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  1. #26
    Quote Originally Posted by Dana
    This book helped me a bit. I'm fortunate that the author lives near me so I could talk to him about any questions I had.

    Beyond that, just doing a lot of it helped me get better. For me, the hard part isn't the initial idea, it's coming up with all the other stuff that fits with the initial idea that's hard. I tend to spit out lots of various ideas, then go over them later and try and fit them together like a jigsaw puzzle.

    You play in a Dan Fox group, is that correct? Dan's pretty open about letting people bring in ideas and work them out. Nothing like hearing your stuff played by actual people to learn what works (and doesn't work).
    I do. Do I know you?

    Yes, eventually, I'd like to to have my group play them. But I'd like to bring in something resembling a composition and not just an idea.

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    The Jazz Guitar Chord Dictionary
     
  3. #27

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    Quote Originally Posted by christianm77
    The biggest problems I think any would be composer faces are:

    1) the blank page
    2) judging what you write

    My strategies are
    1) start with something. Anything. A groove and three random chords. A set of changes from a standard. An interesting scale. A tune that you want to pastiche. Anything.
    2) Write the whole thing in one go as much as possible, even if some of it's a bit basic and put it on the shelf for a couple of days. Revisit when you've forgotten what it sounds like and play it back to yourself. Make decisions based on that.

    Write as much as possible.

    Sure you can work on your chops - harmony, counterpoint, arrangement techniques, but these are all in addition to the basic engine of write-revisit-revise-finish.
    Yeah, this is exactly how people have hugely different approaches with composing/creating.
    For me personally 2) judging what you write is not a problem but the job itself. And
    Write as much as possible has never ever been my thing, never thought about it. Not saying anything against it - just finding so fun that people think so differently when it comes to composing. There is no ultimate best way.

    For my tastes and ways was the best when I had no issue tossing out any idea that I felt had a better but yet unrevealed alternative. And also no issue tossing out a sweet idea that wouldn't really fit. Once made a piece just to put any good ones in and see what happens. It turned out like giraffe with fins and wings. But that cured the need to use any good idea just because it was good.

  4. #28
    Quote Originally Posted by emanresu
    And
    Write as much as possible has never ever been my thing, never thought about it.
    I figure that you get good at what you do a lot of. I would like to write as much as possible. The problem is finding time to do it, because it has to happen when I've got some time, when it's quiet in the house, when I don't have a million things to do and ideally, when the girlfriend's not home and I'm not feeling completely worn out because I've been running all day.

    So, time is definitely a problem here. Because I also need to get just regular practice in there somewhere, too.

    BUT, I'm sure with a bit of creative time management, I can eke out a little time here and there. Just a questions of how and when.

    I've never been a prolific writer. Back in the rock days, I had a period where I wrote maybe a dozen decent tunes over the course of a couple of months, and that's the most prolific I've ever been. Usually I get one or two half decent ideas a year.

    But I think that like with improvising, a little every day will be productive.

  5. #29

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    I meant you shouldn’t judge yourself as you write.

    The revising process can come later. I never have any idea of whether I’ve written anything worthwhile at the time.

    The best way to get better at composing is composing. It’s exactly like playing. Obviously real proper composers compose loads.

    So as we jazzers don’t tend to do that the obviously makes sense to link improvisation and composition.

    But coming up with jazz lines and so on is actually quite a lot like composition.... there is an editing process there... when practicing I don’t just sit there and spit out notes, I refine ideas, I work on the process of things like motivic development and so on . Think of the connection between bop heads and improvisation.

  6. #30

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    Quote Originally Posted by Boston Joe
    BUT, I'm sure with a bit of creative time management, I can eke out a little time here and there. Just a questions of how and when.
    If you are thinking about an ongoing new piece, its already the process. A few times I was after a specific thing and just wondered about it occasionally. Once I thought about an etude that "goesgoesgoes" for 3 months. Then sat down and wrote it down in 2 days without even knowing how it should sound. It came out exactly as imagined without thinking about a single note. This really happened. Sometimes the pieces bake in the brain cellars and come out as whole later.

  7. #31

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    The brain cellars..... I like it...

  8. #32

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    Quote Originally Posted by christianm77
    The brain cellars..... I like it...
    I think mine are a bit damp and mouldy, not sure I want to venture down there...

  9. #33
    Quote Originally Posted by Boston Joe
    Challenge accepted.

    I don't promise it will be good.
    I've got the A section, except for the second ending, and about half of the bridge. I didn't write anything down, and I remembered it over night, so I think it's a decent melody.

  10. #34

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    Quote Originally Posted by Boston Joe
    I've got the A section, except for the second ending, and about half of the bridge. I didn't write anything down, and I remembered it over night, so I think it's a decent melody.
    Musescore is handy. User friendly too.

  11. #35

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    Quote Originally Posted by Boston Joe
    I've got the A section, except for the second ending, and about half of the bridge. I didn't write anything down, and I remembered it over night, so I think it's a decent melody.
    I'm a longtime FL Studio hobbyist. There's something called 'collab' where people share flp. files. The vast majority of the music is EDM instrumentals.
    I'm more interested in pop rock. Once I get half a dozen songs under my belt I'd like to start a little club for like minded songwriters. Genre doesn't matter. People have been telling me since forever- you need to sell your music but your lyrics suck.
    Their music sucks so at some point we need to collaborate. I need singer/lyricists who aren't shy about changing what I come up with.
    It will be fun.
    This thing with being a DAW 'producer' isn't happening anymore because amateurs have surpassed the pros. Time to get back to traditional ways of writing music.
    The industry should be embarrassed with these lawsuits like Robin Thicke and Marvin Gaye's estate. They stole Marvin's groove and lost in court.
    Lol.
    You can now lose a suit over a beat.
    Hard to top Tom Petty. Everyone told him Sam Smith ripped him off. Tom said so what? Thanks for the publicity.

