[no longer] Attempting a Quartet piece...

rudi

Active Member
Better than I was certainly (although that's not setting the bar very high ;)). I have been doing less "hunt and peck" on my MIDI keyboard, and also getting better at inputting notes closer to the pitch I "hear" in my head. Still a long way from absolute pitch, but better at relative pitch :grin:

BTW I have found it harder to follow the posts since BBCSO has been released... it seems to be taking over!!! I would have loved to order it, but I can't justify the cost!
 
OP
synkrotron

synkrotron

A creator of Stuff
Hi Rudi :)

I have been doing less "hunt and peck" on my MIDI keyboard, and also getting better at inputting notes closer to the pitch I "hear" in my head.
So much hunting and pecking here, stumbling across "happy accidents."

And I think that my biggest failing of all is that, unlike many great composers/song writers, I have never been able to hear stuff in my head. I couldn't, for instance, grab a blank piece of music sheet and map out an idea. Vocally I just cannot hold a tone so I have to power up the keyboard and painstakingly plonk a series of notes, usually directly into my DAW and see what happens.

What I just done, however, is created some blank music sheets on my computer and printed a dozen off. My intention now is to work on some of that voice leading stuff but commit stuff to paper so that I can write notes (not music) and hopefully make some progress in that department.


BTW I have found it harder to follow the posts since BBCSO has been released... it seems to be taking over!!! I would have loved to order it, but I can't justify the cost!
Haha! Yea, I know :grin:

I am still in danger of falling for the BBC SO library... I have to remind myself that my skill level does not justify owning such a library, regardless of cost.

What I should do is carry on learning, using my Solo Strings library as a sound source, and see how things stand come Black Friday 2020. If I feel that I have progressed enough and that I my interest of creating something more "classical" then I will invest.



cheers

andy
 

ism

Senior Member
What I should do is carry on learning, using my Solo Strings library as a sound source, and see how things stand come Black Friday 2020. If I feel that I have progressed enough and that I my interest of creating something more "classical" then I will invest.
Solo strings are the hardest sampled instruments to write with. By a huge margin.

In fact, you could even argue (if you squint at the logic a little) that the lower one's skill level, the more important it is to buy BBCSO (or something).
 
OP
synkrotron

synkrotron

A creator of Stuff
Solo strings are the hardest sampled instruments to write with. By a huge margin.

In fact, you could even argue (if you squint at the logic a little) that the lower one's skill level, the more important it is to buy BBCSO (or something).
I get what you are saying, ism, but seeing as I have already invested in the Solo Strings library I need to get the best out of that. If, at some point in the future, I decided that I am finding the whole music theory thing is beyond me I can still use that library for my ambient stuff.

I suppose I shouldn't have splashed out on Solo Strings, though, because anything that creates a tone would be enough for me to use to learn voice leading, for instance. I just fancied having some bowed instruments in my collection :)


cheers

andy
 

ism

Senior Member
I get what you are saying, ism, but seeing as I have already invested in the Solo Strings library I need to get the best out of that. If, at some point in the future, I decided that I am finding the whole music theory thing is beyond me I can still use that library for my ambient stuff.

I suppose I shouldn't have splashed out on Solo Strings, though, because anything that creates a tone would be enough for me to use to learn voice leading, for instance. I just fancied having some bowed instruments in my collection :)


cheers

andy
Well the interesting thing is that for centuries, composers have learned to write for first soloists and then ensembles and only after years of experience and mastery does it become remotely feasible to write symphonies.


But because of quirks of sound and physics and sampling, the opposite is true with sample libraries.

The easiest thing to write - and get a satisfying sound from - with a sample library as your first compositing is a great big thonkingly loud epic trailer. Because you put in enough fff trombones and it doesn't really matter that the intonation of your viola section doesn't really capture the subtitles of a real viola section. Even the GPO (which for the most part I can't stand, sonically) can make convincing mock up of certain sufficiently loud epic pieces.


