\"\"
Piano Forum logo

Learning music theory and composition (Read 3562 times)

Offline 8426

  • PS Silver Member
  • Jr. Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 53
Learning music theory and composition
« on: May 31, 2008, 09:33:12 PM »
Where is a place where i can learn music theory and composition? i know all major and minor scales and most of the basics but i want to compose and go deeper.

Offline faulty_damper

  • PS Silver Member
  • Sr. Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 3931
Re: Learning music theory and composition
«Reply #1 on: June 03, 2008, 05:05:51 AM »
Where is a place where i can learn music theory and composition? i know all major and minor scales and most of the basics but i want to compose and go deeper.

You don't need to know theory to write music.  But you do need to know how to write correctly.

Composition should start with improvisation.  If you are not skilled at it, it will be a laborious task.

Offline pelajarpiano

  • PS Silver Member
  • Jr. Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 47
Re: Learning music theory and composition
«Reply #2 on: June 03, 2008, 04:00:40 PM »
It's according what kind of song do you want to make. If you want to make a classical song, it's really hard..you must know all of sign and music theory to write it in music sheet. But if you just want to make a simple melody or make a popular song, you don't need to master them. You can train your ability in feeling something and ear training. If you get inspiration, you can whistling the melody first, then write the melody on paper. The improvisation can be added after you write and think how they will be played.
If you wanting to improve your musical ability, esspecialy classic, it's better for you to play the classical pieces. You will feel different after play many pieces.
No one is perfect and have no fault, but I will do the best

Offline 8426

  • PS Silver Member
  • Jr. Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 53
Re: Learning music theory and composition
«Reply #3 on: June 03, 2008, 06:21:47 PM »
i want to learn how to really compose...like rach and bach.

Offline faulty_damper

  • PS Silver Member
  • Sr. Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 3931
Re: Learning music theory and composition
«Reply #4 on: June 03, 2008, 07:01:28 PM »
i want to learn how to really compose...like rach and bach.

What do you think Bach, Mozart, Haydn, Beethoven, Hummel, Chopin, Debussy, Rachmaninoff, et al had in common?  They could all improvise and make music at the keyboard before writing it down.

Does music come from the mind first or must it be experienced first?  If you think you can compose without making music, it's possible but how do you think it will sound?

Offline pelajarpiano

  • PS Silver Member
  • Jr. Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 47
Re: Learning music theory and composition
«Reply #5 on: June 04, 2008, 07:38:42 AM »
i want to learn how to really compose...like rach and bach.

You must know that all of the best composer like mozart, bach, chopin, bethoven and other start compose a classical song after they learn other pieces. You can read the biography of them. You can see at http://www.free-scores.com, find a sheet and then read they biography. They have learn music and train themselves to play. Don't you know, that bethoven can't hear anything when he was old, but he still compose good  pieces.How can he do it? It's caused he had train his feeling of music so he can imagine the sound in his brain and what note is suitable with the sound.

The first step before you compose classical song is :
1. Learn the music theory( so you will know what genre of music you make, some people think the slow music is classical music, but actually it can be pop song)
2. Try to train your self to understand what is classical music by playing them.
3. (I hope the last point will help you) find one person who want to teach you and give you the next step...^^(of course not me, coz i still study)
No one is perfect and have no fault, but I will do the best

Offline shingo

  • Sr. Member
  • ****
  • Posts: 259
Re: Learning music theory and composition
«Reply #6 on: June 28, 2008, 07:32:17 PM »
Having recently been reading some of Bernhard's posts on the mattter I thought this quote would be useful;

Quote
William Russo – Composing music – A new approach (University of Chicago Press)

The best “teach yourself” to compose book I ever come across. Explores all compositional techniques by means of progressive and carefully thought out exercises. Even  if you do not plan to compose, going through all the exercises in the book will help you to understand what composers are trying to do, and will lead to a much solid appreciation of the pieces you are learning, well beyond the simplistic emotional response “I like/I don’t like”. Highly recommended.

Havn't recieved the book yet so I personally can't comment on it, but it sounds like it is worth a look. You could try asking your library if they have it / could order it, if you don't want to buy it.

link to whole thread here: http://www.pianostreet.com/smf/index.php/topic,3034.msg26512.html#msg26512

Offline jabbz

  • PS Silver Member
  • Sr. Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 272
Re: Learning music theory and composition
«Reply #7 on: June 28, 2008, 10:47:23 PM »
Music theory, Music theory, Music Theory, and repertoire.

As a composer, being able to improvise at an instrument is actually quite inessential. Only 1% of my compositions actually come from improvisations.

Bach wrote various parts of the WTC at a time when he had no instrument available to him! Same goes for various other composers.

But don't get me wrong, it's a good way to generate content sometimes, but being able to work away from an instrument is far more rewarding.

Offline oscarr111111

  • PS Silver Member
  • Full Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 154
Re: Learning music theory and composition
«Reply #8 on: June 28, 2008, 10:52:01 PM »
But don't get me wrong, it's a good way to generate content sometimes, but being able to work away from an instrument is far more rewarding.

