A Mini Composition

As part of my music studies, I’m gradually working through the book, Music Composition for Dummies. What makes this book so great is that it has a series of exercises at the end of each chapter which enable you to put into practice what you learn. Chapter 7 is on melody writing and the exercises at the end of this chapter asked me to write two 16 bar melodies. The first must have no melodic repeats and the second must be based around a motif of 2 to 6 notes. However, I actually took it a step further and harmonised each melody for string quartet. I didn’t like what I came up with for the long melody but thought the motif I came up with had potential, so chose to develop this when working through the rest of the exercises for the chapter.

The exercises that followed asked me to expand on these 16 bars and rework the motif again and again. As well as expanding the motif I also created a second melody which I also reworked. However, this only gave me half a piece so I decided to abandon the exercise book and do my own thing for the second half of the piece.

Here’s my end result…

Phase 2: Composing

Up until now I’ve not actually done much writing and have just been concentrating on learning lots about music composition. However, I feel as though I now know enough to actually get on with composing. This last week I’ve been writing a lot of music and whilst I originally planned to use my free time to continue learning, I’ve instead been using that time to compose. When creativity comes then it’s best to harness as much as you can before the moment passes.

I think I’ve posted this before, but it’s such a great talk on creativity that if you haven’t seen it yet you definitely should as it is sure to inspire you.

I feel like I’ve entered the next phase in my musical journey and whilst I have only scratched the surface when it comes to learning about music, my main focus now is going to be getting on with composing.

I’ve also spent a lot of time recently thinking about where I’m going with my accordion playing and whilst I originally planned on buying a full size 120 bass accordion and becoming a master on the instrument I’ve decided that my time (and money) would be better spent writing music which is what I actually want to do. I’m treating the accordion more like a hobby now and just enjoying playing both by myself and as part of a band.

With a much clearer view of where I’m heading, my current plan is to write five short pieces for string quartet and then approach a quartet to rehearse them with, get some feedback from the players and hear the pieces played with some emotion. The disadvantage of writing music using notation software is that there is no emotion in the music. I’ve already finished one piece and am working on a couple of others, so hopefully it won’t be too long before I have all five pieces finished, printed and ready to play.