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zugzwang

I want to compose music!

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Hi Young Composer.

You can't make high quality music with a computer. You can make higher than average quality, this being said considering symphonic player experience and the kinds of software we have today. Orchestra recording is the highest quality of orchestral sound. And then software, depending on what you have. Wow, video game music. So much extremity. My favorite composer in that genre is Koji Kondo. For his experiences in so many different genres, music for The Legend of Zelda, and of course the so called ragtime Super Mario themes. There are better vg composers possibly, I just like Kondo.

You can buy a midi program and sequence midis to give your music that classical nintendo/final fantasy sound. It also comes with triggers for saw synths and various things. I've always enjoyed midi.

You can buy a workstation keyboard if you want to just compose compose compose all on one musical keyboard. Those get expensive.

I recommend getting a midi software and comforatbly learn it until you get the basics all down, then purchase cheap orchestral samples. The ones I am most familiar with are in a complete package called Garritan Personal Orchestra. It has really nice sound if worked with through and through, and its really cheap right now, considering all else there is. Up till now I could be wrong on the deal of the software, but I think it's still great. I have it and use it personally.

Video game music got me into music at an extremely young age, so I can relate to the genuity of your circumstance. Good luck, and I can help you with anything else if you have more questions. I'm sure so many people here can help as well.

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That subsumes a certain familiarity with theory put behind me now but I hardly refer to the theory I learned in preparation for the Royal Academy.

hey sorry to be completely off topic but...

What music theory did you need to learn to apply for the Royal Academy?

Did you get in and take composition there? I'd really like to hear about your experience if you did.

cheers!:thumbsup:

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Hi all! My name is Diego, i am 17 and I LOVE video game music. I really really want to learn how to compose music. Could someone help me getting started? :)

1 - What should i learn first? Music Theory? If so, how much of it?

2 - Is it true that Jeremy Soule musics are assembled with sound libraries and are not actually recorded by an orchestra? If so, is it possible to make high quality music with only a computer?

3 - What program do you use?

4 - What sound libraries do you use?

5 - Is music composition only for talented people? How do I know if I am talented?

Thanks a lot!

Hey, I started out very similar to you. I love video game music, and started playing around with a midi sequencer. Slowly learned more and more and bought new software and really am amazed at how far I've come.

1: I started learning music theory, I flipped around from instrument to instrument... and didn't really start with that as my base. I just read a bit about theory online, knew what a scale was... and how to form some chords and went with what I liked. You can start the same way, don't worry if you don't love what you first make, just keep at it. My first songs were completely terrible... :ermm:

2:I really don't know, I'm looking into this. I know it's possible to make great music just using a computer, it just takes a lot of money and time and skill to make it sound right.

3: I started with a free program called Jazz++, and just used the built in Windows midi sounds. I just made midi files. Which have a certain cheap charm about them. I now use Logic Express 7, I really like this program. There are tons of programs out there. It took just as much effort learning music theory as learning how to use these programs.

4:Can't really advise on this, I'm currently researching sound library's for myself.

5:Do you hear music in your head all day long? I don't really know what talent is in regards to music composition. Just make what you like, let others worry if you have talent. I like to look as music composition as a skill, and it improves with practice. The more you write the better you will get, no matter what your talent level is.

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To start writing music, really you need to learn how to play music first. Pick up an instrument, pick up a piece of music and see learn to play it. If you already can, great. If you can't read music, there are tons of music theory websites. My favorite is Dolmetsch Online. There's a lot of useless stuff on this site, but if you find the little link that says "music theory", it will take you to a huge archive of music theory topics.

After you learn to play some music, you don't have to be very good, you should get some sort of notation software. I use Finale SongWriter. Your first few compositions will suck, but keep trying. Experience is one of the most important tools of a composer. Move onto more advanced theory dealling with harmony and cadences and such. After all, the best way to break the rules is know them.

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An important note about Dolmetsch Online Start from Lesson 2, the index is located near the top of the page. Lesson 1 is virtually useless, and you may want to skip any sections that seem unimportant (Such as the sections about music history!).

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OK, i have learnt basic music theory: notes, meters, scales, intervals, key signatures, chords (triads, seventh chords, ninth chords, eleventh chords), chord inversions, chord progressions.

Now how should i proceed? What about harmony and counterpoint? And orchestration, what is it? Which should i learn first?

One more question? :)

How do i find out how a certain sound is made? I mean, how can i learn what sounds each instrument is capable of?

