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  • Originally posted by Neole
    I need more reads!


    Yeah so do I, but I'm flat out at Uni right now, and not likely to have much time for a couple of months.

    It's really up to you guys to carry this now.

    Forever,




    Kim.
    <div class="signaturecontainer"><a href="http://acapella.harmony-central.com/forums/showthread.php?s=&amp;threadid=361618&amp;perpage= 20&amp;pagenumber=1" target="_blank">The Composition Thread</a> is sticky!<br />
    <font size="1"> There is no heavier burden than a great potential.<i>- Unknown source</i></font></div>

    Comment


    • Jeez--

      Jeez! This is a great thread!

      Thanks for this service.
      It's the only thead I've ever copied & saved
      for future reference.

      Thanks!

      I'm a mediocre musician. But I make great music.
      Good musicians want to play with me.
      http://www.mp3.com/marcellis1

      (Listen to "Fantomas Waltz" or "Shijun" or
      "LA After Dark (Lost Youth)"

      if you don't believe me.)

      But I'd like to learn more about formal
      composition methods.

      Jeez-Thanks for this!
      YOUTUBE

      France

      Murika

      Comment


      • Yep, it's me again. Here to save the thread from autoprunage...

        I'd like to say a little something about forground and background.

        We all know the usual tricks to place instruments in the forground or background:

        Forground
        Louder
        Drier (less chorus/reverb)
        More high and low frequencies

        Background
        Quieter
        Wetter (more chorus/reverb)
        Less high and low frequencies


        Another useful trick that many people overlook is that of animation. If there are two instruments at equal distance, the listener will (usually) focus on the instrument that is more animated - that is, the instrument that is more active, moving, changing, etc.

        Try this experiment for yourself:

        1) Set up a simple fat beat, and make it obviously in the foreground - loud, dry, tall. Also make it fairly sparse (so you can hear "through" it) - kinda like a hiphop beat. Make the pattern one bar long, and repeat that bar forever.

        2) Choose a second instrument (it doesn't really matter what), and make it obviously in the background (quieter, wetter (but don't wash it out), less low and high frequencies, etc). Give it enough definition to be heard though (this is also why the drumbeat should be sparse, so you can hear this 2nd instrument through it).

        3) Now play a long solo or something with the background instrument, or make it do something interesting over an extended period of time. Just don't loop it.

        Record it and listen back.

        Notice that despite the obvious sonic cues, our focus shifts away from the drumbeat and onto the 2nd instrument. This is because the drumbeat is simple and repetitive - so we already know what it's doing after hearing a few bars - there's no need to focus on it after that. On the other hand, the 2nd instrument is interesting, it keeps changing and doesn't follow a predictable pattern.

        Just a short post today. Something to think about.

        Something's caught in my computer fan so I've got to stop this early anyway to fix it. It's making this awful racket.... but I was listenening to Kid606 so for a while there I thought it was part of the music....

        Forever,




        Kim.
        <div class="signaturecontainer"><a href="http://acapella.harmony-central.com/forums/showthread.php?s=&amp;threadid=361618&amp;perpage= 20&amp;pagenumber=1" target="_blank">The Composition Thread</a> is sticky!<br />
        <font size="1"> There is no heavier burden than a great potential.<i>- Unknown source</i></font></div>

        Comment


        • I want more lessons (stamps foot).

          Comment


          • Ok, I'm back.

            Again, no "lessons" as such, but something to think about when you compose.

            Normally when we compose a piece of music, we are working on it in a non-linear fashion. That means we can work a little on the start, then work on the end, then maybe add a new section in the middle, whatever. Also, our perception of the piece is non-linear - being so intimately involved with the piece (and its construction), we usually know the entire piece by memory. That gives us (the composers) the ability to compose parts of a piece in the context of the rest of the piece.

            Your listener, however, will have a very different experience of the music. As an artform, music is particularly interesting because it exists in time. You listener will listen to your piece by starting at the start, listening through each moment once, and stopping at the end.

            Yeah, so what?

