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jancivil
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14737 posts since 20 Oct, 2007, from No Location

Postby jancivil; Tue Mar 28, 2017 6:11 pm Re: Music composition learning resources

Ok, as long as all these books are free...
sellyoursoul
KVRist
 
419 posts since 1 May, 2009

Postby sellyoursoul; Tue Mar 28, 2017 8:46 pm Re: Music composition learning resources

jancivil wrote:Ok, as long as all these books are free...


The cost of a few books doesn't begin to compare with tuition at a school AND the overpriced textbooks that go along with it.

I'm convinced that you don't really have anything much positive to say. And I wonder what you, or anyone else for that matter, has gotten out of your posts in this thread. At first, I thought that maybe I was taking your posts wrong. But, nah. You're just being ugly for the sake of it.
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jancivil
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14737 posts since 20 Oct, 2007, from No Location

Postby jancivil; Wed Mar 29, 2017 12:09 pm Re: Music composition learning resources

Well, I said get your ear together, pick stuff off of records in detail and you said that was ambiguous.
I really believe in that, do that first.

After I was a musician for a few years (I mean I had developed my ear from nowheresville to not too shabby)
I took Music Theory 1st and 2nd year simultaneously at community college. I was a guitar teacher at a mom 'n pop music store. If that isn't available to you, that's that I suppose. I think your approach is misguided, but this is no skin off my nose. You seem to have it all worked out your way, so great. Good luck, I won't bug you again. :)
Last edited by jancivil on Wed Mar 29, 2017 12:17 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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jancivil
KVRAF
 
14737 posts since 20 Oct, 2007, from No Location

Postby jancivil; Wed Mar 29, 2017 12:14 pm Re: Music composition learning resources

sellyoursoul wrote:
jancivil wrote:Ok, as long as all these books are free...

At first, I thought that maybe I was taking your posts wrong. But, nah. You're just being ugly for the sake of it.

Yeah, I forget to stick a cute emoji on that remark. It was lighthearted, and you are taking things wrong.
I did kind of find your 'ambiguous' remark as to "Get your ear together, transcribe in detail along with solfege" after it was quoted in affirmation rather a bad sign (argumentative).

Take it easy, kiddo!
sellyoursoul
KVRist
 
419 posts since 1 May, 2009

Postby sellyoursoul; Wed Mar 29, 2017 10:08 pm Re: Music composition learning resources

jancivil wrote:I think your approach is misguided, but this is no skin off my nose. You seem to have it all worked out your way, so great. Good luck, I won't bug you again. :)


The reason for starting this thread was to get help with finding resources, which implies that, I don't have everything figured out, much less worked out my own way. I don't know what lead you to that assumption, but you are coming across on my end as being unnecessarily negative and disruptive. And you know nothing of my approach, other than my asking for help in finding materials. That seems to be another assumption that you arrived at. I think your issue might be with the independent learning aspect. And while you may not like it personally, it does work for others. Any way, I didn't start this thread to have an internet argument about what might or might not be the best approach toward working on my abilities of composing music for songs.
dscoyne
KVRer
 
19 posts since 4 Jul, 2006, from Los Angeles, CA

Postby dscoyne; Wed Mar 29, 2017 11:40 pm Re: Music composition learning resources

sellyoursoul wrote:dscoyne, I appreciate the effort of that post, but I already understand basic music theory. Any problems that I have in that area are to do with not yet having internalized what I understand through practice and putting it to use.


Through their methodology, both of the two books I suggested enable you to not only learn, but to practice playing and composing on a keyboard and to put it all to use in actually writing and notating songs.

In your reply, you did not mention that part of my comment. Have you checked either of them out?

Of course, once you get familiar with notating songs with just chord symbols and melody, as is done on a "lead sheet" (only needing the treble clef), you can then use your guitar, with vocal, to get more feel for what you have put down on paper.
poet
KBSoundSmith
KVRian
 
667 posts since 6 Jul, 2009

Postby KBSoundSmith; Thu Mar 30, 2017 7:39 am Re: Music composition learning resources

sellyoursoul wrote:Thanks for the response KBSoundSmith. Yes, that is clear.

