How do I get started with composing?

Chords, scales, harmony, melody, etc.
KVRAF
22757 posts since 20 Oct, 2007 from not here

Post Fri Jul 23, 2021 5:36 pm

yeah, there's an idea: 'here are some fairly well-known crutches you may not know of'.

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GRRRRRRR!
12298 posts since 14 Jun, 2001 from Somewhere else, on principle

Post Fri Jul 23, 2021 5:57 pm

What an amazing world we live in where you can ask a question like this and get dozens of people from all around the world to help you with it. I had to work it all out for myself.

The only way I can answer is to say just do it. I started with one synth, then I bought a drum machine and a simple sequencer (TR606/TB303), programmed in some patterns and played along to them. The ideas all sprang from the doing - trying things until you get something you like and then working on that idea. I bought those first tools in 1981 but I don't think I had anything even resembling an actual song until 1984 or '85. IT's a process, it takes time and you have to work through it. Once you get that first really good idea down and turn it into something you can enjoy, you'll find it really hard to stop bu,t to start with, patience and perseverance are key.

I have no musical training at all but I never saw that as an impediment because I always knew what I liked when I stumbled upon it. And, honestly, despite all the advantages you have today over what I had back then, I don't think that creative process is any easier now for you. You are still going to have to try out a whole heap of different ideas until you find one you like.
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KVRAF
3371 posts since 20 Feb, 2004

Post Sat Jul 24, 2021 5:12 am

jancivil wrote:
Fri Jul 23, 2021 5:36 pm
yeah, there's an idea: 'here are some fairly well-known crutches you may not know of'.
Right on cue... :lol:
A well-behaved signature.

KVRAF
22757 posts since 20 Oct, 2007 from not here

Post Sat Jul 24, 2021 7:51 am

wth kind of crap is it to come on to a "music theory" thread and do 'music theory snobs will__' anyway? What is that supposed to mean?
People that believe knowledge is the way are to be looked as as suspect? Do you go around calling people that would recommend an understanding of how other things work 'snobs'? "first you have to know what gain reduction is; then you consider how much are you needing to compress..." - are you threatened by this too? What would you lot think about this quality of advice technically? Just use presets, no one cool understands all that stuff. A bit childish, isn't it.

NO ONE, literally not one of us is able to assess from the OP what they're about with as little to go on as this.
So we have the first question, why do you want this? Why does one think they should be writing music? The thing that has to happen is the impetus from_the_individual to do something. "How do I get started" You just f**king do it. It will prob'ly be crude and stupid at first and you now seek to get better AT_MUSIC.

If you can't make it yourself, it's not yours. If you cannot sort what chords go with your tune or idea, whatever it is, they're not your idea.
Sure, be unburdened by the details and just pick the right prefab dough, the right cookie-cutter for your genre as received and just do basically a paint-by-numbers job and act like those choices are yours. Essentially that's where you are with that advice.

KVRAF
3371 posts since 20 Feb, 2004

Post Sat Jul 24, 2021 10:54 am

By "music theory snobs," I mean people whose particular level of theory knowledge believe it entitles them to berate those with lesser knowledge, and to dismiss tools that allow those with lesser knowledge to bridge the gap. You've erroneously assumed a lot about my position.

Using a utility to help you generate chords/cadences is perfectly legitimate. What you do with it later is what makes it your own. It's why chord progressions can't be copyrighted.
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fmr
KVRAF
10286 posts since 16 Mar, 2003 from Porto - Portugal

Post Sat Jul 24, 2021 11:11 am

JerGoertz wrote:
Sat Jul 24, 2021 10:54 am
By "music theory snobs," I mean people whose particular level of theory knowledge believe it entitles them to berate those with lesser knowledge, and to dismiss tools that allow those with lesser knowledge to bridge the gap. You've erroneously assumed a lot about my position.

Using a utility to help you generate chords/cadences is perfectly legitimate. What you do with it later is what makes it your own. It's why chord progressions can't be copyrighted.
Chord progression can't be copyrighted because THEY ARE MEANINGLESS, not because of anything else. But if you add a rhythm to a chord progression, you bet it an be copyrighted. Yet, it will still be close to nothing.

G, G, G, Eb, F, F, F, D, just like that, can't be copyrighted, but what if you make a music like this?
Bethoven 5th.PNG
There's nothing wrong in using whatever tools you want, as long as you seek for something truly original and do it on your own. The problem is, to achieve that with the tools you mention and in a trial and error basis, you will probably no reaching anywhere too. And if you know what you want and how to achieve it, then those tools will probably be redundant.

You may try to build a house following YoTube videos, but you better trust someone who knows how to build houses :roll:
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Fernando (FMR)

KVRAF
3371 posts since 20 Feb, 2004

Post Sat Jul 24, 2021 11:22 am

fmr wrote:
Sat Jul 24, 2021 11:11 am
Chord progression can«t be copyrighted because THEY ARE MEANINGLESS, not because of anything else.
Huh? I-IV-V is meaningless? Pretty sure it has a very definite meaning.

