studio32 wrote:Maybe you got inspiration but lack enough music/ songwriter theory knowledge? Maybe you should take lessons or search for another source of good education? Just a suggestion
ntnunk wrote:studio32: I've been working to educate myself on songwriting techniques and theory, that's part of the "more structured approach" I mentioned. As for music theory, I think that might be part of the problem too, but from the other direction. I have a bad habit of getting hung up in the "rules" of music theory instead of just doing what sounds good.
As if I`ve heard myself... Another mortal annoyed with stuff like "just write down what is playing in your head". Just like me!
It's depressing for us mere mortals to see.
I have a dire need of some more theoretical knowledge, which seems necessary for me to start with any further insights into composing. I am trying to find what part of knowledge I am missing... and not finding it out yet (thus far: some harmony, stuff like Composing for Dummies, etc.). At this stage I am highly skeptical towards buying hardware and attending to commercial courses, etc. - which is btw prohibitively expensive for us here. The only realistic idea how to start seems to be to write the piece on a (virtual) note paper and then have it played by the software... In other words, I have to compose THEN play, not compose BY playing. This sounds like a cyclic problem: get something work.. before I can know what to get to get something work:P
I need some "rules" to start with - an EXAMPLE FRAMEWORK, even if it will serve just as a departure point! Contrary to the Only Proper Advice in all the "beginners`" manuals my "internal music" isn`t clear-enough to make me just write it down and THEN clear it up to the "rules"; rather obvious with no prior musical experience. So what I can do (I hope) is to grasp the "rules" and write FROM them first, and THEN explore the buzzing "spheres music" if it turns out worthy that! I.e. I need to compose FROM theory, sth in the kind of "intellectual construct". But the composing advices I`ve found are either far too general or too advanced for me... or say stuff like "if you know the theory well, you can compose from it"! Real excuse for a nervous breakdown
I have found a number of classical views on how the chords "should" be put together. Okay, this could help, but... it still does not tell me how to approach the melody side - the "beginners` guide" writers and Web authors claim it should result "automagically" from the chord progression. However, no magic seems to work in this case and I need any idea how to compose starting with the MELODY, not chords. AND THIS IS WHAT I CAN`T FIND.
Any suggestions - "rules" of melodic progression of sounds? The only thing I know they actually exist(ed).. but can`t get any idea / keywrd / etc. to find them. I have found the data on consonance and dissonance, I know which snd is the dominant, tonic, etc., but I can`t find any text that would suggest HOW to ACTUALLY USE this knowledge in CREATING a melody (they started with the tonic, but what tf next?!). I guess most people consider this a question you just ask a friend over a cup of coffee, if at all... and it may sound stupid for people who already passed this stage (or didn`t notice they did!!) However, all the People I can give some coffee are at least pathologically deaf to music and to make matters worse crossing the first border is always the most nasty part for me (I really need seeing and understanding what I do, and borders obstruct the view, I guess...) The border clerk wants some (simple) thing from me but he speaks strange language;)
So the big, inflated, dumb but impossible-to-overcome QUESTION I would love to get answered / hinted / suggested / redirected / shouted at / fill-appropriate-idea is:
How can I find (painfully basic) suggestions how to start composing from the melody side? It can be some kind of (obsolete or not, that doesn`t matter) "rules" of composition. By "rules" I mean ANY set of expectations how the sounds "should" be used in a melody - some framework I could start with. Maybe the common practice period composing manuals? Or an example workflow at the most fundamental level? This way I could really learn WHAT TO LEARN to start really learning...
I'm sure that you've heard this before, and it isn't because everyone who says this is just being facetious or whatever else. There really, truly, absolutely are not any "rules" for composing or writing music. There isn't any kind of framework or blueprint on "How to Compose x or y Kind of Music".
Let me ask you this--can you read music? Again, not being a jerk here in asking this, just seeing where you're at. I believe that the only really crucial parts of music theory you must understand are the very basic things--knowing the notes on the staff, being able to identify key signatures and time signatures, the difference between major and minor keys. These are the building blocks of understanding the language of music. All of the other stuff (like being able to compose ambient/impressionistic music in the vein of Eno, Debussy, Glass, etc. etc.) is secondary. While it's certainly possible to analyze and diagram the dickens out of La Mer or whatever else and emulate what the composer is doing, you aren't really making your own music. You're just recycling and re-packaging something that someone else has already done. I don't think you'll be as satisfied with your music if you limit yourself like that.
All of the great composers of the past of present don't have necessarily have a formula that they follow to make beautiful sounding music--they may borrow ideas from others but from there they inject their own ideas. Debussy for example incorporated "exotic" sounding southeast asian scales into his music. He had a basic understanding of musical language and he borrowed a pre-existing building block(s) (some far-eastern scale systems) that he incorporated into his creation. If anything, he was going outside of what was "generally accepted practice" in Western music at the time (and so did pretty much every 20th century musician/composer from that point on...). You're not sure where to go after starting a melody on the tonic? Go anywhere! Don't even start with the tonic! Boundaries get pushed and real creativity happens by those who won't be constrained by pre-supposed norms. Sure, the things they create might sound weird and unconventional but that's because they're blazing their own path of individualism. I remember the first time I listened to Thelonious Monk I thought "dude this guy can't even play piano, how is he so revered in jazz??" Then I came to understand (and even appreciate) the fact the no, even though he didn't sound or play like Hank Jones, Art Tatum, etc. he was creating his own fiercely individualistic musical voice.
I don't know that you're going to find exactly what it is you're asking about here, and I don't think that you need it (at least in the way that you're asking for it). Being able to understand counterpoint, analysis, etc may come in handy in understanding why or how a composer did what they did but it won't make things clear as day for you. As I mentioned, if you don't already know how to read music and understand basic scale structure (major vs minor) I think you would be best served to start there.