• Register
  • Help
Page 1 of 3 123 LastLast
Results 1 to 10 of 27

Topic: Your composing process

Share/Bookmark
  1. #1
    Moderator/Developer Brian2112's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2003
    Location
    Out of my Mind
    Posts
    1,858

    Your composing process

    Forgive my ignorance, but I am very interested in your composing process.
    Do you usually:

    a) Hear an entire piece in your head (from beginning to end) before you write it down or perform/record it?

    b) Hear a section at a time and then expand on the idea?

    c) Start playing your instrument and see where it takes you? (even if it is over a cliff)

    d) Let the cat walk across your synth and hope to find a useful melodic phrase?

    In my case, and I suspect everyone else’s, the answer is “all of the above” – except perhaps “d” (yea, that’s probably just me ). But what occurs most often? For me it is “b” then “c” and very rarely “a”.

    And you?


    …2112
    "So what if some parts of life are a crap shoot? Get out there and shoot the crap." -- Neil Peart
    Hint:1.6180339887498948482 Φ

  2. #2

    Re: Your composing process

    Hi Brian,

    My process is seldom the same way twice. I took a shot at answering each of your questions.

    a) Hear an entire piece in your head (from beginning to end) before you write it down or perform/record it?

    This is what happens most often. Unfortunately...and I don't know if this is a common thing...but I have what I call musical schizophrenia. I hear music in my head like some people hear voices. Often, it's like multiple pieces of music having a conversation with eachother. The closest I can correlate it for you would be if you sat in a room with 3 radio's on different channels, and then sat in the middle of them trying to hear each piece individually.

    b) Hear a section at a time and then expand on the idea?

    This is a bi-product of the above experience. I'll "grab" a little piece of something bouncing around in my head, and put it down as soon as possibe. It's like catching lightning bugs .

    c) Start playing your instrument and see where it takes you? (even if it is over a cliff)

    Did this on my first album. I also do this when I am learning new tunings just to see what I can fall into.

    d) Let the cat walk across your synth and hope to find a useful melodic phrase?

    I have only recently started working with synths (within the last 6 months) so in essence, I am the cat

  3. #3

    Re: Your composing process

    Quote Originally Posted by Brian2112
    Forgive my ignorance, but I am very interested in your composing process.
    Do you usually:

    a) Hear an entire piece in your head (from beginning to end) before you write it down or perform/record it?

    b) Hear a section at a time and then expand on the idea?

    c) Start playing your instrument and see where it takes you? (even if it is over a cliff)

    d) Let the cat walk across your synth and hope to find a useful melodic phrase?

    In my case, and I suspect everyone else’s, the answer is “all of the above” – except perhaps “d” (yea, that’s probably just me ). But what occurs most often? For me it is “b” then “c” and very rarely “a”.

    And you?


    …2112
    Brian,

    I seem to recall that you and I share a bit of common ground (ex-rockers getting back into their music?) Here's my answers to your questions for what they're worth.

    a) Hear an entire piece in your head (from beginning to end) before you write it down or perform/record it?

    Nope, not enough room in my bean. I'd forget how to negotiate my shoe laces if I did that

    b) Hear a section at a time and then expand on the idea?

    Ocasionally, but I'm rather tone deaf so it usually sucks But I'm trying to write more in my head.


    c) Start playing your instrument and see where it takes you? (even if it is over a cliff)

    Yup, all the time. Daryl Hall from Hall and Oates said that they'd buy him a new synth and just by going through the patches he'd get a couple of songs going. That's me. More VST's than I have time for! Being an ex-drummer (pause for the jokes) I usually start with some sort of rhythmic phrase. Or I'll grab my favorite pad in Atmosphere and start trying to find a chord progression. I write mostly pop songs so I'll hum over top to try and get a melody going. I also can play the guitar OK so I'll grab that ocasionally.

    d) Let the cat walk across your synth and hope to find a useful melodic phrase?

    I find that squeezing my cat like an accordian creates some pleaseing results. Especially when I sing some jazzy cat harmony (whick involves a pair of vise grips, but I digress...)

    All the very best

    Darren

  4. #4
    Moderator/Developer Brian2112's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2003
    Location
    Out of my Mind
    Posts
    1,858

    Re: Your composing process

    Quote Originally Posted by enharmonic
    I have only recently started working with synths (within the last 6 months) so in essence, I am the cat
    Thanks! that was an interesting and insightful response. I hear music in my head all the time as well, but I guess for some people, the translation from head to render is better and the music is better than in my case. Thanks for posting this.

