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mackrickson

Discussionim new to composing- any general tips and tricks are really appreciated!

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I'm new to composing. I know my theory and I've written a few pieces (for school and for fun) but I want to improve my writing and general thought process around making a score or any piece of music. My approach as of late has been very soul-less, and given that the majority of what I've properly composed as been for assignments, each piece has a certain robotic quality to it. I want to losen up a little, but I don't quite know how. SO, how do you, as an individual artist, approach writing a piece of music? Whats your thought process and method? Do you rely heavily on theory or do you go by ear? How long does a piece generally take you?Rightmove Kijiji Quizlet

Edited by mackrickson

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Theory is just the vocabulary you use to talk about what your ear already likes.  I compose by ear, and then turn to theory to think of additional possibilities in an organized way if I get stuck, or to organize my harmonic language if it's a bit scattered.  Theory saves you time, because once you understand it well, a single word can stand in for a lot of complex information in your thought process.  And that lets you think on a deeper structural level, because it lets you hold more information in your head simultaneously.  If you grow up speaking a language, you understand how to apply its grammar rules instinctively, but if you sit down and study grammar, you gain the tools to discuss use of language more deeply.  It's not necessary for everyday speech, but for a poet, novelist, or newspaper editor it helps you talk about talking, so you can defend your ideas, refine the way you express them, or help someone else polish their own.  

The assignments you've done so far may be more like practicing scales for an instrument than like independent composing.  They make sure you really get the theory concepts firmly established in your long term memory, so you can call them up at a moment's notice without having to pause for thought.  

If you want to loosen up, are you a hummer, a whistler, or a piano noodler?  Record yourself on your phone for five or ten minutes whistling while you do laundry or walk in the woods, and then go back and see if any of it speaks to you.  Take that bit and work it up.  Separate the creative part of the process from the part where you write it all down, so your analytical brain doesn't get in the way of your creative flow.  Sometimes it helps to distract yourself a little with a secondary task to get rid of your inhibitions.  (Do the dishes, take a walk).  The brain isn't capable of keeping up a steady stream of whistling, matching up socks, and worrying about whether the whistling is good all at the same time, so it gives up and just whistles and folds.  

It generally takes me a month or two to finish a 2-3 minute piece.  I'm an adult person with adult work and home responsibilities including a lot of evening and weekend work hours, so that's composing here and there when I can snatch the time.  If you're a student and composing is your "job" for one of your classes, you may have more time and be able to go faster.  

I've got a piece in the "incomplete" upload section here if you're curious to see what my process looks like.  That's what I've started with, and the melody may get refined as I go, the chords and the chord voicing will definitely change as I see where I want to go next.  Right now, I've got a 30 second sketch of melody, and a few chords stuck in there to start thinking about the harmonic language.  

Good luck!  Keep writing!

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Why not find some like  minded muscians and start a band? I did this at a young age and it set me for life, the things I learned.

Good luck to you.

Edited by Ken320

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