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shamirtheviolinist

Writing in different styles

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Hi everyone!

Listening to many composers has inspired me to write like them. Bach, Mozart, Beethoven, Chopin, Tchaikovsky, Mahler, and Shostakovich were all masters at their craft. I'd love to write like these men but, I also need to know how they write. I've tried studying scores but nothing seems to help. If someone would be gracious enough to individually list and name different characteristics of the composers that I named would be greatly appreciated!

Thank You!

P.S. My apologies if I'm asking for to much.

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I don't know your level in theory and playing, but you might check partimento and study figured bass if you want to imitate Bach or Mozart.
Moreover, I would like to ask you why you want to write like them. Please think about it.

Do you want to write like them, because you like their music? I understand that. I would love to write like Bach, but I will never achieve his level, so why would I write like Bach if his music is still better regarding style and quality?

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12 hours ago, shamirtheviolinist said:

Hi everyone!

Listening to many composers has inspired me to write like them. Bach, Mozart, Beethoven, Chopin, Tchaikovsky, Mahler, and Shostakovich were all masters at their craft. I'd love to write like these men but, I also need to know how they write. I've tried studying scores but nothing seems to help. If someone would be gracious enough to individually list and name different characteristics of the composers that I named would be greatly appreciated!

Thank You!

P.S. My apologies if I'm asking for to much.

 

I personally think that with enough practice, it's possible to achieve results to the level of J.S. Bach. You first have to have an understanding for how that music is put together. It revolves very much around tonal relationships and harmonic sequences. Experiment with modulation in the music you write and try to get it smooth by using common chords (chords that are within both the starting and destination keys). Here are a few characteristics of Baroque music as a starting point:

- Melodic lines: it varies but generally conjunct motion is preferable, the range isn't extreme, but does rise and fall.

- Harmony & tonality: functional harmony and tonality, advanced tonal sequences spread out over many bars.

- Counterpoint: all the parts are very individual, but at points they interact with each other.

If you need any help, pm me.

https://www.newbaroque.org - Celebrating Baroque music in the 21st century

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17 hours ago, Maarten Bauer said:

I would love to write like Bach, but I will never achieve his level, so why would I write like Bach if his music is still better regarding style and quality?

If that's the case, then why write music at all?

 

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4 hours ago, AngelCityOutlaw said:

If that's the case, then why write music at all?

Regarding style. Shamir is talking about styles and I believe that writing music in the style of Bach makes little sense to me other than study (like Mendelssohn did when he discovered and studied Bach in Leipzig.)

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Posted (edited)
8 hours ago, Maarten Bauer said:

Regarding style. Shamir is talking about styles and I believe that writing music in the style of Bach makes little sense to me other than study (like Mendelssohn did when he discovered and studied Bach in Leipzig.)

 

Yes, but you said that why would you write in his style if you can't (highly-arguable claim) ever do as well as Bach did?

If that's the case, why write music at all? No matter what style, there'll always be shining examples of the best that we may never live up to. The struggle to achieve mastery over the craft should be something that inspires us; not deter us.

More specifically, and tying into my forthcoming advice for the OP — "Style" is only relevant when it's actually needed. If you want to compose a flamenco tune specifically, then — and only then — do the considerations of "What's makes flamenco distinct?" matter at all.

There are only two real "styles" of music. "Good" and "Not Good". Shamir mentions Mozart, Tchaikovsky and Beethoven. This is interesting because all of the most-acclaimed works from these composers, are also usually their simplest ones; just chords and melody. Because that's what people like: A great tune. A mentor of mine taught me that good art "requires no translator". You just instantly get it. Fur Elise, Rondo Alla Turca, Tchaikovsky's ballets...everyone the world over instantly gets these pieces and has them etched into their memory forever. The same is also true of "Enter Sandman", "Billie Jean", or "He's A Pirate", and for the same reasons.

You can, and God knows people have, adapt these into any "style" you want and — provided the arranger is competent — have the same great piece of music in each incarnation.

So my advice to Shamir is this: Don't concern yourself with "style" just yet. Concern yourself with being able to write really strong melodies and supporting them with the appropriate accompaniment. As you learn more and more about theory, counterpoint, orchestration, etc. you will be able to instantly recognize the scales and modes, chords, melodic structures, and everything else in pieces that you listen to. Once you can recognize what's going on in the pieces you want to sound like, it will be effortless for you to imitate that style because you're already familiar with all of the musical devices and concepts that were involved in composing it.

If we were to sit here and identify all of these things in those composers' works — we'd be here for a long time.

Edited by AngelCityOutlaw

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19 hours ago, AngelCityOutlaw said:

Yes, but you said that why would you write in his style if you can't (highly-arguable claim) ever do as well as Bach did?

If that's the case, why write music at all? No matter what style, there'll always be shining examples of the best that we may never live up to. The struggle to achieve mastery over the craft should be something that inspires us; not deter us.

