Basic Composition Book Recommends?

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continuous
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Basic Composition Book Recommends?

Post by continuous » Sat Apr 04, 2009 6:44 pm

Any recommendations for a good, easy to understand book on writing basic compositions for a semi-noob with a limited understanding of music theory?

Although I've been tinkering around with my laptop and live for more than a few years now I'm ashamed to say I've never actually finished a track. I've loads of little bits that I've built but have trouble expanding them into an actual piece

It's time for me to refocus.

That's not to say that I don't really enjoy creating a few bars and just letting them reverberate through the house... creating an atmosphere. That's all I ever hoped for outta all this really. But it gets to be a little more fun when you've got an intro that comes on and develops into a structure with changes that kick in etc.

Very basic pop/rock/whatever song structure is what I'm after here so that I can just make some basic little tunes that have the standard parts that an everyday song does. If the book was geared to using Live to build basic songs that would be rad.

I do listen intently when I'm enjoying my favorite tracks but I feel that I need a book I can crack open to try to soak up the basics. I'm also considering a class at the local community college but a good book would be a good start.

I did search and found some suggestions but they aren't quite what I'm looking for and may be outdated....

I guess this reads as a page out of a diary or something but just trying to get myself on track as Spring comes on I guess.

Thanx in advance for your suggestions!

condra
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Re: Basic Composition Book Recommends?

Post by condra » Sat Apr 04, 2009 7:01 pm

The Dance Music Manual by Rick Snoman

noisetonepause
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Re: Basic Composition Book Recommends?

Post by noisetonepause » Sat Apr 04, 2009 8:18 pm

Arnold Schönberg - Fundamentals of Musical Composition.

(OK - maybe not... s'a good book, though. One day I'll finish it...)
Suit #1: I mean, have you got any insight as to why a bright boy like this would jeopardize the lives of millions?
Suit #2: No, sir, he says he does this sort of thing for fun.

Nick the Zombie
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Re: Basic Composition Book Recommends?

Post by Nick the Zombie » Sat Apr 04, 2009 8:33 pm

This continues to be one of my favorites, and really helped get me going when I was just starting out with composition. It's in a new edition now: http://www.amazon.com/Complete-Idiots-G ... 1592574033

- Nick

continuous
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Re: Basic Composition Book Recommends?

Post by continuous » Sat Apr 04, 2009 10:27 pm

condra wrote:The Dance Music Manual by Rick Snoman
This looks really good. Thanks for the tip.
noisetonepause wrote:Arnold Schönberg - Fundamentals of Musical Composition.

(OK - maybe not... s'a good book, though. One day I'll finish it...)
Sounds a like a classic? Schönberg seems familiar, like a name I should but don't quite know. :oops: That's kinda my point... about finishing things. Inspired one day and it's like "I'm gonna do this and this and this" but it's pretty easy to get sidetracked on a new something or other. Gotta lock in, focus, follow something through to move forward I think. :)
Nick the Zombie wrote:This continues to be one of my favorites, and really helped get me going when I was just starting out with composition. It's in a new edition now: http://www.amazon.com/Complete-Idiots-G ... 1592574033

- Nick
Alright this looks good as well. I've also been meaning to check out some of your tutorials Nick.


Thanx all for taking the time and making some suggestions! Much appreciated!

Time to hit Amazon and the Portland library. I think I grab all three!

q.musgrove
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Re: Basic Composition Book Recommends?

Post by q.musgrove » Sat Apr 04, 2009 10:42 pm

It sounds like stretching those nuggets out is hard for you too huh? Here's a tip that's served me well. Get some graph paper and chart out any of your favorite music and then study that graph and compare to other graphs you make. This will help your analytical listening and give you a good visual indicator of how tracks are ornamented based off those "nuggets".

Like with the graph for instance make each square a represent a bar (4 beats if your in 4/4... do you know that stuff?) and then horizontally give each row a track name so you can just chart like.. here the bass comes in then 6bars later it changes just a little, then the drums add this thing 12 bars in etc. By the time your done You'll see this awesome display very similar to how your own arrangement view might look.

Hope this helps!

continuous
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Re: Basic Composition Book Recommends?

Post by continuous » Sat Apr 04, 2009 11:15 pm

Yep... this is just the kinda work I need to start getting into. Plus I have a thing for graph paper! :P Maybe that's why I love the session view so much. Building blocks! But the tracks don't ever seem to flush out.

Analytical listening... I've really been doing this lately and it is not always easy. Of course it takes hard work/analysis/skill building (for me at least) so it's time to get more scholastic. As far as bars, time sigs and beats I have been steadily developing an understanding of their relationships but my grasp needs more work.


