So come on you lot, how do you do it?

Discussion in 'Off-Topic Chat' started by super_sop, Feb 6, 2004.

  1. super_sop

    super_sop Supporting Member

    well, ive recently started to right a piece of music (with a little help from my friends :wink: ) its a suite for brass quartet.

    bearing in mind i know nothing if that about writing music, im hoping for a little help from you composeres out there.

    were do you start when your writing somthing?

    do you have an idea before you start?

    doyou just start by writing a few notes down and see what happens? (this is how i started mine!)

    any way, over to the experts------------------>
  2. James McFadyen

    James McFadyen New Member

    Firstly get rid of the suite! :wink: no offence but ur talking about the sustaining of Idea in large works and this ONLY comes with knowlege and experience.

    Write something small, start off writing melodies, thinking about designs and structures, most melodies consist of one or two bars, called a motif, they might then repeat a motif, the do a retrograde on the motif and then an inversion, or maybe a varied motif. This is how long melodies are built.

    Composition is a process, it's not a flight of romantic fancy as some will have u believe, it's bloddy hard work and u better believe it! :wink:

    But really start small then gradually work ur way up. Writing a suite without knowing how to actually compose is suicide.

    But do try, man, don't give up, but don't lauch in with both feet too soon! Learn the technqiue first! :wink: :wink:

    Good luck!
  3. Naomi McFadyen

    Naomi McFadyen New Member

    Ideas kinda just start and flow with me... can't explain it sometimes... depends on how I approach a piece...
    Sometimes I play a melody on an instrument; strum chords on a guitar, or play things on the piano; think of melodies in my head; right down rhythms with rough melodies on manuscript; or simply just sit in front of the computer and think of ideas.

    I've been writing music since I was 8 years old... different styles throughout the years... the experience I've picked up along the way has helped a great deal... not just with harmonies and stuff; but with playing different instruments along the way as well... helps you with what capabilities are... it's also an inspiration for me as well
  4. shedophone

    shedophone Member

    Although a lot of composition can be about technique, i wouldn't be too put off.
    I'm not the most experienced composer in the world but i have written some successful ( i hope!) pieces and hope to write many more.....

    I agree that a suite may not be the best way to start off if you really havnt written anything at all before.

    Why not try writing something with four-part harmony, such as a hymn tune, then you can compose a good melody, learn more about compositional devices such as sequence, retrograde etc which will help to extend and develop the few notes you have.

    Then you can harmonise it which will help you in terms of writing chordal progressions, thinking about harmony, and part writing for band.

    Once you get more confident, try out a few counter-melodies, and try to play around with what you have, changing the texture of the accompaniment, passing the melody around the band, and maybe writing another, complimentary idea...

    Hey Presto, you have the second movement of your suite!

    Hope this helps a bit.
  5. jameshowell

    jameshowell Active Member

    good advice there from shedophone
  6. super_sop

    super_sop Supporting Member

    Thankyou shedophone, that is very constructive advice.
    It actually helps alot.

    cheers dude
  7. MoominDave

    MoominDave Well-Known Member

    I always try to have a structure in mind for the whole piece before setting pen to paper. It can be vague (say fast-slow-fast for three movements, to take an obvious example) and even not what I finally end up with, but having some idea of where I'm heading from the start I find helps me write much more meaningfully and concisely. Waffle is the enemy!

  8. BottyBurp

    BottyBurp Member

    Possibly try arranging a hymn tune or melody first to get an idea of what sounds and pitches work, and those that might sound 'muddy'. Might save a bit of heartache later when you actually compose something...

    (Apologies in advance if you're beyond this stage!)
  9. bagpuss

    bagpuss Active Member

    I usually find that the top of the page on the left hand side is a good place to start mate!! :wink: :wink:

  10. James McFadyen

    James McFadyen New Member

    Indeed, the first thing u study is Harmony ad Counterpoint, it's a dry subject but will clear up confusion about how harmony is written and how different rythms fit together in different time sigs/metre.

    In most Harmony and Counterpoint books u'll learn from two great names - Bach and Palastrina. Bach, u'll learn the more free counterpoint, Palastrina, u'll learn strict counterpoint. Strict counterpoint is a very important aspect and although no one really writes in it now, it serves as an excelent basis for free counterpoint.

    You'll mainly write chorales during ur study of this. (they aren't really hymns, a hymn is a chorale put to words for the church)

    Hope u stick at it coz it's a very hard subject, one which can be learn't, but it ain't the sort of thing u can just pick up a book and then do. Sorry if that's not what u wanted to hear..............

    But when u know what ur doing, u'll produce fantastic stuff, so keep at it!

    Oh and get ur stuff played as often as possible!!! Dish out free copies and stuff - u'll get the PRS and MCPS royatlies if it gets perfoemed and recorded, respectively.

    It is advisable to write for string quartet or SATB choir (4 part harmony). Brass Quartets require a certain knack in scoring since spacing of notes is importna in brass writing. The best thing to do is write in 4-part harmony (for voices) on two staves (or 4)

    ur better of with voices, since this will enable you to stick to melodic intervals and not be distracted by wild leaps or effects in music.
  11. super_sop

    super_sop Supporting Member

    LOL I knew i was going wrong somewere! :wink: :wink:
  12. super_sop

    super_sop Supporting Member

    unfortunately i wont be "studying" this as such, but lucklly i have a good MD who has been fantastic in helping me out, and giving me any help that i require. Im also luck in that i have quite a good ear, so as long as i can hear what im writing, i am ok.

    ive written a first piece for my quartet, and have sent it to a few people, to have a look at and listen to and so far everybody seems to like it. We havent "played" it yet, but is sounds like its ok.

    will se how things go.
    keep up the help though everyone,its all good

  13. HBB

    HBB Active Member

    That's cos we're all too nice to say anything horrid! :oops:...

    ... only joshin'! :D

    Keep It Up.... get an idea and persue it!
  14. super_sop

    super_sop Supporting Member

    cheers dude :lol:
  15. HBB

    HBB Active Member

    Do I detect a hint of anger :shock: ... Only Joking :D

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