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Topic: Advice on composition workbooks etc.

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  1. #1
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    Advice on composition workbooks etc.

    Although I consider myself a musician since the age of five, due to conflicting interests/talents I never really pursued a formal music education - I majored in art in college with a smattering of music courses. Although I have good instincts and can handle short-form composition (songs) I have always wanted to tackle something larger scale. And now, of course, with GPO I have an orchestra just begging me to write something - truly a first!

    Since finances and schedule preclude my being able to go back to school, I wondered if anyone had any thoughts as to texts or self-study in the art of large scale composition, something to guide me as I look to developing musical work longer than three or four minutes. I love using GPO for songs of course, but often as I find myself "GPO'ing" a piece by Ravel or Debussy for fun I find myself wishing it was music of my own creation instead.

    I know there is nothing that can truly take the place of a concentrated course of study with a living, breathing composer one admires, but that is not possible for me at the moment and the only composers I've ever met are now long gone. Any advice would be greatly appreciated.

  2. #2

    Smile Re: Advice on composition workbooks etc.

    In our GPO Academy forum topic, you will find an help. I'm certain.

  3. #3

    Re: Advice on composition workbooks etc.

    loogoo,

    I am a strong believer in learning "hands-on".

    My personal suggestion would be to take one of the pieces that you have already GPO'd - so you should have a good knowledge of it - and rework it using your own themes and chords.

    Then using the same theme, rework one of the other pieces.

    I consider it's all about you own experiences that you have created for yourself, and that your own music will develop it's own style out of the music that you like and admire.

    For a discussion on text books take at look at this thread:

    http://www.northernsounds.com/forum/...ad.php?t=33676
    Richard N.

    Finale 2003 to 2007 ~ Garritan GPO, JABB & Strad ~ Sonar 6PE ~ Kontakt 2 ~ WinXP Home SP2

    Athlon XP 2200 ~ 1.5 Gb RAM ~ M-Audio Sound Card ~ M-Audio 88ES MIDI keyboard ~ Evolution MK-461C

    Bach Strad LT16MG, LT36G, 42B + B&H Sovereign Studio Tenor Trombones ~ Holton 181 Bass Trombone ~ Getzen Bass Trumpet ~ Yamaha TR4335G Trumpet ~ B&H Euphonium

  4. #4

    Re: Advice on composition workbooks etc.

    Quote Originally Posted by loogoo
    Although I consider myself a musician since the age of five, due to conflicting interests/talents I never really pursued a formal music education - I majored in art in college with a smattering of music courses. Although I have good instincts and can handle short-form composition (songs) I have always wanted to tackle something larger scale. And now, of course, with GPO I have an orchestra just begging me to write something - truly a first!

    Since finances and schedule preclude my being able to go back to school, I wondered if anyone had any thoughts as to texts or self-study in the art of large scale composition, something to guide me as I look to developing musical work longer than three or four minutes. I love using GPO for songs of course, but often as I find myself "GPO'ing" a piece by Ravel or Debussy for fun I find myself wishing it was music of my own creation instead.

    I know there is nothing that can truly take the place of a concentrated course of study with a living, breathing composer one admires, but that is not possible for me at the moment and the only composers I've ever met are now long gone. Any advice would be greatly appreciated.

    LooGoo,

    Tell us a little more on exactly what you are looking for and some idea of how much formal training you have had (theory, etc)...there are numerous books on music theory, counterpoint, orchestration, form, etc. that can help and many of us here are engaged in self-study to some degree. And, as Fabio says, there are several resources available over in the GPO Academy.

    ;-)
    jim

    Jim Jarnagin - no not THAT Jim Jarnagin, the other one.

  5. #5

    Re: Advice on composition workbooks etc.

    The best thing you can do is write, write, write, write. Write every single day, if you can. Push yourself into trying new things.
    - Jamie Kowalski

    All Hands Music - Kowalski on the web
    The Ear Is Always Correct - Writings on composition

  6. #6

    Re: Advice on composition workbooks etc.

    My advice is to study scores, if you like orchestral music, study large scores. Some are more straight forwards than others. Among many choices, one good choice would be to look at the scores of Dvorak's Slavoinic Dances, for example, where there are many examples of skillful modulation and harmonies, not to mention good use of the whole orchestra.

    David

  7. #7
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    Re: Advice on composition workbooks etc.

    Thanks for all the replies - I will certainly look at the offered links and the GPO Academy threads. My background is basically piano with the blessing / curse of being able to play most anything be ear. For this reason I never really paid much attention beyond basic theory as I just wrote down what I heard in my head and that worked for me at the time - plus I got sidetracked into studying art in college, so I only have a harmony course here, a theory course there (that sort of thing).

    I certainly recognize good music when I hear it, but I find that in terms of wanting to write works of quality myself, the "ear" needs a more methodical approach. Without it it's too easy for me to lose musical focus and structure.

    I admire all of your opinions and helpful advice that you give so freely to others - so I will take your comments and continue plugging away. This forum truly is an inspiring place to be.

  8. #8
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    Re: Advice on composition workbooks etc.

    If you can already hear in your head music and able to write that down then your half way there^_* you need to learn the different structures of music as all music is balanced by it's structure like a giant foundation, then there are little foundations etc. also what makes up music and why does it work, that is the communication of the music to it's self, question and answering phrases. Then you should get on more harmony and rhythms, study differnet time signitures and what not and of course different scales. Interms of classical music now a days it's all minilistic style really for what is published and played. It's good to study Jazz as well. For Orchestration grab some scores and listen to the music while veiwing the scores, do that for any music....all this topic is related to orchestra and classical music or Jazz arranged for orchestra or orchestra in general and that only makes up those styles...if you want to be able to create all styles of music, then you have to learn the percussion up and down for all percussion instruments(ethnic) so create little phrases with percussion in different styles. man I could go on and on and on. but there is this teaching music thing on the Garriatan forums get on that.
    All I can Say is...HA!...HA!...HAAAAAAA!!!!!

  9. #9

    Re: Advice on composition workbooks etc.

    I just wanted to add a quick plug for the educational stuff from Sibelius.

    Instruments - Orchestration
    Auralia - Ear Training
    Compass - composing
    Musition - Theory

    you can check out demos at the sibelius website.

  10. #10
    Senior Member
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    326

    Re: Advice on composition workbooks etc.

    Thanks again for all the input. It has certainly provided plenty of food for thought (and subsequent action).

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