2017 was our 20th year online!

Welcome to the Piano World Piano Forums
Over 2.9 million posts about pianos, digital pianos, and all types of keyboard instruments
Join the World's Largest Community of Piano Lovers (it's free)
It's Fun to Play the Piano ... Please Pass It On!

Shop our online store for music lovers
SEARCH
Piano Forums & Piano World
(ad)
Petrof Pianos
Petrof Pianos
(ad)
Pianoteq
PianoTeq Karsten Collection
(ad)
Piano Life Saver - Dampp Chaser
Dampp Chaser Piano Life Saver
Who's Online Now
43 members (caffree, dbudde, apianostudent, AjinoRegret, Harpuia, chopinetto, D959, Gretel, Fleer, 7 invisible), 465 guests, and 227 robots.
Key: Admin, Global Mod, Mod
(ad)
Estonia Pianos
Estonia Pianos
Previous Thread
Next Thread
Print Thread
Hop To
Simple compositions
#2656042 06/24/17 12:35 PM
Joined: Feb 2017
Posts: 142
V
Vaibhav Offline OP
Full Member
OP Offline
Full Member
V
Joined: Feb 2017
Posts: 142
Hi

Every once in a while, when I am tired of practising or just want to stop for a few minutes before continuing, I start to play random notes on the piano as if I was playing an actual piece. I play both left and right hand, and try to create a simple melody. And even though I have no knowledge of even the basics of composition, some of the things that I play this way sound musical. I mean, if it was someone else playing it and nobody told me that it was something random, I would think it was an initial level piece.

I was wondering if I could learn the absolute basics of composition and see if I can come up with simple melodies that are harmonically correct and which have a proper beginning and ending. How simple/difficult would that be? And would that be a worthy experiment to try out?

(ad)
Piano & Music Accessories
piano accessories music gifts tuning and moving equipment
Re: Simple compositions
Vaibhav #2656057 06/24/17 01:23 PM
Joined: Apr 2007
Posts: 17,264
M
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member
Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member
M
Joined: Apr 2007
Posts: 17,264
It's really not that hard. You are improvising, right now, though, so it's good that you recognize that it's not a "composition" yet. But that's a great way to come up with ideas. The difference between a composition and and improvisation is that a composition will often have a form - it could simply be AB, or ABA, or even sonata-allegro form (a glorified AABA), and many other combinations. You can do this with improv, too, but it's often more free-form.

Another big difference is that in a composition, ideas will be developed. If you listen to Beethoven's 5th Symphony, you can hear the initial "da-da-da-duuuuuhn" theme repeated all over the place in many different ways, and it even changes throughout the movement. This is a classical development, yes, and it's pretty much ignored in a lot of music today, but there are some composers that still use this idea of development.

Notice that development is not repeating an idea and stacking more layers on top of it - this is far more common in today's music, but it's very cyclical and often doesn't lead anywhere. So learning to actually develop ideas is a great tool.

Many compositions have only 2 themes that get developed as well, rather than a bunch of different themes that are unrelated strung together. Often these themes are contrasting to one another.

It's definitely worth going further since you obviously have an interest, but it is an art in and of itself that takes time to develop.


private piano/voice teacher FT

[Linked Image]
[Linked Image]
Re: Simple compositions
Vaibhav #2656136 06/24/17 07:42 PM
Joined: Oct 2012
Posts: 2,072
W
2000 Post Club Member
Offline
2000 Post Club Member
W
Joined: Oct 2012
Posts: 2,072
You should keep it up. Most pianists do not learn to compose (including me) but what a way to get a handle on the patterns you will see in music and the theory underlying it! If it is something you find you are enjoying, you should nourish it and see where you can take it.


