View Full Version : A common question about composing
I want to ask a very common question and I am sure that it's been askes & discussed here before.
But I really wonder to know about your composing techniques.
For example, you have a main theme in your mind. And you will play it with violins or piano;
Do you play and record your composition using a midi keyboard on sequencer? (Especially violins and piano tracks)
First you play the notes in real time recording and then arranging volumes of notes one by one at key editor (velocity, expression etc)
How do you compose?
I'll be glad if you can give detailed answers.
09-05-2009, 03:45 PM
I write the notes in a traditional score using notation software (Sibelius) - once all the notes are in, I'll start tweaking them a bit to make it all sound better. I'll use the keyboard sometimes to find a specific expression in a KS instrument (works much faster) and for percussion. My keyboard skills are poor though, so whatever I enter using a keyboard has to cleaned up drastically.
09-05-2009, 08:12 PM
FYI - Your assumption that you start with a theme or melody is not always true. You might start with some chords you like, or an
interesting rhythm or selection of instruments, or even just an idea - "I want to write something that starts low and slow and gradually
gets higher and louder."
It can be anything that captures the composer's imagination and gets them started.
09-05-2009, 10:43 PM
Usually I start with some kind of theme... I don't play keyboards very well so usually I will work out a melody line on guitar and then enter the music in with a score editor and then start building from there. Sometimes I just start writing right in the score editor and experiment with ideas until I get something I like... all depends on how inspiration strikes.
09-07-2009, 09:42 AM
I always work from the Piano Roll in Cubase with PLAY loaded up.
Since I was a kid, I always composed in notation programs like CakeWalk Express, Sibelius etc. but found that the sound quality was very poor and the performances didn't sound real.
Since I am a pianist, the piano roll works very well for me, I can see exactly what's going on in my head right on the screen. I only use programs like Sibelius for publishing and arrangements, not for composing.
Also, as far as themes, I usually just improvise on the piano until I find something I like and start from there.
09-07-2009, 10:37 AM
I play in parts from the keyboard. Helps a bunch being a piano player.
It is never a given for me where the start will be for a piece. Melody, chord changes, rhythm, etc. Of course, the emphasis in a piece can be any of those things, and more. Color, texture, just the nature of the sounds themselves may be the featured element.
Often I'll get away from the electronics, and sit at the piano and find what I'm looking for there in the beginning.
09-08-2009, 01:34 PM
When I hear something, first I write the basses that is 1 note that gives the fundamental and correct them according to the rules of harmony. Then I write the notes that constitute the chords. Then I correct the melody according the the basses and chords. This constitute the motif.
Once the motif is written with basic chords, I orchestrate and write additional notes, rhythms and ornaments to get a full orchestration.
I don't use any keyboard. First,I write the notes on the score sheet, and for each notes, I articulate them, then I put the dynamics, then I humanize them with the transformation tools, the piano roll and hyper editor.
Hope this will answer your question.
09-09-2009, 05:57 AM
I do a number of different things depending on what has inspired me. Sometimes I want to build on a particular rhythmic pattern, sometimes I have a melody or chord progression. I usually fiddle with piano or midi keyboard until I have a pretty good idea of what I want to come out, and then I either perform the parts on the keyboard or draw the notes into the score editor in Sonar. My keyboarding skills aren't great, but they're not horrible, and my note-writing skills are about the same - so if I'm dealing with complex patterns I usually try to perform and quantize it, and if it's something simple and/or repetitive I draw it in - basically whatever gets the thought out of my head with a minimum of fuss.
Thanks for your posts!
This topic shows that there are many ways to start composing. I generally start with piano. And then build with strings and percussions. I may delete the piano track or convert it to more appropriate instrument.
And at last I start to play on every notes volume, velocity and expression settings. This is what I am curious about; When and how do you finalize your every single note for velocity, expression etc.?
09-09-2009, 06:52 AM
When I perform in parts I try to get it as close as I can so I don't have to tweak it. When I draw parts into a staff I usually address velocity, expression, nudging, etc when I've completed the phrase. Since I compose-by-ear I want every line to sound as close to the final product as possible before moving on to the next instrument - otherwise I fear I will run into unexpected and undesirable results late in the process.
09-09-2009, 03:00 PM
I start with the end. Then I advance to the beginning. And then I play it backwards.
09-09-2009, 03:17 PM
Your posts sound a lot like a certain someone that got banned awhile back ...
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