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Is it of bad taste to make a composition with a few chords of harmony?


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I am working on a composition but it has barely this chords: C, C aug, Dm, G, G aug; and in very short parts: Em Fm and Am. And little variations.

The composition is for piano, written in the key of C major, and I am worried that most of the composition is repeating the C and D chords with little variations. Is this wrong? Is this of bad taste? Is this monotone?

What do you think of the harmony in this cases?

Thank you for your help.

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You could do with these chords for a relatively short piece in the manner you have described.

If you intend this to be a piece longer than two and a half minutes, my opinion would be to use this chord progression and the basis of an 'A' section and come up with different chords for a 'B' section.

In the long run it is entirely up to you how you compose with these chords, so you don't have to listen to whatever I say.

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Here is an exercise you can do. Try removing chords and writing the best thing you can. If you can compose something great with just, lets say G and D, that sounds coherent and complete, then add another chord. In the end, if you like what you wrote, and no one else does (and its not a commission), then it is in great taste. Never lose sight of who you are composing for.

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I love how a good chorus of you are saying nothings "wrong" in composition, and yet you judge pieces as being "better" or "worse" than others, especially in regards to other young composer's pieces. There's obviously bad music and good music, so why isn't the same standard applied to if something is "right" or "wrong" in music. You guys make those judgments all the time, but once it applies to your *own* piece or techniques, well, no no, we can't have that!

I don't know if that's just postmodern thought or youthful naivete. Either way, its annoying.

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Why? When you say something is good, you are implying that it is the "right" way to do something for that instance. This is more common vice versa when someone criticizes a piece as "bad" which implies that what the composer did was "wrong" and their way is "right." Obviously this can get nebulous in terms, though. I'm just annoyed that people don't make the same distinction when they clearly mean it.

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There is no such thing as "wrong" or "right" music, except when relative to certain traditions.

See, that's just a cop-out.

Why is there no right or wrong (supposedly)? People say things are right and wrong all the time in music, especially composers.

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Uh, why has no one here said the blatantly obvious in this thread? This question is basically unanswerable without knowing what exactly you're writing. Four chords is more than enough in your average pop song or quasi-minimalist piece but probably nowhere near enough in a Romantic symphony. More than that, it also depends how often there are harmonic changes. It should be fairly obvious to say that piece with a harmonic rhythm so slow that four chords take four minutes is probably going to need less total chords than a piece with a harmonic rhythm so fast that four chords happen in 5 seconds. Hell, I tend to write whole sections of pieces where it's not even appropriate to really talk about 'chords' so much as it is macroharmony and if you want to reduce that to chords, then I write pieces with only three-four chords. Without a stylistic context, this whole thread just become irrelevant.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Uh, why has no one here said the blatantly obvious in this thread? This question is basically unanswerable without knowing what exactly you're writing. Four chords is more than enough in your average pop song or quasi-minimalist piece but probably nowhere near enough in a Romantic symphony. More than that, it also depends how often there are harmonic changes. It should be fairly obvious to say that piece with a harmonic rhythm so slow that four chords take four minutes is probably going to need less total chords than a piece with a harmonic rhythm so fast that four chords happen in 5 seconds. Hell, I tend to write whole sections of pieces where it's not even appropriate to really talk about 'chords' so much as it is macroharmony and if you want to reduce that to chords, then I write pieces with only three-four chords. Without a stylistic context, this whole thread just become irrelevant.

Here is a fragment which is mainly something that I would like to be more complex:

http://forum.youngcomposers.com/music/720/fragment-of-an-incomplete-composition-1-opt-a/

and a possible alternative:

http://forum.youngcomposers.com/music/721/fragment-of-an-incomplete-composition-1-opt-b/

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