arrange it for string quartet. You only need to really follow this rule: You are not allowed to write more than two voices at the same time UNLESS you are switching instruments (so that means the first beat of the new measure can get played across the old and new instruments so you don't end up with measures cutting off suddenly.) Otherwise you're free to select freely which instrument plays what, in what order. Play around, see what feels better to you. You can repeat this exercise once you've done two 2 voice inventions with the 3 voice inventions, using the same rule as above (only 3 simultaneous voices are allowed.) In fact, here's a thread where I work with others on this exact exercise! So, to actually answer your question, only need as much counterpoint as you want, really. You can be all Brahms like and have tons and tons of counterpoint, or like Wagner and be very selective of it. It doesn't matter, it only matters if that's what YOU want. If you feel your counterpoint is lacking, I can help with you with that, but know it isn't then a weakness of your orchestration but rather of your counterpoint skill.
  11. Oh my, this book actually exists! https://www.amazon.com/Music-Composition-Dummies-Scott-Jarrett-ebook/dp/B001B8NW8C I'm blown away. I'm really curious now how they wrote something like that.
  12. I didn't say you are or aren't creative. I don't care either way, but you know composing is 90% hard work and 10% creativity. This is something you can practice.
  13. I literally meant that I don't know what difference you're making between "copying" and "rewriting." Explain what each means exactly since I don't understand. Copying is note-per-note copying? or is that rewriting? ??? I'm pretty sure there's enough analysis books out there on that, but there's no better way to study it than to study the stuff you want to imitate. Harmony, form, etc etc. What's so hard about that??
  14. It can help you, but if you want to get "better" at composing, you need to actually compose. Studying history and all this stuff is good and all, but you need to be composing every day, even if just exercises.
  15. Studying and composing are two different things really, so don't worry about that. If anything, letting stuff influence you at the start is a good idea and kind of natural for everyone.
  16. I don't know really, we'd have to ask him. But I think it's a procedure, like making Fugue subjects. Once he probably figure out a theme motive he liked, he could then figure out what kind of theme it would be and the general proportions. The typical proportions are 8(usually 4+4) measures and 16 measures, but this can change depending on the composer and the time period. You can also ask me about specific examples, if you have anything in specific in mind.
  17. So, the main "Sonata" type form used in the first movements works like this: Exposition -> Development -> Reprise. It's a long-form A-B-A, but within each segment you can have an arc form on its own. For example, expositions have 2 themes with a bridge and often a repetition, so that's a mini- ABA form right there in the exposition. You can do the same for the end at the reprise too. Development parts are much more free-form, and they depend greatly on composer taste. Usually the imply modulations and so on, but beyond that it's hard to generalize.
  18. What's the difference? No, not at all. I don't know what you're saying doesn't exist. This is all sort of weird since people have learned how to compose in specific styles for hundreds of years by just copying stuff in that style until you become familiar with it. I don't think it's any different with literature.
  19. Oh. Well, as it is, the best way to study those forms is to copy what already exists. That's the best and most effective way to do it, so I don't think a tutorial or... example? would matter. I mean examples are the pieces we already have in the literature, so what kind of examples are you talking about?
  20. I mean you can hammer it out in, what, three to six months if you just keep practicing? Keep writing variation exercises and you'll get pretty good at all sorts of things. My favorite exercise is doing "bridges." Take some random Mozart piece and some random Debussy thing and compose a bridge between one to the other. Pick some arbitrary measure and keep your bridge within 20 measures or so. Like, say, from measure 10 of Mozart's first piano sonata to measure 23 of Dr Gradus ad parnasum. This stuff really gets your brain working, imo.
