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Topic: Did all the great composers learn by breaking down scores with mockups?

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  1. #1
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    Did all the great composers learn by breaking down scores with mockups?

    Well it wasn't till recently that composers did mockups , and I keep hearing that it's a great way to learn.

    But, what does one gain by doing a mockup if they can just read the score? Seems like all the greats didn't mockup like this, with samples and such, so......

    My question is, do you really feel it's 'more' of a benefit than say 'reading it'...

    And

    Did the composers of the past miss out on something by not mocking up?

    I'm a little skeptical is all, please school me......

    (BTW-- this stems from the Holst mock up thread, but I didn't want to hijack it. And while there were some good points, I had this further thought)


    KID-

  2. #2
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    Re: Did all the great composers learn by breaking down scores with mockups?

    Quote Originally Posted by kid-surf
    Did the composers of the past miss out on something by not mocking up?

    (BTW-- this stems from the Holst mock up thread, but I didn't want to hijack it. And while there were some good points, I had this further thought)

    KID-
    Kid,

    I think composers past and present have always studied others scores. Not mocking up? They could probably hear the whole thing in their heads, just by looking at the printed page. That's a big difference between then and now probably, although there are plenty of people that can do that now.

    Why study a score and mock it up? Well, many reasons probably. You may want to work in a certain style of a composer - so starting off by just looking at the orchestration alone is going to be a help. For example, how the blending occurs and what effect they have. Hence, words like colour starts to appear when people discuss an orchestral work.

    You may want to see how a composer changes key and moves on to another subject. All kinds of reasons. The ranges used for different instruments. You need to learn some of the rules so that you can break them later.

    Let's not use this as an excuse for you not to start learning to read music btw. Haha!

  3. #3

    Re: Did all the great composers learn by breaking down scores with mockups?

    Quote Originally Posted by kid-surf
    Well it wasn't till recently that composers did mockups , and I keep hearing that it's a great way to learn.

    But, what does one gain by doing a mockup if they can just read the score? Seems like all the greats didn't mockup like this, with samples and such, so......

    My question is, do you really feel it's 'more' of a benefit than say 'reading it'...

    And

    Did the composers of the past miss out on something by not mocking up?

    I'm a little skeptical is all, please school me......

    (BTW-- this stems from the Holst mock up thread, but I didn't want to hijack it. And while there were some good points, I had this further thought)


    KID-
    I think that the benefit of trying a "classical" mockup is firstly that it is easy to compare with a real recording. Secondly, one can't cheat by changing a passage that is hard to program for one that is slightly easier. One of the snags in using samples is that some people tend to compose only what they know they can program, rather than program what they can hear in their head.

    Daryl

  4. #4

    Re: Did all the great composers learn by breaking down scores with mockups?

    Bach, Mozart, Beethoven....they all copied out scores to learn from them. There wasn't the access to others composers works to the extent that we have today so they had to copy works. Schubert, Liszt....they transcribed orchestral works for the piano, two and four hands, so that people would have access to them.

    You could say this was the old way of mocking up.
    Trev Parks

  5. #5

    Re: Did all the great composers learn by breaking down scores with mockups?

    Exactly, people did copy scores note for note in former times to really inhale the meaning of every particular note. It´s simply different if you just read or if you write down what you read. That´s nowadays basic learning psychology.
    Making a mockup is more fun, I suppose.

  6. #6
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    Re: Did all the great composers learn by breaking down scores with mockups?

    Personally, I don't really have the patience to do mock-ups. But, I imagine that it would be very helpful. I've done tons of transcriptions of different types of early music for classical guitar, and it definitely gave me a better understanding as a composer of how it all works - much more than I got from just playing/sight-reading the music. I'm sure that it's the same when doing mock-ups... you enter each individual line/instrument - maybe first the violins, then the cellos... then hit play and hear how they interact... then add some brass and listen again... you would really get a feel for a lot of the details that you might skim over if you are just listening and reading.

  7. #7
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    Re: Did all the great composers learn by breaking down scores with mockups?

    Paul-- I give you my word!


    How did they transcribe them, by ear then just remembering them. Didn't those dudes guard their work heavily?

    Hawkes-- that's a good point about hearing it as individual sections. I guess that's what would teach me the most. It'd be like hearing it as it was being written in a sense. I don't think I'd ever have the patience, though, either.

    Now I'm wondering how many folks hear have done mockups.. and how many haven't. Guess I'll never know....



    KID-

  8. #8

    Re: Did all the great composers learn by breaking down scores with mockups?

    When I say I learn from mocking up I'm talking more about learning the craft of getting the most out of the libraries, not necesarily the music itself. I can hear music in my head. Doing mockups helps me get the most out of the tools I have available though.

  9. #9

    Re: Did all the great composers learn by breaking down scores with mockups?

    Quote Originally Posted by kid-surf
    Well it wasn't till recently that composers did mockups , and I keep hearing that it's a great way to learn.

    But, what does one gain by doing a mockup if they can just read the score? Seems like all the greats didn't mockup like this, with samples and such, so......

    My question is, do you really feel it's 'more' of a benefit than say 'reading it'...

    And

    Did the composers of the past miss out on something by not mocking up?
    First, the training process was different. Composers in the past started out with counterpoint from which they learned to improvise on the spot, sing counterlines in real time against the existing melody, etc.

    Second, they attended live concerts and spent time with musicians.

    Third, they selectively private studied. The "greats", being self motivated, often only studied with a mentor long enough to learn how to teach themselves more effectively.

    Fourth, scores have been published for a long time. When a new piece came out, composers bought the score and a) copied it line for line and reduced it down to a sketch score and b) could sing the lines because of their counterpoint experience.

    Fifth, when records came in (the next move in technology), composers, especially jazz arrangers, would sit with their records and do a "take down", meaning they would attempt to write down each part, note for note. My former boss, Henry Mancini was a master of this, and as a result, had some set of ears!

    The value of the orchestral mock up for individual composers is that this is largely how you hear a performance of your music. Today, the majority of music schools still do not have a mechanism for their comp degree majors to hear their final orchestral project played by an orchestra.

    However, mocking up is great for building orchestral and arranging chops, but counterpoint and composition are required so that orchestration ability has some wings to it. Understanding thematic development and form is vital if you're to be a full fledged composer. But if your only goal is to write a cue, then much will be missed, as understanding how classical pieces work, in the end, aids, not hampers, the A-list writer.

    GIven their output, it's not likely that composers of the past missed out on being able to do MIDI mock-ups. Handel, on more than one occassion, simply wrote the parts for the musicians and later compiled the score. He didn't need a sample library because the sound was already in his mind.
    Peter L. Alexander
    www.professionalorchestration.com
    www.alexanderpublishing.com
    Learn it right the first time.

  10. #10

    Re: Did all the great composers learn by breaking down scores with mockups?

    Then comes along Vangelis (who's not interested in mock-ups nor any other form of musical education) and composes the most simplistic scores and sells millions!

    Everything is possible fellas!

    ------------
    Alex Cremers

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