Thanks for the tip. I'm gonna give that a try.

Nick the Zombie
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Re: Basic Composition Book Recommends?

Post by Nick the Zombie » Sun Apr 05, 2009 12:27 am

continuous wrote: Alright this looks good as well. I've also been meaning to check out some of your tutorials Nick.


Thanx all for taking the time and making some suggestions! Much appreciated!

Time to hit Amazon and the Portland library. I think I grab all three!
Cheers man, best of luck at the library and with diving into composition. Just remember to make an effort to implement the things that you are reading about as you learn them. Too many times, I've made the mistake of just reading about making music rather than practicing the craft :)

noisetonepause
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Re: Basic Composition Book Recommends?

Post by noisetonepause » Sun Apr 05, 2009 11:20 am

Graph paper is invaluable. Another thing to do that'll teach you some things about structure is to just drop a track you like into arrange view in Live and use that as a reference. Empty, colour-coded MIDI clips is a nice tool here. If the music isn't compressed to shreds even the way the waveform looks should give you some pointers.

Arnold Schönberg was the father of 12-note music and serialism, one of the most influential movements of 20th century European and American art music ("classical music"). Not to be confused with Claude-Michel Schoenberg, father of one of the greatest crimes committed against Europe and America in the 20th century.
Suit #1: I mean, have you got any insight as to why a bright boy like this would jeopardize the lives of millions?
Suit #2: No, sir, he says he does this sort of thing for fun.

continuous
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Re: Basic Composition Book Recommends?

Post by continuous » Mon Apr 06, 2009 7:42 pm

Nick the Zombie wrote: Cheers man, best of luck at the library and with diving into composition. Just remember to make an effort to implement the things that you are reading about as you learn them. Too many times, I've made the mistake of just reading about making music rather than practicing the craft :)
Thanks for the advice Nick. Ya, it does seem like studying and then taking what you're studying and putting it to work is a good balanced approach.
noisetonepause wrote:Another thing to do that'll teach you some things about structure is to just drop a track you like into arrange view in Live and use that as a reference. Empty, colour-coded MIDI clips is a nice tool here. If the music isn't compressed to shreds even the way the waveform looks should give you some pointers.
Gonna give this a try this evening. I'm thinking I'd drop a fav track in the arrangement view and then put a midi track under that... entering clips to signify changes in the composition. That'll definitely give me some more insight.

cheers

Silwolffe
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Re: Basic Composition Book Recommends?

Post by Silwolffe » Mon Apr 06, 2009 8:53 pm

Hello,

I second Condra's recommendation for The Dance Music Manual. I have the first edition (purple cover) and It's an absolute amazing book for beginning. There's the second edition (electric green cover) that was released a few months back (I think in october). Definitely check that out, as Rick Snoman covers various genres and how they're composed.

tw1nstates
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Re: Basic Composition Book Recommends?

Post by tw1nstates » Mon Apr 06, 2009 9:20 pm

online courses as well? I think point blank do one.

plus tuition perhaps? Doesn't hurt to have someone show you stuff then go away and practice it.

I reckon also, write loads and loads of stuff, dont get hung up on finishing, just try to write a lot.

To paraphrae a couple of other people, try to copy other peoples arrangements as much as you can, after a while where to place stuff should become second nature.

I have been reading Berliners Jazz tome recently and ther is a great quote from Walter Bishop Junior "It all goes from imitation to assimilation to innovation. You move from the imitation stage to the assimilation stage when you take little bits of things from different people and weld them into an identifiable style---creating your own style. Once you've created your own sound and you have a good sense of the history of the music, then you think of where the music hasn't gone and where it can go---and that's innovation"

I know that half of the smart arsed c*nts on the internet who, whenever anyone asks "how does so and so get this sound" all say, why copy them , find your own sound etc etc. Hoever in reality that's great if you have been making music for 10 years and know how to sidechain your bellend up your backside but for a lot of people asking they dont.

It's a bit like Goodwins law for music forums.

In fact, can I claim Morrison's Law as my own please? The description would go thusly, "As discussions relating to how a particular artist achieves a certain sound / ornamentation or effect in their music take place, the probability of someone saying that the op should not try to imitate other people grows ever stronger.

This is clearly a fail as if that logic was applied to playing a musical instrument then no one would ever learn to play anything as they would be 'biting' someone elses style and 'should be original'

I reckon you would be as well trying to find someone local that can give you a lesson a week, or even just critique your stuff with the sequencer open, so you can both move stuff around and you can see what's going on. . .
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Tarekith
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Re: Basic Composition Book Recommends?

