Tips For Practicing Writing Melodies

Chords, scales, harmony, melody, etc.
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jancivil
KVRAF
19339 posts since 20 Oct, 2007 from No Location

Post Tue Nov 05, 2019 7:39 am

"classical music" such as Beethoven uses rhythm which resembles speech not in the least, even declamatory speech such as in, you know, speeches. It's metrical, if you went around talking in meter very often you'd look :nutter:

There were a lot of inchoate notions of what it was. It is frequently said that the form of the broader period we'll use the imprecise term 'classical' is rhetorical in nature (as opposed by 20th century musicians, flagrantly by say Varèse); and eg., sonata form is likened to architecture. :shrug:

To me that's not terrifically useful talk. I'm no musicologist, but I feel pretty confident this notion of abstracting rhythm from its specific application to a tune wasn't a thing and that the weird, vague appeal to the authority of the weight of history is basically some made-up shit. Let's see that cited, that's so bold.
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cturner
KVRian
620 posts since 7 Dec, 2009 from GWB

Re: Tips For Practicing Writing Melodies

Post Tue Nov 05, 2019 12:05 pm

No shortage of stuff to cite. Quickly, here's from William Caplin's chapter in Thom Christensen's _Cambridge History of Western Music Theory_:

Image

Image
Tranzistow Tutorials: http://vze26m98.net/tranzistow/
Xenakis in America: http://oneblockavenue.net

beatflux
KVRist
38 posts since 28 Jan, 2009

Re: Tips For Practicing Writing Melodies

Post Tue Nov 05, 2019 3:47 pm

jancivil wrote:
Mon Nov 04, 2019 7:59 am
So?
The argument I addressed was focusing on rhythm in complete isolation to pitch is the single "best" approach to learning melody. And I was really f**king clear about it.
The only people that don't need to do this are ones that have an innate sense of rhythm to their music.

This goes DOUBLY SO for anyone that doesn't dance and has no sense of entrainment.

beatflux
KVRist
38 posts since 28 Jan, 2009

Re: Tips For Practicing Writing Melodies

Post Tue Nov 05, 2019 4:06 pm

Gamma-UT wrote:
Mon Nov 04, 2019 8:59 am
beatflux wrote:
Sun Nov 03, 2019 2:44 pm
Do you realize how many people in music education with masters/PhD's don't seem to be aware of this? It's all chordal theory and makes me want to bang my head against the wall.
It's kinda impressive how you go from this to, just a matter of hours later:
The main unifying factor in Beet's 5th is the underlying rhythmic motif.
Just about every course on composition talks about the motif or motive and the role of rhythm. So, I think we're going to need some evidence of how masters/PhDs aren't aware of that. Much of the composition work they will have done will have been on development - ie transforming the core motif into variations of length and pitch - in order to realise a piece.

I can only think you've managed to conflate a lack of things like swing in classical composition technique into rhythm not being part of the education. Or have simply seen some books on harmony and Fux-style counterpoint and thought that was the sum total of formal music education.
The rhythmic development is much more important than the pitches.

I've never seen a really deep dive into what he was doing rhythmically, but by all means correct me if I'm wrong.

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herodotus
KVRAF
5602 posts since 8 Dec, 2004 from The Twin Cities

Re: Tips For Practicing Writing Melodies

Post Tue Nov 05, 2019 4:15 pm

The most rhythmic discussion vs. pitch discussion I've ever seen in a standard theory text was 27% to 73% The lowest ratio I've ever seen was 12% to 88%. That isn't even-handed by any definition I've ever seen.

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Forgotten
KVRAF
7112 posts since 15 Apr, 2019 from Nowhere

Re: Tips For Practicing Writing Melodies

Post Tue Nov 05, 2019 5:02 pm

beatflux wrote:
Tue Nov 05, 2019 4:06 pm
Gamma-UT wrote:
Mon Nov 04, 2019 8:59 am
beatflux wrote:
Sun Nov 03, 2019 2:44 pm
Do you realize how many people in music education with masters/PhD's don't seem to be aware of this? It's all chordal theory and makes me want to bang my head against the wall.
It's kinda impressive how you go from this to, just a matter of hours later:
The main unifying factor in Beet's 5th is the underlying rhythmic motif.
Just about every course on composition talks about the motif or motive and the role of rhythm. So, I think we're going to need some evidence of how masters/PhDs aren't aware of that. Much of the composition work they will have done will have been on development - ie transforming the core motif into variations of length and pitch - in order to realise a piece.

I can only think you've managed to conflate a lack of things like swing in classical composition technique into rhythm not being part of the education. Or have simply seen some books on harmony and Fux-style counterpoint and thought that was the sum total of formal music education.
The rhythmic development is much more important than the pitches.
Really? Then I guess you don’t need an orchestra and can just play it by banging two rocks together.

