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Anyone Composed their own music?


Polecat
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I have a whole binder full of violin music I've written. I've actually gone further and have made viola parts. It's kind of like poetry when I write music....I'm pouring myself out into the piece, note by note, and not caring about the outcome. The hardest part is the title.....so I call them #1, #2, #3, etc. It seems like the hardest part should be writing the music smile.gif

When I actually try to play it, I lose the music I heard in my head. Rarely do I play them anymore. But I keep them for whenever I may want to make them better, add on, take off, etc.

All of them are sad. I wish that weren't so; I will have to work on writing happy music smile.gif

Jes wink.gif -y

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I've actually composed quite a few things. I recommend it to anyone - try it, you'll be surprised. I am fortunate enough to have a good notation program. This makes it so that in addition to being able to compose quicky I can make music that looks right for people to play. I've done a six part piece for woodwind quintet and lots of trios. I've done a few pieces for various woodwinds and piano. I've had the woodwind quintet pieces performed twice by different groups but was unable to hear either performance! One problem with composing is getting your stuff played. It is a problem for professional composers as well. It helps to play the instrument you are composing for or at least know a lot about it. What might sound good to you in your head is just impossible to play or a really stupid part for the particular instrument.

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I wrote an original composition based on the poem "High Flight" by John Magee. It wasn't that great, my first Original Composition, but I will always treasure it.

Incidently, it was a tribute to a dear, dear, friend of mine that I happened to be in orchestra with. Some of the last memories that a have with him were actually at an All-Region Weekend.

Christy

[This message has been edited by CML101 (edited 09-20-2000).]

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I've composed a few fiddle tunes. Two of them even got recorded on my band's CD, and one of the others has been performed quite a few times. Mostly though, I run into the same problem Polecat mentioned. It's hard to write something truly original. Spider Robinson wrote a short story called "Melancholy Elephants" that deals with this issue. In it, legislation has been introduced that would extend copyrights forever, instead of having them expire so many years after the composer's death. An opponent of the legislation points out that the number of distinct tones the human ear can distinguish is finite. The possible permutations of those tones, while a large number, is also finite. Many of those permutations are essentially identical. Many are also unlistenable. Which means that the number of combinations of tones that are not derivative of other work but which are still pleasing to the ear is a limited number. If copyrights never expired, eventually there would be no new music.

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quote:

Originally posted by Notaviolin:

I've actually composed quite a few things. I recommend it to anyone - try it, you'll be surprised. I am fortunate enough to have a good notation program. This makes it so that in addition to being able to compose quicky I can make music that looks right for people to play. I've done a six part piece for woodwind quintet and lots of trios. I've done a few pieces for various woodwinds and piano. I've had the woodwind quintet pieces performed twice by different groups but was unable to hear either performance! One problem with composing is getting your stuff played. It is a problem for professional composers as well. It helps to play the instrument you are composing for or at least know a lot about it. What might sound good to you in your head is just impossible to play or a really stupid part for the particular instrument.

I have written three pieces, before I got involved with the violin. The first was 4 and 1/2 minutes long. It has no structure and many other faults. I took a course on Song writing and did a pretty good job on the third item. But I am frustrated that I am unable to rewrite the first because I find myself going back to the original work. I need a voluteer to do the rewrite. It is on a music program called Cakewalk. Which, by the way can play it. There would be no concern that there is anything like it. The title is: Ode to the Revenue Code. Ben

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I've composed a couple of fiddle tunes but like you Polecat I'm not really sure how original they are. But whenever I get a tune in my head or if I'm just playing around and come up with something, I record it so I can write it out later.I treat it the same as I do my writing, capture it when it happens.

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I'm in the same boat as Polecat and others. Once in a while I make a fiddle tune, but I don't really know if it's just something I picked up from the radio or at a session, or a composite of tunes I've learned but forgotten, etc etc. If I make a conscious effort to come up with something new, it can easily sound contrived. I've a few that I like anyway, whether I actually wrote them or not, and that's the main thing. smile.gif

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Doesn't it just kill you to think you've come up with something and then have someone from your band say, "hey, isn't that progression from ..." and then proceed to play the song with your supposedly original music in it.