There was a thread here a while ago trying to mock up a ... I think it was a Debussy string quartet. Some noble attempts with various solo string libraries, but none of them were convincing in remotely achieving a level of sound quality that I would remotely actually want to sit down and listen to for pleasure. But then, someone mocked up exactly the same thin with I think is was the Spitfire chamber strings. And, while it of course lost the detail of solo strings, it really did sound great.

My point is that with sample libraries, much of the conventional wisdom on how you should learn composition needs to be challenged. And even the conventional wisdom of say 10 years ago (the era of the GPO and VSL SE), the conventional wisdom of learning to compose with sample libraries was at least implicitly "start with symphonies".

Happily, among recent sample libraries accessible to beginners, there now available instruments that can sound good for smaller compositions (ie without relying on a fff trombone section to cover up the deficiencies in the library). This this implicitly conventional wisdom (still present in, for instance the Albion One market of "Start writing Film Music Now") can reasonably be challenged.

That said, solo strings are by *far* the most difficult, frustrating, limited space in which to start composing music with samples.

I'd even argue that if you were to pick up, say, Light and Sound Chamber strings (frequently on sale for $120), you'll be able to see how much easier it is to write "string quartets" for chamber string ensemble, that would be a *much* easier (and *much* less frustrating) way to learn at least certain aspects of string quartet writing.

Just a thought.
 
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mikeh-375

old school
My point is that with sample libraries, much of the conventional wisdom how you should learn composition needs to be challenged......
I can't agree with that @ism. What you say might be fine for media work, but if you are serious about composing to a high level of competence (as some media composers do for that matter), it's best imv not to conflate sample based production and writing techniques with actual composing skills that are essential and fundamental. Those skills and the learning and mastering thereof are timeless and can be adapted to individuals and any style of music and production.
Of course, it all depends on what you want to achieve.
 

ism

Senior Member
I can't agree with that @ism. What you say might be fine for media work, but if you are serious about composing to a high level of competence (as some media composers do for that matter), it's best imv not to conflate sample based production and writing techniques with actual composing skills that are essential. Those skills and the learning and mastering thereof are timeless and can be adapted to individuals and any style of music and production.
By "conventional wisdom" I was also referring to as much the recent "conventional wisdom" of start with an all-in-one and write loud symphonies as earlier forms. In fact a lot of the "conventional wisdom" that echoes implicitly around these pages, and is encoded in quite a lot of the marketing and design of sample libraries - and especially "entry point" all-in-one sample libraries is precisely conventional wisdom of what makes sense for media composers.

So this implicitly beginning-media-composer-centric conventional wisdom needs to be challenged, pedagogically. And in doing so its worth looking back and reconsidering the conventional wisdom of previous eras.

But of course the "conventional wisdom" of not even thinking about writing a symphony until you've published a couple of hundred chamber works is something that might reasonably challenged in the era of sample libraries.
 
OP
synkrotron

synkrotron

A creator of Stuff
Thanks, guys :)

My own personal goals are not to create anything "large," (number of instruments). I want to stay very much "small" but, as I now realise, not a specific form like a "String Quartet."

Music theory is something I have been skirting around for many years. I could probably just as easily carry on with what I have been uploading to Bandcamp. I must be doing something right as I have somehow managed to sell over eighty items in the last couple of years. A lot more than I ever thought possible.

But I am giving it another go (music theory, or at least some of it) to see if that allows me to develop and increase my type of output.

Might come to nothing...
 
OP
synkrotron

synkrotron

A creator of Stuff
Oh. My. Goodness!

I did a bit of research on Four Part Harmony. Must have been at it for a couple of hours now.

Mind Blow...

So many do's and don'ts

So much to remember regarding the different motions between chords.

When checking across all the parts, you have to check all the various voices;

Soprano – Alto
Soprano – Tenor
Soprano – Bass
Alto – Tenor
Alto- Bass
Tenor – Bass

So that's six checks.

Consecutive fifths! Consecutive octaves! Against the law... You WILL go to jail!

Will be going to bed in a bit and a lot of what I have tried to absorb tonight will be forgotten by morning.

I suppose it is a simple matter of keeping at it huh?!
 

