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Guest yanG

How to improve my composition skills?

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Guest yanG

Do you know good online (free) resources for learning composition? I'm sick of composing always the same stuff, I try to experiment but it'd be far quicker with some hints :/

Thanks!

Edited by yanG

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Hi there yanG,

Having been composing for many years I can give you a few hints to help.

-First of all, although you may not have the time for this I would consider learning an instrument, preferably piano. This would teach you all the basics of music theory and whatnot, while allowing you to be versatile in improvising and coming up with ideas on a keyboard.

-If you can't learn an instrument, at least learn the basics of music theory (scales, chords, key signatures, etc.). A good amount of compositions revolve around these very simple principles.

-Listen to a lot of music! This is so important. You can't learn more about composition than from composers themselves. This way you'll learn structure, techniques, strategies, etc.

-Start to analyze the music you listen to, looking for patterns, harmonies, etc.

-BE PATIENT. Ideas can sometimes come quickly or after hours of experimentation. If you get frustrated the ideas tend to never come out. In fact, I've found that even when I find an idea that I don't necessarily like at the moment, if I stick with it it sometimes grows on me.

-Most importantly, never put limits on what you want to create. Composition is all about letting ideas express themselves- if you put limits or firm expectations on what you want to create, you're preventing the ideas from fully coming out. LET THE IDEAS FLOW!

Here's a website that I found very helpful for the basics of composition:

http://www.artofcomposing.com/how-to-compose-music-101

Good luck!

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start listening to dillinger escape plan and in a weeks time you will be on your way to writing unique tracks

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What kind of composition?

 

Either way, I would suggest reading into music theory. You don't need to know everything, just study your scales and experiment a bit. Also, look into arrangement. There are some pretty awfully composed tunes that were saved by their arrangement (instrument/style choice).

 

Write a tune every week.

 

I used to teach music and I had a ton of students that wanted to know how to shortcut their way into being a great producer. There isn't one. There are some tricks to speed you up along the way, but there's no substitute for sitting in your room for 8 hours a day dedicated to practicing one thing.

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Guest A/D

It depends on what you want to do. If you're tired of the stuff you're writing, it means you're not really concentrating on what you want to hear - you're just going with something that's worked out for you technically before. It takes a lot of inner work to make compositions that are true to what you really want to happen. (I'm assuming you're writing stuff purely for your own pleasure and not to fulfill a technical role like scoring.)

 

I'm gonna go against the music theory advice (which is a bit hypocritical, because I studied it and it definitely improved my playing), but it can be a trap for your particular problem. You get handed a lot of potential solutions to your compositions, which is cool, but it can be frustrating if you forget that you can - and should - go outside them if you want to. Work to really hear internally what you want to happen next. That's the only way you can satisfy yourself.

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knowing composition alone can't guarantee you much! after yrs of training composition with hayden beethoven said that he learned nothing, nothing at all. so how could this be? was he a slow learner? a stupid guy? i don't think so. think about what was he referring to.

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throw a lot of shit at the wall until something sticks?

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Guest pafr

get off watmm, read about music theory on wikipedia. Most people here are too retarded to use words to describe music composition. All they can say is that they compose by ears. Here is just a bunch of kids sharing their electronic music. Lurking on WATMM is a waste of your time, a waste of your life.

 

Maybe you are one those retards too, only know how to ask composition skill improvement questions on WATMM.

 

If you can't learn on your own, go take a class, class from a university should be enough, actually fuck it. Go to Coursera. Coursera has everything you need to learn about everything. Knowledge is out there, just whether you have the courage and ambition to explore.

 

Good luck.

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lol...pafr, pafr...

 

 

 

 

...have you ever tried tests like these? try now!

 

IQ-Test-Forums.mtgsalvation.com_.jpg

 

Eyes-Test-e1297316892336.jpg

 

 

 

Edited by xox

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Guest skibby

i can't even compose a one second sample.

 

what i want to know is how to make a drum hit sound lush. i've got 1,000,000 drum hits in my sample folder and as soon as I load any sample, layered or not, it sounds rubbish, in the mix or no, reverb or no.

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Try placing yourself within a creative stricture, like composing a melody in a specific mode or making an entire track from samples collected from an old out-of-tune ukulele you found in your friend's attic. There can be such an overwhelming array of option in the world of electronic composition so it is essential to restrict yourself at times. Restricting yourself in a creative stricture that you find initially uncomfortable can be the best way to force learning and growth upon yourself, but it takes discipline!

 

get off watmm, read about music theory on wikipedia. Most people here are too retarded to use words to describe music composition. All they can say is that they compose by ears. Here is just a bunch of kids sharing their electronic music. Lurking on WATMM is a waste of your time, a waste of your life.