So I'm working with The Rhythm Bible, and I ran into a couple of problems that I need to figure out how to deal with. The author suggests not using foot taps for keeping the beat, because there is a delay between the mind and foot. I agree on that point, and so I am using a metronome for keeping the beat and tongue clicks for marking rests, as suggested. But at higher tempos (it is suggested to work each set of exercises from 96 bpm up to 208 bpm), switching between 'da' syllables for notes and tongue clicks for rests is impractical. You might try it to see what I mean (set your metronome around 200 bpm and sing alternating 'da' and tongue click).

Also, the book stresses that it is important to either use a foot tap or a tongue click for marking rests and tied notes. I don't like the foot tap approach, for the previously mentioned reason. And tongue clicks conflict with holding 'da' syllables across tied notes (can't do both at once).

Maybe you took a different approach to marking rests and tied notes?


At higher tempos, physically marking the beat, rests, etc. will become more problematic, as it becomes a waste of effort and time (and for certain performance situations would look amateurish or be disruptive to other performers). Physically marking the beat should be thought of as training wheels: at some point, they come off. Eventually, you want to keep time in your head.

I agree with the author's distrust of foot tapping. But if you're singing and performing with your hands, your options are thinned considerably; foot tapping is then the only practical choice for physically marking the beat. You might consider practicing foot tapping with the metronome and really locking in with the beat (but yes, as you increase speed, you will find it increasingly cumbersome -- at that point, try to go without physically marking at all).

If you're at slower tempos, marking with a foot tap won't be problematic, so go ahead and do it. And for faster tempos, you should have already learned the rhythm so thoroughly that you don't need to physically mark the beat -- if you do, you're probably trying to practice faster than you're actually ready for. You might also reserve a single foot tap to help you more clearly articulate a single beat or measure, rather than tapping throughout an entire passage.

So, In short: learn the rhythm at a slow tempo and feel free to tap your foot. As you increase speed, only physically mark where it helps you clearly articulate a beat or measure. Then, work toward practicing a rhythm without any physical marking at all.

I'd add another thing. To help develop your internal sense of rhythm, it is very helpful in the early stages to physically embrace the beat. I've had private students march, dance, etc to a beat. IMO, physicality is necessary to develop a keen sense of rhythm. Try this: set the metronome to the desired tempo, stand up, and shake your hips, tap your feet, dance in place -- whatever you need to get your whole body grooving with the beat (and feel free to close the doors and windows so you don't look like an idiot to the neighbors, lol). Then practice your rhythmic exercises as normal.
sellyoursoul
KVRist
 
419 posts since 1 May, 2009

Postby sellyoursoul; Sat Apr 01, 2017 5:21 pm Re: Music composition learning resources

dscoyne wrote:
sellyoursoul wrote:dscoyne, I appreciate the effort of that post, but I already understand basic music theory. Any problems that I have in that area are to do with not yet having internalized what I understand through practice and putting it to use.


Through their methodology, both of the two books I suggested enable you to not only learn, but to practice playing and composing on a keyboard and to put it all to use in actually writing and notating songs.

In your reply, you did not mention that part of my comment. Have you checked either of them out?

Of course, once you get familiar with notating songs with just chord symbols and melody, as is done on a "lead sheet" (only needing the treble clef), you can then use your guitar, with vocal, to get more feel for what you have put down on paper.


Apologies for the slow response. I have been busy with work, practicing, and all the little stuff that I wish I didn't have to do.

On the first book, I'm not interested in any way paying $275+ for a book, not to mention a book for which I am not able to personally check over. Maybe it is worth the price, but I won't be finding out.

The second book may be of interest at a later date. It does look good for it's intended audience, but I'm not in that audience yet (I only tinker at keys a bit). Also, having limited time, I have decided to stick to using guitar and voice only for now. I play other instruments, but I'll be dropping them for a while, at least.

What I'm after right now is having general music theory internalized, my ear sharpened up, and devloping the ability to competently read and write for my purposes. And just today after practicing, I was able to write standard notation for some basic tunes from my head, which is a big deal for me. Yee ha.
Last edited by sellyoursoul on Sat Apr 01, 2017 5:39 pm, edited 1 time in total.
sellyoursoul
KVRist
 
419 posts since 1 May, 2009

Postby sellyoursoul; Sat Apr 01, 2017 5:24 pm Re: Music composition learning resources

KBSoundSmith wrote:
sellyoursoul wrote:Thanks for the response KBSoundSmith. Yes, that is clear.