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vurt
addled muppet weed
56488 posts since 26 Jan, 2003 from through the looking glass

Re: Tips For Practicing Writing Melodies

Post Wed Nov 06, 2019 2:28 am

i would like to see that tbh :)
guy in a dinner suit banging rocks together while being conducted by a maestro!

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Gamma-UT
KVRAF
5202 posts since 8 Jun, 2009 from UK

Re: Tips For Practicing Writing Melodies

Post Wed Nov 06, 2019 2:36 am

Well, there's this. Though I regret to say, no rocks were harmed in the making of this recording:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wClwaBuFOJA

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vurt
addled muppet weed
56488 posts since 26 Jan, 2003 from through the looking glass

Re: Tips For Practicing Writing Melodies

Post Wed Nov 06, 2019 2:54 am

Gamma-UT wrote:
Wed Nov 06, 2019 2:36 am
Well, there's this. Though I regret to say, no rocks were harmed in the making of this recording:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wClwaBuFOJA
doesnt even sound like beethovens 5th :roll:
reported!

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jancivil
KVRAF
19339 posts since 20 Oct, 2007 from No Location

Re: Tips For Practicing Writing Melodies

Post Wed Nov 06, 2019 7:22 am

You know what's extra cool about VSL's Percussion library is that it includes every bit of gear used in that.
They also include a kind of rocks, small lithophone. The big lithophone is sold separately.
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jancivil
KVRAF
19339 posts since 20 Oct, 2007 from No Location

Re: Tips For Practicing Writing Melodies

Post Wed Nov 06, 2019 7:23 am

But those are pitched.
:)
beatflux wrote:
Tue Nov 05, 2019 4:06 pm
I've never seen a really deep dive into what he was doing rhythmically, but by all means correct me if I'm wrong.
You're moved quite close to argument from ignorance now.

Your particular understanding of all the people that write for advanced degrees not getting what you find so clear seems a vanishing probability. You're not helping your cause by continuing to double down. I actually have wondered if you're a sock puppet for Angel City Outlaw with this.
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jancivil
KVRAF
19339 posts since 20 Oct, 2007 from No Location

Re: Tips For Practicing Writing Melodies

Post Wed Nov 06, 2019 7:34 am

the kind of argument made by Kirnberger is the negative aspect which drove me far as possible from that *entire* school of thought, the stupid hegemony of Western European concert music as though on high intellectually. In the affirmative I'd heard other music all along, including Indian music.

"the good beats" :lol:
Four on the Floor, so Teutonic, so superior. :tu:
edm haz teh good beats yo

Western Europe pales in comparison with Indian Classical music rhythmically.


PS: I'm not sure the point of Koch and descriptions of a single or double period etc in this discussion but thanks for that Kirnberger as a citation of how rhythm *is* taught in this milieu, it actually is illustrative.
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AngelCityOutlaw
KVRist
152 posts since 4 Dec, 2017

Re: Tips For Practicing Writing Melodies

Post Wed Nov 06, 2019 3:11 pm

jancivil wrote:
Tue Nov 05, 2019 7:39 am
"classical music" such as Beethoven uses rhythm which resembles speech not in the least, even declamatory speech such as in, you know, speeches. It's metrical, if you went around talking in meter very often you'd look :nutter:

There were a lot of inchoate notions of what it was. It is frequently said that the form of the broader period we'll use the imprecise term 'classical' is rhetorical in nature (as opposed by 20th century musicians, flagrantly by say Varèse); and eg., sonata form is likened to architecture. :shrug:

To me that's not terrifically useful talk. I'm no musicologist, but I feel pretty confident this notion of abstracting rhythm from its specific application to a tune wasn't a thing and that the weird, vague appeal to the authority of the weight of history is basically some made-up shit. Let's see that cited, that's so bold.
It's amazing that this argument is still ongoing, months later.

Do you spend much time writing music, or do you just prefer being asshurt over people on forums not respecting your sage-like wisdom and disagreeing with you?

Pretty much every tune worth remembering, from "Drunken Sailor" to "Eine Kleine Nacthmusik" to "Happy Birthday" to "Smoke On The Water" has strong rhythmic phrasing and structure of which, as people here have cited texts and such to you, has been known since...well, the beginning of time, actually — but has been written about by academia like Cambridge for decades and centuries past.

My position on this argument is corroborated by literature, the testimony of other composers even in this thread, and frankly — even the most-entry-level music education in songs taught to children and choirs.

Your position is backed up literally by nothing more than you squawking about me being wrong because you say so and your strawmanning of the point I made — a point which is very simple.

