Reply to Thread
Posts 1 to 15 of 15
  1. #1

    User Info Menu

    I have composed a total of 12 songs in 2015. They are not melodies to my liking, but they all sound different. I once had a music teacher, who was teaching me about improvisation. I was frustrated by my improvisation and he comforted me that my melodies will eventually evolve. I didn't agree with him, but he could be right. I mean when Mozart and Beethoven started composing, their melodies are imitation from their Papa Haydn. The more they compose, their melodies became more original and became more complex.

  2.  

    The Jazz Guitar Chord Dictionary
     
  3. #2

    User Info Menu

    Composing and Improvisation are the same thing, difference being Improvisation you might compose 3 minutes of music in the moment. With composition someone might take days, weeks, months to write 3 minutes of music. And yes the more melodies you learn and study the better your own melodies will become.
    No, I'm not going to give you the answer to your question. I don't want to deny you the pleasure you'll receive when you figure it out yourself. -- Bill Evans talking to his brother.

  4. #3

    User Info Menu

    Composition and Improvisation are similar, not same. Most can do one better, or much better, than the other.

    Improv yields seconds of music at time, not minutes, that's the whole point. Verve, Impulse!

    And composition? Well, Franz Shubert would write seven German art songs in a typical morning (German Lieder, set to poems by Goethe, etc.). Masterpieces.

    That is the work of a master composer, not a tune writer who writes a head and changes without orchestrating or arranging the music, and counts on a band to "work it out" in rehearsals.


    So maybe you're talking about pop, rock, jazz "composers"?

    Franz Schubert's Songs - 600+ Delightful Tunes
    Last edited by fumblefingers; 12-22-2015 at 11:02 PM.

  5. #4

    User Info Menu

    Quote Originally Posted by fumblefingers View Post

    So maybe you're talking about pop, rock, jazz "composers"?

    Franz Schubert's Songs - 600+ Delightful Tunes
    Pretty much. I'm asking if mediocre melodies evolve to better, well-written melodies in composition. I mean, melody is something that comes naturally to me, albeit melodies not to my liking.

  6. #5

    User Info Menu

    Quote Originally Posted by fumblefingers View Post

    Franz Shubert would write seven German art songs in a typical morning (German Lieder, set to poems by Goethe, etc.). Masterpieces.

    Franz Schubert's Songs - 600+ Delightful Tunes
    That's good to know. Wow!

  7. #6

    User Info Menu

    Quote Originally Posted by fumblefingers View Post
    Composition and Improvisation are similar, not same. Most can do one better, or much better, than the other.

    Franz Schubert's Songs - 600+ Delightful Tunes
    For me Improvisation is spontaneous composition, without any planning before hand. In 2011, this was how I started composing, spontaneous composition. My fingers were doing the magic. It worked until 2013. When it stopped working, I took a hiatus in 2014 from composing. I composed again in 2015, changing my approach to the "a capella approach" after reading Aebersold's book on Jazz Improvisation. The musical ideas start in my mind, then I vent it out by singing and transfer the singing to my guitar.
    Last edited by Jason Sioco; 12-23-2015 at 08:06 AM.

  8. #7
    Quote Originally Posted by Jason Sioco View Post
    Pretty much. I'm asking if mediocre melodies evolve to better, well-written melodies in composition. I mean, melody is something that comes naturally to me, albeit melodies not to my liking.
    Anything will probably get better with practice, but it doesn't have to be arbitrary discovery so much. They're writing techniques which are really helpful as well. Repeated melodic or rhythmic elements, with variation in form ore other elements.

    Beyond getting into anything really complicated with composition and form though, probably the easiest thing to do is really work on understanding and hearing tension and release. Everything is either a chord tone or a note which wants to resolve to a chord tone... At least you can kind of look at it that way from the beginning.

    For a jazz example, the tune of the month here is Stella by starlight. It has a lot of melodic notes which are the "tensions" (not speaking in the usual harmonic sense here) against the chord of the moment. You could do the same with simple two chord folksongs though. It doesn't have to be complicated. Most of those old melodies are based around one chord, with notes from the dominant thrown in to create tension, which resolves. The chord underneath could actually change to dominant or not . It depends on the context.

    Different patterns create different feels. Grew up with the Eagles, and they use a lot of devices common to the time. Melodies with a lot of 7-1 tension resolution based on Maj 7 chords. The verses to Lyin' Eyes or Best of My Love both have this element from the start , and they just wail away on them.

    A lot of pop music I hear now has a lot of very repetitive Melody with 3-4 tensions and 7-1 tensions with context changes based on shifting underlying harmony. The melodies often stay the same , and just have different "meaning" over new chords. Really hard to listen to if you're geezer like me, but apparently it's a formula which sells.... and has for a long time.

    My point is that you can just experiment for years and eventually arrive at some things which work arbitrarily, or you can do a little analysis. The stuff I'm talking about is super basic, you can get more complex with it as well.

    Experiment with it improvisationally as well, 1-2-1, 3-4-3, 5-6-5... then lower neighbors or tensions. Tension can be on the beat or off . Just think about how they resolved.

  9. #8
    Just found this in front of me:
    I highlighted the notes on the main beats. 90% F A C, chord tones of the I chord. This melody isn't accidentally popular for hundreds of years. Very specific devices. Note how the melody moves away from the chord tone on the offbeat and back to it on the next beat.