Whizbang
amateur ragtime pianist
https://www.youtube.com/user/Aeschala
Re: Simple compositions
Vaibhav #2656190 06/25/17 12:27 AM
Joined: Mar 2012
Posts: 1,365
S
1000 Post Club Member
Offline
1000 Post Club Member
S
Joined: Mar 2012
Posts: 1,365
After more than 10 years of writing music (5 years on piano), most of my compositions remain simple. I still like them. Audiences often find them pleasing. I believe that virtually anyone can learn the craft of songwriting, the craft of composition. Like learning to play an instrument, hundreds of hours of effort is what tends to lead to results in composition.

If we are talking about getting a degree in composition and pleasing the professors, formal training is required. For non-academics, the bar is much lower, and self-study is a great way to go.

So I encourage you to continue. Record often, notate if you are capable of doing so. Studying music theory will expand a person's vocabulary. Deconstruction of favorite scores can be a powerful method if you have some skill with sheet music. Studying music history and music appreciation (aka listening to lots of music) can be a useful activity.

Folks that like to improvise can sit at the piano and try and find things. The latter tends to be what I do, though I do incorporate listening and theory in my own compositions. Those that can audiate sheet music, or like patterns, often find working with software or blank sheet music paper to be good methods. There are many roads to Rome. Some start with lyrics.

Please understand that almost all beginners get much better at composition after putting in a lot of time and effort. So many would-be composers and songwriters think it will be easy, and when it is not, they give up. For most of us, writing music isn't easy, but it is something that we enjoy doing.

Re: Simple compositions
Whizbang #2656191 06/25/17 12:40 AM
Joined: Jul 2012
Posts: 8,369
8000 Post Club Member
Offline
8000 Post Club Member
Joined: Jul 2012
Posts: 8,369
Originally Posted by Whizbang
You should keep it up. Most pianists do not learn to compose (including me) but what a way to get a handle on the patterns you will see in music and the theory underlying it! If it is something you find you are enjoying, you should nourish it and see where you can take it.


Or maybe where it will take you . . . . .noodling about almost haphazardly will throw up interesting combinations of chords which defy description, progression thingys which seem to work musically; interesting harmonies AND discords which may warrant further investigation, officer. . . .

And it's fun..


"I am not a man. I am a free number"

"[Linked Image]"
Re: Simple compositions
Vaibhav #2656215 06/25/17 04:21 AM
Joined: Sep 2014
Posts: 3,475
N
3000 Post Club Member
Offline
3000 Post Club Member
N
Joined: Sep 2014
Posts: 3,475
If you want to express yourself in a musical language, then study its structures: words (motifs), phrases, sentences, musical periods. This is quite simple; and you can start with analysis of you familiar songs.

Re: Simple compositions
Vaibhav #2656260 06/25/17 10:31 AM
Joined: Feb 2017
Posts: 142
V
Vaibhav Offline OP
Full Member
OP Offline
Full Member
V
Joined: Feb 2017
Posts: 142
Are there any online resources available to learn these?

Re: Simple compositions
Vaibhav #2656283 06/25/17 12:01 PM
Joined: Sep 2014
Posts: 3,475
N
3000 Post Club Member
Offline
3000 Post Club Member
N
Joined: Sep 2014
Posts: 3,475
Originally Posted by Vaibhav
Are there any online resources available to learn these?


Thevery first step is to look here:



P.S. There are some geographical differences about the period: in Western theory, the period usually consists of two phrases; In Russian theory - from two, sometimes three sentences.

Re: Simple compositions
Vaibhav #2656297 06/25/17 12:43 PM
Joined: Apr 2017
Posts: 240
J
Full Member
Offline
Full Member
J
Joined: Apr 2017
Posts: 240
Composing is very simple. You come up with something, notate it if possible and there you have it: a composition. You don't even have to notate it as long as you can repeat it yourself. You don't even have to know how to read or write music in order to compose: a lot of well known compositions (though usually in the more popular genres) have been composed by people who couldn't read or write music. Reading or writing music has nothing to do with composing. (Although some will argue it may help: I disagree.)