So I'm working with The Rhythm Bible, and I ran into a couple of problems that I need to figure out how to deal with. The author suggests not using foot taps for keeping the beat, because there is a delay between the mind and foot. I agree on that point, and so I am using a metronome for keeping the beat and tongue clicks for marking rests, as suggested. But at higher tempos (it is suggested to work each set of exercises from 96 bpm up to 208 bpm), switching between 'da' syllables for notes and tongue clicks for rests is impractical. You might try it to see what I mean (set your metronome around 200 bpm and sing alternating 'da' and tongue click).

Also, the book stresses that it is important to either use a foot tap or a tongue click for marking rests and tied notes. I don't like the foot tap approach, for the previously mentioned reason. And tongue clicks conflict with holding 'da' syllables across tied notes (can't do both at once).

Maybe you took a different approach to marking rests and tied notes?


At higher tempos, physically marking the beat, rests, etc. will become more problematic, as it becomes a waste of effort and time (and for certain performance situations would look amateurish or be disruptive to other performers). Physically marking the beat should be thought of as training wheels: at some point, they come off. Eventually, you want to keep time in your head.

I agree with the author's distrust of foot tapping. But if you're singing and performing with your hands, your options are thinned considerably; foot tapping is then the only practical choice for physically marking the beat. You might consider practicing foot tapping with the metronome and really locking in with the beat (but yes, as you increase speed, you will find it increasingly cumbersome -- at that point, try to go without physically marking at all).

If you're at slower tempos, marking with a foot tap won't be problematic, so go ahead and do it. And for faster tempos, you should have already learned the rhythm so thoroughly that you don't need to physically mark the beat -- if you do, you're probably trying to practice faster than you're actually ready for. You might also reserve a single foot tap to help you more clearly articulate a single beat or measure, rather than tapping throughout an entire passage.

So, In short: learn the rhythm at a slow tempo and feel free to tap your foot. As you increase speed, only physically mark where it helps you clearly articulate a beat or measure. Then, work toward practicing a rhythm without any physical marking at all.

I'd add another thing. To help develop your internal sense of rhythm, it is very helpful in the early stages to physically embrace the beat. I've had private students march, dance, etc to a beat. IMO, physicality is necessary to develop a keen sense of rhythm. Try this: set the metronome to the desired tempo, stand up, and shake your hips, tap your feet, dance in place -- whatever you need to get your whole body grooving with the beat (and feel free to close the doors and windows so you don't look like an idiot to the neighbors, lol). Then practice your rhythmic exercises as normal.


I appreciate the response. I got it worked out. I'm tapping my foot, counting vocally, and playing the notes on guitar. That works well for me, for now.

Point noted on moving with the beat.
sellyoursoul
KVRist
 
419 posts since 1 May, 2009

Postby sellyoursoul; Sat Apr 01, 2017 5:32 pm Re: Music composition learning resources

Also, I have been working on some visualization stuff which I briefly mentioned in another thread. Taking some time each day to sit and mentally visualize things that I'm working on is VERY helpful so far, along with a bit of journaling. Don't knock it until you try it. What it is doing for me is causing me to think about areas where I have trouble, break those problems down into smaller parts, work on those smaller parts, and then put them back together, making it much easier to work out the original problem. I only wish that I had stumbled onto doing this years ago. Also, picking apart the problems that come up and thinking of ways to work them out is creatively motivating. I can already see this stuff carrying over later to music making endeavors.
dscoyne
KVRer
 
19 posts since 4 Jul, 2006, from Los Angeles, CA

Postby dscoyne; Sat Apr 01, 2017 11:15 pm Re: Music composition learning resources

sellyoursoul wrote: having limited time, I have decided to stick to using guitar and voice only for now.


In that case, I might suggest getting a copy of a Beatles song book and following some of their chord progressions. It will give you ideas for starting some songs of your own.