Post by Tarekith » Mon Apr 06, 2009 10:04 pm


continuous
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Re: Basic Composition Book Recommends?

Post by continuous » Mon Apr 06, 2009 11:44 pm

Silwolffe wrote:Hello, I second Condra's recommendation for The Dance Music Manual. I have the first edition (purple cover) and It's an absolute amazing book for beginning. There's the second edition (electric green cover) that was released a few months back (I think in october). Definitely check that out, as Rick Snoman covers various genres and how they're composed.
Ordering this from Amazon (second edition I suppose). It looks really good! Thanx! Analysis of different genres and how music tends to be structured within those genres is what I'm looking for I think.
tw1nstates wrote:online courses as well? I think point blank do one.

plus tuition perhaps? Doesn't hurt to have someone show you stuff then go away and practice it.

I reckon also, write loads and loads of stuff, dont get hung up on finishing, just try to write a lot.

To paraphrae a couple of other people, try to copy other peoples arrangements as much as you can, after a while where to place stuff should become second nature.

I have been reading Berliners Jazz tome recently and ther is a great quote from Walter Bishop Junior "It all goes from imitation to assimilation to innovation. You move from the imitation stage to the assimilation stage when you take little bits of things from different people and weld them into an identifiable style---creating your own style. Once you've created your own sound and you have a good sense of the history of the music, then you think of where the music hasn't gone and where it can go---and that's innovation"

I know that half of the smart arsed c*nts on the internet who, whenever anyone asks "how does so and so get this sound" all say, why copy them , find your own sound etc etc. Hoever in reality that's great if you have been making music for 10 years and know how to sidechain your bellend up your backside but for a lot of people asking they dont.

It's a bit like Goodwins law for music forums.

In fact, can I claim Morrison's Law as my own please? The description would go thusly, "As discussions relating to how a particular artist achieves a certain sound / ornamentation or effect in their music take place, the probability of someone saying that the op should not try to imitate other people grows ever stronger.

This is clearly a fail as if that logic was applied to playing a musical instrument then no one would ever learn to play anything as they would be 'biting' someone elses style and 'should be original'

I reckon you would be as well trying to find someone local that can give you a lesson a week, or even just critique your stuff with the sequencer open, so you can both move stuff around and you can see what's going on. . .
Imitation to Assimilation to Innovation... I totally agree this is how people learn... I've especially seen this development process when studying painting years ago. And yes, I'm also always thinking when people are posting "How do I get this sound" that they're just mixing some imitation learning with technical learning...ya know associating sounds they like with the gear that is making that sound and thereby learning that part of the craft.

I do think online lessons could work quite well for this particular craft and will likely take your advise on this. Thanx much for your suggestions!

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Re: Basic Composition Book Recommends?

Post by UnCL0NED » Tue Apr 07, 2009 9:44 am

Hey continuous,

Here's a page out of my diary :wink: , which might help you:

I know the feeling... I've only recently got out of this vicious cycle of creating short loops and "very cool sounds", without ever finishing a complete song.

I fully understand your thoughts on getting a good book on how to break that cycle, and only then you can finish a complete song (you think). I've read tons of websites, magazines and books about mixing, composing, arranging etc... And every time I got really enthousiastic again. And every time after putting down the first few buildingblocks in my arrangement view, I got stuck again...

It's probably different for everybody, but what helped me was joining a challenge to finish a cd within a month (the RPM challenge, in my case), together with a friend.

We sat down together and had a good talk about what the cd would be about, and the kind of style it should be. We pushed eachother to have the cd ready in the short timespan! This experience forced me to actually start finishing songs for this cd. I've had it in me all the time > arranging a song, but only under some presure and a clear focus, I was able to actually finish something.

What I noticed then, was that there's a whole part of making music that only comes after putting down some loops: The actual mixing! :wink: This is the part that I was "afraid of" confronting all the time.

The cd is finished, it's not the best piece of work out there, but the process towards this was a real eye-opener.

When I write a song now by myself, I first get a global idea of what the song will be about and who it is for, to give myself some focus. I then give myself a realistic deadline. Of course I still experiment, because it's fun (specially now that Live 8 has been released)! But I'm hoping to mix a song down by the end of this week. I have arranged some clips last weekend and now I'm actually mixing the different parts into a song, with different layers, build-ups and break-downs, highlights etc... It's actually hard work, but very rewarding in the end!

I think it's a very good to read up on composing, but make sure you'll put that knowledge into practice.

Good luck with your songwriting,
UnCL0NED
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