Not 'having a go' here, but I'd be interested to hear why you think this.

Offline jabbz

  • PS Silver Member
  • Sr. Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 272
Re: Learning music theory and composition
«Reply #9 on: June 28, 2008, 11:09:02 PM »
If you ever find yourself on holiday, or unexpectedly without your instrument, and you have a deadline (personal, or professional), you'll be glad that you can still work.

As a beginning student, I found myself quite by surprise on holiday, and the house where I was staying had no piano, this would have been fine if I didn't have an assignment to get finished! Turned out fine in the end, but was certainly a bit stressful.

There are other issues to deal with, in re to improvisation. For example, in in-adept improvisers, only a few patterns, keys or scales tend to be excercised, both for musical and technical reasons, when you work at the manuscript, you can push and pull a little more than that your instrument sometimes.

Mind you, these are just personal observations.

Offline oscarr111111

  • PS Silver Member
  • Full Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 154
Re: Learning music theory and composition
«Reply #10 on: June 28, 2008, 11:23:05 PM »
Cheers, we had slightly different interpretations of 'rewarding' in this case, I was thinking more of the instant gratification lost in the moment kind.  Your points are definitely correct though, I personally compose around 90% away from any instrument (in Sibelius however, so I can hear it played back) as like you said, if you write on an instrument you can get stuck in patterns and old habits regardless of how good you are, I also feel better able to transfer my ideas to the music and can focus more on the composition itself, I could go on looking for little reasons but you basically get the point.

Interestingly the instrument that I *do* use extensively in composition is my Mandolin which I learned to play entirely by ear (don't ask me to name any notes on it, but play me a melody and I can play it right back), I use it to write melodies quite frequently and its small enough not to be a hassle to pick up and put down.

Offline jabbz

  • PS Silver Member
  • Sr. Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 272
Re: Learning music theory and composition
«Reply #11 on: June 29, 2008, 12:00:22 AM »
I have a somewhat similar approach! I've dabbled in a little classical guitar - I often use that in a similar fashion as you do with your mandolin. Infact, I wrote the prelude to my opera on the guitar!

Offline eastman_grad

  • PS Silver Member
  • Newbie
  • ***
  • Posts: 24
Re: Learning music theory and composition
«Reply #12 on: July 18, 2008, 01:13:08 PM »
There are two fantastic teachers I know of who could give you some advice. One is Alan Belkin and the other is Andrew Schartmann.

Alan Belkin has a website that can be accessed through Google. Andrew Schartmann does as well, but it is very new as far as I know so it isn't very high on the Google charts yet. I took his e-mail from the site, which is a.schartmann@gmail.com

I hope this helps!

Offline indutrial

  • PS Silver Member
  • Sr. Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 870
Re: Learning music theory and composition
«Reply #13 on: August 07, 2008, 04:04:48 PM »
Learning theory can always help, but the number one thing to do is to simply become an adventurous repertoire maven. Find composers who you like (and check out ones you're not 100% familiar with) and study their scores. See what kind of things they did to sound as good as they sound. Even if you don't have a clue what theory or technique informs a certain part, I've found that engaging scores directly is still a positive influence. I, for one, am obsessed with early modern chamber music. For years, I've gone to libraries all over the area looking for new and interesting scores by composers I like (Milhaud, Prokofiev, Tansman, Martinu, Mihalovici, Absil) and I just sit down with them and fill up numerous notebooks with notes and drawings of ideas of theirs that I like, sometimes transcribing parts for guitar or simply making a list of the harmonic progression. Sometimes I take it a step further and mess around with set theories and stuff, but I mostly try to keep it simple. Most of the time, I never quite nail down a 100% accurate way to explain the composition, but what I do figure out definitely helps to develop my own compositional approach.

Offline alysosha

  • PS Silver Member
  • Jr. Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 34
Re: Learning music theory and composition
«Reply #14 on: December 04, 2009, 02:13:41 AM »
Learning theory can always help, but the number one thing to do is to simply become an adventurous repertoire maven. Find composers who you like (and check out ones you're not 100% familiar with) and study their scores. See what kind of things they did to sound as good as they sound. Even if you don't have a clue what theory or technique informs a certain part, I've found that engaging scores directly is still a positive influence. I, for one, am obsessed with early modern chamber music. For years, I've gone to libraries all over the area looking for new and interesting scores by composers I like (Milhaud, Prokofiev, Tansman, Martinu, Mihalovici, Absil) and I just sit down with them and fill up numerous notebooks with notes and drawings of ideas of theirs that I like, sometimes transcribing parts for guitar or simply making a list of the harmonic progression. Sometimes I take it a step further and mess around with set theories and stuff, but I mostly try to keep it simple. Most of the time, I never quite nail down a 100% accurate way to explain the composition, but what I do figure out definitely helps to develop my own compositional approach.

How can you even read a score without any theoretical knowledge?