Composing Music

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Composing Music

Postby Mistydawn » Fri Apr 14, 2006 8:19 pm

A little query. As always add your personal comments! I have but not formally. I make up little ditties occasionally for fun. Years ago I composed a song but never wrote down the melody. I probably still have the lyrics somewhere. Right now I'm focusing on technique & adding to my repertoire. Perhaps at some point I'll want to try serious composing.
Last edited by Mistydawn on Fri Apr 14, 2006 8:22 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Postby Sheila » Fri Apr 14, 2006 8:41 pm

I am not good at orginal tunes. I always find that they are compilations of many tunes that I forgot I knew! I do enjoy writing lyrics, however. I have written lyrics for tunes composed by a member of our musical group. I also like to write my own lyrics to traditional tunes. Does that mean I'm lazy?LOL! No, just working to my strengths! Try the following to the tune of "10 little Indians" "Mercury, Venus, Earth, Mars, Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, Neptune, Pluto. These are the planets around our sun, I'm glad Jesus made them." (or 'I'm so glad I know them' for public school classrooms!). This is great for teaching kindergarteners about the solar system. I have adults coming back to me saying that they never have forgotten the planets and their order because of that little ditty. I didn't write this one, but don't remember where I got it. It gave me ideas for others that I used in my classrooms to helps kids remember stuff by rote.
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Postby Ardenvoir » Fri Apr 14, 2006 9:01 pm

Me too, every time I think I've made up something and finally tweak it to where it's complete, it's something I've heard before and forgotten. I have written an A part for two tunes, but haven't managed to come up with any more. So I voted "no but I'd like to."
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Postby JayByrd » Fri Apr 14, 2006 10:07 pm

As a break from from practicing a tune, sometimes I'll just start running the frets to see what comes out. Pretty ugly at times and some nice stuff once in a while too. Willy
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Postby Sarah » Fri Apr 14, 2006 10:21 pm

I voted that I ''dabble,'' although I've only written one tune. (And it is a tune, not a song -- no words.) So ''barely dabble'' is probably more apt!LOL! On the plus side, though, I can honestly say that I like my tune. I think it says what I wanted it to say. I've even had some other people say they like it too, which means a lot to me.
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Postby Dulcimer Jim » Fri Apr 14, 2006 10:52 pm

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Postby Dennis DenHartog » Fri Apr 14, 2006 11:34 pm

I basically never came up with original tunes when I used to play guitar, but came up with one early on after beginning to play mtn dulcimer, which I recorded and had on my web site for a couple years, but I never brought it to a satisfactory conclusion, even though I tried to make an ending for it. I have some lovely melancholy pieces on tape that evolved during hour and a half or two hour long sessions of noodling around and repeating, building on a theme. I've never named them or done anything else with them, but still have them on tape to preserve them... if I hadn't done that they'd have been gone in an hour. Then I have one tune that happened when I was outside the door on the porch and our hyperactive Jack Russell jumped up and down the whole time at the screen door "barkin out the window". I named that one and taped it, committing it to memory over the nest day or so. Words were a different story. Close to a year had gone by, and I was teaching the song to some folks at a festival when Sam Stone said to me, "where's the words.... that song needs words." I told him I'd thought about it but drew a blank. He started spieling off a bunch of rhyming nonsense words that sorta randomly mentioed dogs and barkin along with a whole mish mash that didn't really make any sense, and said "words are easy". I told him those just weren't the right words, and he told me "Well if you don't like my words then YOU write some!" That evening I did.... I guess it just took that to get me motivated.
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Postby GrrrGallier » Sat Apr 15, 2006 12:56 am

