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yoncopin
post Feb 5 2017, 02:49 PM
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I am going out of town soon and will be without my guitar. I thought this might be a good time to work on my songwriting / composition skills. So, I tried to look on Amazon for an eBook that I could work through with my iPad. First of all, what is the difference between songwriting and composition? I just want to write music and have a direct set of exercises to help me build my skills. I already have some music theory experience and materials, but was hoping more for melody, harmony, structure, etc... This entire topic is kind of confusing just to research because the terms seem to overlap. For example, songwriting searches bring up lots of hits on writing lyrics (not interested). I'd like it if I could find an eBook or something to use offline, but that isn't absolutely essential. Does anyone have any recommendations? The whole topic is kind of muddled and I don't know where to start. KInda like guitar before I joined GMC smile.gif


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Gabriel Leopardi
post Feb 5 2017, 03:48 PM
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Hi mate, that's a beautiful idea!

There are lots of approaches to composition. You can create your own way, by reading books, articles, composer's interviews and by your own experience making music.

There are basically 3 things that I'd recommend to become a good composer:

- Learn music harmony and theory.
- Analyse compositions.

and the most important:

- TRAIN YOUR EAR.

You'll find two types of books, some based on the writer's way to make music, and some other more based on the theory behind composing, so you'll find stuff regarding how to build rhythms, chord progressions, melodies and arranging.

Those books that are called "songwriting" manual are based on contemporary pop songs, those that you'd hear on radio, and put emphasis on song structure, chord progressions, melodies but also put a lot of focus on writing lyrics.

Books labeled as "composition" book, are usually wider and put more emphasis on harmony and theory.

On the first group I can recommend these ones:

How To Write Songs On Guitar
The Secrets To Writing Killer Metal Songs
Writing Better Lyrics


On the second one, you'll find a lot, but these are my favorite:


Teoria Musical y Armonia Moderna I
Harmony and Theory: A Comprehensive Source for All Musicians (Essential Concepts)
Fundamentals of Musical Composition


That one in Spanish is my favorite (Teoria Musical / Armonía moderna by Enric Herrera), and also this one which is also in Spanish: Armonia Funcional (Claudio Gabys). I wonder if there are English versions.


I hope that this helps! smile.gif


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Mertay
post Feb 5 2017, 05:36 PM
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I do recommend reading atleast 1 good songwriting book before diving into composition. Most jamtracks for guitar I bump into are actually very basic structure that can be explored on songwriting level.

Pass the lyrics (better yet, see them as main melody wink.gif ), basic advices for begining will be helpful. After you feel more relaxed then books for composition can be more helpful as they will help working on microscopic level or the desired harmonic creativity you need. Gab.s list seem pretty cool.


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Gabriel Leopardi
post Feb 5 2017, 06:30 PM
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QUOTE (Mertay @ Feb 5 2017, 01:36 PM) *
I do recommend reading atleast 1 good songwriting book before diving into composition. Most jamtracks for guitar I bump into are actually very basic structure that can be explored on songwriting level.

Pass the lyrics (better yet, see them as main melody wink.gif ), basic advices for begining will be helpful. After you feel more relaxed then books for composition can be more helpful as they will help working on microscopic level or the desired harmonic creativity you need. Gab.s list seem pretty cool.



Great advice.


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yoncopin
post Feb 5 2017, 06:58 PM
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Thanks for the advice guys. I actually already have the How to Write Songs on Guitar on my bookshelf. I think my knowledge has grown a lot since I last opened it, so I'm going to revisit that as my learning material. I think it might make more sense now. As for analyzing compositions and training my ear, I think Mertay's idea of examining jam tracks is a really cool idea. Their productions are usually less "busy" and will be easier to analyze by ear. That'd probably be among the first things I'd like to make, just cool backing tracks of my own in the styles I like.