 

Maybe you are one those retards too, only know how to ask composition skill improvement questions on WATMM.

 

If you can't learn on your own, go take a class, class from a university should be enough, actually fuck it. Go to Coursera. Coursera has everything you need to learn about everything. Knowledge is out there, just whether you have the courage and ambition to explore.

 

Good luck.

pafr = The rest of the internet's perception of what WATMM is.

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i can't even compose a one second sample.

 

what i want to know is how to make a drum hit sound lush. i've got 1,000,000 drum hits in my sample folder and as soon as I load any sample, layered or not, it sounds rubbish, in the mix or no, reverb or no.

 

drums are the easy part. load some quality samples from good solid drum machines, add a bit of reverb to the snare/clap) whatevers, gain that shit up/bit of EQ you really can't go wrong with that. youknowhatimsayin'?

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Call everyone on WATMM a retard. That's what we all did and look at us today!

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Guest skibby

i came here a retard and i still am, so far.

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Hi there yanG,

Having been composing for many years I can give you a few hints to help.

-First of all, although you may not have the time for this I would consider learning an instrument, preferably piano. This would teach you all the basics of music theory and whatnot, while allowing you to be versatile in improvising and coming up with ideas on a keyboard.

-If you can't learn an instrument, at least learn the basics of music theory (scales, chords, key signatures, etc.). A good amount of compositions revolve around these very simple principles.

-Listen to a lot of music! This is so important. You can't learn more about composition than from composers themselves. This way you'll learn structure, techniques, strategies, etc.

-Start to analyze the music you listen to, looking for patterns, harmonies, etc.

-BE PATIENT. Ideas can sometimes come quickly or after hours of experimentation. If you get frustrated the ideas tend to never come out. In fact, I've found that even when I find an idea that I don't necessarily like at the moment, if I stick with it it sometimes grows on me.

-Most importantly, never put limits on what you want to create. Composition is all about letting ideas express themselves- if you put limits or firm expectations on what you want to create, you're preventing the ideas from fully coming out. LET THE IDEAS FLOW!

Here's a website that I found very helpful for the basics of composition:

http://www.artofcomposing.com/how-to-compose-music-101

Good luck!

 

This is all good advice. Compose is a loaded term but I'm assuming you're talking about composing electronic tracks. (If you're talking about composing classical music you really need to go find a comp teacher. Not an online course, a real human that you can interact with.)

 

I think if you want to write some cool tracks you really just need to start writing tracks. There's not some step by step program you can follow where you do little exercises and when you're done you write the best tracks ever. A world class violinist doesn't learn to shred violin by reading books or blog posts, they become badasses by playing violin every day. Learning the tools of electronic music isn't any different. Music theory can be helpful in getting ideas more easily out of your head and into the real world but I don't think it's completely necessary. Use your ears. Just find whatever kind of stuff you like and write a track like that. Listen to music with an analytical ear. I'm not saying make a direct cover of a track you dig (although that isn't a terrible idea, especially if you're starting out with no experience), I'm saying find a track you like, figure out what the basic elements of the track are, and then make a track using those elements.

 

For example, if you like BoC, lay down a hip hop beat, throw some warbly ass synth lines on top, and sprinkle in a some sampled kids voices. The track will probably be shit, but the experience you gain making the track will be super beneficial for future tracks. I wouldn't worry about being original, eventually your music will become the sum of all your influences (all the people you choose to rip off) and that sum will be unique.

 

There aren't any shortcuts. If you want to write good tracks, just write a lot of tracks.

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A book that has been recommended pretty much in this forum:

 

Music Theory for Musicians.

 

Covers basically an entire music degree in composition in a brief, fun way.

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get off watmm, read about music theory on wikipedia. Most people here are too retarded to use words to describe music composition. All they can say is that they compose by ears. Here is just a bunch of kids sharing their electronic music. Lurking on WATMM is a waste of your time, a waste of your life.

 

Maybe you are one those retards too, only know how to ask composition skill improvement questions on WATMM.

 

If you can't learn on your own, go take a class, class from a university should be enough, actually fuck it. Go to Coursera. Coursera has everything you need to learn about everything. Knowledge is out there, just whether you have the courage and ambition to explore.

 

Good luck.

jesus christ... don't listen to this negative shite. discussing music on ekt is one of the best things about this place.

 

thread otherwise has some great great advice, go check out some ebooks as suggested above. also 'harmony for computer musicians' is a great resource. also read musiciphilia, it's a great instinctual assessment of music.

