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#1151495 - 08/05/06 05:33 PM Idiot's Guide to Composition also Song Writing
193866 Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/02/06
Posts: 777
Loc: Manassas,Va
Dear Members ...The Idiot's guide series have the best book on "Idiot's Guide to Composition" and "Idiot's Guide to Song Writing..." I got both and they are excellent... Very easy to understand and not at idiot's level at all...I put my ego aside and purchased them...Chuckles...I got mine a Barnes and Noble at a great price...Best I have seen and fun to read and study...Sandy B...
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Sandra M. Boletchek 08/02/06

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#1151496 - 08/12/06 03:42 PM Re: Idiot's Guide to Composition also Song Writing
193866 Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/02/06
Posts: 777
Loc: Manassas,Va
Question...Would love to compare different ways others compose songs... Do songs come to you and you play what you hear? Do you think of scenes and the music comes to you? Do you just decide to compose a song without any ideas? Work the song out one note at a time? Input? I will ssy when a very overwhelming emotion comes to me...a song is in the making....anyone else experiemce this? Sandy B
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Sandra M. Boletchek 08/02/06

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#1151497 - 08/12/06 05:25 PM Re: Idiot's Guide to Composition also Song Writing
signa Offline
8000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/06/04
Posts: 8483
Loc: Ohio, USA
no, you'd always have to have a theme first even for a simple song (with lyric/words), and then build everything from there.

a song form is usually different from instrumental music forms, much simplier for one thing. a song form is more 'square' in phrase of 4 or 8 and so on. thus, there're some typical ways to construct a song from a given theme (as i read before). take a 4-phrase song for example:
phrase 1. theme
phrase 2. repeat of 1 with modification (parallel move to its dominant or something similar)
phrase 3. introduce some new material
phrase 4. return to theme or part of theme with ending on tonic.

it's just one way to write such a song, and one can always change something here or there to make it sound better.

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#1151498 - 08/12/06 05:41 PM Re: Idiot's Guide to Composition also Song Writing
Kreisler Offline


Registered: 11/27/02
Posts: 13763
Loc: Iowa City, IA
Most of what I write is didactic music for children.

I usually just sit down and start improvising, once I come up with a good idea, I'll write it down and fit it to some kind of standard form. I do a lot with AABA and ternary form, some also in rounded binary, and 12-bar blues for some of the jazzier stuff.

When I started out, I mostly copied other pieces. I had a list of pieces I wish I had written, and wrote copycat versions of those. It was very helpful (I got the idea from Bach and Chopin, who did much the same thing.)

It's also very helpful to know the literature. The more songs you know, the better prepared you are (and I mean really know - the form, the key, the melody, the bridge, how many measures of intro and ending, the chord progression, the words - everything.)
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#1151499 - 08/12/06 06:30 PM Re: Idiot's Guide to Composition also Song Writing
mahlzeit Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 07/24/06
Posts: 1910
Loc: Netherlands
Usually words, melody and chords come to me at the same time. But it also happens that I just come up with words without a melody or a melody without words. And sometimes it just starts with a nice chord progression. So the approach is different every time.

The interesting thing for me is that I learned how to write songs from the heart instead of the head. I used to write songs that were about some topic I thought I was supposed to say something about, and they often had clever lyrics that satisfied me intellectually. But when people complimented me on those songs, I always felt uneasy, because deep down inside I knew they were fakes. Then one day I learned how write for *real*.

That doesn't mean I no longer write bad songs, but at least I know the difference. ;\)
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#1151500 - 08/12/06 07:06 PM Re: Idiot's Guide to Composition also Song Writing
193866 Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/02/06
Posts: 777
Loc: Manassas,Va
Thank you for sharing and I am processing the information now...Signa , Kreisler and Mahlzeit... Also ...to copy is good I hear and you learn then walk to the beat of your own drummer with this knowlege ...and... you did....Good idea to improv and then get ideas...You also are right about the theme...It does come first, with songs with words...My compositions just come all at once...No words... Songs, those I really have to work out, theme first...I meant to say compositions...Classical and
New Age,etc... Input on this? The songs are good too? With songs I do use form... Then the words...
My brother was pro and he told me all his compositions came to him all at once... Any type from songs with words to New Age,etc... Sandy B.
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Sandra M. Boletchek 08/02/06

