Want to make fast progress? Finding cool chord progressions from great music, and internalizing will give you a huge repository of ideas to pull from in your own music.
Harmony is one of the core elements of music composition, but it can be difficult to get your head wrapped around the subject. In this episode, you’ll learn about the fundamentals of harmony, from we get chords to creating chord progressions.
I often think about what it takes to truly master the subject of composition. It can be frustrating from the standpoint of student, finding yourself writing pieces that you have written before… just in a new way. I remember an instructor pilot of mine, when I was learning to fly helicopters say, “There are guys […]
So where to begin the study of counterpoint? This is a dilemma that I have faced in the past, and for the most part, has been the biggest stumbling block. In this post, we will examine how Bach learned and taught counterpoint, and how this will become our model for learning as well. Books on […]
Why learn counterpoint? Because counterpoint. In this article, I explain the reason everyone needs to learn, and master the fine art of counterpoint, and how that fits into all facets of composition.
Effective modulation is one of the skills that sets apart great composers from amateurs. In the 2nd installment of the Art of Modulation series, learn all about common chord modulation, and what it can do for your composing.
Modulation is a tool that every composer needs to master. Learn about the simplest form of modulation – direct modulation.
This would be a great exercise in improvising. Learn how to improvise a canon.
Painting by Mark Chadwick Voice leading is important. There is no doubt about it. But why? Why should we spend the time to become familiar with this seemingly unconnected side of theory? How many people have come out of college music courses, taking several semesters of elementary harmony and voice leading, but have been unable […]
A New Beginning… Every once and a while, I sit back an try to examine who I am as a composer. Some of the questions I may ask myself are: Am I creating music that is meaningful? Will anyone want to listen to my music when I am gone? What is the missing ingredient? For […]
The Frustration of Learning Counterpoint This article talks about: My frustrations with learning counterpoint on my own from books Some facts and assumptions about learning counterpoint My first counterpoint lesson (hint: it involves your input to make it work) If you want to skip to the first lesson, just scroll to the bottom of the […]
There are only a few things that you need to learn about harmony before you can really start composing with direction. I say composing with direction because you could slap on any old harmony, hope that it works, and that is composing. You could compose by ear, and that is great, but you probably won’t […]
Diatonic Harmony – A Game of Chance? Do you feel like your understanding of diatonic harmony is missing something? On one hand, it makes sense. I mean, heck, it’s only seven chords… right? On the other hand, some composers seem to be able to take those chords and do incredible things with them, while you […]
Completing the Musical Form Puzzle – Small Binary Form The small binary form is another one of those musical forms that is heard all over the place. Used for hundreds of years and still in use today, it gives you great flexibility. But there is some controversy. Sometimes the lines between small ternary and small […]
Musical Periods Like me, you have probably been frustrated composing phrases that sound “off”. Maybe they feel like they ended too soon, or don’t sound complete. If this has happened to you, keep reading. This week’s post is all about musical periods. Understanding the period will help you further your knowledge of simple themes and definitely make a […]
Musical Phrases – The Big Picture “Man that was a great two bar continuation phrase, with awesome fragmentation and melodic liquidation!” Super Music Nerd In the grand scheme, no one is going to listen to your Symphony and say, “Man, that was a great two bar phrase.” Well… maybe some music nerds, like me, but […]
Musical Sketches – Mozart’s Dirty Little Secret Mahler did it. Beethoven did it. Even… gasp… Mozart did it. What am I talking about? Sketches. I think we can all agree that these three composers were geniuses. But genius is not enough to create what they created. In this article you’ll find out the secret that […]
Should I Start With the Melody or the Harmony? This is a common question when learning to compose music. The answer is a simple one. You need to start with both. How Do I Start with Both Melody and Harmony? Let me stat out by asking you a question. If you were to write a […]