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Compositional training

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nathanallenpinard
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Response to Compositional training May. 8th, 2009 @ 01:00 AM Reply

Training helps. It's pretty much a fact it does. Only certain types though. 1st year theory and harmony training, plus some orchestration would probably be it. 2nd year theory might be pushing it.

Learning to play an instrument also helps a great deal of course.

However, for the record, there is one famous film composer that hasn't had any formal training that I can think of, and that's Hans Zimmer.

Also another one is Danny Elfman.

Pure-Metal-UTA
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Response to Compositional training May. 8th, 2009 @ 01:21 AM Reply

I would have to say that for me, Compositional Training is very important in the field of work I want to be in after I graduate.
Definately a 10.
I have had training, mainly in school. But I try to learn theory out of school too, since I find it so important. There's alot to learn that people have already mentioned. Chords, Harmonies, Melodies, Syllable use (Do-Re-Mi), The list goes on. And even then, looking into each topic, there's subtopics. Like for learning Chords, you learn which are major, which are minor, making each chord diminished or augmented, and chord inversions.
Going with the importance rating style Maestro used, I would classify it like this:
Instrumental/Orchestra - 10
Jazz and similar genres - 8-9
Metal - 6-7
Rock - 3-6
Techno/Industrial/House - 4-6
I don't know too much about the mixing involved in techno, but I still feel that compositional methods are somewhat importatnt when making any techno song.

jrayteam6
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Response to Compositional training May. 8th, 2009 @ 01:40 AM Reply

Oh god, please lets not mention Hans Zimmer. Trevor Rabin, Klaus Badelt and some other now well known composers did all of his work. Snobs is also a terrible way to describe those of us who choose to write music thats COMPLEX in its orchestration. People say classical and orchestral is complicated because it is. It takes a lot of knowledge to understand the orchestra and how to use it. I dont know how to make sounds from synths in anyway or shape, but I dont see it easier. Less complex, maybe, but not easier. I think that those people who want to write for the orchestra but cant seem to catch it should just go listen to some good film scores for a really dynamic understanding of the instruments and how to use them. Just do some research, figure out that you can tune your timpanis, trill with woodwinds, rip with the french horn, why to use high tremolos, use grace notes with snares, how to build and orchestra hit from scratch and all the other tricks and techniques that can almost instantly dress up your orchestra with the right applications.

nathanallenpinard
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Response to Compositional training May. 8th, 2009 @ 01:55 AM Reply

It's possible to figure theory out for yourself, as I and many of my guitar playing friends have.Theory amounts to knowing which notes to play in relation to a key, and with dedication, you can certainly self-learn it.

I know, but if you took 2nd year theory, you'd be like "wtf?"

Psil0
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Response to Compositional training May. 8th, 2009 @ 02:14 AM Reply

At 5/8/09 12:40 AM, entra1k wrote:
At 5/8/09 12:00 AM, Nosferatu-of-Worms wrote: Your mind and inspiration can only do so much if you don't know what you're looking for.
Wrong.

creativity is all one needs... i'm proof.. never have taken lessons for any instrument in my life, yet people think I have. Listen to music or do something else that moves you, inspires you, and touches the depths of ur soul (sounds cliche but it's true).. I guarantee that you'll have no trouble writing music when you feel this feeling.

keys go right.... notes get higher... u play around enough and you'll get a sense of what you're looking for.

Ok, look at it this way, people who know theory and have compositional skills have an easier time translating their inspiration and emotions they get into music than people who don't that have to waste time trying to find the right key/notes. Also it allows people to expand ideas better and maybe take their song to a different level beyond what they thought it would be.

entra1k
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Response to Compositional training May. 8th, 2009 @ 02:46 AM Reply

At 5/8/09 02:14 AM, Nosferatu-of-Worms wrote:
At 5/8/09 12:40 AM, entra1k wrote:
At 5/8/09 12:00 AM, Nosferatu-of-Worms wrote: Your mind and inspiration can only do so much if you don't know what you're looking for.
Wrong.

creativity is all one needs... i'm proof.. never have taken lessons for any instrument in my life, yet people think I have. Listen to music or do something else that moves you, inspires you, and touches the depths of ur soul (sounds cliche but it's true).. I guarantee that you'll have no trouble writing music when you feel this feeling.

