What is Your Composition Strategy?

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BenA718
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Post by BenA718 » Mon Aug 26, 2019 11:17 am

naturligfunktion wrote:
BenA718 wrote:My approach is boring, I actually work out the theory! :)

For example, in the new large-scale piece I am finishing up, the core scale is D harmonic minor, which leads to some interesting chord progressions and harmonies using AMaj. For each section of the larger piece, I explore neighbor tones by using both a Dm to CMaj progression and a Dm to Em progression, but still using other chords in D minor. In one section, I modulate to F#m and then use the AMaj chord as the IV chord in the key of E. There is a nice chromaticism when I end on C#m, which happens to be the relative minor in E as well as the leading tone in D Harmonic Minor; and then go to Dm again to bring it back home to the original chord progression of Dm-Bb-Gm-AMaj.
Im lovin this! Might even steal it for my own compositions hehe
Go for it; I've stolen it, myself lol.
But how do you manage to do these chord changes on the modular? To you need to re-patch for every change or how do you do it?
NerdSeq, Quantimator, and multiple VCOs. :)

You don't need to have arabesques or overlapping notes to have chords; counterpoint works just as well.

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thevegasnerve
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Post by thevegasnerve » Mon Aug 26, 2019 11:22 am

BenA718 wrote:
hlprmnky wrote:
BenA718 wrote:My approach is boring, I actually work out the theory! :)

For example, in the new large-scale piece I am finishing up, the core scale is D harmonic minor, which leads to some interesting chord progressions and harmonies using AMaj. For each section of the larger piece, I explore neighbor tones by using both a Dm to CMaj progression and a Dm to Em progression, but still using other chords in D minor. In one section, I modulate to F#m and then use the AMaj chord as the IV chord in the key of E. There is a nice chromaticism when I end on C#m, which happens to be the relative minor in E as well as the leading tone in D Harmonic Minor; and then go to Dm again to bring it back home to the original chord progression of Dm-Bb-Gm-AMaj.

TL;DR version: I work out the key and chords, write melodies based on the chords, tempo, and time signature, and vary it as much as I can until I feel that it reaches a conclusion, whether it resolves with a clean cadence or not. :)
I don’t find this idea boring at all. I don’t have any musical training beyond high school but I am trying to Udemy myself up some theory knowledge for exactly this kind of thinking about organization of melodic content.
Do you find that the “theory” and “sound design” aspects of developing a song/patch inform each other as you work on a piece, or is one subordinate to the other (maybe a different one at different times!), or are they unrelated?
That's a really good question. It's pretty much simultaneous for me; if I need another melody, let's say, I will figure out what works musically and tonally at the same time.
I sorta see sound design as creating your own instrument, even if its an organ simulation to some degree for example. the design is also critical for allowing these new instruments to blend together properly... next is melody (whether its notes or chords), then some general theory or composition to crystallize things... I don't have the ability to use theory up front, and I am not sure at this point I would prefer to work that way, although its certainly viable.

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Post by electricanada » Mon Aug 26, 2019 7:33 pm

naos wrote:
electricanada wrote:
naos wrote:I was 40 years old (this year) when I first understood that melody + bass are not enough, you need melody + bass + chords to make actual music.?
No. You don’t. Harmony is completely unnecessary. I love it, but it’s the least important element in music. Listen to Hildegard of Bingen, or any Indian classical musician.
I wasn't talking in absolute terms (I also like noise and random improvised nonsense) but more like a general rule or trick, something to check when a song just doesn't work the way you'd like it to.
I hear ya. I'm just gonna throw this out and hope someone gets inspired by it:

[video][/video]
Eléctrica (electric) Nāda (the yoga of sound).

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naturligfunktion
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Post by naturligfunktion » Tue Aug 27, 2019 2:21 am

BenA718 wrote:
But how do you manage to do these chord changes on the modular? To you need to re-patch for every change or how do you do it?
NerdSeq, Quantimator, and multiple VCOs. :)

You don't need to have arabesques or overlapping notes to have chords; counterpoint works just as well.
Ah that's also smart! It reminds me of a video with Junkie XL, when he shows off his huge modular wall. He does a really interesting thing where he tunes several different VCOs to the root, the third and the fifth, and then he has a couple of others that play a sequence on top of the chord changes in that scale.

The result is very effective. I have completely forgot about that actually, had an entire plan to buy several simple VCOs, so thanks for the reminder :)

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naos
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Re:

Post by naos » Sat Mar 07, 2020 6:56 pm

electricanada wrote:
Mon Aug 26, 2019 7:33 pm
naos wrote:
electricanada wrote:
naos wrote:I was 40 years old (this year) when I first understood that melody + bass are not enough, you need melody + bass + chords to make actual music.?
No. You don’t. Harmony is completely unnecessary. I love it, but it’s the least important element in music. Listen to Hildegard of Bingen, or any Indian classical musician.
I wasn't talking in absolute terms (I also like noise and random improvised nonsense) but more like a general rule or trick, something to check when a song just doesn't work the way you'd like it to.
I hear ya. I'm just gonna throw this out and hope someone gets inspired by it:

[video][/video]
I was. just ressurecting this thread to thank you.

