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Author Topic: Newbie Composer - Need Help  (Read 6980 times)
Goliath
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« on: May 31, 2005, 06:35:09 PM »

Hello everyone, I'm probably not well known, since this is my second post Tongue but anyway, I'll get on with it.

I play the trombone in my band at school, and about a year ago, I was awarded the music award at my middle school graduation.  Ever since then I became VERY interested in music, and over the course of a year I tried to become as musically inclined as I could.  So, this school year, I began to compose my own music.  At first I hand wrote it on pieces of lined paper, after playing stuff on my trombone.  Then I tried a downloadable music writing program (Finale 2005) and I liked it so much that I began composing solos for several instruments. For Christmas my family got me a full version of that.  Ever since then I've been composing (in my spare time, you know, school gets in the way Tongue) a full band score, entitled, "The Crusader."  (There is also a problem, I can't make enough parts because that program only lets me use 24 staves, so I have excluded percussion for the moment; I intend to buy a better version after I make some money this summer.)  However, I really have no training in writing a full band score, and what I have written has just been trial and error of what I wanted it to be and changing things around.  I've used all of the knowledge I've learned in my years of music.  Is this bad?  Should I really LEARN what I'm doing first?  Should I learn how to play other instruments first?  I have been wanting to stay after with my music teacher but things have been very busy as of late.  
I'd love to let you guys hear it but I don't know of a way to post my song on the Internet--sorry  Sad
Thank you to anyone who reads and/or replies.
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NightShader
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« Reply #1 on: June 02, 2005, 12:56:30 AM »

Most of all the work I've been composing is all trial&error, and by analysing other people's works.

I don't think it's necessary to play each of the instruments, as long as you know what way they can play it. Meaning articulation, reach, expression, tone, intervals, and certain riffs.
And even most of these things can be found in books and such, depending on what instruments you need to know.

Also, if you want to make a song with good harmonics and melody, you might just compose the whole song on one instrument only first. (In my case, piano)
After you have the full piece in just chords and melody, you can seperate it into tracks and devide it over the instruments.
Tip: When you've done it thusfar, you might consider adding more details at this point. (Especially useful in orchestration and film-music)

If Finale doesn't satisfy because of the short number of tracks. You might want to consider using Cubase, Logic, Cakewalk or Sonar. I use Sonar, and Sonar has up to 256tracks. (Audio & MIDI)

Hope to have helped you somewhat.
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Pascal van Stekelenburg
Goliath
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« Reply #2 on: June 02, 2005, 03:50:25 PM »

Thank you very much for your input good sir!
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« Reply #3 on: June 04, 2005, 12:47:25 AM »

NightShader has good points...

but...

Arranging your piece for chamber, orch, whatever requires a little more idiomatic knowledge of the instruments; it's not as simple as dividing the piece amongst instruments in the orchestra as NightShader suggested.  

 :wink:

As Shader suggested, pick up a book on Orchestration. Get one with an audio CD if possible...check the college bookstores in your area. REALLY get to know each instrument; the breaks, colors, wolf tones, and playable range as opposed to 'ideal' range, etc.

Now...you are a student. Use your school ensemble to your advantage. Compose pieces for small chamber groups and experiment with color combinations. Play with the colors. Mix em up. Swap out instruments and idiomatic ideas...utilize the character of each instrument when speaking with it, as an extension of your thematic ideas. Ask the other students to talk to you about their instruments (and your arrangement), and hit on some key points (playability, etc.). Record the reading sessions. Analyze.

Thats how you get better.

IF you can, talk to composers in your area....college students are a good place to start. If you're in CA I can offer some more poignant help. Your music teacher isn't the ONLY resource!!! Explore your community...

One last note about midi production; I know TOOOOO many composers who depend on the sound of their audio set up to compose. Don't make it a habit of listening to your computer when you write; use it as a tool to get the notes out. You may find that you get frustrated with the 'imperfections'
 that live musicians interject. Also, the color-tones of your samples can get close, but will not (yet) flawlessly emulate the intricacies of the real thing. Remember this when you're sketching...try to 'hear' the REAL instrument voice in your inner ear.

Good luck!!
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Goliath
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« Reply #4 on: June 05, 2005, 07:32:21 PM »

I see.  Thank you as well, Adam.  I actually do have a book that I just started reading on composing.  I've just been busy with school lately (finals... :x ) and it's been hard to find some spare time.  Once summer vacation starts I will probably have more time to devote to music.

Thanks again!  Smiley

Edit: I thank you for trying to to point out some help for me, but I'm afraid I'm on the other side of the country (New York)   :cry: thanks though.
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