Also, an outstanding book is "Shortcuts to Hit Songwriting: 126 Proven Techniques for Writing Songs That Sell" by Robin Fredericks.

BTW, I have also composed by guitar when it comes to chord sequences, but have found it much easier to figure out what melody notes I am singing by using a keyboard. But maybe your guitar skills are strong enough to be able to figure out melody by picking a guitar.

Best of luck,
Don
sellyoursoul
KVRist
 
419 posts since 1 May, 2009

Postby sellyoursoul; Sun Apr 02, 2017 8:45 pm Re: Music composition learning resources

dscoyne wrote:
sellyoursoul wrote: having limited time, I have decided to stick to using guitar and voice only for now.


In that case, I might suggest getting a copy of a Beatles song book and following some of their chord progressions.


I have a couple of beatles songbooks already. I was a Beatles nut at one time, and I learned quite a few of their songs. That was well before my music tastes exploded. These days I'm enjoying more of the oddball stuff, such as Captain Beefheart.
pumafred
KVRist
 
403 posts since 28 Oct, 2012, from Argentina

Postby pumafred; Thu Jul 12, 2018 6:06 pm Re: Music composition learning resources

KBSoundSmith wrote:So this post is about What To Buy. There is a sprinkling of What To Do in here as well, particularly in the music notation sub-section. But by and large, this is about What, not How or Which Order.

I’ve limited my recommendations to things I have read and own, with two exceptions in the lyrics section. But based upon the quality of the books by the same author that I do have, I have no hesitation in recommending them anyway. I also don’t own flash cards, but their pedagogical worth is beyond question, so I’ve listed some. I’m also limiting resources to essentials — my personal library is MUCH larger than what I’ve listed here, and after you have mastered these, I have many more resources I could recommend. However, based on your interests, plus the needs of basic musicianship, I’ve curated just a handful of resources.

When I have time, I might add the How and Which Order in a separate post in this topic. But for now, just resources.

Because you mentioned a limited monetary budget, I have focused on the biggest bang for the buck you can get in the world: well-researched books designed for learning. I don’t recommend any arbitrary online resources for two reasons: 1) it’s usually someone trying to prod you toward a purchase of their products, and 2) anyone can post anything they want online at anytime they want, so the accuracy and quality of information is typically piss-poor, and you get it all piecemeal.

A private teacher can be a great investment. However, advice on finding a good teacher would require a very extensive, separate post, since the risk of finding someone who is a waste of your time and money is high. I’m focusing on sure things in this post. These are excellent, credible resources that will get the job done if you apply yourself.


Music Notation

Learn to read and write using standard music notation.

Alternatives to standard music notation are for suckers. Don’t be a sucker. Learn to read music. The only people who will encourage you to learn an alternative is people trying to sell you that alternative (PT Barnum: “ A sucker is born every minute”).

And skipping notation altogether is for the lazy and stupid.

“But KBSoundSmith, surely we can just use the piano roll in our DAWs for today’s—”

Image

Learn to read music.

Drill with Flash Cards

Buy flash cards. For example:

http://amzn.to/2mLdvV4
http://amzn.to/2miTsQ7

Just make sure you get a complete set. Then Drill, Drill, Drill. Do so until it is impossible for you to make a mistake.

Write down the Key Signatures, Scales and Chords in both Treble and Bass every single day. By hand. Pencil and manuscript paper.

This will get obnoxious. Do it anyway.

Now, let me clarify these directions, so you don’t waste time and burn out.

On Monday, do all Major Keys in Treble Clef and Bass Clef.
Tuesday, do all Natural Minor Keys in Treble Clef and Bass Clef
On Wednesday, all Harmonic Minor Keys in Treble Clef and Bass Clef.
Thursday, all Melodic Minor keys in Treble Clef and Bass Clef.
Friday, Both Major Keys and Natural Minor Keys in Treble and Bass Clef.
Saturday, both Harmonic and Melodic Minor in Treble and Bass Clef.
Sunday off.

Repeat.

Now, some more refinement.