More specifically, and tying into my forthcoming advice for the OP — "Style" is only relevant when it's actually needed. If you want to compose a flamenco tune specifically, then — and only then — do the considerations of "What's makes flamenco distinct?" matter at all.

There are only two real "styles" of music. "Good" and "Not Good". Shamir mentions Mozart, Tchaikovsky and Beethoven. This is interesting because all of the most-acclaimed works from these composers, are also usually their simplest ones; just chords and melody. Because that's what people like: A great tune. A mentor of mine taught me that good art "requires no translator". You just instantly get it. Fur Elise, Rondo Alla Turca, Tchaikovsky's ballets...everyone the world over instantly gets these pieces and has them etched into their memory forever. The same is also true of "Enter Sandman", "Billie Jean", or "He's A Pirate", and for the same reasons.

You can, and God knows people have, adapt these into any "style" you want and — provided the arranger is competent — have the same great piece of music in each incarnation.

So my advice to Shamir is this: Don't concern yourself with "style" just yet. Concern yourself with being able to write really strong melodies and supporting them with the appropriate accompaniment. As you learn more and more about theory, counterpoint, orchestration, etc. you will be able to instantly recognize the scales and modes, chords, melodic structures, and everything else in pieces that you listen to. Once you can recognize what's going on in the pieces you want to sound like, it will be effortless for you to imitate that style because you're already familiar with all of the musical devices and concepts that were involved in composing it.

If we were to sit here and identify all of these things in those composers' works — we'd be here for a long time.

 

True. Maybe it's just that I don't want to write in the style of Bach but I would love to write like him, if that clarifies. 

I admire his craftmanship and his knowdledge of technique, but I don't want to write Bach, Bartok, Stravinsky. What I personally miss is enough freedom in my creativity. 

You point out an interesting, never ending topic, which is useful to everybody. 

When I want Bach-style to listen to, I listen to Bach, not imitators of Bach and that is because I don't know of any decent Bach imitators. 

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On 4/27/2019 at 10:36 AM, Maarten Bauer said:

I admire his craftmanship and his knowdledge of technique, but I don't want to write Bach, Bartok, Stravinsky.

That also summarizes how I feel. 

Something I'm constantly advocating for in music communities is upholding the high aesthetic standards that were set in the past. By that, I mean having a healthy respect for the craft, trying to learn and master as much as we can. Whether that takes the form of pop tunes, heavy metal, 2 Steps From Hell "epic" stuff, or whatever — doesn't really matter; a great tune is a great tune.

On 4/27/2019 at 10:36 AM, Maarten Bauer said:

When I want Bach-style to listen to, I listen to Bach, not imitators of Bach and that is because I don't know of any decent Bach imitators. 

I find that, at once, there is this obsessive desire to be both original and also to sound trendy. It's really weird.

On one hand, you have people who are so obsessed with being "unique" that they over compensate and fall into "It's different, but it sucks" territory and in the other camp, you have people (mostly aspiring film composers) who are all making basically the exact-same music and can't understand why people hire whichever composer offers the lowest price. It's because that's all they can offer.

When they go to John Williams and ask him to score a film, he can basically charge whatever he wants and they'll pay it because they want the style that only John Williams can truly deliver.

I find if we just concern ourselves with writing good music, instead of "like X", individuality tends to manifest on its own.

 

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Hello there!

First of all, the style "of" does not exist. The classical/baroque styles are personal to a degree, but most of it is common practice, composition back then was all about skill. Bach was rediscovered in the romantic period, and they look at him trough their own glasses. Not before the last 30 - 40 years have we discovered how big the early music period was, and that there are many composers withing a style. We also know that most people who played at that time, also was a composer. They style of Bach is the late north German baroque, ( same as Jan Dismas Zelenka ). The late north German style had both french and Italian roots, as well as the Flemish and north German tradition itself. Bach-s style is the culmination of 100 years of musical development.

Are Bach the most famous and forthcoming composer of the late north German baroque language? I think there are many unknown composers that are just as good. The "style of" is a old term from the time the composer where first discovered. Naturally the composer was credited with the style, and not the other way around.

So, to your question. How can you write music in the style you choose, and to make it sound authentic? It's as simple as anything other you have to learn that is hard. 10.000 hours of hard work. The problem with writing in an older style is that its not natural to you mind and ear. When Bach was young the baroque style was all over the place, at home, at school, at church, with friends etc. Today there are many musical languages, and you mind is used to them, and will express it self that way.

1. You have to reset your mind and unlearn what you have learned. You have to make the musical language of the style you choose to be your natural way to express. How to do that? 100% dedication for xx years.

2. As you live and breath the style, you will have to learn the basic principles of the style. You have to build your foundation.

3. Writing music for xx-years. as your skill improve you will study theory, experiment, look at scores, etc. This is how you learn the "shall and shall not" of the style.

Along the way I'm sure you will find your style and become your own voice in the parameters of the musical language of your choice.

 

Good luck to you. Keep on composing.

Kraus (Mozart 2.0)

Zelenka (Bach 2.0)

 

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