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Favourite Composition Devices

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I had no idea what to entitle this thread, if anyone can suggest anything more appropriate please say so and I shall change it.

A thread for you to post any particular things you use a lot in your pieces, might be some way of orchestrating or doubling that you like a lot, or a particular chord progression or cadence, or anything you can think of.

This could be very interesting to read, and I'm sure we can discover some gems here!

:P

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It could be 'Your favourite composition techniques'...

I love the sound of doubling in sixths, although I never get round to using it a lot...

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Guest Anders

The thread could be called ''favorite composition devices'', I think.

Anyway - I'm a fan of:

Pounding low piano notes doubling low pizzicato. :P

Minor seconds. :o

Themes composed of as few notes, or as simple devices, as possible.

minor seconds :P

Countering simple themes with melodic themes.

More later.. Could go on forever.

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  • Phrygian ... Lydian
  • Soprano sax and flugelhorn in unison (also, sometimes guitar)
  • Vamps/ostinato
  • Close voicings (BbMaj7#11 = A Bb D E ... C7susb9 = C Db F G Bb haha...lydian & phrygian)
  • Simplicity
  • Stealing cool stuff from Carla Bley
  • Trombones

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The thread could be called ''favorite composition devices'', I think.

Anyway - I'm a fan of:

Pounding low piano notes doubling low pizzicato. :wub:

Minor seconds. ;)

Themes composed of as few notes, or as simple devices, as possible.

minor seconds :)

Countering simple themes with melodic themes.

More later.. Could go on forever.

Changed. And some very cool things in there, although minor seconds fill me with terror and bewilderment :)

A few of my own:

  • The Dorian mode
  • Mixing major and minor modes freely
  • French horn melodies
  • Pizz DBs doubling arco celli at octaves
  • 9th chords

I'll have a think, see if I can come up with any more.

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At the moment, I love:

- alternating unison passages with thick choral textures

- allowing the performers much freedom/choices

- using dissonant, rich harmonies and interspersing 'simple' tonal chords that release all tension for a short while

- using archaic cliches in an unorthodox setting, and treating these very stylistically different to the original context

- parallel fifths (sometimes)

- counter-tenors

- boy sopranos

- close voicings alternating with wide open spacing

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Guest Anders
At the moment, I love:

boy sopranos

:wub: .... :)

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I like complex cross-rhythms ... or just invigorating rhythms in general. I also love different ensembles that are not normally seen together.

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I like the Mozartian diminished-dominant alternations that you have can before a cadence, and I laugh every time I hear the circle of fifths in a Vivaldi Concerto.

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TRITONES AND MINOR SECONDS.

Those are my favourite.

I also love the sound of flutes and french horns in octaves or unison!

Low bari sax is amazing!

Parallel fifths are fun too. =)

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Currently I'm really loving this chord I found in Webern, a tritone with a P4 built ontop (or often I enjoy the vice-versa, which is a nice chord that's essentially a major triad in 2nd inv. with a suspended and raised fourth depending on how you use it). It's so fun to experiment with! Some people have mentioned modes and I agree completely, but there are other fun scales like the octatonic scales or even making up new scales essentially based on modes.

Some nifty orchestral things are putting the clarinet and bassoon in unison (it makes a really beautiful tone) and glissandos all over the place in the trombones and strings.

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Hmm...

* Complex forms, taken from real life (example PIER 6 - GATWICK, Golden Ratio, Fibonacci Series)

* Series of random non repeated intervals. 23 interval series... Non repeated elements

* Thin vs Thick in orchestration. The ability to trick the audience that they're listening to something that they're not really... (for example have the first 5 minutes with a string quartet, so the audience get a really good feel of the sound, and then hit the rest of the orchestra).

* Multiple input

* Interactive elements (still in vere early stages)

* Adaptive music (not much unlike the above, but much more advanced for use in computer games)

and many more, but these are the main ones that I have made "mine", through extensive research and appliance... :-

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I like writing my vocal lines as hard as possible. I will have no friends. :P

Pitch-sets.

Percussion. Oh yeah.

Generating illusory tonalities.

Creating WEIRD harmonies out of melodic lines that resolve to major or minor triads. Or major/minor triads. Whatever.

COUNTERPOINT!

Techniques drawn from early music - modalities, etc.

Melisma.

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There's a technique I used quite a bit in my Scherzo for string quartet. I took a dominant 7th chord and altered the spelling to make a German 6th. It makes for a surprising modulation, especially dropped in the middle of nowhere.:P I learned about it in my music theory classes.

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at the moment I'm liking taking my melody, and writing a chromatically descending bassline, and trying to harmonise it in a logical fashoin, difficult, but fun.

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Hmm...

I like major seventh chords (my favourite chord is F-A-C-E, heh). For orchestration, my favourite doublings are: bassoon and horn in octaves or unison, harp harmonics against celesta (very very shiny and beautiful), clarinet and oboe in a relative close interval, and low string pizzicatos with harp. For special effects, I like harp bisbligando (sp?), bowed vibraphone, wind chimes (not really special effect, but meh), whistle tone on flute, and etc...

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Guest CreationArtist
I like the Mozartian diminished-dominant alternations that you have can before a cadence.

Can you think of any examples in his piano concerti?

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Hmm, most of these actually are more guilty pleasure devices than favourite (as in I use them when I feel lazy to compromise :)), but...

-Quintal/Quartally loaded harmonies

-(Series of) Ostinatos

-Parallel, quasi-chromatic chord progressions

-Metric modulation

-Imitative counterpoint, especially call-and-response

-Using strings for just about everything (though I'm trying to move away from that)

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at the moment I'm liking taking my melody, and writing a chromatically descending bassline, and trying to harmonise it in a logical fashoin, difficult, but fun.

I had a go at something like that recently, after seeing this bit in Petrushka that initially seemed to make no harmonic sense to me at all... Basically harmonising a really simple major/minor melody with a completely chromatic bassline... it sounded really good, really eerie with the melody I used.

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I had a go at something like that recently, after seeing this bit in Petrushka that initially seemed to make no harmonic sense to me at all... Basically harmonising a really simple major/minor melody with a completely chromatic bassline... it sounded really good, really eerie with the melody I used.

awesome, care to post it...?

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hmm lots!

active percussion

melody flowing between section to section

HUGE timpani rolls

trombone glises

parallel fifths (eh)

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oooh, very unsettling, similar to the effect I normally get :thumbsup:

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I like irregular time signatures.

like 5/8, 7/8, 11/8, 7/4, 5/4.

Or changing time sig every measure.

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