#1
Ok, so Im looking to become knowledgeable in the Choir Section/Orchestra/Score area, like for movies and stuff, that epic sounding stuff. I feel that it is something I need to learn, to add what I want to my music. Anyone know what I can start with, point me in the right direction, or something? Thanks! Below are some examples of how epic I want the sound.

Please watch all of these until the end, to get the entire picture.



http://www.apple.com/trailers/sony_pictures/spider-man_3/large.html
Listen until the very end, it gets very intense.

http://www.apple.com/trailers/wb/300/trailer2/large.html
I love how it turns all quiet, and then the huge, epic sounding choir just explodes into the music.

http://youtube.com/watch?v=qIFz_J6vEW8
My personal favorite score ever written, its so beautiful and huge sounding. Stupid video though.
#2
Are you in your band at school? You could ask your band teacher for his "dummy score" to see how some of the parts are put together.

By the way, nice to see you back. How did the Berklee thing go?
#3
No, im not in a school band, im in a metal band, but this will definately give me the edge I want. And it went great! Im pretty much in but...I have a scholarship audition this fall, and if I dont get the scholarship...I dont go, since I cant afford it.
#4
I just meant the school concert band, but yeah- the band teacher should let you look over a dummy score of one of the pieces, which is actually pretty neat. Huge chords with dozens of different instruments playing them are beautiful.
#5
Having a good form (as in the ABA form, if you get what i mean) is always key. You don't want some random music ideas that sound good but don't go anywhere.. Have lots of dynamic variation, that's SO important. For it to sound epic, it can't just stay piano the whole time, that's boring. Make sure that you also include lots of layering; by that i mean have the strings playing the melody while another section is playing another melody, while another section playing yet another melody, and then one more section playing the harmony.
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#6
Quote by Ace88
Having a good form (as in the ABA form, if you get what i mean) is always key. You don't want some random music ideas that sound good but don't go anywhere.. Have lots of dynamic variation, that's SO important. For it to sound epic, it can't just stay piano the whole time, that's boring. Make sure that you also include lots of layering; by that i mean have the strings playing the melody while another section is playing another melody, while another section playing yet another melody, and then one more section playing the harmony.


He's right there. Dynamics are more important than anything else in epic scores (coming from UG's band geek ). Lots of crescendos, accents, and different "attacks" on the notes make a huge different in the sound.
#8
Learn how to compose with four-voice textures.


(But, start off with a basic understanding of voice leading in two voices, with knowing how to compose counterpoint to a cantus firmus.)
#9
I dont know what any of that means. I know what counterpoint is, voicings, etc, but how do I get the basic understanding? lol. Cantus firmus...Strong Choir?
#10
^ Do you know how to compose counterpoint to a given melody?
#13
Quote by insideac
nope I just wing it LOL.

Well, before you even think of composing scores for entire orchestras, you'll have to start off with the baby steps

Here's a rough guideline of how you can get to the point of being a competent composer:

1. Know how to construct a melody. Know all the guidelines, such as the appropriate intervals, the need for a climax tone, the prevalence of step-wise motion, the general descent to a final resolution, etc.

2. Know how to compose a counterpoint melody both above and below a given melody (the cantus firmus). Know which intervals you can start on, know the appropriate harmonic intervals between the two melodic lines, know the movements (contrary, oblique, similar, parallel), etc.

3. Write in four part harmony! Basically an extension of step 2, just write a melody in the alto voice, then write counterpoints in both the soprano and tenor voices, and then fill in the appropriate bass tones in the bass voice (using inversions where necessary).


And ta-da! You've reached the level of competency
#14
Yeah I can read sheet music...Whats counterpoint though? Making voicings? etc


Quote by yawn
Well, before you even think of composing scores for entire orchestras, you'll have to start off with the baby steps

Here's a rough guideline of how you can get to the point of being a competent composer:

1. Know how to construct a melody. Know all the guidelines, such as the appropriate intervals, the need for a climax tone, the prevalence of step-wise motion, the general descent to a final resolution, etc.

2. Know how to compose a counterpoint melody both above and below a given melody (the cantus firmus). Know which intervals you can start on, know the appropriate harmonic intervals between the two melodic lines, know the movements (contrary, oblique, similar, parallel), etc.

3. Write in four part harmony! Basically an extension of step 2, just write a melody in the alto voice, then write counterpoints in both the soprano and tenor voices, and then fill in the appropriate bass tones in the bass voice (using inversions where necessary).


