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How do you compose?


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How do you compose ?

One of my colleague loves the "Djent" thing and, that reminded me of some kind of system I made for myself centuries ago where I would put everything as 16ths and write grooves this way:

4/4 : [4.1.4.3.]

Where a dot equals a silence with a lenght of a 16th, and the numbers equal the uninterupted number of 16ths in a row. "tatatata ta tatatata tatata "

You can loop it and you have a groove, which I'd call, a 4143

Certainly, that was not any kind of official method, but enabled me to think of grooves and stuff during the day, and I could just take a piece of paper and write it down in 2 seconds.

I had other tricks too, I'll post them later I guess, but...

Do you have develloped any kind of method on your own that you could share ?

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I use what I know about music theory (though I don't really consciously think about it when I compose) and just jam ideas and then write them down and create MIDI of the tune whether it's orchestra, metal, electronica etc. Used to do it with my guitar and Guitar Pro 5 (still do sometimes for metal music) now I mostly use FL Studio and a MIDI controller.

Done.

For the most part, almost everyone's "method" is a variation of the same thing. Play around with musical instrument and/or computer to produce a score that can be played back to you without recording audio (basically - MIDI) so that you hear how it would sound before recording any audio. Recording audio is often optional due to high quality sample libraries.

"But I'm a dinosaur and just use a piano and sheet music!" I hear some say. That's still a variation of the same thing. Piano is a polyphonic instrument and therefore allows you to hear both melody and harmony before it is played back by other instruments.

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I pencil notes in in the piano roll on FL Studio. I've thought about recording my voice and then writing them out, but every time I have an interesting melody, I'm either in the shower or not at home, and it really upsets me because I feel like these things have potential. There was a day I had a dream with a theme playing in my head, quickly got up, hummed it to myself several times while writing it out in FLS. :lol:

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I usually have a tune in my head and then get it out on the piano. I figure out chords according to the tune I'm hearing and so forth. Other times I just start doodling on the piano and suddenly land on something kinda cool and I work with it. At other points I hear a tune and I don't think it will work to try and write it on the piano, so I just immediately start messing around in Logic Pro, like with my track "In Your Dreams" from my Beat Demon album.

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Most of my music starts with some sort of hook or experiment and then going on into whatever it becomes.

Quite frankly, when I really think about it, I have no idea HOW I compose music, it's just, after 10 years, I just DO somehow. Not trying to sound overly awesome, but it's become so instinctional that I seriously have trouble just even trying to figure out how I do what I do in a theoretical sense.

I have, however, experimented with building tracks one instrument at a time. In that I'll write the drum track with fills and rhythm changes first, then write the bass to accompany it, then chords and riffs and then the melody to provide the basic structure. I've had surprisingly good results doing it this way and it really allows me to break out of a lot of my typical conventions, but I still don't do things that way very often as it's just not as fun or doesn't always have that THING to it.

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The first thing I usually do is decide what the central "theme" will be for the piece. This can be either a melody, a chord progression, a bassline, or even just a rhythm that I experiment with using in different ways. I write this theme down, either on sheet music, noteflight, or my DAW, and then build it up from there by adding more to that one central idea.

Then I come up with something that compliments or variates that theme to use as another section, and fill that out in a similar manner. Possibly repeat that once more so that I have 3 distinct sections to the piece.

Sooner or later, there's a song in front of me. :)

I do find that having a theme for the piece, whatever it happens to be, helps to focus on what's important about the piece; what the listener will remember about it the most.

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Stuff pops into my head while I do mundane tasks. Seriously.

Usually it's a melody or a "feel" first. Then tempo/beat. Then harmonies and other additions. But that first step always seems to be for me..."taking a shower/doing laundry/spaced out playing Minecraft -> idea". I have no idea why.

^This. Always. Often ideas spark late at night as well.

But stuff pops in my head when I'm driving or in an elevator or walking in the mall or whatever. Always in some random spot that you would never imagine an idea popping up. But it does. It always does.

I use my phone to record myself singing tunes if I don't have a piano close to me and then later I'll listen to it again and get it out on the piano.

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  • 4 weeks later...
Stuff pops into my head while I do mundane tasks. Seriously.

Usually it's a melody or a "feel" first. Then tempo/beat. Then harmonies and other additions. But that first step always seems to be for me..."taking a shower/doing laundry/spaced out playing Minecraft -> idea". I have no idea why.

Yep, I can really relate to this. I'll be in the shower or washing the dishes and then suddenly, groove. I'll usually get the bass, chords and beat, then maybe an portion of a melody. I beatbox it into my phone to record the groove and then make it into a song later.

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Really varies with me. Sometimes other music can inspire me. I can get ideas from tinkering on instruments and playing with sound design can get me ideas if I find the right sound. Sometimes tracks can just appear fully formed in my head. Whenever that happens I have a mad rush to put it down in some form in my daw because those ideas are always great ones that I end up forgetting 2 minutes later.

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  • 1 month later...

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