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#1
Well, do you?

Even though I have no theoretical knowledge, I've taken to composing some simple sonatinas on Guitar Pro. It's proving to be pretty fun, so far. I can experiment to my heart's content, and sometimes, it sounds good too. In my opinion, at least.

So, have you composed/do you compose any music for orchestral instruments?

Feel free to share files and such.
#2
I'm practicing composing using the twelve tone system and free atonality. Yeah Schoenberg!
I like St. Anger. Ridicule me, daddy

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#3
I do, yes. I've completed some smaller things and I'm working on a bigger project right now. I'm not good at completing things, sadly, but I guess I'll get better at that the more experience I get composing.

I'm mostly inspired by Arthur Honegger, Stravinsky, Gustav Holst, Kryztoz Penderecki and Mussorgsky.
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#5
I'm a composition major, so that's what I do all day. I work on mostly chamber and solo pieces right now, ie string quartets, solo violin, solo piano, wind ensembles, etc. I haven't done any real original orchestral works yet but have made a few arrangements.

I think it's good to start off learning traditional harmony and counterpoint. These techniques just set the foundation. The next steps are to analyze how the masters treat forms and developments and how they orchestrate effectively.

If you ever want any pointers, I'll be happy to help.

...modes and scales are still useless.


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#6
Quote by Kensai
I do, yes. I've completed some smaller things and I'm working on a bigger project right now. I'm not good at completing things, sadly, but I guess I'll get better at that the more experience I get composing.

Completing things is very tough until you start to see how ergonomic many of the famous composers are with their ideas. Beethoven could take a short single idea of maybe 5-10 seconds and exploit it to form the entire symphony. Sonata writing is probably one of the best ways to figure out how to finish things because you really just need two themes. Stopping and isolating the nuances of each theme will give you enough material for a 5-10 minute sonata. Often half way through writing the piece, you've already finished and the rest is just logistics. Fugue writing is the same way.

...modes and scales are still useless.


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Last edited by Xiaoxi at Sep 26, 2010,
#7
Quote by Kensai
I do, yes. I've completed some smaller things and I'm working on a bigger project right now. I'm not good at completing things, sadly, but I guess I'll get better at that the more experience I get composing.

I'm mostly inspired by Arthur Honegger, Stravinsky, Gustav Holst, Kryztoz Penderecki and Mussorgsky.

This is the key thing. Messing around and learning how things work and stuff through practical application is key to composing, I think.

To the OP's question: I dabble. I made a tiny piece for 2 guitars and a bass which is on my profile (but it's been FL'd into being a guitar, a bas and a piano synth ) and I'm composing a piece for a string quartet, only it's 2 violins a cello and a bass instead of 2 violins, a viola and a cello. I should probably do more.
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#8
I wish, I am a completely untalented idiot though.

But, Jacko, you're a handsome man.



If you ever want any pointers, I'll be happy to help.

Thank you for the offer.

The main problem I face is setting "moods" in orchestral music. Since I know nothing about theory, I have to follow a "trial & error" method of composing. I have the same handicap when it comes to jazz music too.

I probably haven't explained this too well.
#9
Quote by Xiaoxi
Completing things is very tough until you start to see how ergonomic many of the famous composers are with their ideas. Beethoven could take a short single idea of maybe 5-10 seconds and exploit it to form the entire symphony. Sonata writing is probably one of the best ways to figure out how to finish things because you really just need two themes. Stopping and isolating the nuances of each theme will give you enough material for a 5-10 minute sonata. Often half way through writing the piece, you've already finished and the rest is just logistics. Fugue writing is the same way.


I could look into that, thanks

Right now I have a lot of material and I'm using a big whiteboard to sort of map out a song, but it still isn't very easy. Do you have any other tips?

Quote by TheBurningFish
This is the key thing. Messing around and learning how things work and stuff through practical application is key to composing, I think.

To the OP's question: I dabble. I made a tiny piece for 2 guitars and a bass which is on my profile (but it's been FL'd into being a guitar, a bas and a piano synth ) and I'm composing a piece for a string quartet, only it's 2 violins a cello and a bass instead of 2 violins, a viola and a cello. I should probably do more.


How's that project going?
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#10
Quote by Kensai

How's that project going?

Going good. I've arranged the bass parts for the first 16 bars and I'm just deciding on what to do with the lead parts, but I already know how the bass parts will go for the rest I think. I just wish I could work on it outside school
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#11
Quote by hriday_hazarika

The main problem I face is setting "moods" in orchestral music. Since I know nothing about theory, I have to follow a "trial & error" method of composing. I have the same handicap when it comes to jazz music too.