And ta-da! You've reached the level of competency



Man ok uhm. Now this raises the following questions:
can you explain the terms used in Step 1?
Whats a cantus firmus? Whats a soprano and tenor and alto voice? This is all so confusing, but interesting. I love it!
#16
When you listen to big scores, listen to the melody- it is only 4 or 5 notes played in succession with dynamics/other voices under it. Keep the melody notes simple, make it interesting with dynamics, backing chords, etc rather than speed or insane sweeping arpeggios
#17
Quote by insideac
Man ok uhm. Now this raises the following questions:
can you explain the terms used in Step 1?
Whats a cantus firmus? Whats a soprano and tenor and alto voice? This is all so confusing, but interesting. I love it!
Quote by GiantRaven
What does this mean?
Lol, this'd all take quite a while to explain

Though, before I get into all this, are you already familiar with all of the following?:

Standard notation
Scales
Tonality
Key
Intervals
Chords
Cadences
Nonharmonic tones
Basic melodic organization
Musical "texture"

A good understanding of all that is essential before getting into composing...
#18
Quote by CowboyUp
When you listen to big scores, listen to the melody- it is only 4 or 5 notes played in succession with dynamics/other voices under it. Keep the melody notes simple, make it interesting with dynamics, backing chords, etc rather than speed or insane sweeping arpeggios



Of course no sweeps! lol. My mission for the year is to learn all this stuff, so that I can incorporate it into my music like no other ( or almost no other). Kind of like DImmu Borgir, but EVERY song will be epic, mind shattering, huge, grandiose, and brutal at the same time.
Last edited by insideac at Feb 21, 2007,
#19
Quote by insideac
My mission for the year is to learn all this stuff, so that I can incorporate it into my music like no other ( or almost no other). Kind of like DImmu Borgir, but EVERY song will be epic, mind shattering, huge, grandiose, and brutal at the same time.
Sweet
#20
you need to read a book on orchestration. i think my school uses Adler's "The Study of Orchestration", but I don't know if it's good.
"I see my light come shining from the west down to the east
Any day now, any day now I shall be released"

Know any good teachers in NY, especially skilled in teaching ear training? Tell me
#21
Quote by yawn
Lol, this'd all take quite a while to explain

Though, before I get into all this, are you already familiar with all of the following?:

Standard notation
Scales
Tonality
Key
Intervals
Chords
Cadences
Nonharmonic tones
Basic melodic organization
Musical "texture"

A good understanding of all that is essential before getting into composing...



Standard notation - Yeah I know how to read notes
Scales - I know a fair share of scales, can pick em up easily, know how to use them.
Tonality - No
Key - Not really
Intervals - I can tell them apart with my ears, know how to work with them
Chords - Can make pretty much any chord now.
Cadences - Nope
Nonharmonic tones - No
Basic melodic organization - Other than my ear, no
Musical "texture" - I know like, what instruments would give a certain quality to a piece, but not in what sense to use them, really.
#22
Ok, Soprano is the highest ranged part in the arrangement, think girls with annoying mouse voices. Alto is a deeper but still high pitched part, think girls with sexy voices. Tenor is more deep, maybe an octave lower than alto or soprano, and is higher than the bass lines and often does melodies and harmonies. Think the fruity boy band singers. And bass is ...bass.
#24
know to write and disect Figured bass, Four part vocal texture(SATB). Know basic melody writing rules, the rule of harmonizing, non harmonic tones, the way 7th and 9th chords where used in the olden days, cadences(may seem simple but used in interior and with many different parts it can be a bit tricky), Altered Chords(such as augmented 6, neopalotin chords etc.), Chromaticism (tonal Elaboration)

Edot:I recommend the book called HarperCollins College Outline : Music Theory. By George Thaddeus Jones.

I used this book before i went into AP Music Theory and i passed the class with flygin colors doing nothing. What i did is as i read i made a notebook with notes on the chapters and annotated it. This helped Summarize and reinforce the thigns talked about in the book. I highly recommend it. Help me get a 5 on the AP Exam with no trouble. plus it lays rules for further advanced theory for writing.
I traded in my Real Books for Robbins and Cotran Pathology Textbooks
Last edited by mexican_shred at Feb 21, 2007,
#25
Quote by sirpsycho85
you need to read a book on orchestration. i think my school uses Adler's "The Study of Orchestration", but I don't know if it's good.



This is the defacto text for upper-division college courses, you definately need to have down basic theory before using it. It's without a doubt the most comprehensive text and you should consider buying it if you get into serious arranging/orchestration.
I was once heavily prominent on these forums from 2004-2007, let's see how long I can stay now that I'm back.
#26
Hm...

Well, key and tonality pretty much go hand in hand, and basically a certain key just identifies both what notes are in that key, and, by extension, what scale you'd usually use. Mainly, just know that a musical phrase in a certain key resolves on the tonic/root of that key/scale.

As for intervals, I can't really go into all this now (physics and AP Gov await!), but read up on seconds, thirds, fourths, fifths, sixths, sevenths, and octaves, along with minor/major/augmented/diminished qualities.