  21. Think of it this way: when you're composing something, you're trying to solve problems. What problems? Problems like: What instruments? What form, what harmony? And each of those questions branches into more specific questions and this goes on until you have your piece written down. I don't think any composer is any more special than anyone else, we're all people trying to our best with whatever we have available in the short time we have on earth, right? Some guys got a head start (Mozart) some died tragically too early (Mozart,) some went literally crazy (Schumann) and some just didn't give a damn (...that's a lot of people I could name here. Let's go with Schubert for consistency's sake.) But each person will solve those problems in a slightly different way, right? That's what makes each individual composer unique, even if everything else is generally the same. The process they use to tackle each of those questions changes the outcome and everyone has its own method. Two concrete examples from literature: Schumann's second movement of his Piano Concerto and Liszt's "prelude and fugue on BACH". What's the problem we're looking at? The problem of the "second movements." This was a pretty big deal back then since nobody knew what the hell to do with the second movement of big long-form works like symphonies and so on. You see, during the Vienna classic (Haydn Mozart Beethoven, sort of) the idea of the second movement was to balance out the first. In practical terms, the musical complexity would decrease as the piece would go on. So second and third (and fourth, etc) movements were often much simpler than the first movement. This is why forms such as Rondos, Minuets (and trio), Scherzos, etc would be used instead of the main sonata form. However, as time went on, this paradigm changed and the second movement began losing its purpose. Also, composers were using the sonata form in all the movements, ignoring the typical 2nd and 3rd movement forms prevalent in the Vienna classic. So here's where our examples come in. Look carefully at Schumann's second movement, it's called an Intermezzo, of all things. It's barely its own music and conceptually it just links the first and the third movements. This is also the case with Grieg's piano concerto, but these are far from the only examples. Even Rachmaninov's first piano concerto does this, with an abnormally short second movement. Liszt's example is more interesting. In that Prelude & Fugue there's a weird small slow segment right before the fugue starts. The way the prelude & fugue is structured is very romantic in character, so it would make sense to make a sort of "intermezzo" between both parts, and that's exactly what he does. It's not enough to label it its own segment, but it's noticeable. There is clearly an intention of a "slow" movement after the start, even the Fugue starts slowly and builds up. And just like this, many other composers tried to wrestle with these kind of problems and came up with their own solutions, just like we do when we compose.
  22. Well no, that's just a bunch of fanboy nonsense. There are certain composers that made certain things more popular, such as Chopin and 6th suspensions, or Schubert's cadences with the double dominant -> tonic, Beethoven with suspensions and resolution notes being played at the same time, etc, but these are just general examples and often it's a much more nuanced thing. In the end a lot of people sound very similar since they are culturally all very closely related. Nobody used "specific progressions," since the musical language set a framework where everyone did kind of the same thing generally speaking. However, this doesn't mean everyone just wrote the same thing, as there are plenty of experimental pieces. Specially the so-called character pieces (Schumann's Kinderszenen, Chopin's preludes for piano, Grieg's lyric pieces, etc) where composers usually wrote small pieces with pretty forward-thinking harmony or experimental elements. It works this way: The more experimental the piece is (harmonically, counterpoint, whatever), the shorter the actual piece was since the structure was secondary. Almost everything I mentioned as examples earlier are all ABA forms that are quite simple, however harmonically they are probably far more complex than the "big works" those composers wrote. This is the case with almost everyone (Lizst's "annees de pelerinage" are also great examples, specially the third volume, of what he could really do harmonically. It's crazy stuff. He also has a bunch of late pieces like Nuages Gris that might as well be from the 1940s) from that time. When composers wanted to experiment with form, they would use the symphonies and long form pieces (Brahms was pretty well known for having pretty so-so harmony but very interesting takes on form, specially reprises.) In that case, the actual harmony wasn't that important and it was also just as well since big pieces like that wouldn't get played if they were too experimental. (Schubert's Symphonies are weird precisely because he knew nobody would perform them so he didn't have to hold back in composing them.) So, to recap, the more complicated the actual music, the easier they'd do form and the more complicated the form the easier they'd make the musical material. It's not always the case, but it's most often how they worked. If you want to find out what composers were "really like," you'd do well to study the small things people overlook. Mozart's Rondo in A minor (K511) is a great example of how forward thinking Mozart actually was, but he almost never wrote that way (except when he did!) This gives us much more insight into what he was actually thinking about as a composer than just whatever you read in a history book. In fact, I'd say this is much more important that studying the famous things, since usually stuff that is famous is rarely famous for reasons useful to other composers. Also, don't be afraid of repetitions. Don't feel you need to be super original and do tons of unique variations, that's not a good pressure to have. Just practice variations on their own too. Grab some 5 note motive and just write 20 variations of it, each of like one or two measures. Do this like 2 or 3 times, it should really help you get some ideas of what you can do!
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