ZargZorg
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Re: What is Your Composition Strategy?

Post by ZargZorg » Sun Mar 08, 2020 1:10 pm

I sample a monster amount of sounds from records to iPhone recordings and throw em all into a timeline. I start adding and "overdubbing" stuff with the synth and gradually take most of the samples out. After that, I find out how I can improvise the piece in different ways using the Macbook and the synths. I record some new takes and choose the one that hits me the most or a mixture of takes and keep it in the drawer forever.

markincork
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Re: What is Your Composition Strategy?

Post by markincork » Tue Mar 17, 2020 7:51 am

As a relative newbie, every time I boot up my case I get something new. Often I’ll record whatever I’m doing and try to structure/arrange for the duration. I tend to restrict my recordings to about 3 minutes. I have a lot of these recordings ;)

Jd1979
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Re: What is Your Composition Strategy?

Post by Jd1979 » Thu Mar 19, 2020 10:03 pm

For me I start by creating a riff, based on a tempo, melody, rhythm, or combination, usually with some feeling, thought, vision or theme in mind. Then I expand on it by programming scenes into my sequencing gear.

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Re:

Post by Blairio » Thu Mar 19, 2020 10:20 pm

electricanada wrote:
Mon Aug 26, 2019 7:33 pm
naos wrote:
electricanada wrote:
naos wrote:I was 40 years old (this year) when I first understood that melody + bass are not enough, you need melody + bass + chords to make actual music.?
No. You don’t. Harmony is completely unnecessary. I love it, but it’s the least important element in music. Listen to Hildegard of Bingen, or any Indian classical musician.
I wasn't talking in absolute terms (I also like noise and random improvised nonsense) but more like a general rule or trick, something to check when a song just doesn't work the way you'd like it to.
I hear ya. I'm just gonna throw this out and hope someone gets inspired by it:

[video][/video]
The Hildegard track is lovely, but at points it has melody, harmony, plus drone or pedal notes. In compositional terms it is actually pretty complex in places, and none the worse for it.

My national instrument is the bagpipes. They comprise three drones, two tenors which play exactly the same note and the bass which plays an octave below, plus a 'chanter' for melody. That's what you get when you ditch harmony. A sore head.

nuromantix
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Re: What is Your Composition Strategy?

Post by nuromantix » Fri Mar 20, 2020 5:12 am

I wait for the music to appear in my mind. I don't know where it comes from. Then I go and record it.
If no ideas come I will turn on a synth and play the keys and then usually something will pop out. Once I've sequenced one or two parts, the rest seems to write itself. I just have to play the notes in, I don't feel like I am making decisions much. The music writes itself.

electricanada
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Re: Re:

Post by electricanada » Fri Mar 20, 2020 10:56 pm

naos wrote:
Sat Mar 07, 2020 6:56 pm
electricanada wrote:
Mon Aug 26, 2019 7:33 pm
naos wrote:
electricanada wrote:
naos wrote:I was 40 years old (this year) when I first understood that melody + bass are not enough, you need melody + bass + chords to make actual music.?
No. You don’t. Harmony is completely unnecessary. I love it, but it’s the least important element in music. Listen to Hildegard of Bingen, or any Indian classical musician.
I wasn't talking in absolute terms (I also like noise and random improvised nonsense) but more like a general rule or trick, something to check when a song just doesn't work the way you'd like it to.
I hear ya. I'm just gonna throw this out and hope someone gets inspired by it:

[video][/video]
I was. just ressurecting this thread to thank you.
Isn’t she amazing?
Eléctrica (electric) Nāda (the yoga of sound).

electricanada
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Re: Re:

Post by electricanada » Fri Mar 20, 2020 10:58 pm

Blairio wrote:
Thu Mar 19, 2020 10:20 pm
electricanada wrote:
Mon Aug 26, 2019 7:33 pm
naos wrote:
electricanada wrote:
naos wrote:I was 40 years old (this year) when I first understood that melody + bass are not enough, you need melody + bass + chords to make actual music.?
No. You don’t. Harmony is completely unnecessary. I love it, but it’s the least important element in music. Listen to Hildegard of Bingen, or any Indian classical musician.
I wasn't talking in absolute terms (I also like noise and random improvised nonsense) but more like a general rule or trick, something to check when a song just doesn't work the way you'd like it to.
I hear ya. I'm just gonna throw this out and hope someone gets inspired by it:

[video][/video]
The Hildegard track is lovely, but at points it has melody, harmony, plus drone or pedal notes. In compositional terms it is actually pretty complex in places, and none the worse for it.

My national instrument is the bagpipes. They comprise three drones, two tenors which play exactly the same note and the bass which plays an octave below, plus a 'chanter' for melody. That's what you get when you ditch harmony. A sore head.
Yes, this track has been very minimally orchestrated. But the rest of the album is pretty much pure melody, as Hildegard originally intended.
Eléctrica (electric) Nāda (the yoga of sound).

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