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Topic: the way of composing...

  1. #1

    the way of composing...

    i wonder how everybody of you is composing or writing a piece of music, when you already know what the music should be about and stuff, i mean basically how you start to record or to produce it right away from the idea...

    are you just sitting and getting the big staff paper out from the big ole treasure chest and start writing with the other hand on the piano or do you load your sequencer, open your samplers full of presets and start clicking or playing notes over the keyboard rightaway ? [img]images/icons/grin.gif[/img]

  2. #2

    Re: the way of composing...

    I open the big Sibelius staff from Windows virtual treasure chest and have a real keyboard or guitar in front of the screen.

    EDIT: You lost a great chance to title this thread \"The way of the composing fist\" [img]images/icons/tongue.gif[/img]

  3. #3

    Re: the way of composing...

    Here\'s my process which I use most often:

    1. Open up Sibelius, or take up a pencil and paper.
    2. Write down X many chord harmony progression for the theme.
    3. Create the theme.
    4. Decide on form and style.
    5. Develop the grand plan (key changes etc.), often it changes a lot during development of the music.
    6. Write the music down, use theory etc. orchestrate it \"on-fly\".
    7. If I\'m satisfied with the piece, I save a copy as a .mid file for further production in Sonar.
    8. Use Sonar to add expression etc. to make the music more a life. Of course Gigastudio is by then open and ready for play.
    9. Record the music dry using CoolEdit Pro.
    10. Use CoolEdit to mix, add reverb etc.
    11. Save as .wav and a copy as a .mp3

    Often I\'ll go back after few weeks if I\'m not happy with the piece. In general this is what I do most often.

    Btw. I input the notes with my mousebutton. [img]images/icons/grin.gif[/img]

    Hope this helps!

  4. #4

    Re: the way of composing...

    Ya know, it boggles my mind why a person would buy Gigastudio, and just run a sequence that was notated in Sibelius, Finale, ect, THROUGH Gigastudio. I mean, the whole point (to me) in buying Gigastudio and sound libraries is to create realistic sounding music, right? In my experience, that\'s near impossible to do if you just notate a piece, convert to a .mid file, open it up in the sequencer, and assign the Gigastudio instruments. Weird...

    Anyhow, there are many methods you can use when you go about composing. I usually just sit at the keyboard, take a deep breath, and just begin composing. When I\'m away from the computer, I usually resort to pen and paper and jot down the entire sketch of the piece. Some of the notes may be wrong when I write it, but at least when I get home and look at it, I\'ll realize the idea that I did have when writing it.

    If I don\'t have manuscript paper, sometimes I\'ll just jot down a description of the piece. I\'ll write little orchestration notes here and there, describe how I want the piece to crescendo or whatever.

    I think the most popular way to grab ideas is to bring a tape recorder along everywhere you go, and whenever an idea pops in your head, press record and sing, hum, wail, ect.

  5. #5

    Re: the way of composing...

    A_Sapp, this is just my approach and it\'s working for me - Other people just need to find their own approach.

    You can let Sibelius play sound with instruments in Gigastudio. [img]images/icons/wink.gif[/img] However, my point by using Gigastudio and libs is mainly to allow me to hear rough sound of what it would or could sound like in real performance. I compose my music for live performance not for computer generated performance.

    Btw. I said that I use Sonar to add the expressions etc. [img]images/icons/grin.gif[/img]

  6. #6

    Re: the way of composing...

    yes, like A_Sap says, there are many ways to start composing.

    I work pretty similar, sometimes i have an idea before i go to sleep and then i have a little paper beside my bed and mostly write only the notes in letters and some rhythm figures to not forget the stuff or i humm or sing it in my MD Player...

    but mostly i start to compose right away...i have the sound and the melody in my head and just keep going to get everything on my computer. also i do kind of layouting by using a midilike preset and start to compose (because on paper you definitely can\'t try and experiment).

    sometimes there are cool ideas and kind of experimental changes and chords i\'d never think of. i dont mean that my pieces are completely at accident and with no kind of skill, but sometimes you have these nice \"aha\" effects and i think its worth trying around with different kinds of notes and progressions...

  7. #7

    Re: the way of composing...

    I develop melodies first. Always!! I think and think and think. If I\'m around a computer, sometimes I\'ll throw in ideas in a sequencer (Cubase or MasterTracks Pro). Otherwise I\'ll jot it down with numbered intervals - or notation if I have music paper.

    By melodies I don\'t necessarilly mean melodic melodies. Sometimes the pieces I do don\'t have actual singable melodies. But, nonetheless, I do the melody first.

