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Topic: Question regarding resources for learning composition and arranging

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  1. #1
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Jan 2005
    Location
    Houston, TX
    Posts
    152

    Question Question regarding resources for learning composition and arranging

    Folks:

    I have finally reached a point in my life where I have more time to devote to music, which I have dearly loved all of my life. I started playing piano when I was 6 (47 years ago) but didn’t play for many years as an adult. I received a Bachelor of Arts degree in Sacred Music back in the early 80s, but have never done anything with it. I became a computer engineer, and really have given little time to music for the past 25 years.
    I would like to learn to compose both choral as well as orchestral works. I know that I have a long road in front of me, but I am determined.
    I have no desire to go back to school (too old), and for me, I find it is best to learn on my own, as I can be flexible and study when I’m not working.
    What I am asking you all is for your advice, as to what texts and/or other resources to purchase that I can use to learn the skills that I need in order to compose and arrange.
    Any help and advice is GREATLY appreciated, thanks so much!

  2. #2

    Re: Question regarding resources for learning composition and arranging


  3. #3

    Re: Question regarding resources for learning composition and arranging

    You can indeed teach yourself to compose! Strangely, there are practically no books entitled "How to Compose Music". You have to piece it together with books on harmony, form, and orchestration.

    For orchestration, you have the Rimsky-Korsakov orchestration and Chuck Israels jazz arranging courses here at Garritan, which allow you to listen to the examples as you read--unbeatable! Adler's book is another popular text.

    For music theory and harmony, two basic books I've found helpful are First Year Harmony by Philip Friedheim, and Harmony in Western Music by Richard Franko Goldman, both very practical, hands-on books. If you were a music major the Friedheim may be too basic, but the Goldman is an excellent overview.

    For counterpoint (two melodies at once) and musical forms (sonata, rondo, etc.), British author R. O. Morris gives you the no-nonsense basics. All these books (except the Adler) are out of print; you can probably find them on alibris.com, abebooks.com or Amazon.com. Also browse around your local libraries and see what they have. Whatever books you use, go through them at the keyboard, playing the examples, for maximum benefit.

    And don't wait to start composing! Start NOW, and let your study feed into it as you go. Jot down melodies, figure out chords to go with them, and arrange them for piano, voices, or small groups of instruments. Have fun!

  4. #4
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Jan 2005
    Location
    Houston, TX
    Posts
    152

    Thumbs up Re: Question regarding resources for learning composition and arranging

    Thanks so much, folks, for your encouragement and ideas. I have the Rimsky-Korsakov book on orchestration, and I have briefly looked at the jazz and orchestration courses offered here, and do look forward to getting in to them, but I am first going to go through my college text books, harmony, counterpoint, etc. first, which I hope to finish over the next few months, then look forward to delving deeper into things.
    FYI, the tools that I have at my disposal offer me far greater potential than I currently possess; I have just upgraded to Finale 2008, Sonar 7 PE, and have just purchased the strad and JABB this weekend, to go along with my GPO. I use an old Roland A-80 keyboard with the GPO piano.
    Any other software tools that you all might recommend?

    I will be looking to find the text books you mention on eBay or half price books, and please continue to share your ideas, thoughts, and advice!

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