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Mertay
post Feb 5 2017, 07:25 PM
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QUOTE (yoncopin @ Feb 5 2017, 05:58 PM) *
Thanks for the advice guys. I actually already have the How to Write Songs on Guitar on my bookshelf. I think my knowledge has grown a lot since I last opened it, so I'm going to revisit that as my learning material. I think it might make more sense now. As for analyzing compositions and training my ear, I think Mertay's idea of examining jam tracks is a really cool idea. Their productions are usually less "busy" and will be easier to analyze by ear. That'd probably be among the first things I'd like to make, just cool backing tracks of my own in the styles I like.


Yes this is exactly what I had in mind, just yesterday I was explaining something similar this approach to a friend as music is so much about the experience by learning compared to pure knowledge of how things work.


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yoncopin
post Feb 5 2017, 07:37 PM
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Oh good, that means I understood correctly smile.gif I totally agree about the experience vs knowledge. I already have that book because I've tried this in the past but didn't make it very far. I tried to just read it and understand academically, but that didn't work. I'll post back when I get some progress made, thanks both of you for the advice.


QUOTE (Mertay @ Feb 5 2017, 02:25 PM) *
Yes this is exactly what I had in mind, just yesterday I was explaining something similar this approach to a friend as music is so much about the experience by learning compared to pure knowledge of how things work.



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Kristofer Dahl
post Feb 5 2017, 10:52 PM
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QUOTE (Mertay @ Feb 5 2017, 05:36 PM) *
I do recommend reading atleast 1 good songwriting book before diving into composition. Most jamtracks for guitar I bump into are actually very basic structure that can be explored on songwriting level.

Pass the lyrics (better yet, see them as main melody wink.gif ), basic advices for begining will be helpful. After you feel more relaxed then books for composition can be more helpful as they will help working on microscopic level or the desired harmonic creativity you need. Gab.s list seem pretty cool.


I tried googling for songwriting vs composing - as far as I can tell they are the same thing but for different genres?

I don't quite get what you are saying here?

It's a great topic btw!

QUOTE (Gabriel Leopardi @ Feb 5 2017, 03:48 PM) *
Those books that are called "songwriting" manual are based on contemporary pop songs, those that you'd hear on radio, and put emphasis on song structure, chord progressions, melodies but also put a lot of focus on writing lyrics.

Books labeled as "composition" book, are usually wider and put more emphasis on harmony and theory.

On the first group I can recommend these ones:

How To Write Songs On Guitar
The Secrets To Writing Killer Metal Songs
Writing Better Lyrics


On the second one, you'll find a lot, but these are my favorite:


Teoria Musical y Armonia Moderna I
Harmony and Theory: A Comprehensive Source for All Musicians (Essential Concepts)
Fundamentals of Musical Composition


That one in Spanish is my favorite (Teoria Musical / Armonía moderna by Enric Herrera), and also this one which is also in Spanish: Armonia Funcional (Claudio Gabys). I wonder if there are English versions.



Ok I get it now! smile.gif


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Mertay
post Feb 5 2017, 11:13 PM
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QUOTE (Kristofer Dahl @ Feb 5 2017, 09:34 PM) *
I tried googling for songwriting vs composing - as far as I can tell they are the same thing but for different genres?

I don't quite get what you are saying here?

It's a great topic btw!


Genre isn't a bad way to describe but think what happens in a 4-5 minute song vs 7-8 minute one in same genre. We could extend the 4-5 minute one to 10 minutes by repeating the same things over and over again but a real-deal 10 min. song keeps evolving in itself (as to why it really needs 10 minutes to make its goal for the listener).

Classical music composition "steals" structures in college education (shouldn't be so different in jazz education too) which starts from a prelude (or inversion) and goes to concerto's. My advice of what Yoncopin is trying to achieve is rather not to force his music to fit a type of structure, but master the typical song structure and evolve it to his likings organically.

As he expands his songs in time, he will need alternate "happenings" to keep the music interesting to him like chord progressions that isn't in his comfort zone, structure examples from other songs, interesting scales... Its then the best time to reach more advanced composition books for semi-self education...


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