keys go right.... notes get higher... u play around enough and you'll get a sense of what you're looking for.
Ok, look at it this way, people who know theory and have compositional skills have an easier time translating their inspiration and emotions they get into music than people who don't that have to waste time trying to find the right key/notes. Also it allows people to expand ideas better and maybe take their song to a different level beyond what they thought it would be.

i'd say otherwise... if you have a idea in your head.. you can put it out just as easy. if you can hear a actual song playing out in your head, then what's stopping one from laying it out? Programs like fl studio make it absurdly easy to track out ideas without any 'training'...

nathanallenpinard
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Response to Compositional training May. 8th, 2009 @ 03:12 AM Reply

I have so many ideas in my head, that when they eventually come out into the studio , they don't sound like they did in my head. So...I'm not sure if I agree with that statement.

btriangle
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Response to Compositional training May. 8th, 2009 @ 05:52 AM Reply

At 5/8/09 03:12 AM, nathanallenpinard wrote: I have so many ideas in my head, that when they eventually come out into the studio , they don't sound like they did in my head. So...I'm not sure if I agree with that statement.

i get that sometimes too nathan.

InGenius
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Response to Compositional training May. 8th, 2009 @ 08:48 PM Reply

At 5/7/09 11:23 PM, EmperorCharlemagne wrote: I don't know why musical snobbery and elitism always has to be associated with classical and orchestral music. Such 'elitism' does not stay confined to any one genre, and to say such is pretty much saying that you are an elitist, in the fact that you look down on and wish to besmirch the names of other artists writing them off as snobs. On a small note, you say that Beethoven (because that is the only one you could mean) was deaf and made exceptional music, you also have to remember that Beethoven was being trained since age 3, so by the time he was 50, he knew pretty much everything there was to writing music. It seems to me there is little more than angry antagonism in that statement.

Also, the general consensus among the 'snobs' it would seem is that it varies according to how complex you make your music. If you never have any music training, I would think that most likely your songs will stay about as complex as a Coldplay song. Catchy, nice, but not complex. People aren't going to often voluntarily look for new techniques, they will try the techniques that they know and only those; this accounts for a lot of similar sounding songs in the audio portal, because a lot of artists don't quite know yet how to make a song their own, and to be 'different'.

You'll note in my statement I said "more", which the very usage of that implies that all genres have snobs. Thank you ever so much for proving my point, by the way.

:. If you never have any music training, I would think that most likely your songs will stay about as complex as a Coldplay song.

Case-in-point as to snobbery. Allow me to compare music to one of the most complex and, in this case, comparable structures: higher maths. Srinivasa Ramanujan had less than a 3rd grade education yet was able to create his own mathematical structure in number theory and infinite series, two extremely complex realms of mathematics. In the same light, with little to no musical training, anyone can create complex musical pieces. Your statement, on the other hand, would seem very elitist when faced with the MANY musicians right here at NG's AP who have had little to no formal training and yet produce complex, musical pieces with great musicianship.

So, tell me again why you were offended at my assertion that the Classical genre seems to be more elitist than other genres? Because, looking at this thread, the only ones making the assertions that "without any theory coursework and years of training you simply cannot make complex music" are those who represent the aforementioned genre.

Now, again, I will state for you to read quite clearly: everything I've stated here is my OPINION. So need I remind you that, like your opinion, it's equally valid in the framework of this discussion? Stop with the idiocy and bashing a moment and think clearly about the OP's question and the discussion at hand. Even I stated that if one is going to arrange/compose music for more instruments than they have fingers, theory would be a tremendous help. You, on the other hand, have offered little in the way of swaying from your purist's belief that there is no way to make music without training, so which of us is the elitist?

entra1k
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Response to Compositional training May. 8th, 2009 @ 11:35 PM Reply

i'm proof that one does not need to partake in any sort of training whatsoever to express themselves through music. Feeling is subjective to each and every individual... a certain feeling for me may mean nothing to you. The fact that you are arguing with me about this makes me laugh..honestly! Music is expression... and expression requires no training whatsoever! Forget the chords and notes and all that technical shit... just experiment and have fun.

I say don't even bother to pursue music if it's not a form of self expression.