Part A— write down scales only
Part B — write down the Triads over the scales (root position)
Part C — write down the Seventh chords over the scales (root position)
Part D — write down the Ninth chords over the scales (root position)
Part E — Do this exact same concept for anything you want to memorize without fail. For example, how many quarter notes are in a measure of 4/4? There are four. So write down a measure of 4/4 time with four quarter notes. Do the same for half notes (two half notes in 4/4 time), whole notes (one in a measure of 4/4), eighth notes, etc.

Don’t move from one part to the next until you’ve gotten to point where the you can automatically recall a scale or chord without thinking. If I say “Spell the E Major Scale,” you should spit out without thought or hesitation “E, F#, G#, A B, C#, D#, E”, or if I say “Spell an F# Dominant Seventh” you should immediately say “F#, A#, C#, E”. Once you can do that for a given part, then you may move on to the next.

Again, THIS WILL BE OBNOXIOUS — do it anyway. Learn it once, you’ll know it for a lifetime. Between flash cards and writing everything out by hand, you will learn to read and write quickly, plus have automatic recall of scale and chord spellings, rhythmic values, etc.


Rhythm and Ear Training

The Rhythm Bible, Dan Fox, http://amzn.to/2mQ4OYr
Music For Sight Singing, Robert Ottman, http://amzn.to/2meFBtH
Sight Singing, Samuel Adler, http://amzn.to/2meSnZf

The first book listed is for rhythmic training only. It is primarily in 4/4 time, so it’s lacking in some ways, but since most popular music is in 4/4 anyway, it won’t be a handicap (and since you’re going to buy books two and three as well, those shortcomings will be addressed by those books). What’s nice is that The Rhythm Bible derives all of its rhythmic patterns from jazz/pop/rock/folk music styles. You’ll sharpen your ability to perform a rhythm, and you’ll be absorbing contemporary rhythmic patterns into your subconscious. You should use the rhythms in this book to practice writing melodies and accompaniments too.

Of course, being able to hear the pitches in your head and write and perform them is extremely important, so to address that, I suggest books two and three. Get book two, and add book three as you’re able.

And the last thing here: TRANSCRIBE. That means listen to a recording, then try to notate exactly what you hear. Write down the rhythm. Write down the notes. In music notation. I can’t emphasize this enough. I suggest doing this with simple songs at first, then obviously, more complex ones later. This is also an excellent way to learn a musical style that you’d like to compose in.


Melody

Melody In Songwriting, Perricone, http://amzn.to/2lZ5cX3
Jazz Composition, Ted Pease, http://amzn.to/2m0C5ky

There aren’t many texts specifically on melodic writing, so the first book is a must-have. Do the exercises, and design your own too. It’s a very practical book. This books is about technical tools that can be used for any genre/style, so again, transcribing will be extremely beneficial to your ability to write melodies of a particular genre/style. This book also addresses coordination of harmony and melody.

The second book I would say is optional, but it does have a nice alternative perspective and tools for melodic writing, plus it will also enrich your musical vocabulary; it is a very solid supplement.


Harmony

Harmonic Practice in Tonal Music, Gauldin, http://amzn.to/2m0zPK5
Practical Manual of Harmony, Rimsky-Korsakov, http://amzn.to/2mjjv9V

These are both excellent. However, there are pros and cons.

The cons of the Gauldin is that it is expensive. The second con is that the workbook is a separate book — and also expensive. However, it is a modern book and covers more topics and contemporary musical issues. However, the sequencing inside is good, plus it is designed where it can also serve as a good reference. That said, save up and buy the core book anyway — it is an investment. The workbook is optional.

The cons of the Rimsky-Korsakov are that it is old and doesn’t cover contemporary musical language. HOWEVER — it covers most of what you’d need to know, since contemporary language is an extension of the core of this book. A big pro is that this book is inexpensive, and it includes examples and exercises inside, without a separate purchase. There might be a free version online, but it would likely be in Russian — I don’t know if there are any public domain English Translations; but again, it is inexpensive.

My recommendation: buy the Rimsky-Korsakov first and work through it. Save up and add the Gauldin when you are able (but DO add it). You can skip the Gauldin workbook — just apply the same exercises and idea you find in the Rimsky-Korsakov and you’ll be fine.

