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  1. #1

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    Last night I watched a University of Texas music professor's video on YT regarding the use of 'secondary dominants' in composition and found it very good.

    Led me to inquire of those who are interested in composition what texts they consider to be extremely useful. Any suggestions?

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    The Jazz Guitar Chord Dictionary
     
  3. #2

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    I love the idea of composing some pieces for classical guitar, but never really tried it. Had a few ideas but they always sound a bit crap, or derivative, when I try to work them out.

    I also wondered if there was a good book on this, but there doesn't seem to be a clear consensus. If you google it, a lot of people seem to mention a book by Schoenberg (Fundamentals of Musical Composition), might be worth checking it out.

  4. #3

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    Playing with the Big Boys.

    Yeah, I'll have to check in the library. I'm just rediscovering libraries in my 'retirement'. I have read many books on "music theory" but I'd like to read a good tome on composition per se. That sounds like a good suggestion. Thanks.

  5. #4

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    This is right up my alley. More than anything, composition has been my focus since 1986, or so.

    Since it's at hand, I went through my amazon order history and pulled a few good ones that I've referenced over the years. There are a LOT more that I didn't get through amazon, I'll try to remember them over the next few days. That being said, the best thing for me was to write music every chance I got. Every new theory-thing I learned, I used to write a piece based on it, and that started very early.

    Also, would you mind posting the video you're talking about? I'd love to see it.

    Some of the books:

    This one is really good, but it's not composing-specific, it's.. more:
    Robot Check

    Robot Check

    Robot Check

    Robot Check

    Robot Check

    Supposedly, Coltrane practiced out of this one: Robot Check

    Robot Check

    Robot Check

    There are a LOT more, but it's best to just learn a new 'theoretical thing', and compose something with it. It doesn't have to be a long piece, just something that puts it to use. Write a few things on it, if you have time.

    You know, I also found that it's good idea to compose pieces around licks, or lines that are uniquely yours (to the extent they can be). It ensures that you don't forget them, solidifies it as part of a style/language you're building, transfers the style to the players who are playing your stuff, and really drives the point home to your audience; they'll recognize your playing as much as they recognize your compositions. I think Monk did this. His lines sound like his compositions.

    Anyway, I hope this helps.

  6. #5

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    Thank you very, very much, Ghost! I appreciate the time and trouble you took. I will be pleased and excited to read through the reviews of these books. To comment on just one, I noted the Reginald Smith Brindle book. I love his work and play some of his compositions. I 'discovered' him as the result of Julian Bream's wonderful and masterful Twentieth Century Guitar album back in the Seventies which was a touchstone for my engagement in classical music.

    I think it was El Polifemo de Oro (1956), written for Julian Bream as well as November Memories (1974).

    Thanks again.

    Well, I was inspired lately by watching a video on YT of University of Texas music department professors on composing and specifically on the use of secondary dominants. It is amazing the access to knowledge that the Internet has created.

    Composing is not discussed much here but nice to know that it is alive and well on the Forum.

  7. #6

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    Some composers think that books on composition are useless.
    My composition teacher in college said to me, "Perhaps my greatest accomplishment was that I never wrote a book."

  8. #7

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    Quote Originally Posted by targuit View Post
    Thank you very, very much, Ghost! I appreciate the time and trouble you took. I will be pleased and excited to read through the reviews of these books. To comment on just one, I noted the Reginald Smith Brindle book. I love his work and play some of his compositions. I 'discovered' him as the result of Julian Bream's wonderful and masterful Twentieth Century Guitar album back in the Seventies which was a touchstone for my engagement in classical music.

    I think it was El Polifemo de Oro (1956), written for Julian Bream as well as November Memories (1974).

    Thanks again.

    Well, I was inspired lately by watching a video on YT of University of Texas music department professors on composing and specifically on the use of secondary dominants. It is amazing the access to knowledge that the Internet has created.

    Composing is not discussed much here but nice to know that it is alive and well on the Forum.
    You're welcome! I'll check out the Bream album.

  9. #8

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    Quote Originally Posted by sgcim View Post
    Some composers think that books on composition are useless.
    My composition teacher in college said to me, "Perhaps my greatest accomplishment was that I never wrote a book."

    ..and some don't. What's the point you're trying to make? I happen to like books on music, and if I were posting asking for recommendations, your response could come across as discouraging or unwelcoming.

    For me, the most important tools were listening (score study), studying harmony, and writing. Books on composition/voicings/etc have been curiosities to me. I've never had the patience to sit down and learn from them, I was in too much of a hurry to get my ideas on paper. When I pick up a book it's to see what the other guys are doing, to figure out how to notate something, or just because a bunch of people say it's good. I guess I used to collect books on music, but did read most of them completely. I'd mostly thumb through them, find things I already do, and then shelve them or give them away.