KgZ
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Response to Compositional training May. 8th, 2009 @ 11:44 PM Reply

At 5/8/09 11:35 PM, entra1k wrote: i'm proof that one does not need to partake in any sort of training whatsoever to express themselves through music. Feeling is subjective to each and every individual... a certain feeling for me may mean nothing to you. The fact that you are arguing with me about this makes me laugh..honestly! Music is expression... and expression requires no training whatsoever! Forget the chords and notes and all that technical shit... just experiment and have fun.

I say don't even bother to pursue music if it's not a form of self expression.

Lmao you are so pretentious and pompous. You are also extremely ignorant to think that you don't need music theory to write music, because you use it even when you don't realize it.

Music is a business man, and if you're going to be a professional, you gotta know your stuff. Otherwise have fun writing music for the 20 people who listen to it.


www.macjams.com/artist/kgz (Download links)

EmperorCharlemagne
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Response to Compositional training May. 9th, 2009 @ 12:39 AM Reply

At 5/8/09 08:48 PM, InGenius wrote:
Now, again, I will state for you to read quite clearly: everything I've stated here is my OPINION. So need I remind you that, like your opinion, it's equally valid in the framework of this discussion? Stop with the idiocy and bashing a moment and think clearly about the OP's question and the discussion at hand. Even I stated that if one is going to arrange/compose music for more instruments than they have fingers, theory would be a tremendous help. You, on the other hand, have offered little in the way of swaying from your purist's belief that there is no way to make music without training, so which of us is the elitist?

You, since you are asserting that you have all the answers to music and are willfully misinterpreting and misreading what others say to fill in for your own distorted vision of what the 'snobs' are like. Aside from the post before me, which is unintelligent (the composer Ives [I think] said that when an artist does not wish to sell his own works, that is when he is truly an artist), no one is saying what you are claiming.

Stop with youridiocy and get off the musical high-horse, for you are no guru.


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Pure-Metal-UTA
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Response to Compositional training May. 9th, 2009 @ 03:18 AM Reply

At 5/8/09 11:44 PM, KgZ wrote: Music is a business man, and if you're going to be a professional, you gotta know your stuff. Otherwise have fun writing music for the 20 people who listen to it.

I completely agree with this. Sure, it's really easy to express your feelings in the form of music. But without any training in theory, very few will understand it.

In a sense, it's like emo music. Only emos completely understand what the artists are expressing. If you made me try to understand an emo song, I would probably have the faintest idea. If you made me listen to Mozart's last Requiem and tried to make me understand it, I would have a more general idea.

Blackhole12
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Response to Compositional training May. 9th, 2009 @ 07:28 AM Reply

What I find amazing in this thread is that people seem to be completely disregarding the fact that we are all very different. Some people will benefit more then others in formal music training, just as some genre's will benefit more from it then others. If you can't rely on your intuition as much as other people, take some lessons; otherwise, don't.

DruoxtheShredder
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Response to Compositional training May. 9th, 2009 @ 08:36 AM Reply

At 5/9/09 07:28 AM, Blackhole12 wrote: What I find amazing in this thread is that people seem to be completely disregarding the fact that we are all very different. Some people will benefit more then others in formal music training, just as some genre's will benefit more from it then others. If you can't rely on your intuition as much as other people, take some lessons; otherwise, don't.

True! But the main point is: Lessons are not something that hinders you as a performer/musician/actor/any other formal art practitioner. They give you the basics, then you are supposed to take those basics and make something that's yours out of them! Whether your lessons be vocal, drawing, composition, or even handwriting. You are only given the footwork and foundation. It is up to you to make something special. Are lessons required to be successful? Of coarse not. Originality, Inspiration, and Creativity are. Do they impede your progress? No. You can still write between lessons, and the lessons can broaden your horizons. All it comes down to is how creative you are, and how well you can manage time!

Keep rockin'! \m/


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btriangle
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Response to Compositional training May. 9th, 2009 @ 09:01 AM Reply


i'd say otherwise... if you have a idea in your head.. you can put it out just as easy. if you can hear a actual song playing out in your head, then what's stopping one from laying it out? Programs like fl studio make it absurdly easy to track out ideas without any 'training'...