Mike T

boring member
Over the years I've found that most of the classic rules regarding four-part harmony and counterpoint are internalized pretty quickly, and in fact, the ear tends to guide you towards following them anyway. They boil down well, after a bit of study. And then you can decide to ignore them at any point, if it sounds right for what you're trying to do, because no one is grading you.

Incidentally, if you want some motivation for mastering four-part harmony, check out Bach's jaw-dropping take on this piece as heard in the final verse. This is what I'm going to write some brief variations on for my first BBCSO effort.



Ok, I have to post this one too because it's so fun.

 
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ism

Senior Member
Parallel 5ths and 8th don’t harm your harmony, they harm you voice leading.

Start with a melody plus a counter melody . This is usually not too hard, and you typically won’t need many of the ‘rules’ to keep them from blurring into the ‘strummed guitar effect’. You can have your other voices just filling out chords, which are a pleasant background harmonic mush, and so the ‘rules’ don’t matter at all to the non melodic voices.

And actually with only two independent lines (melody and counter melody), you probably don’t need to work very hard to keep them independent. So you can break lots of rules and it’s probably ok. In fact, you can probably just wing it,

Research suggests that the human mind can cope with three separate lines fairly easily. So if you have 3 separate lines, you can probably still break a reasonable number of ‘rules’ without everything blurring into harmonic mush. But here’s where knowing the ‘rules’ starts to really help. Here’s where parallel 5th start to hurt you voice leading, causing the voices moving in parallel 5ths to collapse into harmonic mush (ie. the 1 and 5 of a single chord).

If you want 4 independent string melodies, It starts to get seriously hard. This is when your need to seriously use ever trick you can (ie the ‘rules’) to keep the 4 lines from blurring into a ‘Harmonic mush’, ie ‘chords’.

If you’re, say, Bach, and you enjoy writing in 5 or 6 separate melodies at a time just for fun in your spare time, then you need to ever bit of insight into avoiding harmonic mush that you can possibly squeeze out of these rules, augmented by an immoderate amount of your own genius. Seriously, break a single rule in your 6 part voice leading and you’re totally screwed.

In general, I would recommend avoiding even attempting writing in 6 part voice leading unless you’re at least as good as Bach.
 
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rudi

Active Member
Hi Rudi :)



So much hunting and pecking here, stumbling across "happy accidents."

And I think that my biggest failing of all is that, unlike many great composers/song writers, I have never been able to hear stuff in my head. I couldn't, for instance, grab a blank piece of music sheet and map out an idea. Vocally I just cannot hold a tone so I have to power up the keyboard and painstakingly plonk a series of notes, usually directly into my DAW and see what happens.

What I just done, however, is created some blank music sheets on my computer and printed a dozen off. My intention now is to work on some of that voice leading stuff but commit stuff to paper so that I can write notes (not music) and hopefully make some progress in that department.




Haha! Yea, I know :grin:

I am still in danger of falling for the BBC SO library... I have to remind myself that my skill level does not justify owning such a library, regardless of cost.

What I should do is carry on learning, using my Solo Strings library as a sound source, and see how things stand come Black Friday 2020. If I feel that I have progressed enough and that I my interest of creating something more "classical" then I will invest.



cheers

andy
Yes, happy accident do happen ;) Music like everything else is a series of processes, a set of tools, a language... the more you become familiar with it the more fluent you become. There are also different paths to different types of music. Using blank music sheets is a really good idea, because it helps to understand / visualise the horizontal (time/rhythm) and vertical (pitch/harmony) dimensions of music. Of course that's only one part of it -- but it's a great start. I've jotted down so many ideas and fragments of ideas over the last year or so to develop my writing that I've got a nice stack of sheet music.

However about 90% plus of it is quite rubbish or mundane, but from time to time there's something that makes me think..... aah, this could work! :)

Re libraries, I went through a phase of thinking (and still now to a degree) if only I had so and so I could make better music... and to a degree it's true... but at the same time I started to realise that I already had access to probably more then enough "good" sounds, and I needed to concentrate on writing, experimenting and improving.

With that said I love the sound and comprehensiveness of BBCSO (those legato strings, woodwinds, percussion, multi-tongued trumpets....)
 