Imho some here make it sound too complicated. If you want to compose something following specific rules you obviously have to learn those rules but who says you have to? I've been composing music almost since the first day I learned myself to play the guitar. If you listen to music you learn what sounds good and what not, what a composition is lacking, what makes it exciting or interesting, etc. It isn't rocket science. Obviously my first compositions were bad but they were still compositions.

But hey, maybe I am just very talented LOL Obviously some people can come up with a nice melody in no time while others can't get it done. In the end it all comes down to creating something that sounds good to you and you're done. No need to make it more complicated that that.

Originally Posted by Vaibhav
I was wondering if I could learn the absolute basics of composition and see if I can come up with simple melodies that are harmonically correct and which have a proper beginning and ending. How simple/difficult would that be? And would that be a worthy experiment to try out?

You don't have to learn any basics of composition because obviously you can already come up with a nice melody. Whose cares if it is harmonically correct if it sounds good...? If it sounds good it probably is harmonically correct. Trying this out costs nothing and is done in minutes. Why do you even think about it like that? Just do it. People often only complicate things and usually this is killing creativity. They usually are only limiting themselves because they think certain rules have to be followed. Nonsense.

Last edited by J van E; 06/25/17 12:52 PM.
Re: Simple compositions
J van E #2656310 06/25/17 01:13 PM
Joined: Apr 2017
Posts: 160
Full Member
Offline
Full Member
Joined: Apr 2017
Posts: 160
I agree with J. Composing according to certain "rules" is for either those who want to recreate a particular style, or for those without a talent for it. Most interesting compositions come from musicians with a tendency to look into the notes "you're not supposed to use". As for reading/writing music, try notating something from Aphex Twin grin, it's of course a very limited system.


Started January 2017. Working on Alfred Level 2 and Fundamental Keys. Yamaha P-115.
Re: Simple compositions
Vaibhav #2656402 06/25/17 07:58 PM
Joined: Mar 2012
Posts: 1,365
S
1000 Post Club Member
Offline
1000 Post Club Member
S
Joined: Mar 2012
Posts: 1,365
Originally Posted by Vaibhav
Are there any online resources available to learn these?


I enjoyed "How Music Works," a four part series from the BBC on Youtube. It is aimed at general audiences, with episodes about Melody, Harmony, Rhythm.

Re: Simple compositions
Vaibhav #2669658 08/21/17 03:14 PM
Joined: Feb 2017
Posts: 142
V
Vaibhav Offline OP
Full Member
OP Offline
Full Member
V
Joined: Feb 2017
Posts: 142
I was just randomly playing this melody and thought I would notate it. I added the chords later. Just picked up I-IV-V chords because I didn't know anything else. It's elementary but it's a start smile

[Linked Image]

The software generated mp3: First Steps.

Re: Simple compositions
Vaibhav #2669672 08/21/17 04:57 PM
Joined: Feb 2015
Posts: 1,822
1000 Post Club Member
Offline
1000 Post Club Member
Joined: Feb 2015
Posts: 1,822
Just a quick tip: When doing progressions try to find chord inversions that minimize movement as much as possible. If you start with I in root position then IV in second inversion and V in first inversion are the closest.

Re: Simple compositions
Qazsedcft #2669675 08/21/17 05:13 PM
Joined: Apr 2017
Posts: 240
J
Full Member
Offline
Full Member
J
Joined: Apr 2017
Posts: 240
Originally Posted by Qazsedcft
Just a quick tip: When doing progressions try to find chord inversions that minimize movement as much as possible. If you start with I in root position then IV in second inversion and V in first inversion are the closest.

But before doing that, pick some chords that actually fit the melody. wink Or change the melody to fit the chords if you really want to use those.

Re: Simple compositions
Vaibhav #2669693 08/21/17 06:27 PM
Joined: Aug 2011
Posts: 6,268
J
Unobtanium Subscriber
6000 Post Club Member
Offline
Unobtanium Subscriber
6000 Post Club Member
J
Joined: Aug 2011
Posts: 6,268

There's a huge amount of music -- folk songs, blues, hymns, etc -- that uses only the I IV and V. At the opposite extreme there's esoteric jazz that seems to seek out the most exotic chords and progressions. It all depends on the style you want to write.