As for cadences, well, I'd recommend reading up on these too, but just know that a V-I or v-i chord progression is the most common resolution to musical phrases.

Nonharmonic tones? Basically, you can have a note that's not in key as long as it's not on an accented beat. For example, you could use a nonharmonic note in between two in-key notes to serve as a "passing tone", or you could use nonharmonic tones in chords to temporarily create suspensions that build up...well...suspense.

Basic melodic organization? Just know the terminology of sequences and phrases.

And basically texture just refers to the "thickness" of the music. For example, a gentle piano cadenza would be very "thin" and "light", while a frantic orchestral sequence might be very "thick" and "heavy".


...yup.

Once you read up on all that stuff, you'll be at a good level to start learning composition
Last edited by yawn at Feb 21, 2007,
#27
^basic gist. Of course if needed there is more elabortion to that.
I traded in my Real Books for Robbins and Cotran Pathology Textbooks
#28
^ Yeah, I basically just summed up half a year's worth of AP Music Theory study with that


*exhausted*
#29
Hm yeah. Im looking for a frantic sound, or a slow intense sound. So Ill look up this stuff then, and reply here when I have some more questiosn. Thanks!
#30
^ No problemo.


*thinks of all his physics and ap gov hw and faints*
#31
Quote by yawn
^ Yeah, I basically just summed up half a year's worth of AP Music Theory study with that


*exhausted*

all second semester stuff *shiver*. I hated Non harmonic tones and 7th,9th and alt chord usage ugh.

also if it hasn't already been mentioned speed affects style and overall composition of music. Personally i love Adagios because it feels more powerful and focuses more on the note's progression rather than rhythmic qualities

Yawn: it sound like we do all the same things lol.AP physic sis riding my ass.
I traded in my Real Books for Robbins and Cotran Pathology Textbooks
#32
^ Quite true.


But ain't nothing like a zesty Presto to get the blood pumpin'


Edit: Yargh! Me hate physics!!!
#33
^ psh, after 2 semesters of college physics, i look back on my AP physics class as the good old days.

insideac, it seems like you have learned music theory as it applies to guitar, but not so much how it would be applied to writing for this type of thing. now people are going to say theory is universal, which it is. but you arent going to spend as much time learning something like 4 voice counterpoint if you only have guitar, bass, and vocals to work with (only 3 voices). obviously that is what you want to know, but it looks to me like you might need to go back and revisit some of the basics of your theory. for example, the moment i started to really understand cadences, i couldnt figure out how i got by not understanding them.

so here is what i suggest you do: take a music theory class that isnt guitar related. obviously it would be a bit hard to sign up for something during the spring semester (already started) and it looks like you are going to college next year (you are going to have to take similar stuff there). so either find a private instructor to help you with some of this, or find a shorter class (some community colleges might have what you want). then just get a refresh on your basics from a non-guitar viewpoint. they will cover things new to you, and also things you already know but taught in new ways.

after that, you will have a much better understanding of everything you learned then and in the past. reading stuff in books (or online) is great, but you can be selective about what you read. having a teacher force ALL of the basics on you is the best way to really start getting in to this stuff. i mean, i took an intro to theory class and i didnt really learn much new material. the class moved so slowly that i was bored to tears after 2 weeks of naming basic triads or something similar. but i walked out of that class with a much better, deeper understanding of the basics, and i can now understand the more complex stuff a lot better. besides, this kind of stuff will help you if you go to a music school.

and i know i havent mentioned any specific things to look into, but i feel very strongly that you need a good basic foundation if you want to understand the complexities of this stuff.
#34
something about classical music i've really begun to realise in the last few days is just how much modulation there is (modulation being changing of key).

i mean, there's a base key, which things are loosely based around but that's pretty much it.
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#35
k Guys. Im kinda moving along on this, is there any site online that has free, complete or at least alot of articles on Orchestration, that would help me from beginning to almost the end? My question is wrong in many areas, such as there is no "end" to learning, but you get what I mean.
#36
Listen to any music by Harry Gregson-Willams. His orchestrations should give you more ideas of "epicness." He did some Metal Gear Solid orchestrations, and that sir gave me goosebumps and tears. You can hear his music in movies such as The Rock, Armageddon, Enemy of the State, Phone Booth, and more which I can't name of the top of my head. I don't have any real advice to give but I hope I've helped.
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#37
Quote by insideac
k Guys. Im kinda moving along on this, is there any site online that has free, complete or at least alot of articles on Orchestration, that would help me from beginning to almost the end? My question is wrong in many areas, such as there is no "end" to learning, but you get what I mean.
Meh, I doubt there's any website that's comprehensive at all on orchestration. You'd be best off just getting some book.