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Topic: Question about technique...

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  1. #1

    Question Question about technique...

    Hello everyone,

    This is sort of a strange question but I am having a hard time answering it and would love insite from others. I was wondering, after a composer learns the technical part of music composition, there must be a mastery of technique for them to be successful as a composer.

    It is hard for me to describe what the qualities are for good technique though you know it when you see it. I've seen composers who might have lacked in creativity or ideas, but excelled in technique and they produce very solid music. On the other hand, I'm sure we've all heard some pieces have strong ideas without technique and the music just seams to go no where or is under utilized.

    Someone who has good technique has mastered the craftsmanship of composition. Very strong orchestration, strong form, solid understanding of theory...but what else is there that separates someone who has a good idea from someone who knows how to take the idea to the fullest extent?

    I am having a hard time understanding what are the qualities that makes good technique? There are many composers in this message board who have mastered technique. Do you have any insight on how this is learned or what the qualities are?

    Any thoughts?

    -K

  2. #2

    Re: Question about technique...

    I think thats a very good question. I think technique comes about from knowledge and practice.

    I think about it this way, imagine if someone gave you a fast racing car and told you to get around the track as quick as you good. Now you cant blame the car for anything, its state of the art and built for speed.

    You drive around the track the first time, slide out on corners, take the wrong line going into them etc, etc. You finish the lap, but your time is slow and the ride was sloppy and all over the place.

    You drive around again.

    This time, you take your corners tighter and better. You also notice that the car handles better when you accelerate out of the corner.

    Your time gets better.

    You keep driving around, you take advanced driving courses, you speak to other race drivers, you watch them and learn.

    Eventually, your flying around that track and everyone is saying;

    "Gee, that guy is good, look how smooth he is. I wish I could drive like THAT."
    ---------------------------
    - SCA - Sound Studios -
    www.sca-soundstudios.com
    ---------------------------

  3. #3

    Re: Question about technique...

    Scott's post couldn't be better.

    Technique in music is understanding. It's knowing what came before you and how that was put together. Then it's imagining new possibilities based on that knowledge.

    When people speak of improving their technique they speak of a few ways. Studying the music of others and studying text books about music and practicing the basic actions of those CD's, scores and text.

    The only thing I add is that instead of copying people outright, try to understand why they did what they did and how they achieved what they achieved.

    Also, the more I study technique the simpler it becomes. For instance I use to have a rule that stated that musical lines must seldom cross and if they do they have to do it in a special way that doesn't interfere with the clarity of context. Now that rule is: Musical lines must occur in their own acoustic space. And, all the rules of counterpoint are boiled down to this law: There must be a balance of dissonant and consonant intervals.

    So the more I learn about music the simpler the rules become even though they start out quite complex.

    Cheers,


    Jose

  4. #4

    Re: Question about technique...

    Quote Originally Posted by karimelm
    ...but what else is there that separates someone who has a good idea from someone who knows how to take the idea to the fullest extent?
    I suppose it depends on the context, but I'll put in a quick vote for endurance. A good composition (a piece that stands on its own) can often require a tremendous amount of mental endurance to see through from beginning to end. Its all too easy too take the soft option and pad things out, use cliches, relentless episodical structures without inevitability and drive and so on, especially when time is of the essence. These are things that should be guarded against by a degree of mental toughness.
    Trev Parks

  5. #5

    Re: Question about technique...

    It is often said that Debussy was great with ideas, but not so great in orchestration technique, while Ravel was a master at orchestration, but his compositions weren't as great in ideas. Do you guys agree with that?

  6. #6
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    Re: Question about technique...

    It could be argued that the most vital technique in composition is the understanding of basic four part writing and counterpoint. If one can write solid four part movement, it will stand on it's own regardless of the medium it's presented in: piano or 120 piece orchestra. Much of what's bad in Film and TV music these days is a lack of this basic understanding. Therefore the music is "weak" or poorly constructed. Trained composers wince when they hear it while many untrained blissfully respond to the "sound" as opposed to the structure. Hearing the structure is a deeper level of "sound" perception in actuality.

    The same is true of counterpoint, which bestows upon the composer a vast arsenal of musical options which by their very nature are solid, highly inventive, and invigorating to even the most simple musical idea.

    Synthsizers, samplers et.al. are the Ferrari's so many have purchased but never thought neccessary to learn to drive.

    Dave Connor

  7. #7
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    Re: Question about technique...

    Quote Originally Posted by Lunatique
    It is often said that Debussy was great with ideas, but not so great in orchestration technique, while Ravel was a master at orchestration, but his compositions weren't as great in ideas. Do you guys agree with that?
    Great name there BTW Lunatique.

    Debussey orchestrated his ideas flawlessly and his ideas were as brilliant and original as almost any composer you can think of. Ravel was one of the great masters of orchestration but perhaps not on Debusseys level as an original thinker.

    dpc

  8. #8

    Re: Question about technique...

    Quote Originally Posted by dpc

    Debussey orchestrated his ideas flawlessly and his ideas were as brilliant and original as almost any composer you can think of. Ravel was one of the great masters of orchestration but perhaps not on Debusseys level as an original thinker.

    dpc
    I couldn't disagree more. Ravel was every bit as original as Debussy. You only have to listen to his Piano Trio or play Jeux d'eau to realise that.
    Trev Parks

  9. #9

    Re: Question about technique...

    Practise, everyday , long hours , stay up to 6 in the morning composing . Don't start smoking and drinking coffee. Sleep on fridays if you feel like it , that's ok.
    Theo Krueger - Composer

    www.TheoKrueger.com

    Kontakt 2 Scripts

  10. #10
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    Re: Question about technique...

    hoho that's wrong about Debussy in fact Debussy's orchestrations can only be that, you can't really arrange them and get the same results. That statement comes from a lack of understanding tonal color and what the composer was trying to achieve with it(that's what I think atleast). Hey man your only good at Technique with the knowledge you have for that style of music, better you know how to write the music better you are going to be at it. Of course it's still your style but you will have a better technique because you can grasp it better.

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