Music composition learning resources

Chords, scales, harmony, melody, etc.
sellyoursoul
KVRist
419 posts since 1 May, 2009

Post Wed Mar 15, 2017 10:14 am

So I began outlining what I should include in making flashcards. Then I went back to amazon to look at those Alfred cards, and I found a comment listing what is in each set:

Edit: Whoops, I got mixed up in who makes which sets and what is included in each. As said in the linked post, the 'Complete Set' is made by Alfred, and the the Sets A and B are made by Hal Leonard.
Complete Set (89 cards)
* cards 1-36 (yellow): Bass Clef; Treble Clef; Bass clef notes Low C through E above Middle C; Treble clef notes A below Middle C through High C.
* cards 37-50 (pink): Eighth though whole note including dotted fourth and dotted half; Eight rest through whole rest; time signatures 2/4, 3/4, 4/4.
* cards 51-65 (white): Words and symbols describing the tempo and volume of music.
* cards 66-77 (green): special music notations (sharp, flat, natural, fermata, pedal sign, 8va, staccato, slur, tied, repeat, repeats, D.C. al Fine).
* cards 78-89 (blue): harmonic and melodic intervals (treble clef only), key signatures

Set A (120 cards)
* cards 1-26 (pink): musical notations, symbols, and words for tempo and loudness
* cards 27-40 (pink): intervals (separate cards for treble and bass clefs)
* cards 1-33 (white): Low C through High C on joined Treble and Bass clef; Middle ledger B below Middle C to D above Middle C (shows two lines between clefs in a confusing manner).
* cards 34-40: (white): explanatory card, three note reading patterns (whole notes on two lines, no staff)
* cards 1-10 (yellow): explanatory card, quarter through whole note, quarter through whole rest, dotted half note, 4/4 time, 3/4 time
* cards 11-27 (yellow): Two-measure rhythm patterns
* cards 28-40 (yellow): Four-measure rhythm patterns

Set B (120 cards)
* cards 41-80 (pink): musical terms (for tempo and loudness).
* cards 41-80 (white): Scales, chords, and progressions
* cards 41-51 (yellow): Eighth notes and rests, dotted quarter, triplet, 2/4, 3/8, 6/8, common time, cut time
* cards 52-80 (yellow): Four-measure rhythm patterns
Edit: Maybe I should go ahead and pick up these cards and fill in any gaps with self-made cards. I'm going with the Hal Leonard sets A and B. I can always fill in any gaps with self-made cards.

I'm in no big hurry on any of this. I would rather take the necesary time to plan well than jump in haphazard.

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StudioDave
KVRian
890 posts since 23 Jun, 2007 from Findlay OH USA

Re: Music composition learning resources

Post Fri Mar 17, 2017 7:40 am

jancivil wrote:...

ONE thing I will say is <feel free to bypass Fux, Gradus>.
Umm, you do realize that them's fightin' words here at Studio D ? :evil:

You may choose your weapon. I suggest crab canons at 20 paces.
The main thing for a beginning is get your ear together. A combo of transcribing, I mean in detail, and solfege...
This.

KBSoundSmith
KVRian
706 posts since 6 Jul, 2009

Re: Music composition learning resources

Post Sat Mar 18, 2017 6:45 am

sellyoursoul wrote:Following up on KBSoundSmith's post.

So these books require some music reading ability. I can eek through reading a bit, but I'm very weak at it (especially pitch, intervals, chords).
Melody: Melody In Songwriting, Perricone
Harmony: Practical Manual of Harmony, Rimsky-Korsakov
I guess phase one of this adventure is going to be working with flash cards, which I am just starting on making up now; writing out keys, scales, and chords on music paper, as outlined by KB; working with The Rhythm Bible. I'll see how that goes and report back after a while. Or more likely, I will report back sooner with questions.

I have also been working with a couple of guitar resources, one of which focuses heavily on learning intervals by graduating from a limited set to the full range of intervals, all the while listening to the tonal colors, creating phrases from them, singing them, and anticipating where you want to go next, then moving to building chords by ear and improvising with chords and phrases by ear (according to what you want to hear). It's like a melody and harmony course without the theory, focusing on listening and improvising. If that pans out as being a good experience, I'll report back on it. The other guitar resource is theory based, focusing on building chords, building progressions, using substitutions, and that type of thing.