I probably haven't explained this too well.

Well first, I recommend a more hands-on approach to writing music, with an actual piano or guitar or whatever, and not with something like Guitar Pro especially in the beginning. This is because you need to be able to physically "feel" how harmonies can spread out. Guitar Pro will play your music with deadly accuracy, and that's the problem. So if you want moods, you have to sit down and meditate on every harmony you come across and note what qualities it evokes.

The second is knowing how to orchestrate because two different instruments playing the same melody can sound strikingly different in timbre and mood. You need to pick up a book on orchestration, preferably by Samuel Adler or Walter Piston. Then you will start to get a basic idea of what kind of timbre and effect you can get out of each instrument at specific registers, as well as what kind of sound you get by voicing harmonies and doublings in a specific way. Of course, just reading about it won't help, so you need to follow some scores while listening.

A great example of mood setting is Brahm's German Requiem. Get a copy of the score and listen to the opening movement. A requiem is supposed to be somber, mourning for the dead. So you'd expect requiems to be in a minor key. He writes A German Requiem in F major, yet it greatly preserves the somber mood because of how he orchestrates. In the first movement, he omits violins completely, which is rare. But this allowed for the darker string instruments to come through and fill the sonority with a rich and intense, but dark atmosphere and the listeners can easily tell that even though it's in a major key, it's not happy.

...modes and scales are still useless.


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#12
i have to. music theory from here until the forseeable future consists of part-writing projects. i prefer writing simple SATB arrangements. i mean not simple. but i don't write for an entire orchestra.
#DTWD
Last edited by primusfan at Sep 26, 2010,
#13
Quote by Xiaoxi
Well first, I recommend a more hands-on approach to writing music, with an actual piano or guitar or whatever, and not with something like Guitar Pro especially in the beginning. This is because you need to be able to physically "feel" how harmonies can spread out. Guitar Pro will play your music with deadly accuracy, and that's the problem. So if you want moods, you have to sit down and meditate on every harmony you come across and note what qualities it evokes.

The second is knowing how to orchestrate because two different instruments playing the same melody can sound strikingly different in timbre and mood. You need to pick up a book on orchestration, preferably by Samuel Adler or Walter Piston. Then you will start to get a basic idea of what kind of timbre and effect you can get out of each instrument at specific registers, as well as what kind of sound you get by voicing harmonies and doublings in a specific way. Of course, just reading about it won't help, so you need to follow some scores while listening.

A great example of mood setting is Brahm's German Requiem. Get a copy of the score and listen to the opening movement. A requiem is supposed to be somber, mourning for the dead. So you'd expect requiems to be in a minor key. He writes A German Requiem in F major, yet it greatly preserves the somber mood because of how he orchestrates. In the first movement, he omits violins completely, which is rare. But this allowed for the darker string instruments to come through and fill the sonority with a rich and intense, but dark atmosphere and the listeners can easily tell that even though it's in a major key, it's not happy.


Duly noted, sir.

As far as composers go, I honestly don't know much. I mean, I know the names of the more famous ones, but I've only ever "properly" listened to Mendelssohn.
#14
I do a degree in Music Composition, so much of my time is spent composing in a classical sense. Actually if you could see my desk you'd rarely see it without some stave on it somewhere (I prefer to write music down then input it into Sibelius later)

EDIT: Note to Xiaoxi- The best book on Orchestration I've ever read presonally is written by Rimsky-Korsakov (composer who wrote Flight of the Bumblebee if anyone's struggling to place the name). You should definitely check it out, it's refreshingly blunt and honest when it comes to the instrument descriptions, as well as being quite comprehensive on the subject.
...
Last edited by bartdevil_metal at Sep 26, 2010,
#15
Nope. I really wish I did though. But, like a lot of people on the site, I started out just figuring stuff out on Guitar. I did start getting Guitar lessons about 3 years ago though. That helps tremendously. I digress though. What I'm saying is that I don't have any formal musical instruction in Theory and Orchestration, and so I have a hard time writing out anything resembling Classical music.
#17
Quote by Kensai

Right now I have a lot of material and I'm using a big whiteboard to sort of map out a song, but it still isn't very easy. Do you have any other tips?