Getting the chord progression gives you a *basis* on which to add rhythm and melody.
There's nothing wrong in using whatever tools you want, as long as you seek for something truly original and do it on your own. The problem is, to achieve that with the tools you mention and in a trial and error basis, you will probably no reaching anywhere too. And if you know what you want and how to achieve it, then those tools will probably be redundant.
Trial and error has often given me something that turned into something good. Those tools can help a person refine their meanderings into something workable, and more quickly at that.
You may try to build a house following YoTube videos, but you better trust someone who knows how to build houses :roll:
I would never trust an artist to build my house. Two entirely different domains of activity, with different valid methods. ;) :roll:
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addled muppet weed
82381 posts since 26 Jan, 2003 from through the looking glass

Post Sat Jul 24, 2021 11:22 am

BONES wrote:
Fri Jul 23, 2021 5:57 pm
What an amazing world we live in where you can ask a question like this and get dozens of people from all around the world to help you with it. I had to work it all out for myself.

The only way I can answer is to say just do it. I started with one synth, then I bought a drum machine and a simple sequencer (TR606/TB303), programmed in some patterns and played along to them. The ideas all sprang from the doing - trying things until you get something you like and then working on that idea. I bought those first tools in 1981 but I don't think I had anything even resembling an actual song until 1984 or '85. IT's a process, it takes time and you have to work through it. Once you get that first really good idea down and turn it into something you can enjoy, you'll find it really hard to stop bu,t to start with, patience and perseverance are key.

I have no musical training at all but I never saw that as an impediment because I always knew what I liked when I stumbled upon it. And, honestly, despite all the advantages you have today over what I had back then, I don't think that creative process is any easier now for you. You are still going to have to try out a whole heap of different ideas until you find one you like.
when hes right, hes right!

it is a great time to be a beginner (in many disciplines) with forums/videos and such being available for even us who think we know a few things, to pick up a few more :)

and also as the great god nike said "just do it!!!"
if its rubbish, no one dies :shrug:
then you go again, fixing the bits you didnt like...
repeat, till its a damn good track!!!

depending on what type of music you make, you can get away with more/less actual theory knowledge, ie if you want to write symphonies, for orchestras to play, you better brush up a bit and know whats actually playable for each instrument.
if you want to go punk "3 chords and a message" will do :)

with obviously, much going on between the two.

just do it!!!! :party:

https://youtu.be/ZXsQAXx_ao0

KVRist
168 posts since 4 Aug, 2020 from Montreal, Canada

Post Sat Jul 24, 2021 11:23 am

Well, I sold all my UJAM Virtual Guitarist plugins as soon as I spent one more year practicing on an actual guitar. I simply can play faster to be tonally/emotionally suitable, than tweaking a piece of software. And I feel proud of gaining this ability.

Learning what's necessary is all worth the effort. Nothing wrong it is for starting with compositional aid tools, but I feel I'd have to grow out of them one day, or I'd feel ashamed myself.

Rad Grandad
33930 posts since 6 Sep, 2003 from Downeast Maine

Post Sat Jul 24, 2021 11:30 am

BONES wrote:
Fri Jul 23, 2021 5:57 pm
What an amazing world we live in where you can ask a question like this and get dozens of people from all around the world to help you with it. I had to work it all out for myself.
and this is the reason for my devotion to KvR as a forum, I had to work out a lot for myself but for me that was mostly guitar stuff. I started playing trumpet in 5th grade but gave it up in 7th so I had some music training. My biggest issue was everyone I knew was in the same boat as me and just as naive, more bs than facts...I would have loved to have had a place like this to learn. Again, not talking just music theory, everything.

I dont think people should be made to feel bad for asking questions or not knowing, but what I really do not get is why many people here seem to like to come at people, swearing, making them feel stupid, calling them names trying to get them to see their point.

If someone came at you like that, would you listen or would you go straight to defensive? It simply is amazing that this happens here with the people all the time, when people come at me all angry and stuff...I dont care what they have to say, there are plenty of respectful people to learn from...I surely can learn from anyone as can anybody else if they set their mind to it, but I wont sit there and get offended in order to learn, there are plenty of respectful people to learn from and chances are I might build a decent relationship with such a person and of course I am adept at self study as well.

Then a debate starts here (kvr, not just this forum), and people start in the first few words thinking they are establishing some form of dominance but in fact they lost the reader(s) in those first words and worse it goes off topic because people start responding based on the little they read and are defensive...it's not one person, not a few people, but a whole lot and daily.

It's quite simple, no one likes to be talked down to and no one likes to be talked at :shrug:
A toxic person needs someone to attack when their ego is threatened.

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KVRian
1463 posts since 10 Oct, 2018

Post Sat Jul 24, 2021 11:45 am

Dunno, but it's all about structure, I suppose. Could start with a riff, a melody, a chord progression, a rhythm and so on.

That said, if you are into theory, then you could just use a composition you like, or a midi file from a track, and play around with it. Change the bass note, change the modus, maj/min switch etc.

Long story short: be inventive (at least; if you want to be original).

PS if you are really stuck, then you could try to take a verse of a song you like and try to get another chorus going for it. When you have the chorus you can alter the verse. Etc etc. The possibilities are endless.

