Hello everyone, today I"ll be discussing one way of approaching a composition challenge. The blog is a complimentary post to the video tutorial listed below. The approach discussed is effective if you are:
Here are few tips I think are essential before starting your composition:
1 - Choose what form you're composing in:
Many start their compositions with a melodic theme that they've improvised or feel strongly about. While this is great, it usually leads to disaster. Often, the inspiration fades in few dates since it is 'personal' and not set in concrete goals. Moreover, the personal theme cannot go anywhere since it was conceived as a sentimental notion rather than a well thought of trajectory (for example, a fugue starts on tonic note, leads towards dominant, and resolves back to tonic in nearly all of its subjects).
Start out by choosing your form: a song? does it have vocals? guitar solo? where do you want the solo? a minuet? sonata form? theme and variations? etc. This will answer significant questions about length and form structure for you before you start the composition.
2 - Choose a piece you like: you will emulate this piece as a practice skeleton. While this feels like copying, it is:
For my video tutorial, I have picked Lagrima by Tarrega
3 - don't be afraid to make mistakes.
This might seem obvious but it is difficult for many. All I have to say is look at Beethoven's sketches for Symphony no 5.
4 - Don't judge your composition by your 'feeling' about the piece. You are making an intellectual decisions to structure sounds in pitch over rhythm, nowhere in there are you required to 'love' the piece. Of course, loving the result will motivate you to continue composing. However, often than not, you are engaged in making musical decisions not personal decisions. If you can separate the two, you'll find your self going through many compositions at ease, and in fact, develop experience knowing what you do and do not like. Moreover, most people who compose from feeling alone, don't usually have tip no5
5 - Study your theory: in the tutorial I more or less speed through the process of composing the notes because I know my theory. It took me less than 47 minutes in real time to compose the piece and most amateur listeners will say it was good. Do I like the piece? not really. Does it satisfy my goal and exceeds it? most likely.
However, I was only able to achieve this result because I knew my notes, intervals, chords, scales, key signatures, time signatures, modulations, sequences, and large form structures and analysis. All this and more is required for you to be able to navigate your own compositions and decision making. Don't be lazy through your theory courses.
Alright folks, that's it for this blog, I hope these 'umbrella' tips will help you and that my video shows you a hands on approach to composition. As always, leave a comment, subscribe, and share. If you want to help me create more free content, consider donating or buying an arrangement, both can be done through my website.
These are short comments I post as I navigate through waters.