You have to look at the notes themselves and first extract everything you can out of them. Every little thing you write has a thousand different possibilities. If you come up with a melody, carefully note all of its characteristics: intervallic relationships, the contour, the rhythmic features, any part of the melody at all that has a distinctive character to it. You can take any of these properties and use it later on. For example, if the melody has a peculiar rhythm in the whole thing or even just part of it, you can use this rhythmic pattern on your second theme. By doing this, you are already letting the listeners know that this rhythmic figure is important, and just use it throughout the whole piece. Turn it upside down, reverse it, augment/diminish, whatever you want. So in just one idea, you can clearly map out the entire piece.

Obviously, this wasn't a very good explanation. It's hard to just write about how to stretch out an idea, so I recommend looking at Bach's fugues. You may not be a fan, but he is a master of ergonomic and effective development. In my profile blog, I have a pretty in-depth analysis of how he can take a simple idea and turn into a 7 minute fugue, so you could start with that. Fugues are mostly built on a single, short idea. Every episode and entry all have to derive from that one idea. It is a great disciplinary practice into how to get the most out of an idea.

The most important thing I've learned in my studies is that the key is NOT to cram as many ideas as you can into one work. The key is to present as few ideas as possible while maximizing all of their potentials.

...modes and scales are still useless.


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#18
also, to TS, if you want some tricks to set mood, just look up some advanced part-writing techniques. i mean, given what you've said it seems like you need basic part-writing education as well. even the simple stuff can be ridiculously effective. i was looking at this piece our dept chair wrote and there was this one suspension he did that made me shit my pants. and basically it's just you have all the voices go to the next chord except one which remains on its note from the previous chord until it finally resolves, late, to a corresponding note in the next chord.

here it's an F to a G. suspensions only work downwards.

#DTWD
Last edited by primusfan at Sep 26, 2010,
#19
Quote by bartdevil_metal

EDIT: Note to Xiaoxi- The best book on Orchestration I've ever read presonally is written by Rimsky-Korsakov (composer who wrote Flight of the Bumblebee if anyone's struggling to place the name). You should definitely check it out, it's refreshingly blunt and honest when it comes to the instrument descriptions, as well as being quite comprehensive on the subject.

Well, of course he is the master. But I'd imagine that his Treatise on Orchestration is kind of outdated by now...

...modes and scales are still useless.


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#20
Yeah, the place to master Harmony and Counterpoint? Bach Chorales. They'll make you cry, scream and wish you'd never heard of 4 part harmony, but you'll come out of it a much better composer. Think of it as Music's Basic Training.

Quote by Xiaoxi
Well, of course he is the master. But I'd imagine that his Treatise on Orchestration is kind of outdated by now...


I suppose if you're studying Phillip Glass or anything Post Modern then yes. But the way I see it, to be able to do Modern and Post modern effectively you have to be able to work with the Classical and Romantic rules
...
Last edited by bartdevil_metal at Sep 26, 2010,
#21
I never really tried until I was enrolled in my school's "Composition Seminar"

Then, I was put on the spot and told "you must compose a piece every two weeks and have it sightread for the class. Not only that, but each 'exercise' is based upon a specific compositional technique."

To top it off, the topic this year is percussion ensembles and "electronic" music (no, not techno, stuff like this: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=17Y3VjQvt6E). And I am a pianist, not a percussionist, so I had no idea how to write for that instrument.

Project one was the handling of thematic material amongst non-pitched percussion instruments, based on Edgar Varese's "Ionisation." You can see my efforts at this project Here.

Project two was a minimalist project in which we were to "set up a process" by introducing an idea and then phasing it until it came full circle, inspired by Steve Reich. Mine was a phasing exercise for 3 players on 2 marimbas. I haven't uploaded it, but I might if anyone's interested.

Xiaoxi, I'd be interested in your responces to my compositions. Keep in mind, they're supposed to be "exercises," we have a final project to be performed in concert that is supposed to be a legitimate full piece, but the ones so far are just supposed to be snippets to get us going.
#22
I write stuff influenced by it, and I've intended for a while to try and understand things like counterpoint and whatnot, but it seems restricting just writing things for orchestral instruments. Even if I'm writing what's supposed to be "classical", there's no reason why I can't fill it with guitars and synths and ambient noises and shit.
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#23
Quote by whalepudding
I write stuff influenced by it, and I've intended for a while to try and understand things like counterpoint and whatnot, but it seems restricting just writing things for orchestral instruments. Even if I'm writing what's supposed to be "classical", there's no reason why I can't fill it with guitars and synths and ambient noises and shit.

