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Topic: OT:I got this far on my own - but now I need help

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  1. #1

    OT:I got this far on my own - but now I need help

    Since there are some obviously very knowledgeable and well-educated people here, I hope this semi-OT post is OK ...

    My background, as brief as I can make it; I\'m 36. Piano lessons as a kid, but I\'m really not a musician, my playing would be grade 3 at best. Enough to write music, not enough to perform it, and I\'m fine with that because my heart is in composing, not performing. After taking a long journey through electronic music and synthesisers I\'ve found that what really moves me is orchestral music, more the film-score stuff than classical (eg, I love the \"Gladiator\" soundtrack).

    Right now I only consider this something I do for my own enjoyment, but I\'d still like to become as good at it as I can be. If it leads to something more than a hobby, great, but I fear I\'m getting too old for that to happen. Unforunately, doing a music course (even a part-time one) is absolutely not an option, so whatever I need to learn will have to come from books.

    So - what would you advise me to learn, and what resources (books) would you recommend to help me do so?

    Thanks,
    Gwydi

  2. #2

    Re: OT:I got this far on my own - but now I need help

    Gday Gwydi,

    I didn\'t even start composing music until I was 48 (54 now), and I\'ve been performing out (I play didge) and writing my own music and doing lots of studio and production work for others. Just spend the time to learn as much as you can (I do most of my learning on the internet) and get help when you need it. Before you know it, people will be asking you for advice.

    -- Martin

  3. #3
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    Re: OT:I got this far on my own - but now I need help

    Thanks for sharing that insight Martin.....That will give some cheer to a lot of folk! I\'m even older than you but hope springs eternal [img]/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/smile.gif[/img].............

    Frank

  4. #4

    Re: OT:I got this far on my own - but now I need help

    Hey Mister,


    a very nice thread...I tell u I am in a quite similar situation. Similar age, similar musical backround and also a filmscoring lover.

    May I encourage you? You are not too old! What a youngster owns concerning the easiness of remembering things you have as a grown-up more staying power and reason.

    So here are my tricks:

    -listen to as much stuff as possible. Classical CDs you get often for a bargain price. Watch all concerts on TV. Get an analytical ear for filmscoring.....( it\'s also a burdom...I can\'t watch anymore a movie relaxed without analizing what\'s happening musically)

    -make small steps. Work on 1-2 minutes excerpts or pieces. Try to play things after listening to them. I e.g. recently took the Voyager theme by Jerry Goldsmith, loaded it into my sequencer and played it on my own...measure for measure. A 1:30 piece...such things are reachable.


    Good luck!

  5. #5

    Re: OT:I got this far on my own - but now I need help

    Gwydi, some thoughts from another self-taught semi-pro composer aged 40+

    -study the written score and a recording of the same work side by side, just don\'t start with a too complex composition. Classical music doesn\'t always follow a steady beat which makes reading the score while listening to it sometimes hard (at least for me it does).
    -there are dozens of great books written on composing/orchestration, many have been mentioned in this forum earlier. Also do a Google search. For information in a bit \"condensed\" form check these pages:

    http://www.musique.umontreal.ca/personnel/Belkin/bk/index.html

    BTW If someone else knows any other free pages like these I\'d like know also! Maybe worth another thread?

    -take a player/conductor of a local orchestra to the pub to give you a \"crash-course\" in the things you always wanted to know but were too afraid to ask. You might get some valuable info for the price of couple of beers...
    -as to technical side of things I have found Bob Katz\'s book \"Mastering Audio\" valuable for me (I also produce and mix my projects). In this area there are also too many magazines to mention.

    Good luck,

    Jouni

  6. #6

    Re: OT:I got this far on my own - but now I need h

    The classic book on orchestration is the Sam Adler \"The Study of Orchestration.\" It\'s very nearly a must read for anyone who wants to compose using GPO.

    After that the pickings get slimmer because most of the stuff (even including Adler, but there is much to be gained anyway) is written from a perspective of people who have had years of training in the music field. I keep looking for \"Orchestration and Arranging for Dummies\" (I even created a web page tutorial for it :&gt but until they release that the best thing to do is experiment with GPO and learn what sounds good to you.

  7. #7

    Re: OT:I got this far on my own - but now I need h

    Books on orchestration are certainly helpful.

    Nevertheless, I think the best way to get better at orchestration is to work on writing harmony melodically. One of the big differences between successful orchestrators/composers is that for the really good ones, every single line has melodic interest. Knowing which instruments work well to double each other, the timbral characteristics of different instruments and the internal differences within their range is unquestionably important; however, in my very humble opinion, it\'s more important to study melodic and harmonic flow first and then the proper way to arrange/orchestrate that material. Don\'t take that as gospel, though. I\'m not a pro. [img]/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/wink.gif[/img]

  8. #8

    Re: OT:I got this far on my own - but now I need h

    Counterpoint would be a very useful thing to study. Kent Kennan\'s book is very good (I used it when I taught a counterpoint class a few years ago).

  9. #9

    Re: OT:I got this far on my own - but now I need h

    [ QUOTE ]
    Books on orchestration are certainly helpful.

    Nevertheless, I think the best way to get better at orchestration is to work on writing harmony melodically. One of the big differences between successful orchestrators/composers is that for the really good ones, every single line has melodic interest. Knowing which instruments work well to double each other, the timbral characteristics of different instruments and the internal differences within their range is unquestionably important; however, in my very humble opinion, it\'s more important to study melodic and harmonic flow first and then the proper way to arrange/orchestrate that material. Don\'t take that as gospel, though. I\'m not a pro. [img]/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/wink.gif[/img]

    [/ QUOTE ]

    That\'s interesting. I\'m fairly close to finishing my first \"classical\" GPO piece.
    (Not that I\'ll ever post it here with the incredible music being posted as \"demos\" so far)Basically, I write a melody line for soloviolin; then add a cello part and then a double bass part. Although the double bass is what I traditionally think of as a bass part, the cello part is written to complement the original melody without being what I think of as \"harmony\" part. Finally, I add another soloviolin on top with its own melody, kind of what I think of as \"lead\" part. It\'s not very good, but the voice leading and resulting harmonies sound pretty interesting, as though I\'d planned them that way. My son even said it sounded like \"real\" classical music. (Yeah, but he thinks Radiohead is progressive rock.)

    As I\'ve mentioned before, some neat chord progressions from some of the real composer on this forum would be helpful. So much of what I\'ve listened to all my life is I-IV-V. I can mix and match the different chords that go with each scale and I can stick in some minmaj7ths, but it\'s not like I know much more than that.

  10. #10

    Re: OT:I got this far on my own - but now I need h

    Well, this has been a fruitful thread, thankyou all for your answers [img]/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/smile.gif[/img]

    I\'m certainly comfortable with diving in and just trying stuff out to see what sounds good (GPO will hopefully be here by the weekend). I guess I was coming from the \"learn the rules first, then break them\" perspective - the last thing I want to do is spend ages on a piece only to be shot down for making some horrendous theoretical blunder in the arrangement that I \"should\" have known was wrong.

    Thanks,
    Gwydi

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