My other gripe is that when I think of a tune, I forget it before I can get to an instrument to play it so that I can write it down. Then it's just gone.

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My other composing advice is don't throw anything away ! You may go on to write a piece which uses fragments from something else you wrote that sucked. A lot of Irish tunes blend well so if you have a tune that is a bit "thin" - blended with another instrument playing another tune can make it really interesting. When I write for small ensembles I try to give everyone something interesting to play. Bass player don't always like to play a walking bass line - some of them can really move it.

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I have written a few things that we have used in our praise and worship team at church.

I have recently gone on a trip to arizona and

colorado. I loved Sedona, Arizona. I went to see Cathedral rock while I was there. I saw it from a vantage point on a hill. the hot desert wind blew up at me as I looked across

the desert to the red rock formations....I can't forget it...so I am writing something

about that experience.

I guess you could call it a lament or an air...it sounds a little celtic. I call it "

Sedona wind"...still working on it laugh.gif

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I tried my hand at it, once, quickly realizing that I simply didn't know enough to make what I had into anything. My daughter writes, and performed 2 of her pieces - which earned a scholarship to study at Peabody. She's working on a Piano trio, to be played at the end of this semester or beginning next. She plays the violin part.

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I too do a good deal in this way: a string quartet, various items for different chamber combinations (often with an accent on the viola because it is my own instrument by preference), a number of choral works (which is a complete waste of time), and orchestral items ranging from sub-Elgarian marches to half a piano concerto. Mostly I work in very traditional fashion with manuscript paper and a piano, afterwards transcribing the result with sequencing software so that I can hear it (this generally being the only form in which I do hear it).

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  • 5 weeks later...

quote:

Originally posted by Polecat:

My problem is, every time i think I have an original idea for a fiddle tune, I listen to it closely and it is usually something that has already been done!!

Pole

That's actually very admirable for you and everyone else to respect/notice that. It seems like whenever I hear a song on a "pop" radio station, I can paralell the tune to a previous tune..nothing original seems to stand out. Do composers/groups have copyrights? It seems like a very grey area.

[This message has been edited by River (edited 10-31-2000).]

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I wrote a number of singer-songwriter type songs long ago (in college, when I was only playing guitar). Since taking up the mandolin and violin, I've come up with a few fiddle-type tunes. A couple of recent ones have come from trying to work out some little tune, string crossing pattern, or other "mechanical" bit to develop a bowing or fingering skill, for example a tune primarily on the A string, with the initial phrase ending with the little finger playing E in unison with the E string.

In some of this kind of bumbling around, I've also noticed that certain phrases from fiddle tunes turn up, and suspect that they probably wound up in the tunes because they fall easily in a certain fingering or string crossing pattern in the key the tune is usually played in--another reason it can be somewhat hard to avoid unconscious plagiarism.

BTW, the whole process of capturing the tunes has been easier since I got notation software, NoteWorthy Composer, which is fairly inexpensive ($39.00, I think) and easy to use. The program plays the notes back for you in a choice of instrument sounds, so you can check rhythmic accuracy of your notation, etc. as you go along. I understand you can do this with ABC also, but I don't know if it's as easy.

Writing it down, though, also highlights the difficulty of capturing all that you really do when you play on a piece of paper.

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Lots of children's music; nothing published so far. Nothing submitted so far, come to think of it.

But I'm polishing up a children's musical to submit for publication once it's in good form, hopefully by late winter or early spring. It's entitled, "Kitty, Hawk, and the Pirates!" (Cast includes singing parrots, pirates, crabs, seagulls, and one in-your-face mermaid.)

We performed "Kitty, Hawk..." at a high school last spring, and it went along fine. But in looking at the video, I've realized lots of weak spots in the dialogue and music that need much work before submission.

Will start a second musical in a year about Alaska--definitely will have a chorus of singing dogs; ideas are a-brewin' at a slow, low simmer. Working title: "Mush!"

T.

[This message has been edited by Theresa (edited 11-01-2000).]

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