Thats pretty well-accepted in the modern "classical" world.
#24
Quote by hriday_hazarika

As far as composers go, I honestly don't know much. I mean, I know the names of the more famous ones, but I've only ever "properly" listened to Mendelssohn.

Bach is definitely the single most important person to study. I don't care if you like him or not, he is THE technical master. I can't think of any of the household names that don't look to him as their most basic foundation. From Bach, you will learn everything from how to use an idea effectively, how to create different textures, how to organize a suite, how to voice lead your harmonies, how to handle counterpoint, and so on.

For orchestration:
Brahms, Mozart, Sibelius, Wagner, Strauss, Stravinsky, Bartok, Rimsky Korsakoff, Beethoven, Tchaikovsky, Verdi, Mahler.

For contemporary harmony and techniques:
Shostakovich, Bartok, Prokofiev, Debussy, Britten, Ravel.

...modes and scales are still useless.


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#25
I would like to, but I need to learn more about classical music first.
#26
I just uploaded my second attempt at composition (mentioned above, the minimalist phasing one)

http://profile.ultimate-guitar.com/nmitchell076/music/all/play900177

I appreciate any comments.
#27
Quote by Xiaoxi
Bach is definitely the single most important person to study. I don't care if you like him or not, he is THE technical master. I can't think of any of the household names that don't look to him as their most basic foundation. From Bach, you will learn everything from how to use an idea effectively, how to create different textures, how to organize a suite, how to voice lead your harmonies, how to handle counterpoint, and so on.

For orchestration:
Brahms, Mozart, Sibelius, Wagner, Strauss, Stravinsky, Bartok, Rimsky Korsakoff, Beethoven, Tchaikovsky, Verdi, Mahler.

For contemporary harmony and techniques:
Shostakovich, Bartok, Prokofiev, Debussy, Britten, Ravel.


I shall do so.

I have another question, but it's more of an aesthetical query: How do people determine what has "intellectual depth" and what doesn't? I was reading Bach's Wikipedia entry, and those two words are mentioned.

Is it complexity, or something else?
#28
Quote by nmitchell076

Xiaoxi, I'd be interested in your responces to my compositions. Keep in mind, they're supposed to be "exercises," we have a final project to be performed in concert that is supposed to be a legitimate full piece, but the ones so far are just supposed to be snippets to get us going.

Well, these are very limited exercises so I don't have too much to say about them. They sound fine but I'm not very familiar with minimalism. I'm sure you'll have more substantial stuff for your final. Keep me posted!

Quote by whalepudding
I write stuff influenced by it, and I've intended for a while to try and understand things like counterpoint and whatnot, but it seems restricting just writing things for orchestral instruments. Even if I'm writing what's supposed to be "classical", there's no reason why I can't fill it with guitars and synths and ambient noises and shit.

In modern classical music, you can do whatever the hell you want. It is probably the most arbitrary and open ended style that exists.

...modes and scales are still useless.


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Last edited by Xiaoxi at Sep 26, 2010,
#29
well, im learning the rules of counterpoint right now, so i guess i do.

however, im pretty lost with it right now...so i can't say i can really do it yet.
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#30
Quote by hriday_hazarika
I shall do so.

I have another question, but it's more of an aesthetical query: How do people determine what has "intellectual depth" and what doesn't? I was reading Bach's Wikipedia entry, and those two words are mentioned.

Is it complexity, or something else?

From an academic stand point, I'm assuming that a composition with intellectual depth contain qualities such as:

-Innovative and effective orchestration
-How well an idea is developed
-Complex counterpoint involving 4 or more voices
-Innovations in harmony
-How the composer challenges established forms

It's a pretty subjective term, but I think most people can agree on those things.

Compare Richard Strauss's Don Quixote with his brother Johannes Strauss's "light pop music" Unter Donner und Blitz

...modes and scales are still useless.


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Last edited by Xiaoxi at Sep 26, 2010,
#31
Quote by hriday_hazarika
I shall do so.

I have another question, but it's more of an aesthetical query: How do people determine what has "intellectual depth" and what doesn't? I was reading Bach's Wikipedia entry, and those two words are mentioned.

Is it complexity, or something else?

Well its basically the idea that things are handled in such a way that their connection to each other goes deeper then a face value listening would tell you.