            Consider that the listener will also have no (or at least, very little) knowledge of the piece before listening. S/he will begin the listening experience knowing nothing, and gradually (and linearly) learn more about they piece as it is experienced. I like to think of this as an "unravelling" or "unfolding" of music - as the listener experiences the piece, it is being revealed, opened up.

            This observation has interesting implications for different sections of a piece.

            The beginning is significant because it "introduces" the language of the music to the listener. When you listen to a piece of music, the beginning is the first thing you hear - and thus, it is what influences the expectations that you have for the rest of the piece. It is what sets the context for the remainder of the listening session. When composing the beginning of a piece, consider that this is the first thing your listener will hear.

            The ending is (in this respect) the complete opposite - the listener hears it in the context of the entire piece. By the time the listener gets near the end of a piece, s/he has travelled through the "journey" of the music, and (hopefully) understands the language[1] of the music. When composing the ending, consider that the listener hears this after hearing the entire piece through once.

            The middle of a piece is also interesting, because this is (usually) where the "scene has been set" - the listener has some idea about what the laguage of the music is, and what to expect for the rest of the piece. Most well-written pieces use a/the middle section to develop and enrich the listeners understanding and experience of the world you (as the composer) have created.

            All this, of course, doesn't mean that this is the way it has to be, or that this is the (only) way to compose "good music". As the composer, you are free to subvert the rules or discard them completely. However, understanding how a listener listens to a piece will (hopefully) help you make better informed decisions during the composition process.

            Just a short one today.

            Loop up though, I've got a few more in the pipe for the next few days.

            Forever,




            Kim.

            [1] The language of the music - I don't mean spoken language, but the language of the sounds - kinda like the sonic "world" of the piece.
            <div class="signaturecontainer"><a href="http://acapella.harmony-central.com/forums/showthread.php?s=&amp;threadid=361618&amp;perpage= 20&amp;pagenumber=1" target="_blank">The Composition Thread</a> is sticky!<br />
            <font size="1"> There is no heavier burden than a great potential.<i>- Unknown source</i></font></div>

            Comment


            • Originally posted by Jeez
              The ending is (in this respect) the complete opposite - the listener hears it in the context of the entire piece. By the time the listener gets near the end of a piece, s/he has travelled through the "journey" of the music, and (hopefully) understands the language[1] of the music. When composing the ending, consider that the listener hears this after hearing the entire piece through once.
              Kim.



              Very nice post Jeez. Thanks by that.
              I may comment some about endings.
              They can be previsible, ie, the listener knows the end is coming.
              This can be done thru some achord movement or sometimes, just reducing volume like going distant from the listener.
              Or can be abrupt, just breaking the music. If you don
              <div class="signaturecontainer"><a target="_blank" href="http://jd800center.blogspot.com">The JD-800 Center super synth site</a><br><br><a target="_blank" href="http://www.myspace.com/gilbertostrapazon">Myspace have some of my music or just Stoned Noise</a><br><br><a target="_blank" href="http://acapella.harmony-central.com/forums/showthread.php?s=d098564754522752c27e170143ccd770& amp;threadid=1416674">Harmony Central Roland JD-990/JD-800 competition </a></div>

              Comment


              • Regarding the beginning, as a composer its easy to introduce various motifs into the beginning all at once. Since the composer has already got used to the various melodies used while composing them, its easy for him to get used to the song starting that way. But for someone listening for the first time this will probably sound like a muddle of notes. So its always good to introduce instruments slowly, one or two at a time, a tune/hook at a time.

                The same can make for a good ending, taking away the instruments one by one till all you're left with is the voice or a solo instrument.

                The beginning is also a good place to introduce the main hook of the song, so its got more time to settle in the mind of a listener than if it was introduced later.

                Comment


                • gilbertopb,

                  The middle of the piece is significant because it is mostly free of any preconceptions or restrictions that stem from the way a listener experiences a piece of music. The middle is where the composer is (mostly) free to take the listener along any journey, towards any destination.

                  What you mention about the appropriateness of the ending (too early, too late, too short , too long, etc) is very much an issue of proportion - particularly as it relates to long-term structure. Perhaps I'll write an entry about long-term proportion.... once I've thought/learned some more about it.


