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January 10, 2013
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Any tips on composing music?

:iconq-le:
Q-Le Featured By Owner Jan 10, 2013  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
Recently I started to give a try on composing music (piano and electric guitar).
I'm usually able to produce a little melody, that I like but then I'm stuck.
I can't seem to finish the song and with piano I don't know what to do with my left hand either.
I played keyboard for 2/3 years and now I've been playing piano for over two years, both with lessons. Guitar for one year self taught so it's probably easier for me to start with piano.
Somehow I never got any theory from both my teachers about things like the circle of fifths, different scales etc. (or I completely missed it :?)
Is this important to know this well?
And if so, do you have any recommendations where I can learn it or any books I should buy?
What's you're way of composing music?
BTW the style I like on piano is classical and rock on guitar

Also, show me your music! would love to hear it :)
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Devious Comments

:iconjonathan120:
Jonathan120 Featured By Owner Feb 2, 2013
This is a piece I started yesterday for a new fantasy album; [link]

When I first began trying to write my own orchestra music at age 17 after having practiced my first instrument a guitar (Metallica etc songs from TAB) I didn't know any theory, just some guitar scales/modes. I've always had a good sense of melody, that's something that you can't teach.

I've only ever learned songs on guitar and then started trying to write my own music out of nothing but sheer enjoyment and it's always been that way. I stopped guitar completely a few years ago because it stopped giving me the same rush of excitement as composing for orchestra gave. I can read music, though I can't sight read. If music is played in front of me it takes quite some time to be able to perform the notes on any instrument. I can however notate in music the things I create either on an instrument or in my head. But I just use a DAW (Digital Audio Workstation, Cubase being my choice) to record/perform the music in with a USB 88 key keyboard and then edit the notes to make them as realistic as is possible with a limited mid-range computer.

I think a good starting point in composing is first of all to be very familiar as a listener to the genre you wish to compose in. Secondly, I think learning a variety of songs some time before composing in the specific genre will help to get a feel for what you're trying to create. As a composer I don't listen to music that often but when I do I try to make it so the music I listen to is the opposite of what I am writing. On occasions I'll refer to specific pieces of music as an orchestration guide. The Disney wedding music on my SoundCloud channel was

The more time you put into it the better you'll become. I'm almost entirely self-taught and a lot of what I know is just from pure practice over and over, the more I write the more I continue to learn. Although I have read books such as 'The A to B Guide To Music theory,' 'Principles of Orchestration' and I've just purchased some jazz books to improve my understanding of harmony. Harmony is something I feel is the hardest and last thing to learn which is directly in relation to the fact that the human ear first hears the melody, then the bass and finally the harmony of notes in between making up the chords.

My final and most important advice to anyone would be to practice, practice, practice. It's that which has gotten me where I am today and will continue to take me to new places.

I don't know if any of those anecdotes will help, but there you go ^_^
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:iconjonathan120:
Jonathan120 Featured By Owner Feb 2, 2013
"The Disney wedding music on my SoundCloud channel was inspired by a track called 'Transformation' from the Beauty and the Beast album."

Forgot to finish that sentence with the small comment box sorry.
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:iconana1129:
Ana1129 Featured By Owner Jan 13, 2013  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
First come up with a melody, then add some chords to it. Then, don't make it sound unnatural with the same chords, add some variation, modulate into different keys, have fun with it. I got all this from personal experience. Good luck! ^^
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:iconkaos-chosen:
Kaos-chosen Featured By Owner Jan 11, 2013  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
this book [link] can be quite useful, it has circle of fifths and lot of other music theory. Recommended by both my teachers! I think i'm in the same boat as you, I find nice rhythms to play on guitar, piano and saxophone, but when it comes to forming a complete song, I struggle :/

So far, I've only used that book to look up circle of fifths, but plan on looking for details on composition when I have my instruments around me :)
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:iconq-le:
Q-Le Featured By Owner Jan 12, 2013  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
Thanks! That book looks like it's just what I need.
I think it's a lot of practice as well... which kind of sucks sometimes :P
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:iconkaos-chosen:
Kaos-chosen Featured By Owner Jan 13, 2013  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
I find that when I'm playing my own pieces, practice doesn't feel like a chore as it sometimes was for my grades through alto sax. It's just a relaxing past time!:D

Though writing it down always been hard, 8 years of playing alto sax to then come to a piano to find they had different clefs to each hand! :O It's so annoying! Anyways, good luck with your compositions! :)
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:iconthisomessedup:
ThISoMessedUp Featured By Owner Jan 11, 2013  Hobbyist Photographer
Don't think about it too much. It will come naturally. Some of the best songs in the world aren't thought about.
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:iconq-le:
Q-Le Featured By Owner Jan 12, 2013  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
That's very true, it's just a bit frustrating sometimes
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:iconartfreakish:
Artfreakish Featured By Owner Jan 11, 2013  Student Digital Artist
It's important to know your theory. Get to know the 7 basic (Dorian, Lydian, etc.) major scales, major and minor pentatonic scales and their variations. Learn how to improvise by freestyling and listening to a lot of different music styles. Other than just play and enjoy. Everyone has music in their hearts and after plenty of practice and challenging oneself it should come out. And at time you will be able to compose music. My best tip is to first learn to walk before you start running. Become a skilled musician before moving on to composign and such so that you have the proper understanding and technique to express yourself.
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:iconq-le:
Q-Le Featured By Owner Jan 12, 2013  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
I'll definitely learn some theory after all the comments.
I've tried improvising before but it kind of sounds off tune all the time, but I guess I need to know more theory for that. Listening to different music styles has never really been an issue for me, but I just personally like to play classical on piano and rock on guitar. For me it's kind of unnatural to play for example pop on piano (even though it can be great).
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