OP
synkrotron

synkrotron

A creator of Stuff
Hi Mike :)

And then you can decide to ignore them at any point, if it sounds right for what you're trying to do, because no one is grading you.
A good point, of course. So I should still learn what I can and then use what I have learned if it works for what ever I am doing at the time.

check out Bach's jaw-dropping take on this piece as heard in the final verse
Thanks for posting that.

Ok, I have to post this one too because it's so fun.
And that one too :grin:

As it happens, I was listening to the Mike Oldfield version the other night on The Complete CD. But it never occurred to me to listen to it in this context.


cheers

andy
 
OP
synkrotron

synkrotron

A creator of Stuff
In general, I would recommend avoiding even attempting writing in 6 part voice leading unless you’re at least as good as Bach.
Ha! Good advice right there :grin:

Thanks again, ism, I am reading all your stuff and doing my best to digest :)

cheers

andy
 

BlackDorito

Active Member
I love In dulci jubilo. [I think the Chanticleer has too much reverb - must've been a cathedral. They can sound quite intimate in a smaller space]

@synkrotron - in this solo string odyssey you are embarking on, are you comfortable reading music and have you considered working in notation, such as Dorico or Sibelius? IMO, notation has some advantages wrt. seeing the parts, cutting and pasting, and immediately playing back the fragments you are working on. The one string quartet I did was constructed - indeed, composed - in Sibelius. I don't think I could've done it just entering notes into a DAW app.
 

mikeh-375

old school
i
...............So this implicitly beginning-media-composer-centric conventional wisdom needs to be challenged, pedagogically. And in doing so its worth looking back and reconsidering the conventional wisdom of previous eras.

But of course the "conventional wisdom" of not even thinking about writing a symphony until you've published a couple of hundred chamber works is something that might reasonably challenged in the era of sample libraries.
Amen to that @ism. The less you know about orchestral composing, the more you are in the hands of the samples themselves and in this regard, the companies have way too much influence on technique and compositional outlook imv.
One can obviously attempt a symphony of course, but as you will know, whether it's any good or not depends on a lot more than manipulation of a faux orchestra in a box.
 
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OP
synkrotron

synkrotron

A creator of Stuff
Hi @BlackDorito :)

in this solo string odyssey you are embarking on, are you comfortable reading music and have you considered working in notation, such as Dorico or Sibelius?
Solo String Odyssey! I like the idea of that haha!

Erm, no. not comfortable reading music at all. I have deliberately take my time deciphering what is in front of me, if you know what I mean.

I know the clefs and therefore the notes/rests, and lengths on the stave but I am too slow for it to be useful.

That's reading... Writing is much the same and I am slow.

Regarding notation software, it was advised to install MuseScore for an online course I am trying out, so I installed that. Is it any good? I find it to be a little bit of a pain to use but I believe that that is because I haven't been using it long enough.

For the first time ever, just the other day, I decided to have a go at notation view within REAPER. It's not that bad, actually.

So I am undecided as to whether I should use REAPER or MuseScore.

cheers

andy
 

rudi

Active Member
Regarding notation software, it was advised to install MuseScore for an online course I am trying out, so I installed that. Is it any good? I find it to be a little bit of a pain to use but I believe that that is because I haven't been using it long enough.

For the first time ever, just the other day, I decided to have a go at notation view within REAPER. It's not that bad, actually.

So I am undecided as to whether I should use REAPER or MuseScore.

cheers

andy
Hi Andy,

I've used at various times Sibelius, Dorico, Notion, Musescore, Overture, Cubase score editor, and the REAPER score editor. Each one has its own quirks and strengths, and all have their own learning curve!

Musescore is actually a surprisingly good notation package and I wouldn't have any problem in recommending it.

In terms of finished results (ie for printed work) REAPER isn't in the same league as the other packages, but for writing and visualising a score it's fine... it also has the advantage of having a piano roll view, so you can switch between the two modes.

Thanks to music XML you could also export / import your composition across notation software. Although there are some differences in what will / will not import / export, for basic notation you should be ok.

The important thing is to find the software that suits you :)

And well done on embarking on the notation ship!!!