    There are a few notes which aren't F, A, or C ON the beat as well, and this isn't by accident. It's the same moving away from tonic, just on a larger scale. A lot of this material for improvisation found in Bert Ligon's essential jazz technique book.

    Modern music will have more tension on the beat, but the same principles are at work.

    edit: ha! Couple of highlighter snafus.
    Last edited by matt.guitarteacher; 12-23-2015 at 01:34 PM.

  10. #9

    User Info Menu

    The more you work at improvising or composing, the more you increase the chances of getting better. One of the reasons composers spend hours, days, or years on a oiece of music is to make it "better" than the original (perhaps improvised) idea, BTW.

    And for the record, Mozart had already been composing for years before being influenced by Haydn. His first inspiration was likely "Papa" Mozart, as his father was a respected violinist and teacher.

  11. #10

    User Info Menu

    Quote Originally Posted by matt.guitarteacher View Post
    Just found this in front of me:
    I highlighted the notes on the main beats. 90% F A C, chord tones of the I chord. This melody isn't accidentally popular for hundreds of years. Very specific devices. Note how the melody moves away from the chord tone on the offbeat and back to it on the next beat.

    There are a few notes which aren't F, A, or C ON the beat as well, and this isn't by accident. It's the same moving away from tonic, just on a larger scale. A lot of this material for improvisation found in Bert Ligon's essential jazz technique book.

    Modern music will have more tension on the beat, but the same principles are at work.

    edit: ha! Couple of highlighter snafus.
    I read in the Aebersold book that good improvised melodies of jazz solos, has the chord tones or the 3rd and 7th in beats 1 and 3. I think this should apply to composition as well. I just discovered this trick today.

  12. #11

    User Info Menu

    you cannot make yourself original, it's either there or not... if you feel passion for what you're doing you do not care about that... just do what you have and see what comes out.... toil and study will not substitute originality... if you take great composers - even those who were not prodigy kids, usually showed originality even in the early imitative works. but study can make a proffessional stylist of anyone for sure.

  13. #12

    User Info Menu

    You have to practice composing.

  14. #13

    User Info Menu

    If your trying to become better at composing melodic ideas... you need to understand what melodic ideas are.

    You can just use your ears and write or play what comes to you from.... whatever is inside you? what you remember from experiences... basically what external influences cause you to have internal reactions.

    Or you can learn what... again what melodies are. Generally melodies are notes reacting to other notes. Personally a note doesn't have a point unless there is a reference... a harmonic reference.

    The same note can sound and become something very different with different harmony.

    I'm not going to get into composition technique ... the tools, very physical nuts and bolts of what composing is and skill of how to use them. And orchestration another very physical technique of how to realize a composition...with instruments.

    Arranging is the skill of developing a composition, using both orchestration and composition techniques to create a new version of existing composition, a tune, even just a melody.

    It's not really that easy to bring all styles and history of different styles of music into one discussion of developing melodies.

    Just becomes too complicates and you need way too much knowledge of history of music and beyond just having heard about the music.... you do need music understanding from theory, harmony etc... all the BS they try to teach you in schools. It takes years. You can't consciously and cogitatively create what you haven't or can't hear... except by chance or devine intervention from someone or thing....

    But with basic musicianship... you can create good melodies and how to develop those melodies.
    With jazz... most styles of music, you do need to become aware of spatial aspects, the basic length of the music and how the music is organized within that space.... commonly just called the FORM.

    Usually the skills of playing or hearing melodies comes first... right, it's much easier to hear or play one note than one chord... and when you play 20 or so notes in a row.... it's again much easier to hear and play one note at a time as compared to hearing and playing those same notes with chords below. I think it's a very natural development to hear melodies first... then eventually begin to hear harmony... chords implied by each note.

    Personally that's what makes melodies become better.... being aware of what the melody is implying harmonically. Traditionally we use the term embellishment to develop a melody... but in reality... embellishment is just creating harmonic movement. Long story short.... want to evolve your melodic performance.... learn how harmony works.

    Or you can just use the standard... throw suff against a wall and keep what sticks. It also works eventually... sometimes.

    You will need to really work on you performance skills with the wall approach.
    Last edited by Reg; 01-05-2016 at 10:10 AM.

  15. #14

    User Info Menu

    Ted Pease has an excellent book "Jazz Composition: Theory and Practice" (Berklee Press) that you would find very helpful, I am certain. He is quite thorough regarding writing techniques both for melodic and harmonic considerations. There are practice assignments that you can do within the book and cogent explanations and examples as well as a CD for many of the examples.

  16. #15

    User Info Menu

    If you start with a good germ, you have something to build on. Take your time---too many people write too fast (Seemingly contradictory,though, some of my own best tunes have come fast and have the feeling of improvisation).

    I write from titles a lot. That's just me. The melodies somehow reveal themselves per what the titles suggest. The first melodic strain is often based on an imagined lyric suggested by the title.

    I like what Miles Davis said: 'If a note doesn't sound good to me I can't play it'. Applies to writing, too, I believe.

    Take your time, and wait til it lays right. You'll feel it. I have let tunes stay in the file cabinet for years sometimes until revisiting and finishing them. Until every brick is in place and it feels right they won't see the light of day, and I can't relax with it. Of course, if you're a professional composer on a deadline you may not have that luxury.

    Benny Golson has interesting observations in his autobiog about his own self-proclaimed 'dogs'. He keeps them in his piano bench and revisits them to see if they are really that bad, and how he can now correct or finish them...
    Last edited by fasstrack; 09-10-2016 at 09:36 PM.