Any how, I think this will all be a good foundation before beginning into the melody and harmony books.

Oh, and my resources for making the flash cards will be The Complete Idiot's Guide to Music Theory, and the The Complete Idiot's Guide to Music Composition, neither of which I would recommend as a good learning resource. I have read through both, and neither provides adequate exercises for learning and working with the material. But for the purpose of reference for making the flash cards, they will suffice.

Also, thanks again KBSoundSmith. In my experience, answers to these kinds of questions are usually very vague, amounting to lists of books and other resources without any direction and details in using them.
Sounds like you're off to a good start. Your thoughtfulness and follow-through bode well.

Yes, the books I recommended do require the ability to read music. So as you noted, flashcards and writing out scales etc. will be the name of the game for a bit. And keep up with the guitar resources you mentioned, they'll make the leap to the melody/harmony texts easier when you're able to get to them.
sellyoursoul wrote:Edit: Maybe I should go ahead and pick up these cards and fill in any gaps with self-made cards. I'm going with the Hal Leonard sets A and B. I can always fill in any gaps with self-made cards.
That sounds to me like a good plan. One suggestion for supplementing those cards: make flash cards for leger lines both above and below the staff, both with treble and bass clef. (if you need help with understanding leger lines, feel free to ask; it's simple, but I've noticed it sometimes causes confusion with some students). Also make sure you make cards for sixteenth notes.

The only thing I'd add for the moment is to make sure you practice scales and arpeggios on your instrument, and read music while doing it -- even if you can already play them by ear, being able to associate a particular scale with what it looks like on the page will help you learn to read much faster.

sellyoursoul
KVRist
419 posts since 1 May, 2009

Re: Music composition learning resources

Post Sat Mar 18, 2017 9:30 am

StudioDave wrote:
The main thing for a beginning is get your ear together. A combo of transcribing, I mean in detail, and solfege...
This.
I agree that getting your ear together is important. But I also think that is somewhat of an ambiguous statement.

On one level, I can flip on the radio and work out the bones of popular songs reasonably quickly (chords, melody, main riffs), if not by the end of the song, after a couple of relistens. But when it comes to making music, I often find myself in situations where my ears alone aren't getting me to where I want to go. And I do have some theory in my bag, which I use for both learning other people's music and making my own, but it isn't ingrained nearly as well as I would like it to be. In other words, very little of my theory skills are available for immediate access (as pointed out by someone else in another thread) without having to think too much about it. It is more like, I have some theory on my shelf rather than in my bag.

I guess I think of it this way: You can listen to all the music you want, but if you never learn to play any of it, you aren't adding much of it to your music vocabulary. It's kind of analogous to learning to read written language without learning to write it, which would be very tough going. And similarly, if you do learn to play someone's music, without learning something of the underlying concepts of how it is composed, you have a vocabulary without means for effectively applying it for creating your own.

So then, I get back to why I think that saying 'Getting your ears together is the most important thing in the beginning' is ambiguous and maybe even unintentionally misleading: Learning to play music by ear, effectively using theory for analysis, and reading and writing music, seem to me to be intertwined and mutually beneficial to one another. For example, it is one thing to learn a guitar lick by ear. It is a deeper thing to write it down, thinking about time and pitch, which requires knowing what is going on at another level. And it is a deeper thing yet to think about why a player might have chosen some approach and something about his personal musical language, which lends to developing your own musical language. And then on another plane, having some theory in your bag is very beneficial to pickng up musical statements by ear; having a good ear is beneficial to applying theory; having music reading and writing skills allows for jotting down those musical statements and ideas for more careful study (and composition), which also lends to strengthening listening and theory skills.

And if the ultimate goal is to be a productive musician to your own satisfaction, each of those skills could be equally important, or weighted in varying ways, according to your own natural abilities and your preferred approach to making music. But whatever the balance may be, I think that these skills should be learned in parallel from the beginning, at approptiate depths along the way.

So I might revise and expand the statement:

Gaining the ability to hear and play music by ear is analogous to learning to speak what you hear.
Gaining the ability to read and write music is analogous to learning to read and write written language (and all the benefits afforded).
Gaining the ability to apply theory is analogous to learning to think about how language functions and analyzing spoken and written works.
In a nutshell, having the ability to hear, read/write, and think about music are beneficial to effectively creating music, which is analogous to taking in and communicating ideas in spoken and written language and thinking about it's composition.