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Taking a wild guess:

Look up the instrument on wikipedia and it may or may not show the capabilities

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OK, i have learnt basic music theory: notes, meters, scales, intervals, key signatures, chords (triads, seventh chords, ninth chords, eleventh chords), chord inversions, chord progressions.

If you really have learned all this theory - using all these in practical progressions, then...

Now how should i proceed? What about harmony and counterpoint? And orchestration, what is it? Which should i learn first?

One more question? :)

How do i find out how a certain sound is made? I mean, how can i learn what sounds each instrument is capable of?

I hate to say it but you should be answering these questions yourself. If you can't, you really need the help of a good teacher just to get started.

Perhaps people here will give you lessons though it might take a little time. It's difficult to imagine someone so versed in theory who has not been impelled to try to compose something.

Orchestration is an art and the only way to learn it is i) to study scores against passages of music, "just following the score" isn't enough - you need to study the scores, and ii) apply what you've learned by getting simple things performed by local soloists, groups/ensembles/orchestras - or even software like Finale (far from ideal when you're first starting but better than nothing) - and develop a critical ear.

To find out how orchestral sounds are made you need to develop a good inner ear (ultimately to be able to hear something and know (or be able to work out) how it's done. Again, studying scores, even for solo instruments is really the only way. You can get good books on orchestration that give examples that you should listen to. Some I believe also come with a CD. The Northern Sounds "Rimsky Korsakov" site is a very good start. Study all the examples to find out what's going on.

Unfortunately, musical composition isn't something you can slap a credit card on a counter for and get instantly. It'll take time, work and a lot of frustrations but if you're cut out for it, you'll make progress.

So - how to proceed? Just compose something. Doesn't matter if it's simple. Write for a solo melody instrument like a clarinet or violin. Take off from there.

Good luck!

.

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OK, i have learnt basic music theory: notes, meters, scales, intervals, key signatures, chords (triads, seventh chords, ninth chords, eleventh chords), chord inversions, chord progressions.

Now how should i proceed? What about harmony and counterpoint? And orchestration, what is it? Which should i learn first?

One more question? :)

How do i find out how a certain sound is made? I mean, how can i learn what sounds each instrument is capable of?

Wow that was quick zugzwang!! It took me years to understand some music theory, especially stuff like seventh, ninth and elventh chords!! I guess you are very enthusiastic.

My advice would be now to learn an instrument if you haven't already. That way you can learn how all these theoretical things that you have learnt are applied and how different chords, etc sound. Also, learning to play different music pieces helps you see the theory behind the songs. It also helps you to develop an ear for what you like - which is one of the most important things if you want to compose.

It really sounds like you want to rush into composing right away. I would wait until you have learnt to play an instrument for at least a year. If you can't wait at all, then maybe download a program like Finale Notepad or Noteworthy Composer and play around and see what you can come up with. Also check out the books Xanic recommended (Idiot's guides - not suggesting you are an idiot ;), just they are very good for beginners).

Also, hunt around on the Internet for music scores or midi files. I'm not sure about Jeremy Soule, but I know I've seen pages full of midi files of music from Final Fantasy and other computer games. If you have a good midi playback program you will be able to see the notes on a staff as they are playing.

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Thank you all for the tips! :) I am studying Harmony from Walter Piston. I got this book from the local library.

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Hi! This is my second post; you can read about me in the introduce yourself forum. You are great and knowledgeble people.

I'll tell you what happened to me. I started "composing" the first time I sat on a piano... er excuse me... sat AT a piano... (anyway it sounded as if I had played with my butt... lol) Now being serious. I don't think you have to know theory to compose simple songs, you can come up with great melodies though, just use your ear, and experiment with your instrument. Then, you'll produce better things when you get to know theory AND HOW TO USE IT, and when you learn what your instrument (and others) is capable of.

I can tell you by personal experience, I have some friends who didn't know anything about music theory when I first met them 7 years ago, yet when they showed me their compositions I felt that all the theory I learned was just stuck in my head, without knowing how to use it, and I realized they were right in trusting their ears and heart. What they were doing was great. Then they told me they "learned" to compose that way by listening to music all the time, and by analising it. They didn't write it; they knew hundreds of things by heart. Just as Mozart said, to compose use your ears, brain, and heart. I was just trying to use my brain.

Now you'll be mostly using your ear (maybe not a very educated one right at the moment), and heart (the most powerful tool you have... but it kinda seems to depend to some extent on your other "tools", brain and ear...). Use what you got. How do you learn to ride a bike? By riding a bike. You'll fall and get hurt, but it's all part of it.

So, grab your instrument and compose, now!!!

Daniel

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