If you get stuck writing a melody, remember that there's only 12 notes, so you can just try them one at a time.... ;-)


-- J.S.

[Linked Image] [Linked Image]

Knabe Grand # 10927
Yamaha CP33
Kawai FS690
Re: Simple compositions
Vaibhav #2669729 08/22/17 12:38 AM
Joined: Jan 2015
Posts: 1,778
1000 Post Club Member
Offline
1000 Post Club Member
Joined: Jan 2015
Posts: 1,778
Originally Posted by Vaibhav
I was wondering if I could learn the absolute basics of composition and see if I can come up with simple melodies that are harmonically correct and which have a proper beginning and ending. How simple/difficult would that be? And would that be a worthy experiment to try out?

If you want to start simple, you might like this book - How to Write Songs on Keyboard by Rikky Rooksby. It's a good place to begin and an easy way to wade into the shallow end of the improvisation/composing pool. I found the ideas to be very easy, fun and practical to apply. It starts of with basic chords and harmonies, ending with lots ideas on how to create and apply chord progressions.

There is no traditional notation in the book, it's all layed out in diagrams; similar to his guitar books. The approach is relaxed, workshop style ... not academic. And it explicitly points out that it's not going to teach you technique. The focus is Harmony in the songwriting process; if you want more in-depth info on Melody, Rhythm and Lyrics - you'll want to pick up other books for those.

To get the most out of the book, it would be good to already know your Major/Minor chords/inversions and basic voicings. Even better if you've already been developing your 'vocabulary' (riffs, licks, rhythms etc.).


We are the music makers,
And we are the dreamers of dreams.

Moderated by  BB Player 

Link Copied to Clipboard
What's Hot!!
News from the Piano World
Where Did The Buttons Go?!
----------------------
Our April 2020 Newsletter Available Online Now...
The Piano World During the Pandemic!
----------------------
Posting Pictures on the Forums
-------------------
Forums RULES & HELP
-------------------
ADVERTISE on Piano World
(ad)
Best of Piano Buyer
 Best of Piano Buyer
(ad)
Faust Harrison Pianos
Faust Harrison 100+ Steinway pianos
Download Sheet Music
Virtual Sheet Music - Classical Sheet Music Downloads
New Topics - Multiple Forums
Modern Alternatives to the Metronome
by navindra - 07/13/20 08:10 PM
Eleanor Sokoloff RIP
by pianoloverus - 07/13/20 04:15 PM
Winter NAMM 2021 - Proceed or Cancel?
by PianoManChuck - 07/13/20 03:55 PM
Roland A-88mk2 - clunky black keys?
by Karnevil - 07/13/20 01:53 PM
Forum Statistics
Forums41
Topics200,236
Posts2,980,352
Members97,760
Most Online15,252
Mar 21st, 2010
Please Support Our Advertisers


Faust Harrison 100+ Steinways

Dampp Chaser Piano Life Saver

 Best of Piano Buyer

PianoTeq Bechstein
Visit our online store for gifts for music lovers

Virtual Sheet Music - Classical Sheet Music Downloads



 
Help keep the forums up and running with a donation, any amount is appreciated!
Or by becoming a Subscribing member! Thank-you.
Donate   Subscribe
 
Our Piano Related Classified Ads
| Dealers | Tuners | Lessons | Movers | Restorations | Pianos For Sale | Sell Your Piano |

Advertise on Piano World
| Subscribe | Piano World | PianoSupplies.com | Advertise on Piano World |
| |Contact | Privacy | Legal | About Us | Site Map | Free Newsletter |


copyright 1997 - 2020 Piano World ® all rights reserved
No part of this site may be reproduced without prior written permission
Powered by UBB.threads™ PHP Forum Software 7.7.4