    As far as writing books on composition, or anything else music related, for that matter, some think it a good thing and do it, others think it's not, and don't. I think it's a good thing that we've had musicians document their approach to the art over the centuries. It might be a bit short-sighted to think we can learn everything we need to know from the music itself. Sure, we can learn a lot, but hearing a musician speak about it can help clarify things and drive the point home. What's the difference between lectures/clinics/master classes and books (and other instructional material)? They're both a delivery mechanism for essentially the same information and are often times done in support of each other. Maybe your teacher was surrounded by people who wrote books in order to meet certain criteria for remaining in academia and were turning out crap just to be published. That's not uncommon, and it's easy to become cynical about it. So, yes, being in academia long-term, and never having to write a book is an accomplishment from what I understand. That could speak to your teachers value to the places he taught; he was valuable enough for them to waive that requirement (if it even was one where and when he was teaching).

  10. #9
    destinytot Guest
    Not composing/composition, but just in case it's useful to you:


    Also worth sharing: Jazz Arranging Online - by Prof. Chuck Israels

  11. #10

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    Quote Originally Posted by ghoststrat View Post
    ..and some don't. What's the point you're trying to make? I happen to like books on music, and if I were posting asking for recommendations, your response could come across as discouraging or unwelcoming.
    For what it's worth, my take on sgcim's fun comment is that whether a reader interprets it as discouraging or unwelcoming will be entirely of their own choosing.

    Why do people presume the worst ?

    I don't get it.

  12. #11

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    Quote Originally Posted by Lazz View Post
    For what it's worth, my take on sgcim's fun comment is that whether a reader interprets it as discouraging or unwelcoming will be entirely of their own choosing.

    Why do people presume the worst ?

    I don't get it.
    It's not really a presumption as much as it is 'social math'.

    When people ask questions, it's a form of vulnerability (makes them a bit more sensitive to negativity). When someone doesn't answer the question, but instead posts something that downplays the importance or validity of the question ("..are useless.."), it doesn't imply humor, rather a negative feeling about the posted question. The only thing sgcim posted in the thread was something saying how his comp teacher considered books on comp useless. Had they posted some suggestions *and* that comment, then there would be a notch under the "probably humor" column. Sure, the comment could be perceived as funny to someone who has the proper context (e.g. been in academia to such a depth that they knew what would make the comment funny, etc), but I don't usually assume that.


    All in all, the comment was innocuous, but at the time I felt it warranted a few words.

  13. #12

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    I like this one. YMMV.

    Jazz Composition: Theory and Practice
    Check out my new book, Essential Skills for the Guitarist on Amazon.

  14. #13

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    My Aunt Ginny recommends this.



  15. #14

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    Quote Originally Posted by cosmic gumbo View Post
    My Aunt Ginny recommends this.


    Thanks, but my compositions sound like sh*t already.

  16. #15

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    I'm not a theory expert by any means but sounds like a basic theory textbook would be good. Some people prefer the older ones. I think Ted Greene liked the Percy Goetious (so?) books but they all probably would work.

    There's a ton of info on the Ted Greene site. You have to sift through it but if you are all in for guitar theory it's probably there. If you see his videos where he improvises in the style of Bach it's pretty nuts.

  17. #16

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    I watched the video you talk of: very interesting.
    Made me put my first composition on paper with MuseScore.

    Don't know this book, just wanted to share. It's called
    The Jazz Language - A Theory Text for Jazz Composition and Improvisation by Dan Haerle:

    http://iate.oac.uncor.edu/~manuel/Th...rovisation.pdf

  18. #17

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    Quote Originally Posted by sgcim View Post
    Some composers think that books on composition are useless.
    My composition teacher in college said to me, "Perhaps my greatest accomplishment was that I never wrote a book."
    I guess that rules out Ludwig van Beethoven?

    Studien im Generalbass, Contrapunkt und in der Compositionslehre
    Studien im Generalbass, Contrapunkt und in der Compositionslehre (Beethoven, Ludwig van) - IMSLP/Petrucci Music Library: Free Public Domain Sheet Music

    I mean. what would he know?
    Last edited by Sandaun; 02-04-2016 at 04:08 AM.

  19. #18

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    I find Ted Pease's book Jazz "Composition: Theory and Practice" Berklee Press to be quite useful. It has an excellent CD for many of the examples and very thorough exercises for each topic. It does require a bit of knowledge of theory in order to fully benefit from the text. And, of course, it is not specifically for guitar.