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Topic: Discovering compostion simplicity

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  1. #1
    Senior Member
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    Discovering compostion simplicity

    I'm pretty new to this world of computer music and have zero musical training. What I do have is a good ear for music and have been playing pianos since I was 6 by ear. When putting multiple tracks of instruments together my songs would get busier and busier until they became intolerable.
    Yesterday I downloaded a Midi song file of David Grusen's "On Golden Pond" and then assigned my Bos. 290 and KHSO to the different tracks. The result was quite beautiful. What really blew me away was the utter simplicity of the different tracks when soloed. This is something I keep rediscovering. KEEP IT SIMPLE!

    I Love this stuff, Dave

  2. #2

    Re: Discovering compostion simplicity

    Quote Originally Posted by commalot
    I'm pretty new to this world of computer music and have zero musical training. What I do have is a good ear for music and have been playing pianos since I was 6 by ear. When putting multiple tracks of instruments together my songs would get busier and busier until they became intolerable.
    Yesterday I downloaded a Midi song file of David Grusen's "On Golden Pond" and then assigned my Bos. 290 and KHSO to the different tracks. The result was quite beautiful. What really blew me away was the utter simplicity of the different tracks when soloed. This is something I keep rediscovering. KEEP IT SIMPLE!

    I Love this stuff, Dave
    Lol. Stick with it Dave, a lot of enjoyment to come. And you don't get paid by the number of notes you write, but how it sounds, so if simple works, write simple.

    Alex.

  3. #3
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    Re: Discovering compostion simplicity

    Thank you Alex. I'm also reminded of what a professor told me once in a Music Appreciation class. "The silences between the notes are as important as the notes themselves".

    Dave

  4. #4

    Re: Discovering compostion simplicity

    Quote Originally Posted by commalot
    Thank you Alex. I'm also reminded of what a professor told me once in a Music Appreciation class. "The silences between the notes are as important as the notes themselves".

    Dave
    Definitely. The silences can be phrases of their own. I have a criticism of much of film music today that relates to the continous drone or repetition with no silence to provide contrast or relief, when the orchestra is playing.

    For listening purposes to understand how powerful silence can be, Beethoven is a worthy choice(Symphonies 4,5,6. provide many examples.)
    Beethoven's 1st is a worthy choice for study of orchestration as well, and it's not too complicated to listen to, so with music ears on, there's a rich source of orchestrative ideas.

    And for a study in simplicity, and the genius involved, Beethoven is joined by Mozart (Requiem), Sibelius (The Swan of Tuonela in particular), Tchaikovsky's swan lake, etc.
    (Swan Lake also provides a rich source of information in another orchestral sphere, that of writing for strings.)

    It's also worth remembering two important guidelines when writing for a big ensemble like an orchestra.

    Nearly all music is 4 part harmony in some shape or form.

    The more you add, the less colourful the music becomes. ( an analogy is, if you paint, and keep mixing more and more colours together, you end up with grey.)


    Hope these help, and good luck to you.

    Regards,

    Alex.

  5. #5
    Senior Member Bruce A. Richardson's Avatar
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    Re: Discovering compostion simplicity

    I have always considered it a challenge to make the most money per note. It really keeps one focused on economy.

  6. #6

    Discovering compostion simplicity

    While the consensus seems to be about "keeping it simple", I would say that sometimes a composition has to be complex. Sometimes a composer wants a texture with many voices, many elements. Stravinsky's ballets come to mind, Mozart's 6-voice counterpoint in his Symphony #41 (I could be wrong about the number), Mahler's highly intricate orchestral textures in his symphonies, particularly his brass writing at the close of numerous movements--these examples speak of the value and beauty of complexity in composition. To my ear, complexity works when the harmony works. Complexity, in the hands of a mature composer, doesn't mean clutter, confusion, etc.

    Simplicity doesn't mean simplistic. If I had access to the powerful music technology of today, and wanted to write music and had no training at all, other than a "good ear", I would study harmony, counterpoint, orchestration, form, notation and the scores of master composers.

    Just as simplicity must be attained while avoiding the simplistic, at times the complex must be attained while avoiding the clutter. This is where training, knowledge, craft and experience really help.

    I myself don't value simplicity as an end in itself. Sometimes a musical idea should be kept simple, other times complexity may be called for. Both should serve the musicality and expression of the piece, and both are not ends in themselves.

    Jerry
    www.jerrygerber.com

  7. #7

    Re: Discovering compostion simplicity

    Couldn't agree more, Jerry!

    Or I would put it this way. Musical ideas/elements should always be simple, while the end-result could always be elaborated.

    BACH!

    Period.

    Cheers,
    Frankie
    Dell Precision T3500 (Xeon W3520, 12GB RAM) / Windows 7 x64 / Sonar 8 / VE Pro / WIVI 2.3 / Kontakt 4 / G-Player 1.2

  8. #8
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    Re: Discovering compostion simplicity

    This is great. Where else can you get this type of musical instruction for free. In regards to "keeping it simple" I agree that a great composition can have many elements playing in harmonious splender. One of the pitfalls I run into by not using notation is what I would call the "One man band syndrome". I have a tendency to make each new track stand on its own with a resultant mess of music. Learning and using notation would most likely be the best action for me to take. There is afterall a time when the cellos are silent and the piccolo is playing.

    Thanks So Much, Dave

  9. #9
    Senior Member Nigel W's Avatar
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    Re: Discovering compostion simplicity

    Quote Originally Posted by commalot
    I'm pretty new to this world of computer music and have zero musical training. What I do have is a good ear for music and have been playing pianos since I was 6 by ear. When putting multiple tracks of instruments together my songs would get busier and busier until they became intolerable.
    Yesterday I downloaded a Midi song file of David Grusen's "On Golden Pond" and then assigned my Bos. 290 and KHSO to the different tracks. The result was quite beautiful. What really blew me away was the utter simplicity of the different tracks when soloed. This is something I keep rediscovering. KEEP IT SIMPLE!

    I Love this stuff, Dave
    OGP -one of my all-time favourites. Not just the elegance of the melodic lines.....his timing, his rubato, the silent pauses are exquisitely tender & suspenseful - again, the power of silence in the context of what comes before and after it - Grusin is a master. Thanks for the reminder!

    Nigel

  10. #10

    Re: Discovering compostion simplicity

    Quote Originally Posted by jerrygerber
    While the consensus seems to be about "keeping it simple", I would say that sometimes a composition has to be complex. Sometimes a composer wants a texture with many voices, many elements. Stravinsky's ballets come to mind, Mozart's 6-voice counterpoint in his Symphony #41 (I could be wrong about the number), Mahler's highly intricate orchestral textures in his symphonies, particularly his brass writing at the close of numerous movements--these examples speak of the value and beauty of complexity in composition. To my ear, complexity works when the harmony works. Complexity, in the hands of a mature composer, doesn't mean clutter, confusion, etc.

    Simplicity doesn't mean simplistic. If I had access to the powerful music technology of today, and wanted to write music and had no training at all, other than a "good ear", I would study harmony, counterpoint, orchestration, form, notation and the scores of master composers.

    Just as simplicity must be attained while avoiding the simplistic, at times the complex must be attained while avoiding the clutter. This is where training, knowledge, craft and experience really help.

    I myself don't value simplicity as an end in itself. Sometimes a musical idea should be kept simple, other times complexity may be called for. Both should serve the musicality and expression of the piece, and both are not ends in themselves.

    Jerry
    www.jerrygerber.com
    Jerry, i completely agree. however, Dave did say he couldn't read music, and tended to overorchestrate as it was.

    Alex.

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