Economically, this may be the most uncomfortable section I’m suggesting. However, I’d like you to consider what I call “false economy.” Yes, you can find all of the information in these books online for free. However, that means spending significant time searching, finding things piecemeal, likely coming across incomplete or inaccurate information, dealing with the egos of keyboard warriors, etc. What is more expensive — $100 for a book that is thorough, well-researched, and contains everything you need to know, sequenced in the order you should know it, and provides the means for you to master it, and getting it all immediately — or spending possibly years assembling that information yourself, incompletely, inaccurately, running into charlatans who waste your time and money and who could send you down unproductive or crippling paths?

Bonus: Counterpoint

Counterpoint should be undertaken after you have some harmonic and melodic experience under your belt. This will greatly enrich your command of writing both melodies and accompaniment, but for now isn’t strictly necessary for your interests. But for the sake of completeness, I include them here now.

Gradus Ad Parnassum, Fux, http://amzn.to/2liIJ8O
Counterpoint, 4th edition, Kent Kennan, http://amzn.to/2lZ0854

The Fux can be found online for free. That’s the pro. The other pro is that it is simple. The con is that this form of counterpoint is a touch ancient (pre-Bach) and isn’t concerned with functional harmony, which will be the basis for most of your songs. But that said, basic intelligence will let you extrapolate to what you need, so it is still a very useful text.

The Kennan is excellent and does address counterpoint within the context of functional harmony (Bach and post-Bach), and it is laid out in a more modern way; however, it too has a separate workbook, and it is expensive.

Again, these are completely optional for now, but it may be something you’d like to look at some time in the future.


Orchestration

Principles of Orchestration, Rimsky-Korsakov, http://amzn.to/2meGvGy
The Study of Orchestration 3rd Ed., Adler, http://amzn.to/2mj2bC7

For songwriting, you can view these as optional. However, should you like to expand your skills into arranging (which will make you a more complete artist), you’ll need these. But initially, these are optional.

You can find the first book online for free I’m pretty sure (public domain), the second you’d have to purchase. They’re different in approach but very complementary. The first is an older book, but still offers very practical and good artistic advice. The second is modern, and it has a more encyclopedic approach about the techniques and physical characteristics of the instruments.


Lyrics

Songwriting: Essential Guide To Lyric Form and Structure, Pat Pattison, http://amzn.to/2m0EOKI
Writing Better Lyrics, Pat Pattison, http://amzn.to/2liGIcN
Songwriting Without Boundaries, Pat Pattison, http://amzn.to/2mj5ysP
Pat Pattison’s Songwriting: Essential Guide To Rhyming, Pat Pattison, http://amzn.to/2mKndqq
Rhyming Dictionary (get whichever you like, but here is *a* link) http://amzn.to/2m0v6rT

If you’re writing songs, odds are you need to write lyrics too. Not much to say here other than that these books will get the job done. Start with first book listed, then add the others as you’re able and in the order you’re interested in them.


“Wow, That’s A Lot, and I Don’t Have Money For All of It Right Now. What Should I Prioritize?”

No problem.

Now, I do think you should get everything I suggested. But for starters, get the following:

Music Notation: flash cards and manuscript paper
Rhythm and Ear Training: The Rhythm Bible, Dan Fox
Melody: Melody In Songwriting, Perricone
Harmony: Practical Manual of Harmony, Rimsky-Korsakov
Counterpoint: nothing, for now. If interested, start with free online version of Gradus Ad Parnassum, Fux
Orchestration: nothing, for now. If interested, the free online version of Principles of Orchestration, Rimsky-Korsakov
Lyrics: Songwriting: Essential Guide To Lyric Form and Structure, Pat Pattison

DON’T BUY THE KINDLE VERSIONS. GET THEM IN PRINT. In my opinion, music texts are universally awful and hard to read in Kindle and other electronic formats. I have yet to come across a version that was readable, due to the detailed, graphic nature of music notation. Get the print versions — plus, consider these investments that you will keep for life. A printed book isn’t going to disappear on you if Amazon suddenly decides to stop supporting its electronic format. The lyric books should be okay in Kindle format, but the print versions should still be preferable.

Wow, great post, thanks! Now I “only” need the self-discipline to plow through this by myself... :D
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