View Full Version : Composer

Joćo Paulo
07-22-2003, 12:50 AM
What can i star to compose something?? And how is the best way to learn harmony??

02-08-2012, 12:24 AM
What can i star to compose something?? And how is the best way to learn harmony??

Start by figure out what your favorite melody is. Then try to find out what kind of chords that are sounding good with the melody. Then you can start changing the chords you have chosen to some other chords. Try to have another bass-tone then the original tone of the chords you are using.

I suggest that you buy the book "First Steps in Music Theory" by Eric Taylor from the ABRSM company. Its a great book if you want to learn the basics of music theory!

Best regards
Jerry Norlin

02-08-2012, 01:26 AM
Assuming it's pop or rock you're interested in...

Study some simple songs - ideally songs you like, but any well-known or successful song can make a good subject.

Break them down as follows:

1. Structure.
How many lines in each verse?
How many lines in the chorus?
How many bars in each line?
Look for where sections repeat.
Is there an intro? Does it resemble another part of the song?

2. Melody.
Pick out single melodic phrases, such as one line of a verse, or maybe half a line.
Try to learn how to play these phrases on your instrument. This is can be difficult purely by ear, so it's good to find songbooks if you can.
If you can sing well, this will help, but you don't need to. What matters is that you reproduce these melodic phrases, either vocally or on your instrument.
Pay particular attention to phrases that sound good, or striking, like the hook of the song (probably in the chorus). How do they work? Look at the rhythmic pattern (long and short notes) and interval pattern (pitch distances between each pair of notes).

3. Chords
Again, a songbook or chord chart is an ideal reference. Chords are harder to work out by ear than melodies are.
Plot out the chords against the structure. Where do the chords change? How often?
How many chords are there?
Make sure you can play them all.
Look at how the chords follow the melody: most of the notes in the melody will be in the accompanying chord; they are intimately connected.
It may help to identify the KEY, but this is not essential.
If you want to sing the song, it will need to be within your own range, and the key may need to be changed - but that's not necessary for this composition study purpose.

4. Rhythm.
Are there any distinctive rhythmic factors? Riffs, beat patterns, breaks, etc. (This can go in the "structure" category if you like.)

5. Look at other songs of the same type, and look for similar patterns. Eg, in the structure (lengths of verse or chorus, repeat patterns), chord changes, rhythmic ideas, and effects such as an increase in volume or intensity at the chorus.

Make sure you exclude factors such as electronic effects (distortion, reverb, delay etc), orchestration or arrangement (types and quantities of instruments used). These are important in a final production, but not part of a songwriting process. A good song will work with just voice and a guitar or piano. Melody, lyrics and chords.

Experiment with changing the songs. Eg, leave a line out, leave a bar or two out of a line; change the tempo or the rhythm; miss out a chord change; mix up verse lines and chorus lines. Take the pieces apart and reassemble them in various different ways. Mix lines from one song with lines from another song.

This is not just an investigative, learning process, but can actually be a valid composition process. You just need to make sure that you mix the various stolen parts up so that they can't be recognised. This is especially important with melodies and lyrics, which are copyright. Always make sure you change lyrics or melodic phrases in some way - make them your own. Chord changes, however, can be lifted as they are: the same chord changes often get used for different songs, they're not copyright.

The more songs you study (and rip apart), the more inspiration you will get for your own songs. Everything you listen to goes into your memory in some way, and the more you learn how to play each fragment, the more you will possess them and be able to recall them accurately.

You should, of course, also come up with your own original ideas for songs if you can. You will probably gets lots of ideas for short phrases, bits of tune or lyrics. It's rare that you will come up with a complete song idea in one go, so always make notes of any little idea you get. Write it down in notation or tab if you can, or record it as audio. It may only take 2 or 3 separate ideas (from different times) to make a complete song. Remember that a lot can be repeated, several times, you can have instrumental breaks or solos, and it's usually best to keep things simple.

If there are terms used above that you don't understand ("bar", "interval", "key", etc?), look those up, or buy a basic theory book.
I don't recommend a theory book for learning songwriting as such, it's only for learning how to write stuff down, and to learn some basic terminology; it will help you to identify and organise the various elements of a song. Eg, you don't need to understand the principles of harmony (which is a serious academic study), you can get it all from studying songs and picking up on the various types of chord and kinds of chord change used.
Basic types of chord to be familiar with (for pop or rock) are major, minor, dom7, m7. Maybe sus2, sus4 and add9 for something a little fancier.
Roman numeral notation for chords (I, IV, V etc) can be useful, but you can do without that at the beginning.

There are a few good books on songwriting itself, with tips, such as those by Rikki Rooksby:

If you're interested in classical or jazz composition, some serious academic study is in order. Ideally a few years full-time at a college! But certainly a book or two on classical harmony principles, known as 4-part or SATB, with plenty of exercises.

02-08-2012, 01:34 AM
Timeless advice! ;)

02-08-2012, 11:18 AM
Hahaha di my comment just got JonR (http://www.ibreathemusic.com/forums/member.php?u=561)ed? xD

02-09-2012, 11:55 AM
What can i star to compose something?? And how is the best way to learn harmony??
For the structure of a song -- check this out. http://www.ibreathemusic.com/forums/showthread.php?p=149316#post149316

Pick a key. Why? Makes it simpler. Narrows down the choices to seven melody notes and seven chords.

For Harmony -- You want to harmonize the melody. If your melody line and your chord line contain some of the same notes at the same time in the song you harmonize. That's it. That's all you really need to know about harmony, except for the small detail of how to do that - start simple - pentatonic scale notes for your melody (that's five notes) and the major chords in the key (only three) for your harmony. Five notes and three chords have written a lot of music. Plenty of time for more when you know what to do with those.

Now match the notes that sound good together with chords that sound good together. I know, ....... The guys have already gotten into that.

Start simple..... http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vrDh0OFDCAk

Have fun.

02-16-2012, 08:17 AM
Thanks for the material guys https://secure.asdfhacks.com/monster/35/b/happy.gif