Hello. My name is Christopher Reeves and I was just going through the forums, looking at all of my fellow musicians and composers posting -- I feel now like I'm in heaven...because I just now realized how cool it is to be in a community like this. Anyway, I just want to share a little bit of my knowledge about composition, and the approach I take in writing music.
In my music, I like to express my individual style through harmony. I believe that intersting harmonies can be effective because they "pull listeners in".
I've seen and heard many people who argue which is more important, melody, or harmony. I believe that one cannot survive without the other -- yes, melody is very important, but the secret to creating a melody that triggers that gut level attraction, is a strong harmonic progression. If you ever get the chance to listen to Miles Davis, do so. As you can hear in his music, his melodies are EXTREAMLY simple, but why was he known as one of the greates jazz composers of our time? His harmonic progressions would amplify his melodies so beautifully. Miles Davis is one of my idols, so I use him a lot for examples.
So how does one come up with interesting harmonies? Well, the best way I can tell you is to listen to music that has some interesting harmonies, and examine what makes them intersting. I can tell you a couple of theories as to why some are interesting. It's a principle I like to call Tension then Release. If we go back to basic theory, what makes the V seventh chord want to go to the I chord? What makes the vii diminished seventh want to go to V or I? It's because in the V seventh chord, the seventh, wants to go down a half step, and the leading tone, wants to move up to the tonic.
Another tip I have in making interestin harmonies is to try to get out of using tersian chords so much. If you're going to use tersian chords, at least make them extended tersian, like 9th's 11th's and 13th's. Also, avoid using the chord progressions found in common practice period, such as I, V, IV, I.
I know this kind of all thrown at you, but this is just a little bit of what I think. Later