Not to insult you, but how old are you, and have you even had compositional training and theory?

entra1k
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Response to Compositional training May. 9th, 2009 @ 12:15 PM Reply

At 5/8/09 11:44 PM, KgZ wrote:
At 5/8/09 11:35 PM, entra1k wrote: i'm proof that one does not need to partake in any sort of training whatsoever to express themselves through music. Feeling is subjective to each and every individual... a certain feeling for me may mean nothing to you. The fact that you are arguing with me about this makes me laugh..honestly! Music is expression... and expression requires no training whatsoever! Forget the chords and notes and all that technical shit... just experiment and have fun.

I say don't even bother to pursue music if it's not a form of self expression.
Lmao you are so pretentious and pompous. You are also extremely ignorant to think that you don't need music theory to write music, because you use it even when you don't realize it.

Music is a business man, and if you're going to be a professional, you gotta know your stuff. Otherwise have fun writing music for the 20 people who listen to it.

biggest load of crap dude.. you really do need a reality check.

I have tons of friends who have no training in theory, yet are listened to by thousands. Here's a perfect example.

www.myspace.com/aker

entra1k
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Response to Compositional training May. 9th, 2009 @ 12:17 PM Reply

I'm 22... and no, I have had no training whatsoever. Don't see a need for it.

entra1k
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Response to Compositional training May. 9th, 2009 @ 12:20 PM Reply

At 5/9/09 03:18 AM, Pure-Metal-UTA wrote:
At 5/8/09 11:44 PM, KgZ wrote:

I completely agree with this. Sure, it's really easy to express your feelings in the form of music. But without any training in theory, very few will understand it.

That has to be the most idiotic statement I've heard in a long time.

entra1k
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Response to Compositional training May. 9th, 2009 @ 12:23 PM Reply

LMAO.. I love how after my comments in this thread.. my track ratings went down from a 4/5 to a 1/5 and 3/5..

truly sad. :)

ImperfectDisciple
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Response to Compositional training May. 9th, 2009 @ 03:21 PM Reply

Well, the more music theory you know, the better off you are. Having music theory knowledge helps you to hear things in your head that you wouldn't have thought of otherwise. For example, I've been working on this "boss battle" loop recently, and I didn't know what key I was writing it in. It was based off of these notes...

G# A# B C# D E F#

So I googled it after some in depth study on modes (I memorized them!). Did you know there was a mode called the "G# Locrian #2"? Yeah, I about died when I realized that was a scale, but wait, there's more! In fact, there are bunches of scales. I knew of major and minor scales, and then the idea of modes. But there's numerous scales to work off, and numerous chords to go along with that. The more you know, the bigger pool you have to draw ideas from. You start learning to know what sound you want. It's a beautiful thing ;)


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KgZ
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Response to Compositional training May. 9th, 2009 @ 03:31 PM Reply

At 5/9/09 12:15 PM, entra1k wrote:
At 5/8/09 11:44 PM, KgZ wrote:
At 5/8/09 11:35 PM, entra1k wrote: i'm proof that one does not need to partake in any sort of training whatsoever to express themselves through music. Feeling is subjective to each and every individual... a certain feeling for me may mean nothing to you. The fact that you are arguing with me about this makes me laugh..honestly! Music is expression... and expression requires no training whatsoever! Forget the chords and notes and all that technical shit... just experiment and have fun.

I say don't even bother to pursue music if it's not a form of self expression.
Lmao you are so pretentious and pompous. You are also extremely ignorant to think that you don't need music theory to write music, because you use it even when you don't realize it.

Music is a business man, and if you're going to be a professional, you gotta know your stuff. Otherwise have fun writing music for the 20 people who listen to it.
biggest load of crap dude.. you really do need a reality check.

I have tons of friends who have no training in theory, yet are listened to by thousands. Here's a perfect example.

www.myspace.com/aker

Okay so about a thousand people listen to his music. Now lets say he produces an album, and it makes a profit of $10 per copy, and thats pretty good in todays market. Now out of those thousand people, a smaller group would probably just illegally download it. Then a smaller group would even buy it. He's profiting less than $10,000. That's not nearly enough to get by.

Point I'm trying to make, he's still a nobody in today's music world, and I highly doubt he lives off day by day just with his music.

You must live with your parents, because you obviously don't understand the real world.


www.macjams.com/artist/kgz (Download links)

nathanallenpinard
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Response to Compositional training May. 9th, 2009 @ 05:36 PM Reply

Heh, I don't consider myself popular in the music world. Specifically only in the Machinima world thanks to Oxhorn.

As far as this theory debate goes. Theory helps in improvisation, composition, and performance. However, it's not required or as essential if the subject has a great ear.

Some people learn by ear, some people learn by theory. Compsition wise it's a mix of both for me, and a bit of improvisation.

Composition does however benefit from a bit of 2nd year theory, which is comes to write various parts or a whole score, but only a bit. It's the other classes like keyboard harmony and orchestration that helps a great deal.

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Response to Compositional training May. 9th, 2009 @ 08:52 PM Reply

At 5/9/09 12:17 PM, entra1k wrote: I'm 22... and no, I have had no training whatsoever. Don't see a need for it.

He who knows nothing fears nothing.


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Response to Compositional training May. 10th, 2009 @ 01:23 AM Reply

At 5/4/09 08:23 PM, btriangle wrote: On a scale from 1-10, how important do you think compositional training is, if you are trying to be a composer.

as the old saying goes.. Practice makes perfect.

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Response to Compositional training May. 10th, 2009 @ 02:38 AM Reply

At 5/9/09 12:20 PM, entra1k wrote:
At 5/9/09 03:18 AM, Pure-Metal-UTA wrote:
At 5/8/09 11:44 PM, KgZ wrote:

I completely agree with this. Sure, it's really easy to express your feelings in the form of music. But without any training in theory, very few will understand it.
That has to be the most idiotic statement I've heard in a long time.

Actually, no it's not. Think about it like this:
Look at Mozart, Bach, Beethoven, and Chopin. All of them had compositional training and were excellent musicians. They are remembered today still after 200 years.
Now look at the popular bands today that have no compositional training. Do you think they'll be remembered 200 years from now? Probably not. Will Mozart, Back, Beethoven and Chopin still be remembered 200 years from now? You bet your ass.
The reason why they are remembered today is because of their music. They knew their theory, and they definatley knew how to express themselves with what they knew best Using the resources they had. Paper, quill, ink, knowledge in theory, and a talented mind. People today without compositional training that want to be remembered for hundreds of years if possible probably won't be because they never wrote their music on paper.

nathanallenpinard
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Response to Compositional training May. 10th, 2009 @ 07:12 AM Reply

Don't assume that every band today doesn't know jack about music though. The engineers that arrange the tracks, and the song writers of those songs are often trained.

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Response to Compositional training May. 10th, 2009 @ 10:22 PM Reply

All music no matter what kind you play should have some kind of training if you want to better yourself. Very few musicians can get away with not have having training. a few i can mention nobou uematsu who self taught himself. but if you look at all the great classical composers of all times. All had extensive training do you honestly believe that mozart could write a full fledged composition at the age of 4 as well as be aclaimed on the harpsichord without training so im gonna say 9 to 10. I became a serious composer about a year ago and i started taking lessons only about 2 months ago. and in those 2 months i have learned way more then i did in the 9 months before that. So if you want to be great then yes they are important. if its just a hobby then thats up to you. Composing is just like any instrument. When people ask you want instrument do you play if your a composer be my guest to say you play whatever you play. in my case its the Sax, Piano, Clarinet, and the trumpet, but if your a composer you better well say you are a composer, because a true composer is a composer for life, even if he/her doesn't write anything down. Wow that was deep :P. Anyways i will let you decide but its important

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Response to Compositional training May. 10th, 2009 @ 10:44 PM Reply

You want to know where not having training can get you? Look at pop music, that's exactly where (which isn't necessarily bad if all you care about is money and fame). But if you want respect from musicians (people who've practiced their instruments and know theory) then you'd best learn your theory.

nathanallenpinard
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Response to Compositional training May. 10th, 2009 @ 11:15 PM Reply

At 5/10/09 10:44 PM, Nosferatu-of-Worms wrote: You want to know where not having training can get you? Look at pop music, that's exactly where (which isn't necessarily bad if all you care about is money and fame). But if you want respect from musicians (people who've practiced their instruments and know theory) then you'd best learn your theory.

"pop music" is a bad generalization. To tell you the truth, R&B has a great deal of jazz theory to it at times, depending on the artist. There are really large differences in general "pop" music though.

Pop music isn't easy either. Not by a long shot. Anyone on this site that thinks so should show me, because the engineering alone can be tough to make something a bit unique in pop.