    I generally try not to contrive these melodies from any technique...but, rather, just try and get a feeling in my brain (like \'mysterious\' or \'battle\' or \'fear\' or something) and then just sing, sing, sing. Usually I\'ll come up with around 10 or so before I settle in on one I want to develop. 9 out of 10 won\'t live up to my sense of perfectionism.

    Secondly, I determine what I want to do with the orchestrations -- very generally, that is. I set up most of my orchestrations divided into 4 catogories:

    1: Melody (Including mono-rhythmic harmonies)
    2: The core rhythm (usually what the bass parts play - I haven\'t really decided what to call this yet. Any ideas?)
    3: Counterpoints
    4: Fills (glissandos, runs, brass hits, etc...and most of the non-melodic percussion.)

    Each of these can have alternate counterpoints and harmonies. I decide how to design each of these based on the flavor of the piece.

    So, take an anthem, for example. The melody might be developed in triplets. The core would be bass instrument hits on beats 1 and 3 of the first measure and beats 1, 2 and 3 of the second measure... (bum --- bum --- bum bum bum ---) ...developing stylistically from there. The counterpoint would be in the higher strings perhaps. Let\'s say, quarter-note ascending lines interspersed with 16 note scales or arpeggios, constantly gaining dissonance as it goes. Then add fills where they\'re needed.

    However, were the song slow and romantic, the melody might be, say, in quarter and half notes with a few eigth notes between. The core, then, might be solid half notes in just low strings -- with, perhaps, a few pickup eigth notes. Simple, slightly offset rythms by the horns might take on the counterpoint role (though maybe not until the second time through the melody). And fills would mostly consist of harp gliss/cymbal rolls, etc... Additionally I might add, perhaps, high tied, whole note, tremolo strings (which I\'d consider, in my way of thinking, a secondary counterpoint due to it\'s rythmic difference from the melody.)

    Mind you, I don\'t figure out notes here. Just an approximate of what I want. I haven\'t even thought about chords yet.

    Once I have the basic design down, I pull up my sequencer and start putting in parts...usually 4 to 8 measures at a time, starting with the melody and then filling in all orchestrations. Then moving to the next part. I hardly ever figure out chords. I do it entirely by ear. If it doesn\'t sound right I tweak it till it does. Sometimes I\'ll figure out what chord I want to use...according to the bass note and the inversion and whatnot...but even then I don\'t plan out my voice leading or anything. I let my ear do the work in that regard.

    Of course this doesn\'t take into account the possibility of needing to time the music to a sequence or other such issues, which would, obviously, require planning before sitting down and sequencing. And then, of course, there\'s always the editing/tweaking/changing/pulling your hair out/changing again/throwing it away and starting over factors.

  8. #8

    Re: the way of composing...

    I vary on starting chord progressions or melodies, but I always start behind the keyboard. I rarely write stuff down, unless I really have to visualize something.

    I don\'t know if that is good or bad...

  9. #9

    Re: the way of composing...

    Originally posted by zquarles:
    I vary on starting chord progressions or melodies, but I always start behind the keyboard. I rarely write stuff down, unless I really have to visualize something.

    I don\'t know if that is good or bad...
    <font size=\"2\" face=\"Verdana, Arial\">There is no good or bad answer. If the final product is up to snuff then what difference does it make...oh...wait...that\'s a fascist concept, isn\'t it. Well, in the world of \'how to compose\' I guess I do support the idea that the ends justify the means. [img]images/icons/smile.gif[/img]

    Every composer has their own method. And the very idea of someone saying that your way is wrong and my way is right is silly.

    So, you have to decide for yourself if its good or bad. Does it work for you. Are you quick enough at it to be satisfied? Is the final product phenomenal? Then it\'s good...for you.

  10. #10

    Re: the way of composing...

    I tend to work like falcon1. I\'m using Sibelius first.
    I think the way you work depends on your priorities. Is realistic music the most important? Or is great music more important, regardless of whether or not you\'ll be able to make it sound incredibly realistic?

    If realism is your main goal, you probably should use a sequencer from the start. This is only because libraries today, as advanced as they are, still aren\'t able to reproduce every idea you may have very realistically.

    If you\'re just trying to make great music, it\'s way easier to use a notation program with a simple general MIDI set than to use a sequencer. It\'s just way faster to write music that way, and edit the notes and articulations, and see all the instruments at once. Composing is hard enough without having to deal with using dozens of patches per instrument.

    I working on a piano concerto that I wrote in Sibelius. I exported it as .mid and am using VSL and Sonar to make a realistic version.

    I guess a good summary is that some people compose FOR the samples they have, while others just compose and hopefully their samples will work for what they\'ve written.

    Anthony Lombardi

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