                  Neole,

                  You're understanding this well - it's important to remember the listener's perspective, and how they experience a piece in a very different way to the composer. Gradually adding in elements and taking them out again is an effective method, and very popular with multitracked music. This is just one method though - see if you can think of some other ways to introduce a piece or finish a piece given what I've mentioned.

                  Forever,




                  Kim.
                  <div class="signaturecontainer"><a href="http://acapella.harmony-central.com/forums/showthread.php?s=&amp;threadid=361618&amp;perpage= 20&amp;pagenumber=1" target="_blank">The Composition Thread</a> is sticky!<br />
                  <font size="1"> There is no heavier burden than a great potential.<i>- Unknown source</i></font></div>

                  Comment


                  • Originally posted by Jeez
                    proportion - particularly as it relates to long-term structure.

                    Kim.



                    This Wisdom!
                    I needed a lot of words to say what you explain so clear in one word: "proportion".

                    Proportion is what makes sense when you look to a beautifull woman, or listen to a nice music, or listen to a landscape.
                    <div class="signaturecontainer"><a target="_blank" href="http://jd800center.blogspot.com">The JD-800 Center super synth site</a><br><br><a target="_blank" href="http://www.myspace.com/gilbertostrapazon">Myspace have some of my music or just Stoned Noise</a><br><br><a target="_blank" href="http://acapella.harmony-central.com/forums/showthread.php?s=d098564754522752c27e170143ccd770& amp;threadid=1416674">Harmony Central Roland JD-990/JD-800 competition </a></div>

                    Comment


                    • Originally posted by Jeez
                      This is just one method though - see if you can think of some other ways to introduce a piece or finish a piece given what I've mentioned.


                      I give up.. you tell me? (I compose only songs with vocals so I tend to think along those lines only, not classical type pieces or instrumental only trance tracks.)

                      Comment


                      • One thing that comes to my mind is the sort of "flashback" technique used often in Cinema. In other words, the piece may start "with the end"! Say, the piece is introduced via a massive orchestral ran-tan-tan-tan-tan-tan-TAN, which tears up a storm for the first minute or so, then the piece mellows out, builds along smoothly only to culminate in the same massive theme that was "flashed back to" in the very beginning.

                        This may have been touched upon earlier, but another structure building technique is just to vary the sounds that U are using for distinct melodies/riffs/parts of the piece. An obvious illustration would be something like a piece being introduced with a nice acoustic guitar line, then the same line (or a very close variation thereof) is played in the middle of the piece with vibes, possibly only to be in the background for other, at that point more dominant sounds. In the end the piece may come to a climax with the particular line (or close variation thereof) being played on a heavy, distorted guitar and cellos.

                        Earlier someone mentioned that a good technique is to add instruments / parts one at a time, say every 8-16 bars. This essentially works very well, however, especially in electronic dance music, has become quite a "formula"! Everybody knows how it goes, and for those who don't:

                        Strings/pads, after 8 bars add hi-hats, 6 bars, then 2 bar snare roll, add claps/snares, after 8 bars add rest of percussion, 4 bars, then 4 bar snare roll culminating in a crash which starts off the kickdrum and bassline, then keep adding synth lines, stabs, melodies every 8 bars and towards the end, just remove tracks every 8 bars until you're left with what you started with: strings/pads, and there you have the structure for your typical trance/house/techno track.

                        So, since this structure is so "over-used", I like to mix up my own "electronic dance" tracks so that you don't expect THAT crash every 8 bars, or that snare roll every 32 bars. Instead of building up the kick, hihat, snare, clap, bassline -combination over 40 bars, sometimes it's just good to start with the whole damn groove right off the bat, and then just vary it, and add to it, take away from it. But try to avoid that "linear" structure which I consider 'one-thing-ever-eight-bars' -approach to be. Yes, it may be DJ friendly to stretch out the beginnigs and the endings, I totally agree with that and understand the need for that as well, but when composing you're own music to be performed live, the crowd doesn't want to wait for 2 minutes in every track just to reach the kickdrum coming in.

