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Originally posted by Birdienumnum We have all heard orchestral pieces in which there is a bar of silence, which is keenly felt the more so for being silent
I dunno, that silence is usually filled by paroxysms of coughing. They usually make me keenly feel the desire to kill my fellow concert-goers.
"Don't sell your life! Do whatever you really want to do. You must act as the master of your life, and then become free. No matter how difficult it is, no matter how unsuccessful it might seem, do whatever you want!"
-- Michio Kushi
The only way to settle questions of an ideological nature or controversial issues among the people is by the democratic method, the method of discussion, of criticism, of persuasion and education, and not by the method of coercion or repression.
-- Mao Zedong
I've wanted to read this entire thread for a while ,and last week I finally printed it and read the whole thing. this thread contains some really great info, it gave me a lot to think about the next time I try to write something. I don't really have anything productive to post right now but I felt it was important to post to keep this thread from drifting into obscurity.
...since I copy-pasted (without reading) all the main points into word so that I can have a hardcopy of this INVALUABLE information. Thanks Jeez and co.!
BUT, what about BRIDGES man? I find myself coming up with cool main melodies and basslines, but when it is time to bridge Cool melody #1 with Friggin' Cool melody #2, I just can't seem to find that je-ne-sais-quoi?
"Ideas for bridge building" could be a good next topic?
Originally posted by DeepSleeper I find myself coming up with cool main melodies and basslines, but when it is time to bridge Cool melody #1 with Friggin' Cool melody #2, I just can't seem to find that je-ne-sais-quoi?
Take a look at my posts on variation and development.
Often the answer is not to create new material, but to create a new twist on existing material.
The Composition Thread is sticky!
There is no heavier burden than a great potential.- Unknown source
O.K... This is just off the top of my dome piece... I might add more later if I'm at the cpu...
- It's all about motion and momentum
Be keenly aware of how the intricacies of a musical structure effect the perception of a linear and moving melodic statement; same goes with rhythm. A very simple piece, or a complex one, which belies awareness of the effect it's having on the listener, in this regard, will most likely be more effective than a piece which eschews concerns for the listener-- and the idea of linearity being valid. I love all sorts of unconventional rhythmic and harmonic approaches, which may be interpreted as "non linear", but even then I am more inclinded to use that as a sort of commentary on linearity; existing in relation to or as a variation on something which has been reasoned out by myself to be cohesive.
The prime concern when blatantly breaking rhythmic and tonal conventions should be HONESTY, and on breaking through theoretical and aesthetic crud to HONESTLY relate a structure which moves in certain ways, to move an audience. Now let me say something that flies in the face of this: when feeling your way around blatantly imitate others but when doing so think about the process of reasoning that lead that person to put their piece together in the fashion they did it in. I can tell you, most great composers and musicians have been willing to break rules if it got in the way of honest expression. Yet, other aspects of form are elusive, and so you should get a grip on some ideas of theory, and form, by reading, listening, and imitating. If you are not connected with such concerns, you may be composing in bad faith. If you are more or less conforming to a convention at the expense of honesty, you may have problems which penetrate beyond your life as a music maker.
- Derive harmonic ideas from melodic content....
As in, be mindful of how the spacing of notes, inversions, and substitutions can bring out the melody(or whatever linear statement) and give this great weight when considering how you hear that melodie's harmony and "counterpoint" Think in terms of overall harmony, as related to momentum, rather than getting stuck into rules of proper chord progressions. That is, consider melody as what gives a sense of linearity which can be followed and understood... Consider harmony as existing towards this end of affecting the perception of these lines of motion, and NOT towards some notion of proper chord progressions... Think harmony and lines of motion...not chords and cookie cutter finger positions.
Jeez, I say this as a little man standing on the shoulder of giants, but as a gesture of participation I'll say it anyways...
When I say linear I mean following a line. The musical equivilant would be melody, or maybe even a quasi-melody. But the idea is larger than that, really, because how does that line work harmonically with more than one voice? And also, how is the idea of counterpoint approached?
Let us see:
So you take the melody from some folk tune...right..
Maybe you write a simple melody...
Rather than just throw a chord progression and a bass line with that, using harmonized church modes, focus on the linear self preservation of each voice. This would mean, that accordingly, various combinations of, and intervals between, notes are not found in the church modes, and various inversions of chords from the modes may become reasonable selections which otherwise would not occour; that is, to get the best results a resonable person might be inclined to follow the line of each voice, and when an area where another chord or key is in play then be aware of how that effects the line of each voice in the chord and the melodic line, and then you may find certain choices for notes will maintain the line and each choice will have a different result.
If you went with a traditional "figured bass" approach such as is common in Baroque Music, or one common to jazz and pop composing, where standard sorts of progressions and chord useage is followed with a melody or a lead voice thrown on top, and a bass riff below, then you will understand the contrast in approach. When you are connecting chords be aware of how each voice is moving from one note to the next, and to do that be mindful of the preservation of a line for each voice, as opposed to just throwing around chord fingerings. Doing this is focusing on melodic content and its relation to harmony. Chords, according to Ernst Toch, "are like empty honeycombs, waiting to be filled with substance; dead skeletons in need of being awakened to life."(see The Shaping Forces of Music by Ernst Toch))
According to Johann Joseph Fux, "Motion in music denotes the distance covered in passing from one interval to another in either direction, up or down."
His book, 'The Study of Counterpoint' or Gradus AD Parnassum (Point against point), is comprised of a series of conversations, between student and teacher, where he develops his conception of ornamental counterpoint. But, for a second lets get back to MOTION; to Fux, when dealing with counterpoint we have three types of motion:
Direct motion is when two or more parts ascend or descend in the same direction.
Contrary Motion is one one part ascends while another descends.
Oblique Motion is when one part moves while the other remains stationary.
After explaining this Fux continues on by laying out a rather rigid set of guidelines pertaining to which intervals to use with certain types of motion, i.e. various degree's of consonance and dissonance. It is a rather enjoyable and brief read, albeit a bit dated. This ornamental counterpoint was, according to Toch, "the altogether prevailing form of expression during the heyday of polyphonic writing..." However, Toch warns us that while tone poets like Mozart and Bach used these ideas to great effect, that they at worst degenerate into an "idle sport", or "dry pedantry". In his "Shaping forces of Music" Toch critiques this form of counterpoint and introduces an alternate form that unlike the ornamental variety is less imitative and more as he puts it, fermentive.
Counterpoint isn't necessarily point against point. It doesn't have to serve the formulamaic, and less individually expressive, ornamental functions. A different sort of counterpoint is atrributed to Richard Wagner. This fermentive counterpoint, though still identifiable as a contrasting relation of voices, it differed from the imitative and ornamental variety of counterpoint: this counterpoint is part of a process of fermenrartion, of propulsion and formation. Another way to think of it is as a conversation where two people discussing a topic go back and forth a few times before ending up with the same idea.
It's hard to explain these approaches beyond suggesting that to get a grasp on ornamental counterpoint listen to lots of Bach and Mozart, for Fermentive listen to lots of Wagner, and read similar musical literature. I suggest these composers because, according to Toch, counterpoint plays an intrinsic part in each of these masters stylings. According to Toch," Wagners counterpoint becomes functional towards fermentation, and hence emotionalism." Mozarts counterpoint, "directed the other way, becomes functional towards crystalization, serentity and spiritualism."