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Hi

I always come to this forum to learn new thing or thing I need.

Today I have question and it's very important to me. 

It's about Composition. Melody and Harmony.

Is there a list of things to be aware of. When you write melody and harmony  That make the process easy. like:

Scales,Relative scale,Embellishing tones, Modes....

Borrowed chords,Secondary chords,Modulation,Cadance.....

Thank you

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Well, this question is partly theoretic, partly philosophic or subjective. Since I am not a professional composer, I see myself too unable to give the theoretic aspects. I give you my vision and on solely melody and share my own experiences. Melody is much more my cup of tea than harmony, since I play a melodic instrument. Of course, it depends on what kind of melody you want to compose: do you want to write a classical Mozart melody or more in the style of Milhaud or Lady Gaga (de gustibus disputandum). Furthermore, what emotions does the melody have to contain?

 

Melody

Fortunately, I have melodies playing in my head. The only thing I have to do is to write them down. However, some of these are better than others. What I noticed is that the following aspects help to create stable, good melodies.

Decide the scale or a certain set of notes / intervals.

For me it helps to write down the scale / mode or the set of notes / intervals before I start composing. I hear a big difference between A major and Eb major, so it helps me to already 'get into the mood' of the melody that I want to write down.

Sing!

When I compose, I sing. Especially when I am composing tonal music, which is easier to sing than atonal music. When you, as a composer, have trouble with singing the just composed melody, you may need to look at it again. A general rule for me: the easier the melody can be sung, the easier it can be remembered, the better the melody.

Rhythm

Next to pitch, rhythm is a basic element of melody. Singing or playing the rhythms with a pencil can help to create compact rhythms.

Unity and balance

*This will I edit tomorrow, due to lack of time right now.*

In conclusion: for both melody and harmony applies that practice is the best way to composing easier and faster. Try to compose every day and you will see that it becomes easier.

I hope this helps!

 

Maarten

 

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Hi,  Thank you for your replay.

It's for Four part writing.Romantic or Classical music.

Some time,When I'm working with the Melody or Harmony,I wish I have a list of things I should Do and Don't. Like a short manual for beginners.

I been playing guitar and bass on and off for almost 30 years, just by ear. It's not because I don't want to go to school to learn but because I couldn't afford it....

I would like take time and learn from A to Z about music theory, But I fell like I will be 100 years old before I reach Z. 

And I know There is no shortcut to learn. But some time, some help from people like you can always be helpful .

Thank you for you help.

 

 

 

 

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I don't think there are any manuals to know what to do. But, on the other hand, I don't think either you need lots of years to reach a good level. Of course, you never stop studying music.

Perhaps, in your case, you should focus on the scales of each chord. That includes what notes are chord notes, what are tensions, and what are avoid notes.

You start with major mode and its seven chords-scales. In melody, to be sure, you put chord tones and tensions in strong places, and every note you want, including avoid notes and crhomatic ones in weak places.

What are strong points? The beginning of the measure, an also the beginning of every division of the measure. Also, a tone followed by leap or by silence becomes a strong note...

Well, there are many things about this. And besides, when you know the essentials, you can break the rules and make other things supposedly "wrong".

Being self-taught is hard, many times you don't know if you are right or wrong, if you don't have anybody to tell you. But being self-taught is also a challenge.

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Melody

Unity and balance

Unity and balance often make it easier to recognize musical themes. It is therefore important to create these two principles. This can be done by motives and the repetition of these.

Let us take the opening theme of Schubert's Symphony No.9 in C major ''The Great'' played by solely horns in C:

image.png

If you analyse this melody regarding rhythm you can find two evident rhythms, namely:

image.png

*Maat (Dutch) = measure.

By using evident rhythmic elemnts, the melody becomes a more dense whole. We call rhythmic and melodic elements, which are very characteristic, motives. One single theme often contains one or more motives. Furtermore, you can develop these motives to avoid boringness, but still keeping the unity, because you use material that is recognized by the audience's ears.

In general, it is easier for beginners to compose melodies an even amount of measures than to compose a melody in an uneven amount of measures. Thus, 4; 8; 10; 12 is considered easier than 3; 5; 7; etc.

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1 minute ago, hfd said:

Thank you all for your help.

(Gaining knowledge, is the first step to wisdom, SHARING it, is the first step to humanity...) Unknown.

 

When I knew nothing about composition in the beginning, I had to do it with the Wikipedia sources on the internet and my own experiences, which I actually did not have. . . These Wiki pages are so confusing and contain many faults that I became desperate. I want to prevent that this happens to other people by giving them the information I could not find.
Moreover, I did not know of the existence of Young Composers, which is a gem of information for me. My fast development, according to the composition teacher atthe conservatory, is of course helped by my own persistence, but without this fantastic forum, I would not have developed myself to the place where I stand now.

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"Blind of the fact this topic is concerning CPE theory...."

When I begin a work, trivial or serious, I first start with a series of pitches (with or without rhythm) -usually between 2 to 5 pitches for a motif. I expand the motif by adding another 2 or 3 pitches at a time (sub-motifs). Depending on the idiom (serial or non), I may use a matrix to help organize my material OR just begin writing. The idea here is to provide focus on brevity. People love things they can remember -and they especially love things they can easily pick up on. Keeping your material small allows for you to optimize and maximize this. I hope that makes sense.

After I build the motivic units together to create a musically logical (or illogical, lol) sentence. I look at the potential areas that I can take this. Do I want to develop the material further? Does the idea scream for a short work that leaves the listener curious? How do I want the idea to evolve and flow? Once I have an idea where I want to take the material, I begin to select the proper form for it. Forms, as I mentioned in another post, are another aspect of theory that are extremely important. The form allows you to state your ideas, develop them, and allows the listener the opportunity to follow your ideas through the process itself. 

Notice I've not talked about harmony? Despite my education and attendance in music harmony courses... I would argue that harmony is an item of music that is the byproduct of these other processes. Obviously, in developing the motivic units and the overall sentence of my ideas... the harmonic language (and subsequent rules associated with the language) should follow suit. But these rules and language -in my personal opinion- aren't meant to be followed to the fullest. After all, what if the idea behind my motif was to cause my listeners to question their own socio-cultural understanding of music??? At any rate, harmony to me isn't as important an element as the construction of your ideas or the form in which you plan to develop those ideas with.

So, to summarize, the list of things to be aware of when embarking on composition are the following:

1. Motif and submotivic units

2. Form

3. Your musical language.

I hope this helps!

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