    Quote Originally Posted by dpasdernick
    Brian,

    I seem to recall that you and I share a bit of common ground (ex-rockers getting back into their music?)
    Yea, but I bet your having a bit better luck than I am.

    Daryl Hall from Hall and Oates said that they'd buy him a new synth and just by going through the patches he'd get a couple of songs going. That's me. More VST's than I have time for! Being an ex-drummer (pause for the jokes) I usually start with some sort of rhythmic phrase. Or I'll grab my favorite pad in Atmosphere and start trying to find a chord progression. I write mostly pop songs so I'll hum over top to try and get a melody going. I also can play the guitar OK so I'll grab that ocasionally.
    I did the same. New sounds can inspire new ideas.
    No drummer jokes! I'm one too!
    Thanks for posting Darren!

    ...2112
    "So what if some parts of life are a crap shoot? Get out there and shoot the crap." -- Neil Peart
    Hint:1.6180339887498948482 Φ

  5. #5

    Re: Your composing process

    For all the talk about loops vs. midi composition, I think that the biggest issue about getting stuff from your head onto your sequencer is how well you understand music theory, arranging, counterpoint and so on.

    For someone like John Williams for example, it must be cake because he know exactly what he needs to write down to get a certain sound from the orchestra, for someone who doesn't have as much experience writing music, even programming a simple string run can be a huge endeavor.
    >>Kays
    http://www.musicbykays.com
    Music Composition for Feature Films, Television and Interactive Entertainment

  6. #6
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Dec 2003
    Location
    Budleigh Salterton
    Posts
    1,477

    Re: Your composing process

    (a) No

    (b) No

    (c) Yes

    (d) Almost always

  7. #7

    Re: Your composing process

    a) sometimes... sort of... depends what you mean by 'hearing the entire piece' - not down to the smallest detail in all sections. I find that the best ideas come while actually working anyhow.

    b) most often - start with at least one striking passage, and then build from there as more ideas come. If there isn't a good idea at the start, the process will be a much rougher ride..

    c) not much anymore. Once upon a time I did moreso, but I soon came to realize that, in general, the ideas that I conceived in my mind were usually much better than what I got from 'noodling'. More idiomatic for the instruments too. The exception is when writing for piano itself, then, for myself at least, the work must begin on the instrument itself - and the keyboard won't do, it has to be the piano... if it worked for Chopin and co..

    d) the cat can't reach the keyboard. He has from time to time stepped on the piano keys though, but the minute he hears the sound he pauses to ponder it then runs off. I have come to believe that he is afraid of his own genius.

  8. #8
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Oct 2005
    Location
    NYC
    Posts
    357

    Re: Your composing process

    Quote Originally Posted by midphase
    For all the talk about loops vs. midi composition, I think that the biggest issue about getting stuff from your head onto your sequencer is how well you understand music theory, arranging, counterpoint and so on.

    For someone like John Williams for example, it must be cake because he know exactly what he needs to write down to get a certain sound from the orchestra, for someone who doesn't have as much experience writing music, even programming a simple string run can be a huge endeavor.
    Agreed. For me, my problem is hearing an entire orchestral peice in my head, and working quickly enough to get it down - be it sequencing, or pen and paper. I usually get to a certain point, and then say, "hmmmm....how did that horn passage go again???" Personally, I can't wait until someone develops a method of a sequencer reading my brain waves; I strap a gadget to my head, and a few moments later, the entire peice is sitting on my computer in front of me - orchestrated and all. Wasn't there a movie with a guy with a piano that had the same concept?

    Cheers.

  9. #9

    Re: Your composing process

    For me its mostly "B" and, to a lesser extent,"C" (I do not have a cat, but if you think it will help . . . ).

    I tend to think I get better stuff if I think it up in my head first and then work it out on my keyboard. It helps if I know a lot of possible sounds (especially synthesized) in my head, so I think up an idea that will exploit them.

    jeffn1
    For original progressive electronic rock influenced by J.S. Bach and (old) Rush, check out: www.soundclick.com/jeffreynaness.

  10. #10

    Re: Your composing process

    Quote Originally Posted by PaulR
    (a) No

    (b) No

    (c) Yes

    (d) Almost always
    The very same for me as well.

    I think you can "hear in your head" something based on something you already knows. But if you need to find your sound, you should incessantly experiment.

    To me, music creation resembles a scientific hypothesis: if it sounds good, it's confirmed. If not, trash it and search for another way of telling your story (or let the cat walk on the keyboard).

Go Back to forum

Bookmarks

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •