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AKA-I-Addict
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#1
4th May 2013
Old 4th May 2013
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Complete beginner with questions

How would one look into getting into the whole orchestrating/composing etc ? I'm talkng about someone from day 1 , scratch , nil experience etc

I understand its a loooooooooooong road so am not looking for a quick fix.

I have been given a copy of Walter Piston's harmony book and advised to read it before any composing or orchestration books.

I am looking to invest in some sort of vst/au package to use on the computer . Due to being a beginner I was thinking of getting Komplete 9 from Native Instruments.

Also learning the keyboard is on my list of things to do. I figure this will become a useful tool for helping to compose.

Another person advised me as a beginners exercise to find simple melodies and then harmonize them, and then with my 4 part harmony arrange it for something small like a string quartet.

Does anyone have any tips or advise they'd give to a beginner ?

I would be self taught for the most part (as in not going to university ) but in saying that I have found a teacher who gives composition lessons...not sure if these would be worthwhile or not ?
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4th May 2013
Old 4th May 2013
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The Piston is a good harmony book. So is the Schoenberg for self-teaching stuff.

There isn't just a tried and true path to learn how to compose, to be honest. There are techniques and required knowledge of instrumentation, yes, but nothing will do you more good than just listening, analyzing other's work, and simply rolling up your sleeves and writing some music.
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4th May 2013
Old 4th May 2013
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yup!! and ask questions!!
#4
4th May 2013
Old 4th May 2013
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Search for midi files online of well known scores. There are pages dedicated to it. Tons of John Williams files out there.

Load them in your DAW (they load up in Logic and all the orchestral instruments are already setup)

It'll sound really fake but go through each instrument and solo them(and solo two or three etc together) and see what they are all doing. It's a great way to understand everything that goes into a piece of music like that and we're lucky in this day and age to be able to solo each instrument to dissect each part.
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4th May 2013
Old 4th May 2013
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AKA-I-Addict View Post
Does anyone have any tips or advise they'd give to a beginner ?
Learn an instrument, sign up for a class or join an amature orchestra. Play in the orchestra for a few years. Your "sense" of composition, orchestration, form, drama, etc.. will grow exponentially.
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5th May 2013
Old 5th May 2013
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practice....be very patient....little and often is better than 5 hours of frustrated distraction...see the BIG picture in that a couple of years of deep study on your own will give you a life times worth of payback!

don't take 20 years to go through the book you got!!

if i could do it all again...i would learn more about music!!!

don't go to a teacher until you have done a year or two self motivated learning.
then you will have some idea of how good the teacher is...or if it's all just BS!

IF YOU PRACTICE..TAKE IT SLOW...MAKE IT SING...DO IT LIKE YOU MEAN IT!!!
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5th May 2013
Old 5th May 2013
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Quote:
Originally Posted by narcoman View Post
yup!! and ask questions!!
will do ...here goes a round of questions...

Quote:
Originally Posted by Amber View Post
Search for midi files online of well known scores. There are pages dedicated to it. Tons of John Williams files out there.
Load them in your DAW (they load up in Logic and all the orchestral instruments are already setup)

It'll sound really fake but go through each instrument and solo them(and solo two or three etc together) and see what they are all doing. It's a great way to understand everything that goes into a piece of music like that and we're lucky in this day and age to be able to solo each instrument to dissect each part.
thanks for this tip , I'll hunt some out

Quote:
Originally Posted by drBill View Post
Learn an instrument, sign up for a class or join an amature orchestra. Play in the orchestra for a few years. Your "sense" of composition, orchestration, form, drama, etc.. will grow exponentially.
re learning an instrument...bass guitar takes my fancy so so much, and if there was one instrument I'd love to learn that is it... but I realise it may not be the most ideal composition instrument or a traditional orchestral instrument.

I can get my hands on keyboard, and wonder in terms of using a keyboard to compose, is it ideal to get lessons or not ? I ask this as I see the goal of composition different to that of being a performing player. I can find chords and finger things out, and I certainly know my fingering etc may not be the most practical but as stated I wonder if this is okay to some degree as performance is not the goal here, rather the keyboard os just a compositional tool.

Quote:
Originally Posted by scruffydog View Post
practice....be very patient....little and often is better than 5 hours of frustrated distraction...see the BIG picture in that a couple of years of deep study on your own will give you a life times worth of payback!

don't take 20 years to go through the book you got!!

if i could do it all again...i would learn more about music!!!
what do you mean by 'learn more about music'? , do you mean theory wise or...?
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5th May 2013
Old 5th May 2013
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also meant to mention, got my hands on another book tonight...not sure how useful it'll be for this purpose though...it's called Jazz Theory by Mark Levine. Looks good but I'm unsure of it's relevance to wanting to orchestrate and compose etc
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5th May 2013
Old 5th May 2013
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Get a USB keyboard controller.

I've played guitar for almost 20 years, not a great player, always been more of a creative player. I picked up playing the keyboard/piano fairly fast. I can do what I need to do and you can always move midi notes around that you have played wrong.

Also, with the Midi files I mentioned, look at the chords, the fingering of the midi notes. If you have four staccato chords in a row, look at the fingers and play it on the keyboard. This is a great way to learn.
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5th May 2013
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AKA-I-Addict View Post
will do ...here goes a round of questions...
what do you mean by 'learn more about music'? , do you mean theory wise or...?

Hi
yeahh..i do.
Find music you LOVE to bits and learn how to play it...de-construct them and make your own variations...but learn them first.
There is a temptation to learn the first 4 bars and then noodle in a sequencer for hours on a loop...you will miss the trick doing that!
Learn how the chords move from one section to the next to form the structure.

There is a lot of truth in what the dancer martha graham said.

''how does one create.....?
by studying what has gone before and making ones own variations''

As far as non musical stuff goes..i would simply say don't be an ass hole!
you will i am sure have opportunities.
and when they come your way don't be rash.
If you are not sure how to react or what to say...buy your self time...FORMULATE YOUR ATTITUDE WITH CARE ALWAYS.
be polite...be serious....most answers or desicions can wait at least a couple of days so... BE COOL!!
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#11
6th May 2013
Old 6th May 2013
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Wow , thanks so much for the replies...Great to come to a sub-forum where there are actually constructive and helpful answers given.

In terms of a DAW, I realise it's all preference, 6 of one half a dozen of the other, but I get the impression Logic could be the way to go in the future ?? Currently I'm on Garageband and just working out to use it.
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6th May 2013
Old 6th May 2013
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AKA-I-Addict View Post
I get the impression Logic could be the way to go in the future ??


You might get that impression. But Pro Tools is the way to go. No doubt about it if you're working with pro's on scoring and dub stages and delivering pre-lays, stems, mixes etc.. Saves you from bouncing back and forth all the time, wasting precious hours in an already brutalized production schedule.

In addition, upcoming releases on 11.x are going to skyrocket the midi and vi end of things exponentially leaving Logic in the dust. I have found PT midi implementation adequate since v.8.

Of course, all this is open to debate, and I'm sure I'll get flamed royally.
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6th May 2013
Old 6th May 2013
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#14
23rd May 2013
Old 23rd May 2013
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Maybe something to bear in mind for when you feel like getting into orchestration is Garritan's free online version of Rimsky-Korsakov's Principles:

Principles of Orchestration On-line

The playable excerpts with animated scores really bring this classic text to life. There's a _lot_ in this and it'll take quite some time to work through it all, but just a little bit of understanding about how to write for real instruments will lift your music above the "patch" sound.
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