Please don't take any of this too seriously. It is my personal way (and maybe over-analytic) of thinking about it, which I have been clarifying to myself as I wrote this post.

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jancivil
KVRAF
15386 posts since 20 Oct, 2007 from No Location

Re: Music composition learning resources

Post Sat Mar 18, 2017 5:15 pm

sellyoursoul wrote:
StudioDave wrote:
The main thing for a beginning is get your ear together. A combo of transcribing, I mean in detail, and solfege...
This.
I agree that getting your ear together is important. But I also think that is somewhat of an ambiguous statement.
Really? I said a combination of *transcribing*, "in detail", and solfege. it's up to you if you want to think on or criticize what's provided you. Solfege usually is taught in sight-singing course. So in combination with finding out for real what happened on a record - even if you have no ear, much as I didn't - with your instrument and/or your voice, monkey hear/monkey do, you learn to recognize tones, intervals between tones by a name which signifies the note apart from key. Meaningfully, in the fullness of experience in the music.

You appear to prefer a spreadsheet data 'objective' approach, all reading. This is a bit like trying to learn to swim from reading a book.

sellyoursoul
KVRist
419 posts since 1 May, 2009

Re: Music composition learning resources

Post Mon Mar 20, 2017 7:47 am

jancivil wrote:
sellyoursoul wrote:
StudioDave wrote:
The main thing for a beginning is get your ear together. A combo of transcribing, I mean in detail, and solfege...
This.
I agree that getting your ear together is important. But I also think that is somewhat of an ambiguous statement.
Really? I said a combination of *transcribing*, "in detail", and solfege. it's up to you if you want to think on or criticize what's provided you. Solfege usually is taught in sight-singing course. So in combination with finding out for real what happened on a record - even if you have no ear, much as I didn't - with your instrument and/or your voice, monkey hear/monkey do, you learn to recognize tones, intervals between tones by a name which signifies the note apart from key. Meaningfully, in the fullness of experience in the music.

You appear to prefer a spreadsheet data 'objective' approach, all reading. This is a bit like trying to learn to swim from reading a book.
The definition of transcribing music entails writing music, which requires reading ability. How do you transcribe without the ability to read and write music to the competency level as what you can hear and play? And even if you can hear a piece of music, play it, and write it down, what do you get out of it in way of composition abilities without having the skills to think about composition and apply them? To my way of thinking, the point of learning someone elses music is to make their musical langauge a part of your own musical language. So then why focus on listening and playing as being more important, without putting in sufficient time to develop the other abilities of reading/writing and working with theory to an equal level, so as to have the ability to write down and more clearly think about what you are listening to and playing?

And all of these skills - listening, playing, reading/writing, working with theory - involve long time comittments to develop. Why focus on a couple of skills as being more important, having to later play catchup - over years time - in developing the other skills?

If I were a music teacher, I would try to explain and stress this to beginning students, why having good competency across a set of music skills can be beneficial, helping the students to find the balance that works for them on a personal level. Some people will only ever want to play what they hear, where others will want to compose their own music, and everything inbetween. I only wish that when I was beginning music someone would have stressed to me, logically and clearly, why I might want to develop solid abilities in reading/writing and working with theory.

sellyoursoul
KVRist
419 posts since 1 May, 2009

Re: Music composition learning resources

Post Wed Mar 22, 2017 8:31 am

So I just got my learning materials in (The Rhythm Bible, music manuscript notebooks, and flashcards). KBSoundSmith, if you have time to give it some thought, I have some questions on sequence of these exercises. You said...
KBSoundSmith wrote: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.
Do you mean that working with the flashcards and writing down keys, scales, and chords should be done in parallel? Or, should working with the flashcards precede the daily writing down of keys, scales, and chords?

In the above quote of your post, you say to write down keys, scales, and chords daily, along with the example schedule. And I'm wondering if you can say something about your reasoning behind the example schedule. Obviously, writing down this material daily could be approached in numerous ways. One way to approach it would be to cover a large amount of material in parallel, spaced out through the week, and another approach would be to break up a large amount of material, learning the chunks in series, where each chunk is repeated daily until it is learned well, before moving on to the next chunk. I'm just wondering if there are pedagogical reasonings behind the example schedule that you provided.