Recently I have been trying to learn and arrange some more commonly known tunes, but for the most part I compose what I play. My brother Les is even more exclusively original material. We are currently working on our third CD in a row of all original compositions. I think more dulcimer players should explore composing because the way the dulcimer is layed out, melodically speaking, lends itself well to discovery, and I think most folks have the ability in them if they will just let it happen. One of the things that commonly attracts people to the dulcimer is that it is reasonably easy to play, and the available notes will flow together almost unconciously without having to concentrate so hard on avoiding completely sour notes. These attributes allows the player to be more free to just wander and listen to what happens, and then let what happens lead you to wander some more. I could say a lot more...but I already have on my website if you are interested. Just my take..kind of a blog...on creativity and composition. It addresses several comments people have made. It's meant to be encouraging, so maybe you will find it helpful. Here is the link..scroll down to Article 2. http://www.dulcimercentral.com/Instruction/instruct.htm Also...Dennis, I loved your account of how your song came to be.
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Postby SteveK » Sat Apr 15, 2006 5:54 am

I dabble in writing tunes. I usually try to write in traditional style. I have tried both Irish type tunes and American old time type tunes but the old time tunes are harder to compose. Here's an abc of a jig I wrote called Humors of Teddy. Teddy is a dog owned by a friend of mine. She has played the tune at least once in a concert: X:1 T:Humors of Teddy M:6/8 L:1/8 C:Steve Kendall R:jig K:Bm FBB FBB|EFA F3|FBB FBB|ABc dcB|FBB FBB|EFA F3|EFA B2e|dBA B3:|| faf fed|cec dcB|FBB FBB|Bee ede|faf fed|cec dcB|EFA B2e|dBA B3:|| If you click on the site at the bottom of this message you'll get a page on which you can find the tune played. I play bouzouki on it. It's paired with The Musical Priest, a traditional reel. Another tune I'm sort of proud of is one written for dulcimer called Flora McDonald's Farewell to Bonnie Prince Charlie. That's the title of a painting that adorns tins of Walker's shortbread. I haven't recorded it though. Steve
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Postby Peter Alway » Sat Apr 15, 2006 9:16 am

I almost always play original tunes. I can think of four reasons why, and I'll state them in the worst possible, most negative way: I'm not that good a composer--If I'm ever going to hear my original tunes, I'll have to be the one playing them I'm not that good a player--If there is an existing song that I like, someone else can play it better. I'm a lazy player--I can write music that comes easily to my playing style. I have a poor memory--I can't remember all the details of existing music very well. It's easier to write a song than learn one. I find writing lyrics much harder than coming up with tunes, whcih I find surprising. When I was a kid in school, they had us write poems all the time, and I had no problem with the assignments. But I rmember in 6th grade music class the teacher began the class by saying we should all write a song. I was petrified at the thought of writing a melody, and was immensely relieved that he never actually followed through and assigned it. Now I can churn out melodies and harmonies all day if I set my mind to it, but words are very painful and difficult. I have a lot of trouble telling if lyrics are deeply touching or moronic. Even humorous lyrics tread a fine line between funny and stupid. But with music, wherever I start, I feel comfortable taking the tune where it wants to go. I think the problem is that words actually mean something, and that can get you into trouble. Music just is.
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Postby TJ » Sat Apr 15, 2006 11:19 am

I play either music that interests me, or I write music that goes in a direction I want to explore. I don't play traditional or traditional style tunes, because, I suspect, I grew up with and continue to listen to music that has more going on than that, and need something meatier under my hammers. (Incidentally, right now I have on my "T&S Crashlanding on Planet FUNKATRON!" mix CD, and I have been writing down rhythm guitar/dulcimer and bass ideas that I want to explore. Currently on is Kool & the Gang's "Jungle Boogie," with that incredibly funky one-note pedal on funky clav, which combined with the bass makes some amazingly funky grooves with just two lines. And now we're on to "More Bounce to the Ounce," which has great ideas on funk soloing!) Get down! STAY down! Wooo!
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Postby Ardenvoir » Sat Apr 15, 2006 12:05 pm

Well, what do you know? I seem to, just a few minutes ago, have started writing a truly original piece of music! I must have been inspired. Let's hope it goes somewhere...
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