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#1151501 - 08/14/06 10:53 PM Re: Idiot's Guide to Composition also Song Writing
193866 Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/02/06
Posts: 777
Loc: Manassas,Va
Dear Members... Composers... Do any of you write commerical songs with lyrics? The type for TV ads, etc. ? A song to tell about a product? You can make big bucks writing these ...My brother was pro and he said the best money was in commercial songs. for TV ads.. Also... a professor I had ,Dr. Green ,wrote them for years ... He said very good money...Well, Dr. Green told us to call a Public Relations company and they promote you...Not sure, but... I believe no cost to you unless they sell one for you, etc... Just a tip as I would never have thought of the Public Relations firm concept to get going on selling your songs... Just a retired lady , a pianist, wanting to share info with struggling composers...Take care...Sandy B
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Sandra M. Boletchek 08/02/06

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#1151502 - 08/15/06 05:31 PM Re: Idiot's Guide to Composition also Song Writing
Ted Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/03/02
Posts: 1503
Loc: Auckland, New Zealand
Spontaneous melodies arise all the time during improvisation but these days I don't usually bother to push them into self-contained songs, much less put words to them.

I used to write out quite a few such things in earlier years. I don't think I have any set method for them more than I do for any other type of music. I find the archetypal Hollywood way of creating music through direct emotion completely unsuitable to my sort of brain. The results, however, may well embody strong emotion. I think there is a type of unconscious, retrospective mechanism, what Wordsworth called "emotion recollected in tranquillity". I create something and, when listening to it later on, realise it precisely describes a state of mind from the past.

This happens to me all the time. Music comes and the programme, association and title (if any) reveal themselves afterwards. I don't really know what is going on and I'm reluctant to analyse it too much because it works so well.
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#1151503 - 08/15/06 09:06 PM Re: Idiot's Guide to Composition also Song Writing
193866 Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/02/06
Posts: 777
Loc: Manassas,Va
Dear Ted...You sound as if you are a natural composer...Gifted...How many years of studies, piano, have you had please? Sandy B
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Sandra M. Boletchek 08/02/06

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#1151504 - 08/15/06 10:58 PM Re: Idiot's Guide to Composition also Song Writing
Ted Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/03/02
Posts: 1503
Loc: Auckland, New Zealand
Thanks for the compliment but I am certainly not gifted. My measurable musical abilities are very modest. I know very little about music generally and even less about theory. I am now fifty-nine and haven't had lessons for forty years. My repertoire is very limited and almost all of my time at the piano comprises improvisation, which I am increasingly recording and with which I am becoming obsessed.

Despite all this devotion and a large body of written compositions I really do not think I am either musician or pianist in any accepted sense of the words. In other words, I don't "fit in". What I have always been, however, is unconditionally happy in my music. This, and helping others to be so, is all that matters to me in the end.
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"It is inadvisable to decline a dinner invitation from a plump woman." - Fred Hollows

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#1151505 - 08/16/06 08:48 AM Re: Idiot's Guide to Composition also Song Writing
Frank_W Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/10/06
Posts: 1047
Loc: United States
 Quote:
Originally posted by Ted:
What I have always been, however, is unconditionally happy in my music. This, and helping others to be so, is all that matters to me in the end. [/b]
Worth repeating!!
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Compassion, Love, Strength, Peace, Dignity, Balance, Order

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#1151506 - 08/21/06 05:24 PM Re: Idiot's Guide to Composition also Song Writing
193866 Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/02/06
Posts: 777
Loc: Manassas,Va
What I have found as pianist... and talking with other pianists in all these years... is that the natural talents are so humble ,such as you...Maybe because it is so easy for them and natural...The ones who are not gifted... I have found... think they are the genius type...I have never figured this one out...???????? Sandy B
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Sandra M. Boletchek 08/02/06

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