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get off watmm, read about music theory on wikipedia. Most people here are too retarded to use words to describe music composition. All they can say is that they compose by ears. Here is just a bunch of kids sharing their electronic music. Lurking on WATMM is a waste of your time, a waste of your life.

 

Maybe you are one those retards too, only know how to ask composition skill improvement questions on WATMM.

 

If you can't learn on your own, go take a class, class from a university should be enough, actually fuck it. Go to Coursera. Coursera has everything you need to learn about everything. Knowledge is out there, just whether you have the courage and ambition to explore.

 

Good luck.

jesus christ... don't listen to this negative shite. discussing music on ekt is one of the best things about this place.

 

thread otherwise has some great great advice, go check out some ebooks as suggested above. also 'harmony for computer musicians' is a great resource. also read musiciphilia, it's a great instinctual assessment of music.

 

 

Yes! I'm reading it atm. Awesome book.

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Jesus could I have used 'great' any more times in a post? I need some new words

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i can't even compose a one second sample.

 

what i want to know is how to make a drum hit sound lush. i've got 1,000,000 drum hits in my sample folder and as soon as I load any sample, layered or not, it sounds rubbish, in the mix or no, reverb or no.

drums are the easy part. load some quality samples from good solid drum machines, add a bit of reverb to the snare/clap) whatevers, gain that shit up/bit of EQ you really can't go wrong with that. youknowhatimsayin'?

this and compression. don't let the whole loudness war thing stop you from using it, the key is how you shape the sound with it. too much sounds boring and like cardboard. ideally it should sound fresh and pumping, for most styles at least. allow about 5-20ms attack for transients and move the release around until you hear the sound 'breathe' the way you want. you don't even need that high of a ratio, anything above 10 is probably too much unless you're reigning in some peaks and spikes

 

but yeah, nothing groups drum sounds together better than verb, compression and eq. it's also worth playing with the pitch of the drum sounds to get them working together better.

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Jesus could I have used 'great' any more times in a post? I need some new words

 

you need to read 'designing words for computer musicians'. it's great awesome!

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Somewhat depending on what genre or style are you making, music theory is a great tool. I've studied theory and playing instruments and it does help a lot when making melodic stuff.

Anyway, there's a lot of styles where you don't really even need to know anything about scales or harmonies or whatever. That's when sound design, mixing etc. are a big focus.

 

When I get bored or find myself doing the same thing over and over again, I like to make some "rules" for myself. Like a game or something.

It could be something like

 

"make a tune that has only drms, bass and one synth"
"do not use any reverb or delay"
"using LCR mixing (pan everything hard left, center, hard right, nothing in between)."

"use as little/much of everything as possible"

 

Or a different approach in some way. Maybe just doing one particular instrument totally differently than usual, maybe like the drums? Using a different software..

 

Also, listen to your track from the beginning to the end as you go on. And this is important: When listening to your tune - do NOT look at the daw screen and all the meters. Shut down the monitor or look at something else on the screen. Imagine that you're playing the tune to a friend. How would he react? What would he expect to hear next on the song? That might give you ideas on where to go next. Do something that nobody would expect.

 

Sometimes I get inspired by cool photos and do a "soundtrack" to the photo or picture.

 

Well I don't know if I actually answered the original question, but I hope this inspires anyways.

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Guest A/D

Also, listen to your track from the beginning to the end as you go on. And this is important: When listening to your tune - do NOT look at the daw screen and all the meters. Shut down the monitor or look at something else on the screen.

This is good advice.

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Expressing oneself musically, is to convert oneself into sound. This first requires being conscious of one's emotions; and second, requires one to have a massive library of musical themes/concepts to consciously/subconsciously choose from, to most accurately be able to depict oneself at that moment. Much like writing a novel-- if the only type of text you've ever read in your whole life is erotica, it's going to be tough for you to write an action adventure novel.

 

So basically, to express oneself most accurately with music, it's necessary to listen to and study as much music as possible (as many genres as possible). That's the only way to really figure out what appeals to you as a composer. And then of course when composing-- experiment. Listen to your own music bits and react to it. That REACTION to your own music bits is how a lot of music is made. Some people compose the whole track in 5 sec in their head, but often times it'll start with a bassline or whatever, then listening to your own bass shitz- if you open up- you'll hear the next best thing to come into play.

 

The most personal-output creating and "original" artists- in the visual arts and music- tend to have massive mental libraries due to eclectic tastes (as well as learning what does not work for them)-- and they tend to be multi-media, multi-instrument.

 

That being said, if you don't want to compose heartfelt and sincere works and just want to improve in technical composition to pretend like you're good at music to impress people who are easily impressed-- just copy formulas (track structures). "Music is so eeeeeeasy"... etc.

Edited by peace 7

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