                        And one last thing, if you always rely on the '8 bars then something' strategy, your tracks will end up sounding wooden, rigid, static. There'll be no life, no movement, no breathing room. So sometimes start a bridge after 9 bars, 11 bars, 13 bars, ANYTHING but the standard 8 bars. Or, instead of a massive velocity-swept 8 bar snare roll at the end of the breakdown to start off the climax, program/play an interesting 10 bar percussion solo with timbale / conga sounds.

                        AVOIDS DA CLICHES!

                        Comment


                        • In your first (or rather, second) post, you had mentioned that you will post "How to write a Pop-song" in a very detailed manner, IF anybody is interested.

                          Well, I AM very very interested in that particular topic and I would be very very glad if you could post that for me. It would be MORE useful to me, if you make it "as big/detailed as possible".

                          Waiting eagerly for your post,
                          Stanley
                          <div class="signaturecontainer"><font color="red"><a href="http://acapella.harmony-central.com/forums/showthread.php?s=&amp;threadid=435404" target="_blank"><font size="4">The H-C Music Links Directory</font></a><font color="crimson"> - <font face="times new roman"><font size="3">Help Build the Ultimate Directory of Music Links - <i><font size="4"><b>for</b></font></i> HC-Musicians, <font size="4"><i><b>by</b></i></font> HC-Musicians!</font></font></font> <img src="http://img3.harmony-central.com/acapella/ubb/cool.gif" border="0" alt="" title="Cool" class="inlineimg" /><img src="http://img3.harmony-central.com/acapella/ubb/cool.gif" border="0" alt="" title="Cool" class="inlineimg" /><img src="http://img3.harmony-central.com/acapella/ubb/cool.gif" border="0" alt="" title="Cool" class="inlineimg" /><br />
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                          • Originally posted by Stanley
                            Waiting eagerly for your post,
                            Stanley


                            Check it out here

                            And here it is.

                            For those waiting for more posts to this thread, hang on. They're coming.

                            Forever,




                            Kim.
                            <div class="signaturecontainer"><a href="http://acapella.harmony-central.com/forums/showthread.php?s=&amp;threadid=361618&amp;perpage= 20&amp;pagenumber=1" target="_blank">The Composition Thread</a> is sticky!<br />
                            <font size="1"> There is no heavier burden than a great potential.<i>- Unknown source</i></font></div>

                            Comment


                            • A bit more about The Listener Experience.

                              Let me propose for today that the act of thinking primarily consists of making connection, correlations, coherence.

                              What does that mean for the music listener?

                              If we apply this to listening, we find that the process of listening involves making connections between music elements. This has to go hand in hand with remembering, because the listener makes connections in their mind. For the moment, we'll consider that the listener is making connections between music ideas - this encompases motifs, phrases, melodies, gestures, etc.

                              Let's forget for a moment that some people choose to listen to music solely for enjoyment.

                              This poses an interesting job description for the composer. By this model of listening, the composer's job is to create a piece that stimulates cognition (and recognition). If we agree that the listener is engaged in (in various degrees):
                                aspect of "B". For example, a drum rhythm could be related to the timbre (filtering, eq) of a pad, or maybe the pace contour of a drum pattern is matched by the pitch of a melody. See my post on Variation And Development for more ideas.

                                Finally, the relationship doesn't have to be obvious, or even presented all at once. A musical idea might morph to create a relationship with another idea. Or two ideas could have several relationships, each being revealed one by one.


                                Yeah, I know. That was pretty abstract - although I tried to make it more practical to composition! Ultimately though, it's up to you as the reader and as a composer to take what I've written and interpret it in some way to make it useful to your composition!

                                See you next time.

                                Forever,




                                Kim.
                              <div class="signaturecontainer"><a href="http://acapella.harmony-central.com/forums/showthread.php?s=&amp;threadid=361618&amp;perpage= 20&amp;pagenumber=1" target="_blank">The Composition Thread</a> is sticky!<br />
                              <font size="1"> There is no heavier burden than a great potential.<i>- Unknown source</i></font></div>

                              Comment


                              • ... for that post.

                                Btw., this is a great thread. I love it. It helps me a lot. From yesterday, I have been visiting it five times a day. Have read ALL the posts. Simply TERRIFIC.

                                Please keep it going. I can learn a lot many things from you all. Three cheers for you all!
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