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Thread: Composition in general

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    Member Mozart_Oboe_Beethoven's Avatar
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    Default Composition in general

    I like to write, but not much of what I compose is that great, except for a couple of pieces which are ok.


    Does anyone know of some good books to help me learn how to compose better? I don't know anyone near my area to teach any sort of composition.

    Also, what is your favorite music notation software? Why is it the one you use, and what are your favorite features?


    My favorite things to compose are flute quartets, piano w/2 flute trios, and other chamber music.

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    I don't think you can actually learn composition from books, I only think you can learn it from scores.

    In terms of Notation Software, NoteWorthyComposeris a VERY quick and easy software, it's also cheap. But, it is limited and doesn't produce great looking scores. Sibelius produces great looking scores but is slow and cumbersome to compose with. Finale is in between.

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    Member Mozart_Oboe_Beethoven's Avatar
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    I think that finale would be my best bet or sibelius. I tried a demo of Sibelius 5, and was very impressed with what you can do with it. To me, the only drawback of Sibelius 5 is the price.


    Something I made with Finale Notepad:

    http://www.8notes.com/members/4326.asp?ftype=midi

    Sort of amateur, I know, but it's something that came to my mind during a jazz band rehearsal, kind of weird. I just scrawled the first two measures of the melody onto the 3rd page of the music we were playing.

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    Senior Member Oneiros's Avatar
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    Yeah finale is pretty cool, and notepad is good if you're happy with the features. I like finale mainly for the quality of the midi sounds - it's quite realistic, which is very handy if you can't compose in your head.

    As for books, I found some music analysis stuff helpful to get around the concepts of motive / theme development - learnt by seeing it in other composers. If you're past that stage, experience and practice is probably better than book learning. An orchestration book may be handy if you're not familiar with instrument technicalities (physical limitations, ranges, etc.).

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    Senior Member Oneiros's Avatar
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    This thread may also be of interest to you regarding books:

    Recommend me a book for orchestra composition
    Listen for the stream
    that tells you one thing.

    Die on this bank.
    Begin in me
    the way of rivers with the sea.

    ~ Jalaludin Rumi

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    Quote Originally Posted by Yagan Kiely View Post
    I don't think you can actually learn composition from books, I only think you can learn it from scores.
    This is an EXCELLENT point. Studying scores is absolutely essential to good composition. While I do believe that books can give you good fundamentals, only scores can truly help to make your compositions "gel". After all, many composers spend time just copying out other scores (the current discussion on Mozart's "missing" 37th is a good example).

    Personally, I use Finale for my compositions. I've tried Sibelius, but Finale seems to be more versatile.
    Take a look at the Bandit's blog, Americana Avenue.

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    I use Noteworthy, because i have used it for a good 4-5 years. It's simple, and notation programs should be simple.

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    I agree, Gustav. I might get the full version of Finale, but it's hard to decide.

    I want to get my hands on some full orchestra scores, but the biggest scores that I have currently are trios and duets, and oboe/flute and piano sonatas, but that's better than nothing.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Mozart_Oboe_Beethoven View Post
    I like to write, but not much of what I compose is that great, except for a couple of pieces which are ok. . . .

    Also, what is your favorite music notation software? Why is it the one you use, and what are your favorite features? . . .
    For the past 5 years I have been using NWC (Noteworthy) ... it fulfills all my needs for notation which is mainly Organ and Choral compositions/arrangements. For what I paid for it in 2003 ($39 US) I have certainly gotten more than my monies worth.
    Kh
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    Noteworthy for me. But sadly I need to upgrade... (It can't do what I require).

    I will be getting Finale, purely because it is more of a compositional tool as compares to Sibelius which is just Notation Software, and it is a smaller learning curve (The note insertion is similar to NWC).

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    Quote Originally Posted by Yagan Kiely View Post
    Noteworthy for me. But sadly I need to upgrade... (It can't do what I require).

    I will be getting Finale, purely because it is more of a compositional tool as compares to Sibelius which is just Notation Software, and it is a smaller learning curve (The note insertion is similar to NWC).
    Finale is nice too, a more steeper learning curve, a lot more functions. It also lets you to make mp3s, which are really synthesized by a bunch of instruments with "real" sounds as opposed to "midi".

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    Senior Member BuddhaBandit's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mozart_Oboe_Beethoven View Post
    I want to get my hands on some full orchestra scores, but the biggest scores that I have currently are trios and duets, and oboe/flute and piano sonatas, but that's better than nothing.
    Check out Dover's score publications. They tend to be reasonably priced and fairly high quality bindings. In fact, the first score that I ever bought was the Dover edition of Mahler's 1st and 2nd symphonies.
    Take a look at the Bandit's blog, Americana Avenue.

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    Quote Originally Posted by BuddhaBandit View Post
    Check out Dover's score publications. They tend to be reasonably priced and fairly high quality bindings. In fact, the first score that I ever bought was the Dover edition of Mahler's 1st and 2nd symphonies.
    I'll check that out, and see if Mom will buy me some. Thanks!

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    Finale is nice too, a more steeper learning curve, a lot more functions. It also lets you to make mp3s, which are really synthesized by a bunch of instruments with "real" sounds as opposed to "midi".
    Yes, I have GPO anyway.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Mozart_Oboe_Beethoven View Post
    I like to write, but not much of what I compose is that great, except for a couple of pieces which are ok.


    Does anyone know of some good books to help me learn how to compose better? I don't know anyone near my area to teach any sort of composition.

    Also, what is your favorite music notation software? Why is it the one you use, and what are your favorite features?


    My favorite things to compose are flute quartets, piano w/2 flute trios, and other chamber music.
    There is definately a limited amount you can learn from books but I would suggest you look at the basics first, so start by doing some theory. Have you done any exams or anything? They definately are a good starting point. Otherwise there are a couple of great books on orchestration that I cannot for the life of me rememeber the name of. I believe one is Adler, but I will check that and confirm.

    My best recommendation is to get some scores out, and CD's and have a listen and look at the way th composer writes. I cannot tell you how much this helps me!

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