Help trying to finish up writing a tune

Posted by: etcetra

Help trying to finish up writing a tune - 06/14/09 05:04 AM

I always end up writing myself into a corner..I get good ideas, but I just can't figure out the rest of the tune. When I try to write the rest, it usually just doesn't fit with the rest.

What do you guys do when you guys are stuck, any suggestions?

http://rapidshare.com/files/244363527/Idea1.mid
http://rapidshare.com/files/244363588/Idea_2.mid
Posted by: majones

Re: Help trying to finish up writing a tune - 06/15/09 08:48 AM

Not able to activate your sound file. My lack of knowledge, I'm sure.....

I'm a structured kind of a guy -- here is my standard approach:
I start with the story so lyrics drive everything.

Then the chord progression for the rest to tension to climax to resolution journey that is necessary.

Fit the lyrics into the progression flow. Four line, five line verse, rhyme or not, etc. By the time I have the lyrics and the chords flowing a tune is begining to take shape.

Melody notes come from my chord tones, or the chord's pentatonic scale. One note per lyric word, shooting for one chord per measure. First draft; Sing / recite the lyrics and hunt for the next tone. Some quidelines; 1-3-5 can go up or down scale as I see fit. 7th go up scale, 6 and 4 go down scale and the 2 does what I want. Skips of a 3rd or more help move it along. That is a start. I want to see a wave action on paper. Then the fleshing out comes into the picture.

Flesh out with chord voicing - maj7, 6th, sus2, sus4 for help with harmonization and those extra notes add to the melody line. Once I get a verse I'll use that same melody for all verses. My chorus may or may not change all that much, I know - structured kind of a guy...

Beyond that --- it's art -- sometime it works and some time it does not. Hope you can find something in this that will help.
Posted by: etcetra

Re: Help trying to finish up writing a tune - 06/15/09 11:24 AM

hmm.. that is strange.. they are midi files so they should play no problem..are you not able to play them at all or are you not hearing any sound?

oh btw I didn't mention that it's a instrumental jazz piece. I guess the problem is that I tend to write a lot of non functional harmony and sometimes I just don't know where to go next once i finish writings parts of a song.
Posted by: majones

Re: Help trying to finish up writing a tune - 06/15/09 11:27 AM

Once I get to the host site I can not find how to activate the song.

Finally figured it out. As I mentioned I'm a structured person and rely upon the lyrics to guide me. I start a story discuss it awhile and then finish the story.
Quote:
When I try to write the rest, it usually just doesn't fit with the rest.

I understand you do not have lyrics, what is the reason for the instrumental? Why are you playing this? What's it called? Are you describing something. I think a reason will give you a path to go down, i.e. a start, middle and ending .....

Great talent, no question about that - just looking for a way to express your feelings so that we understand what you are saying. When you sat down to play this did you have something in mind that you wanted to tell us? Or were you just noodling?

When we play other people's music they have already done this for us. When we play our music we have to accomplish that.
Posted by: KlinkKlonk

Re: Help trying to finish up writing a tune - 06/15/09 12:34 PM

Are the two ideas supposed to be used in the same tune? I think the first 12 seconds or so of the idea 1 is really good. You should repeat those and build something from there. An answering phrase at a different pitch or varied is what I expect after the first statement to make it more coherent. I get the feeling the music is moving away to other somewhat remote ideas too quickly.
Posted by: KlinkKlonk

Re: Help trying to finish up writing a tune - 06/15/09 12:35 PM

Oh and the 2nd idea if it's going to be used together with the 1st it would work well as a intro/ outro or solo vamp. And you should skip the Giant Steps progression I think or disguise it more.
Posted by: etcetra

Re: Help trying to finish up writing a tune - 06/15/09 11:43 PM

Thanks so much for the advice, the two ideas are sketches for two different pieces

Majones

that's an excellent point, I guess I didn't really think of any 'purpose' to the song yet..it just came out. what usually I do dedicate the piece to someone, that way I have a reason to actually finish writing them. the 1st idea is meant for a new friend i met recently, and the 2nd idea is inspired by a friend of mine who is a excellent piano player and composer.

I guess the two pieces are still trying to find their meaning, what they are in that respect. I feel like the key to the 1st song is on the rapid modulation on 28seconds..I get a very strong feeling there, just not sure how to describe it.

Klinkklonk,

"I get the feeling the music is moving away to other somewhat remote ideas too quickly."

yea I think you hit a great point here. I write very non-functional harmony and they are usually great for short pieces, but it's hard to expand on them. It's too "through-composed" so to speak. but at the same time, I don't like anything too predictable.. the first 10 seconds of the idea 2 is borderline cliche for me.

I guess I can develop the ideas via modulation, I am not very adept at developing themes/ideas in non-functional context, I don't know how people like Taylor Eigsti or Aaron Parks can write pretty extensive piece that way and still be coherent.
Posted by: KlinkKlonk

Re: Help trying to finish up writing a tune - 06/16/09 08:54 AM

Maybe try to fit in within a simple 32 bars AABA form like "Well you needn't" or AAB "Passion Dance" for starters even if it seems predictable. Once you're able to do that you can expand your ideas and add some quirks. Do you mean that the harmony is none functional for solos? Then a solo vamp would solve it. Do you plan on playing the piece in a trio setting or with horns added and so on? Even if you don't have anyone to play with it at the moment it could be a good idea to think through what kind of setting you have in mind. Between solos you could have the theme to come back, or have the underlying rhythm for the first motif as a foundation for solos etc.
I really think you could make a good tune just by expanding that first motif and maybe another idea in a B section.