Hi everybody! First of all I'd like to introduce myself, since haven't really posted anything here yet, although I have been following the discussions at NS (specially Garritan forums) for over a year now. I'm a computer science student from Finland with a 20+ year backround in music, mostly in playing stuff. I'm quite a beginner when it comes to composing classical music, but eager to learn =)
Haven't been able to buy GPO yet, kinda have promised myself to get it as a graduation gift, but it seems to take forever. And as a student there never seems to be enough money when you want something...Anyway, so much for that, there was also a point for this thread.
So about the relation between melody and harmony when composing "classical" music. Have you people noticed whether you tend to take a more harmonical or melodical approach, when starting to compose a new piece?
Usually when I sit down to write music, I can usually come up with a nice chord progression OR a nice melody. I don't know if it's just lack of excercise but I just can't seem to be able to deal with both at the same time. Although I do find it easier to start out with a harmony (e.g. chord progression) and to compose a melody accordingly. But then often just sticking a melody line over the chords feels artificial.
Then vice versa it's a lot harder for me i.e. starting out with a melody line. One possibility is that I start out with too complex melody parts which makes harmonization difficult. But most of the time I come up with a decent melody, I can't get the chord progression to sound fluent or logical.
I've been using Russo's book "Composing Music", which has been a nice introduction for me about basic composing techniques. However I find it very hard to think in terms of passing tones or auxiliary tones or counterpoints etc. I've been playing classical piano for about 20 years, 5-6 years of jazz/funk and I also play guitar, bass and saxophone, so my "composing" so far has almost been purely "ad hoc" and has been based on my playing skills rather than theoretical knowledge of composing.
What about you other people? Does anyone else have this same problem of duality or is it purely a beginner's dilemma? Would be interesting to here how different people percieve harmony and melody when beginning to compose a new piece.