  12. #36

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    You're right about Tom Petty. Under rated in some regards.

  13. #37

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    The important thing is to write. Keep goin, Boston Joe!

  14. #38

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    A small digital recorder you can always have with you to grab ideas as they happen works for a lot of folks...

    Starting with a contrafact lets you just focus on getting lines out, keep blasting them out then slice and dice the good parts together... Singing them is a much more direct way to access fresh ideas than translating them to the guitar

  15. #39

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    You definitely want to record, get it on paper or in a notation program. Doesn't really matter. People might take an hour to write a song or 5 years. You never know.

  16. #40

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    There's hit songs that have been written in 15 minutes. Bob Dylan said that once you've got one line of lyrics and a melody the rest is easy.

  17. #41
    I have scorecloud. I definitely do write things down, but I usually wait a night before I do that. If I can remember it the next day, I figure maybe it's not too bad. Here's a link to the first A section. ScoreCloud.

    (I wanted to post a screen shot, but my work blocks scorecloud.com.)

  18. #42
    Quote Originally Posted by mrcee
    There's hit songs that have been written in 15 minutes. Bob Dylan said that once you've got one line of lyrics and a melody the rest is easy.
    Sure. Once you've got a million bucks, investing is easy. :P

    Seriously, though, it's that one melody line, or even just a figure that's the hard part.

  19. #43

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    Very nice! I hear the form and the melody very clearly. Can't wait to hear the B section.
    Here's a fun suggestion that might give you some ideas, since the motif is established in the first first system, when you get to bar 9, it's safely in our ears. An addition of an approach note back to do, or a slight shift in the rhythmic phrasing could add a different shading and still keep the really nice personality of the figure.
    It's really nice the way you've written it, that's just a suggestion of something that can give you new ideas if you decide to go there.

    Pat yourself on the back!
    David

  20. #44
    Quote Originally Posted by TruthHertz
    An addition of an approach note back to do, or a slight shift in the rhythmic phrasing could add a different shading and still keep the really nice personality of the figure.
    Hah. I just wrote more or less the same thing in my reply to your PM. Nice to know that my thinking isn't too off base.

    Thanks for the encouragement.

  21. #45

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    Quote Originally Posted by mrcee
    there's hit songs that have been written in 15 minutes. Bob dylan said that once you've got one line of lyrics and a melody the rest is easy.
    ...

    No

  22. #46
    Quote Originally Posted by emanresu
    ...

    No
    Back in college, my roommate and I had a running gag about Phil Collins:

    Producer: "Phil! Ya gotta help us! We need a big blockbuster hit song! And we need it in fifteen minutes!"

    Phil: "Right. Somebody get me a pen and stand back."

  23. #47

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    I always start with the chords first (which I know is backwards for most), because in my mind the chords are creating a landscape for the melody to live inside of. From there, I don't try to think of what would sound good, or might be cool, because to me the melody already exists on it's own and it's my job to tease it out. It's hiding inside the progression, so I record the progression and listen, over and over again. I'm inviting the melody to come and dance on the ground that I've made for it, and after a while I start to be able to hear it. Almost always the easiest way for me to grab a hold of it is to sing it rather than try to find it on the guitar. Also, if I get a melody more or less established but some parts feel 'not quite right', singing it almost always finds and corrects mistakes better than trying different things on guitar.

    YMMV

  24. #48
    Quote Originally Posted by Rhythmisking
    I always start with the chords first (which I know is backwards for most), because in my mind the chords are creating a landscape for the melody to live inside of. From there, I don't try to think of what would sound good, or might be cool, because to me the melody already exists on it's own and it's my job to tease it out. It's hiding inside the progression, so I record the progression and listen, over and over again. I'm inviting the melody to come and dance on the ground that I've made for it, and after a while I start to be able to hear it. Almost always the easiest way for me to grab a hold of it is to sing it rather than try to find it on the guitar. Also, if I get a melody more or less established but some parts feel 'not quite right', singing it almost always finds and corrects mistakes better than trying different things on guitar.

    YMMV
    In the past, I've usually written melodies first. This contrafact is the first time I've tried having the chords first. Not sure yet which I like better. And it might be a different story when I have to come up with original chords.

  25. #49

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    Composing is different now compared 100 years ago and some more. Since we can cook up the whole piece without even thinking about how it's gonna be played - EVERYTHING in it can be an idea. Start from chords, melody, groove, sounds... it doesn't matter anymore. Start doesn't matter at least. Start somewhere and later you may change the start. The old way was when you aim the composition to be on a paper and had to be interesting enough to be picked up by some guys. Nowadays you can do everything by yourself. Or pick people that match your tastes to play it for you. There is no answer to "what to do to get better at composing" anymore. Jazz do it.

  26. #50

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    Quote Originally Posted by Boston Joe
    In the past, I've usually written melodies first. This contrafact is the first time I've tried having the chords first. Not sure yet which I like better. And it might be a different story when I have to come up with original chords.
    People in academia say the first boppers wrote contrafacts in order to avoid lawsuits. It seems arrogant and narrow-minded to assume so much.
    It wasn't all the hard to come up with something for Blues for Alice because it's not a catchy tune but Yardbird Suite is a different story. It was very difficult getting the beginning.

    As emanresu points out, there's no answer to what to do to get better at composing other than experiment and see what suits you.