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KVRAF
30483 posts since 27 Jul, 2005 from the wilds of wanny

Post Sat Jul 24, 2021 11:55 am

Logimite wrote:
Tue Apr 06, 2021 2:40 pm
I can play music very fluently. I recently got my midi keyboard, but I can't think of anything to compose. How do I get started with composing?
By thinking of something. Surely you have some ideas of your own. If not, you're screwed. :shrug:

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GRRRRRRR!
12298 posts since 14 Jun, 2001 from Somewhere else, on principle

Post Sat Jul 24, 2021 5:23 pm

Hink wrote:
Sat Jul 24, 2021 11:30 am
I dont think people should be made to feel bad for asking questions or not knowing, but what I really do not get is why many people here seem to like to come at people, swearing, making them feel stupid, calling them names trying to get them to see their point.
Nobody does that to someone with a question. That happens when people answer those questions with rubbish. And to me, that is the big problem with KVR - so much really bad information that doesn't get called out, that people just starting out can't sort from the good info. Like so much of the internet, you can say whatever you like without being challenged on the veracity of your claims. Ultimately that doesn't help anyone and surely you have seen how it spirals out of control over time? Just look at how many people believe the earth is flat - two million people in the UK alone! This place is no less full of musical flat-earthers.
If someone came at you like that, would you listen or would you go straight to defensive?
That's just the way people talk and it constantly amazes me that when you write down things you would say in conversation, that people take a completely different meaning from it. When I used to call my parents idiots, they didn't get all defensive, they mostly didn't even acknowledge that I'd said it. When I tell my boss that a direction she has given is stupid, she doesn't get all defensive, she listens to my point of view, and when I tell one of my colleagues to f**k off and leave me alone, they understand that I am busy and they are distracting me. They don't take it personally.

Maybe it's a lack of context when we're spread out across the globe or maybe it's just that the rest of the world is much thinner skinned than we are here in Australia. But when someone here tells me I'm being stupid or that I'm an idiot, I don't get all defensive. I examine what I've said and, if necessary, try a different way to explain my point if I still cannot see where I have made an error.
It simply is amazing that this happens here with the people all the time, when people come at me all angry and stuff...
Nothing here has ever made me angry. Hugely frustrated on occasion but never angry. Mostly when people try to get personal with me I just laugh. Nobody here knows me at all and they can think what they want, it doesn't affect me. It shouldn't affect anyone else, either.
I dont care what they have to say, there are plenty of respectful people to learn from...
Respect has to be earned. How can you have respect for someone who thinks the Earth is flat? That stuff only propagates because people don't call it out for the utter stupidity that it is.
I surely can learn from anyone as can anybody else if they set their mind to it, but I wont sit there and get offended in order to learn
There's the trick, right there - don't get offended. Being offended is a choice you make. You decide to let irrelevancies rule. And things like the Foe List only encourage people to be offended. Seriously, I reckon the bigger your foe list, the less you have to offer around here. If you can't listen to what everyone else has to say, it just shows you don't want to learn, you are just looking for confirmation that you are right. You don't learn anything from people who agree with you, you learn from people who think differently.
NOVAkILL : Zenbook Duo, Core i7, 16GB RAM, Win10, UR44C | Studio One | JP6K, Union, Hexeract, bx_oberhausen, Odyssey, TRK-01, Vacuum Pro, Invader, Concept, GR-8, Thorn, Equator, VG Carbon | Uno Pro Desktop, Uno, Rocket.

Rad Grandad
33930 posts since 6 Sep, 2003 from Downeast Maine

Post Sat Jul 24, 2021 6:34 pm

FTR there is not a single person on my foe list, I agree 100%...I think it's lame but also people cant put me on their foe list so it is in no way fair that I do.

But all that you said is not what I am talking about, you know it (nice gambit though). This forum is about people from all corners of the earth from many different cultures and we should try to at least show a little respect and try to be understanding of each other. Here some people are jumping on each other like its a sport, again people do not like being talked at or down to.

When I see people just jumping in, attacking like some do...no it isnt acceptable and saying someone else is too sensitive and should learn to deal with it is the very corner stone of gaslighting...saying that, you're too sensitive, you always do this and it was a joke, gimme a break :roll: . There is no doubt people tune out after the start of the attacks and pass judgement based on that, I know we get the hate PM's the reports and everything else. But it also creates misinformation, people misread because they are angry, or because they didnt finish reading, but it still gets dragged on and on here and over and over. Again, we get the reports.

All you post was just an attempt to sidetrack me from my logical post and gaslight me... :lol

BONES despite all the abuse...the flat earthers still believe ...can you get my point yet...people can keep attacking and calling others stupid (anywhere else please) but I highly doubt anyone is gonna stop and think, then say..."wow, you're right, thank you for setting me straight...I am a moron" :lol:
A toxic person needs someone to attack when their ego is threatened.

KVRist
168 posts since 4 Aug, 2020 from Montreal, Canada

Post Sat Jul 24, 2021 9:34 pm

That’s nice to learn some ‘music forum theory’ ;) I very respect you guys’ ~20 years of contribution for making the forum a better place.

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