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Topic: question about composing  (Read 1171 times)

Offline gore234

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question about composing
on: August 04, 2016, 09:38:18 PM
If a person tries to compose without worrying about the structure of the piece,  will their compositions fit into any style or format as long as it has a section come back later in the piece? 

Some formats require that you know how to compose them precisely and other types of pieces probably have less requirements to no requirements.

When a person composes something and it turns out to be a specific style/specific form but they don't know what its actually called, do they get a teacher/composer to listen to it so that they can tell them what it is?

I feel like some of the serious composers plan out every single detail and even know how many measures the piece is going to be before they even write a single note and other composers don't worry about any kind of detail and just go with the flow. 

There is also some universal rules that we don't really talk about such as an A section will most likely not last 500 measures because that would be silly.  But I guess someone could do that if they wanted to.

One of my fears is that I can study how to write a certain type of composition and then try real hard to create something and it turn out to be 90 percent instead of 100 percent fitting the requirements.  If a piece is not 100 percent meeting the requirements, is it called a different type of piece or just a bad example or do people not care to much and I'm looking to deeply into it?

Offline kuska

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Re: question about composing
Reply #1 on: August 05, 2016, 07:19:10 AM
What if you started the other way round. For who do you want to write?

Offline marijn1999

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Re: question about composing
Reply #2 on: August 05, 2016, 07:35:17 AM

A lot of good questions in your post. I myself have started composing about three years ago when I was fourteen. I started by writing simple pieces like menuets, short piano pieces in A-B-A form and other short 36-bar pieces. I never started writing something, however, without knowing what it should turn out to be. If it, in the end, proved not to work out for the particular piece I am working on, I will drop the piece and use the themes for something else, or come back and try to work it out later.

I think you're right that most "real" composers (I'm talking Bach, Haydn, Beethoven, Brahms, etc.) really already had a rough sketch of the complete piece in their head. I don't think they went as far as knowing how much measures the piece would eventually be, but very detailed, yes. An exception, imo, is Mozart who mostly wrote music by means of improvising. He would start a piece by knowing "This is going to be a piano concerto", write down the theme and would write down anything that came down to him. It just so happened that pretty much everything Mozart wrote was perfect already.

I don't think it is appropriate to name your piece according to a certain structure if you didt really know what you were doing whilst writing. Instead, try to make a composing plan before you start writing:

- What kind of pieces is this going to be?
- For what instrument(s) am I going to write this piece?
- How am I going to combine this two into writing a nice piece?

All these questions can be adjusted later on, but you must have some kind of a plan, because else, you wont come any further than writing simple, short pieces which are not structered in a notable way. I don''t recommend getting a teacher in composition just right now. First start writing short pieces in A-B-A form, become familiar with the techniques of different instruments and the figurations they're able to play. Also, you'll become familiar with the structure in music, and you will start to see that basically every piece is build upon certain structures. Sonata-allegro form, for example is basically a large and extended A-B-A form.

Good luck, happy composing and ask anything you want to know. I'll help as far as possible!

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Offline gore234

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Re: question about composing
Reply #3 on: August 05, 2016, 07:39:16 PM
Writing something in an ABA format comes really easy for me if I'm in the same key through out the piece.  The problem to me is that the allegro sonata form requires modulation so even tho I understand the structure, I have a difficult time creating the right chord progression or musical idea to modulate back to the home key.  After studying sonata allegro pieces, I feel like I'm getting closer to creating a perfect sonata allegro piece but all of my practice compositions still sound good even tho they don't follow 100 percent of the guidelines.

If my practice compositions for the sonata allegro form didn't follow the form 100 percent such as not having the modulation part and just simply being in one key and having an ABA, what do I end up with?  Is it something else that I don't know the name of?

Other forms such as the waltz don't have a structure and are a style.  The only guideline that I can think of is that they are in 3/4.  I've seen some waltz be in an ABA form and those pieces last about 1 minute but there are other waltz that have somekind of structure such as ABABCDABA or ABCDABEFGHA or whatever.  These ones can last up to 14 minutes or longer I guess.

An etude piece can be just one page and show a particular technique.  I guess the structure can be ABA or just A.

I've been creating a waltz piece and I think my structure so far is ABCD and I guess if the D section doesn't lead back to A good enough, I need an E section to lead back to A.  I've looked at ways that I can make A comeback before the C section so it would be ABABCD to E then back to A.  If I bring the A section back,  I need to think about a way to end the piece so I guess that section would be the F section.  If I look at the big picture, the A and B sections could possibly be called A and the C and D sections could be called B so its actually ABA and the second A has an ending.  Would this be the correct way to look at it? I feel weird listening to other pieces and comparing my piece to the other waltz. I want my piece to be authentic and true instead of a mistake or something weird put together.

Offline quantum

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Re: question about composing
Reply #4 on: August 06, 2016, 05:19:29 AM
It would depend on what the goal of your composing is.  If you are trying to learn a style by sticking as close to the "rules" as possible, then picking apart the form may be part of your study.  But if you are just composing for the sake of creating music, there is no harm in diverging from a style.  Composers break rules and conventions all the time, and it doesn't render their music of lesser value.  It is probably better to find appropriate musical solutions then forcing a composition to stick to a style rule when all your senses are telling you the template just doesn't fit the piece. 

If you are having problems with modulations, do an outline using basic primary chords.  It may seem rough, but the fundamentals have a tendency to simply work.  Look through some harmony texts for modulation formulas you could apply, then try your hand at creating your own. 
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