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Topic: What is your writing process??

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  1. #1

    What is your writing process??

    Hey all,

    Hopefully this is the right group to post this is to. I've been a musician for a couple decades, but I'm completely new to composing anything for orchestra. I've ordered the Kennan book, which I think will help me out quite a bit.

    But I wanted to ask, what is your composing process like? Whenever I wrote anything pop it more or less went like this...

    1. Write chorus chords, 2. write chorus melody, 3. write verse chords, 4. write verse melody, 5. fill in stuff here and there, 6. done

    So....obviously this really isn't going to work anymore, right? Say you want to write a piece that's 4 minutes or so in length. How do you go about it?

    Thanks!
    John

  2. #2

    Re: What is your writing process??

    I've never written a pop song in that kind of format (chorus, verse, etc) . . . though I suppose I could if I really wanted to

    First of all, I don't believe there is any right or wrong way to go about it.

    Well, you know what? I had started typing a longer response, but I realized my process changes so many times with every piece, that I really have no set process! I usually do start out with a melody already in my mind, or some weird structure for the piece, but then as I start writing I focus my work on whatever I feel like I need to work on at the time

    Some pieces I've planned out completely before writing, others I've just let it flow as I went along. Sometimes I've written melodies from harmonies, many times I harmonize previously thought up melodies.

    So the process goes all over the place for me I don't think I could even make a list

    Then again, I'm not writing for money or with much of a time limit for most of my music, so I don't really have limits as others might.
    Sean Patrick Hannifin
    My MP3s | My Melody Generator | my album
    "serious music" ... as if the rest of us are just kidding

  3. #3

    Re: What is your writing process??

    Hi Mr. Smiley,

    Welcome to the forum. I wish that I could help with this, but I don't have a process - it just happens...

    Good Luck!
    Steph

  4. #4
    Senior Member squoze's Avatar
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    Re: What is your writing process??

    Just so you'll know what not to do...
    I usually load a few instruments, or just the piano, and fiddle (no pun intended) around till I find an interesting phrase. Then I'll add a few measures before, deciding what progression would lead up to the phrase, and add a few measures after to carry it on out.
    Then I might rework the whole thing with other intruments, add ample salt and pepper and bake @ 450 for 12 minutes.
    Since anyone knows that it actually takes about 25 minutes to fully cook, I end up with a bunch of half-baked musical ideas.

  5. #5

    Re: What is your writing process??

    Hmm so it sounds like all of you are much more experimental than I had guessed. Squoze, I think I was gonna go along your lines of thinking for my first attempt: record some melodies in piano and put them where I think they ought to be, and then use that recording as a skeleton. Then fill in other parts, remove piano, and voila!

  6. #6

    Re: What is your writing process??

    I'm not sure it's so much "experimental" as it is "free form" . . . I biased toward free form just because it's easier for me, not to mention stricter forms can get boring when used over and over again, but that's just my opinion. My family listens to country and pop music on the radio all the time, which is always AABA . . . boring! But again, it's just my opinion. There's no right or wrong way to go about it. Obviously if you love AABA form there's no shame in using it all the time
    Sean Patrick Hannifin
    My MP3s | My Melody Generator | my album
    "serious music" ... as if the rest of us are just kidding

  7. #7

    Re: What is your writing process??

    I 'fiddle' around on my instruments. Since I play piano, organ, cello, bassoon, and flute, I mess around with each one. Some instruments inspire different melodies than others. Especially the organ: all those neat noises!
    Then I ORGANize (hehe) that melody into chords, maybe spring a few other melodies off of the origional one that have the same 'feel' as the melody, decide on what kind of musical world I want to create (so that I keep my piece in one world so it doesn't end up intergalactic) and then I organize those melodies into a logical and musical way as to create that musical world, add salt and pepper still keeping this world in mind, and bake for 20 mins (fully cooked) and I start the years-long revision phase.
    Sometimes I like to do a revision done in manuscript. I always get better results when I handwrite music because I can stop and think about everything I do. I usually end up with more musical and logical forms, better harmonies (also dependant on your musical world), and an overall better piece.
    Of course, after saying all this, I have yet to finish a piece.
    Will post my symphony no. 1 when done! (just to give a timeframe: probably 2 years, seriously. I'm that slow )

    Have fun,
    -Chris

  8. #8

    Re: What is your writing process??

    Quote Originally Posted by cptexas
    Of course, after saying all this, I have yet to finish a piece.

    Will post my symphony no. 1 when done! (just to give a timeframe: probably 2 years, seriously. I'm that slow )
    Maybe you should try a smaller piece first, like a five minute symphonietta (or whatever they're called) and create a bunch of those as practice. I've started a symphony several times and have yet been able to finish I'm sure you could do it if you really wanted though, it's can just be a rather large undertaking.
    Sean Patrick Hannifin
    My MP3s | My Melody Generator | my album
    "serious music" ... as if the rest of us are just kidding

  9. #9

    Re: What is your writing process??

    Quote Originally Posted by SeanHannifin
    Maybe you should try a smaller piece first, like a five minute symphonietta (or whatever they're called) and create a bunch of those as practice. I've started a symphony several times and have yet been able to finish I'm sure you could do it if you really wanted though, it's can just be a rather large undertaking.
    I've written many orchestral 'ideas' but none of them were really good enough to develop on. The symphony is coming well, though. It probably won't be an hour-long Beethoven masterpiece, but I think it'll be good.
    -Chris

  10. #10

    Re: What is your writing process??

    Quote Originally Posted by cptexas
    but I think it'll be good.
    I'll be the judge of that . . .

    Just kidding! Sorry, couldn't help myself . . .

    I look forward to hearing it! You also might want to talk to Beethoven who registered under the name 'DeComposer' or something.
    Sean Patrick Hannifin
    My MP3s | My Melody Generator | my album
    "serious music" ... as if the rest of us are just kidding

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