Then you go on to add some refinement, and I want to be clear that I'm understanding your intentions.
KBSoundSmith wrote: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.
I think what you are saying here is something like this:
Write down scales only, according to the schedule:

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.
Write down triads only, according to the schedule:

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.
Etc.

Thanks.

KBSoundSmith
KVRian
706 posts since 6 Jul, 2009

Re: Music composition learning resources

Post Wed Mar 22, 2017 5:39 pm

sellyoursoul wrote:So I just got my learning materials in (The Rhythm Bible, music manuscript notebooks, and flashcards). KBSoundSmith, if you have time to give it some thought, I have some questions on sequence of these exercises. You said...
KBSoundSmith wrote: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.
Do you mean that working with the flashcards and writing down keys, scales, and chords should be done in parallel? Or, should working with the flashcards precede the daily writing down of keys, scales, and chords?

In the above quote of your post, you say to write down keys, scales, and chords daily, along with the example schedule. And I'm wondering if you can say something about your reasoning behind the example schedule. Obviously, writing down this material daily could be approached in numerous ways. One way to approach it would be to cover a large amount of material in parallel, spaced out through the week, and another approach would be to break up a large amount of material, learning the chunks in series, where each chunk is repeated daily until it is learned well, before moving on to the next chunk. I'm just wondering if there are pedagogical reasonings behind the example schedule that you provided.

Then you go on to add some refinement, and I want to be clear that I'm understanding your intentions.
KBSoundSmith wrote: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.
I think what you are saying here is something like this:
Write down scales only, according to the schedule:

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.
Write down triads only, according to the schedule:

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.
Etc.

Thanks.
On the sequencing:
Pedagogically, it's about efficiency in learning the material. A lot of ground is covered very quickly -- but reinforcement days are scheduled in, where you are reviewing what you have already learned earlier in the week. Small doses repeated often are better than a large dose of one thing never repeated; and the small variations day to day will help maintain interest with an otherwise repetitious and obnoxious task.

Monday through Thursday, you will view the primary scale forms in isolation; Friday and Saturday, you are reviewing them. I've sequenced them traditionally by starting with the major scale, which requires no alterations, and ending with the melodic minor form, which requires the most alterations. And the scales aren't difficult, conceptually. After you learn the patterns of intervals that make up a certain kind of scale, there isn't much to them.

After the scales, you'll be doing triads (and remember, memorize each scale BEFORE beginning any work with triads). But surprise surprise, you'll still be doing scales -- write out the scale first, then build the triad on each step of the scale. Extending to seventh chords follows the same idea, and so on.

As for flashcards:
Use them daily, too. Let's say you have an hour to study music notation. For the first thirty minutes, you might use the flashcards. For the remaining portion of the hour, you'd write out scales. Now, how much time you allot is up to you, of course.

The other reason I suggest using flashcards is so that you know what to write, how the symbols are supposed to look when you do write them, etc. Here's a great way to use the flashcard: 1) Identify the card "That's the treble clef"; 2) write down a treble clef on your manuscript paper, exactly as you see it on the card.

Assuming your flashcards include entire scales, don't write those down each time, just identify which scale it is -- after all, you'll be writing them down separately as mentioned (but if needed, use the flashcards later as a reference to make sure you spell the scales correctly). Same thing with chords.

Last word for the moment
Hopefully that's clear. If you need help or have questions, feel free to ask. Also, in case this wasn't obvious, make sure you learn the pattern of intervals used to construct each of the scales.

sellyoursoul
KVRist
419 posts since 1 May, 2009

Re: Music composition learning resources

Post Mon Mar 27, 2017 8:10 am

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?

sellyoursoul
KVRist
419 posts since 1 May, 2009

Re: Music composition learning resources

Post Mon Mar 27, 2017 9:12 am

Jancivil, I am taking your advice, too. The book which KB suggested - Music for Sight Singing - looks good. But many commenters on amazon say that later editions are a ripoff, in that the exercises are mostly the same but rearranged as 'updates' for the purpose of putting out new editions at typical inflated prices that the textbook industry is known for. It was also mentioned that the original author is dead, having nothing to do with later editions. So I ordered a recommended 5th edition for $10.