For example, in a pop song the verses are usually identical musically (with maybe different fills) but the lyrics are different. But this pretty much is as deep as the changes go.

However, in an "intellectually deep" piece, an opening fragment might contain within it all the rhythms, pitch relationships, melodic implications, and harmonic function that is used in the entire piece. And the Composer is able to manipulate this in so many various different ways - disguising it here, altering it in subtle ways here, making it the accompaniment there - that one is unaware of how deeply connected it all is until one actually delves in and examines the piece.

Of course, this is just one example of "intellectual depth" there are many other kinds as well.

Another common type is a composer who messes with typical forms. For example, the Opening movement of Beethoven's Tempest Sonata defies typical evaluations of "Sonata Form." And, though he certainly doesn't break the mold, his freedom within the model and his ability to relate various ideas certainly marks his emergence from his "youthful" period.
Last edited by nmitchell076 at Sep 26, 2010,
#32
I might be getting this string quartet played by the Esterhazy Quartet. It's inspired by the game Dead Space.

Abysmal MIDI sequence but it's better than nothing I suppose:
https://sites.google.com/site/xiaoxiwan/mp3/MusicfortheDeadofSpace.mp3?attredirects=0&d=1


Score:
https://docs.google.com/viewer?a=v&pid=sites&srcid=ZGVmYXVsdGRvbWFpbnx4aWFveGl3YW58Z3g6MTMwNmEzZjMyMTUyYjJmOQ

...modes and scales are still useless.


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#33
i really wish i could. though im still learning to read music first.
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#34
Despite my 6 years of playing violin, I still can't write classical music. At least not by not just writing it down. I can improve something but writing is a whole other story. I am at least taking a music theory class now in hopes to give myself the ability to write music.
#35
Quote by Xiaoxi
Bach is definitely the single most important person to study. I don't care if you like him or not, he is THE technical master ...


o rly?










*DUNT DUNT DUUHH!*

*wilhelm scream*

#DTWD
#36
Quote by Xiaoxi
I might be getting this string quartet played by the Esterhazy Quartet. It's inspired by the game Dead Space.

Abysmal MIDI sequence but it's better than nothing I suppose:
https://sites.google.com/site/xiaoxiwan/mp3/MusicfortheDeadofSpace.mp3?attredirects=0&d=1


Score:
https://docs.google.com/viewer?a=v&pid=sites&srcid=ZGVmYXVsdGRvbWFpbnx4aWFveGl3YW58Z3g6MTMwNmEzZjMyMTUyYjJmOQ

I enjoyed the frantic sense I got from that. Though I'm not sure how a dotted half glissando that moves only a half step would work in performance. Then again, I am a pianist, not a string player, so I have no experience there.

But I loved it! If you do get it performed, please, let me know, I'd love to have an actual recording of that in my iTunes.
#37
Quote by primusfan
o rly?










*DUNT DUNT DUUHH!*

*wilhelm scream*


Those Goddamned parallel 5ths!!!!!! Even Bach was powerless against them!!!!!!

On the other hand, I don't know how he could have avoided said voice leading.
Last edited by nmitchell076 at Sep 26, 2010,
#38
Quote by primusfan
*loooooool*



*DUNT DUNT DUUHH!*

*wilhelm scream*




Well first of all, he's the one who came up with all that stuff. He didn't regard them as rules though. Everyone else who came after was just hanging onto his every note. But it is acceptable to have parallel 4ths in the inner voices. Actually, in one of the Well Tempered Clavier fugues he paralleled 4 times in a row! Motherfu...

...modes and scales are still useless.


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#39
Quote by Xiaoxi


Well first of all, he's the one who came up with all that stuff. He didn't regard them as rules though. Everyone else who came after was just hanging onto his every note. But it is acceptable to have parallel 4ths in the inner voices. Actually, in one of the Well Tempered Clavier fugues he paralleled 4 times in a row! Motherfu...

Thats an 8vb clef, thats P5s man.
Last edited by nmitchell076 at Sep 26, 2010,
#40
ah know. just makin' a funny for the other geeks here.


i'll have to give your piece a listen as soon as i finish this theory assignment. although i suppose since it's a part-writing assignment this isn't REALLY a distraction. but our professor has threatened our life if we come to class tomorrow without this completed. so i'll be back relatively soon.

edit: lmao. i opened the book. have to do a harmonic analysis and mark up where it deviates from normative harmonic function.

it's bach.
#DTWD
Last edited by primusfan at Sep 26, 2010,
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