One can come up with a good tune even if they don't know much about melodic contour and so on just by tweaking the pitches to a rhythm and experimenting. However, it generally doesn't work like that in reverse. Without the rhythmic aspect, you just kinda have this increasingly-amorphous sequences of varying pitches.

Can you put your money where your mouth is and drop us proof of the superiority of your philosophy in practice by plugging some of your own examples here? Because I have no problem with that challenge.

However, listening to the stuff you have on your website, all of the music you seem to do is ambient/atmospheric kind of stuff. So maybe you're not actually the best person to turn to for advice on writing melodies at all?

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Forgotten
KVRAF
7112 posts since 15 Apr, 2019 from Nowhere

Re: Tips For Practicing Writing Melodies

Post Wed Nov 06, 2019 3:31 pm

AngelCityOutlaw wrote:
Wed Nov 06, 2019 3:11 pm
My position on this argument is corroborated by literature
You haven’t provided any evidence of this though, you’re just making this claim without corroborating it.
AngelCityOutlaw wrote:
Mon Jul 22, 2019 12:59 pm
The best way to learn how to write strong melodies is to start by omitting the pitch entirely and just focusing on the rhythm.
I have never read any literature that states that the best way to write melody is to omit the pitch entirely.

Citations?

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AngelCityOutlaw
KVRist
152 posts since 4 Dec, 2017

Re: Tips For Practicing Writing Melodies

Post Wed Nov 06, 2019 5:30 pm

Forgotten wrote:
Wed Nov 06, 2019 3:31 pm
AngelCityOutlaw wrote:
Wed Nov 06, 2019 3:11 pm
My position on this argument is corroborated by literature
You haven’t provided any evidence of this though, you’re just making this claim without corroborating it.
Yes, I have. Like, right from the get-go.
Forgotten wrote:
Wed Nov 06, 2019 3:31 pm
I have never read any literature that states that the best way to write melody is to omit the pitch entirely.

Citations?
Once again, you and that other girl's (?) inferiority complex and fear of being seen as "wrong" or not as knowledgeable as you pass yourselves off as causes you to strawman and reword my point.

What I said was
The best way to learn how to write strong melodies is to start by omitting the pitch entirely and just focusing on the rhythm.
Now I want you to, once again, compare and contrast my original wording with your re-wording and let me know when and if you ever see your mistake.

Regarding your citations, aside from those excerpts from Cambridge History of Western Music Theory, which you can buy here https://www.cambridge.org/core/books/ca ... 0DE195105A

a quick Google search of the subject reveals that the importance of the rhythmic foundation (the simplest element of a melody) is a very common talking point across the spectrum.

An Arlington professor with a Master's in composition and taught at several Universities agrees with my point.

https://takelessons.com/blog/2014/01/so ... our-guide/
Today, I would like to talk about rhythm.

Rhythm is the basic element of music and in many ways the most important element of music.

A simple example of how important rhythm is this:

Image

If you do not read music, the example on the left is a major scale going downward. It’s the “do-re-mi” scale as some say. The example on the right is the exact same pitches (tones if you will) but with a different rhythm – that is the only difference! The result is the opening melody of the Christmas carol “Joy to the World”. If you’d like to hear it, there is a video featuring the voice of Morgan Freeman called “The Christmas Scale” that uses this same example.

In general it is rhythm that brings the most character to the music.

Rhythm can get complicated, but in most popular music, rhythm is in what we call 4/4, 3/4 or 6/8 meter (a simple explanation of meter is: beats in each measure). Rhythms may vary within the meter.

The above example is merely to point out something which is: Do not underestimate the power of rhythm to bring character to your music, especially in your melodies.
I mean, the above perfectly exemplifies what I have been saying here.

Berkley has an entire course on this
https://www.coursera.org/lecture/songwr ... idge-LmPGj

Steve Tressler has a video and article demonstrating in Jazz improvisation how even a strong rhythm with dissonant or otherwise wrong notes produces a more pleasant-sounding result than the right notes, but boring rhythm.
https://stevetres.com/2015/09/rhythm-is ... ght-notes/

and there are no shortage of songwriter/authors who have also written about this subject.
https://www.songwriting.net/blog/bid/20 ... the-melody

So yes, the idea that focusing on the rhythmic aspect of your melody should be your first priority when learning to compose one is well understood by academia and self-taught musicians alike. It is of natural, assumed importance in composing.

My advice to OP is sound

You two are either going to start having to put up or shut up with your own stuff put to practice if you want to discredit this, because I've already heard one person's stuff, and it was all just ambient music with very little if any in the way of melody. I'm not convinced that either of you actually know what you're talking about here.

and that's a continuous pattern I've noticed in some 15 years of perusing music forums now. The most arrogant, argumentative, challenge-the-most-obvious-things-with-great-vigor types, are usually the most-incompetent ones regarding the concepts they're arguing for or against.

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