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jancivil
KVRAF
15386 posts since 20 Oct, 2007 from No Location

Re: Music composition learning resources

Post Mon Mar 27, 2017 5:40 pm

Well, apparently you want to avoid a class, remain in isolation. I didn't have books... For instance, sight-singing was from a teacher, materials handed out Xeroxed, sing this song, or whatever. It was always particular course work. Not about any book. 'transcribe', by ear, make your own mind up about intervals, how they work. *First*

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jancivil
KVRAF
15386 posts since 20 Oct, 2007 from No Location

Re: Music composition learning resources

Post Mon Mar 27, 2017 5:42 pm

Not saying books aren't great, but I don't have anything for you there.

dscoyne
KVRer
19 posts since 4 Jul, 2006 from Los Angeles, CA

Re: Music composition learning resources

Post Mon Mar 27, 2017 11:31 pm

It is certainly interesting how many different ways songwriters learn to write and to develop their songs. My approach is that it is unnecessary to memorize all the chords in all the keys, because if you just learn proper chord and music theory for the key of C, any music program will transpose to whatever key you want.
It will benefit you to get up to speed somewhat on the piano, but you don't need to learn it well enough to perform, just for notation purposes and to compose with melody and harmony. And you only need to use the treble clef together with chord symbols to limit your notation to lead sheets, which are used for all "fake books."

Here are links to 2 books which make it all relatively easy to learn. The first, unfortunately, is very expensive as it is 75 years old and only generally available as collectors' editions, but compared to software costs these days maybe not so bad. It offers a great way to learn.
The second offers an easy direct approach to learning to play piano for pop type songs, but in the process provides much useful information on composition and arranging on piano:

For the first, the link is too long for Google to search, so just go to http://www.bookfinder.com and search for Wallace Graydon Garland as author.

For the second, search for "How to Play the Piano Despite Years of Lessons" at Amazon.com.

I will just add part of an email which I sent to a friend who was just beginning. It may come across as somewhat simplistic to experienced musicians, but may have some value:

The main chords that work together in the key of C (in which I do all my composing) are shown below. The 3 notes of each chord are called a triad (3 notes), which is the basic chord. The C chord's lowest note is a C with the next notes on the 2 staff lines above it. So the C chord is C, E, G. This chord will sound good played with any of these notes in the melody. The F chord would be F, A, C. So if you have an A in the score on a main beat, the F chord will sound right, and so would an A chord or a D chord, all of which have the A note in the chord.

The key of C is all you have to learn because all other keys work the same and just need transposing later on. On the piano, in the key of C, no black keys are used for the principal chords. There are both major and minor chords, each key having exactly the same sequence. There is a standard convention for designating the chord sequence going up the scale which is the same for every key, which works this way:

I, ii, iii, IV, V, vi, vii(dim) Cmaj, Dmin, Emin, Fmaj, Gmaj, Amin, (forget about B for now).

So there only 6 chords you need to know initially. Each major chord is designated in UPPER CASE, and each minor chord is in lower case in the Roman numeral designation. So just 3 major chords and 3 minor chords. In the key of C, many old songs only used the 3 major chords, C (I), F (IV), G (V). To get more color, the minor chords are used. So in the key of C, a d minor chord (ii) will sound better than a D Major.

On a piano, for a major chord, the second note up will be 4 notes higher (counting the black keys) than the base note. For a minor chord, it will be 3 notes higher. This is the only difference! Still, in the key of C, all main chords of the scale will use only the white keys on a piano. This is because of the difference in spacing of the white keys versus the black keys.

Hope that might be of some help,
Don Coyne
http://www.broadjam.com/doncoyne

sellyoursoul
KVRist
419 posts since 1 May, 2009

Re: Music composition learning resources

Post Tue Mar 28, 2017 5:30 am

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.

sellyoursoul
KVRist
419 posts since 1 May, 2009

Re: Music composition learning resources

Post Tue Mar 28, 2017 5:32 am

@janvicil, I would love to take some classes, but I have enough student debt to pay off as is. So I'll do what I can with what I can. I tend to agree with DBSoundSmith here in that books tend to be a better resource than online things (having taken a good look at online guitar lessons sites and other areas of interest).

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