I'm a very amateur composer with no formal music training and no ability to play any musical instrument ... so I'll keep my day job. However, I enjoy writing short symphonic pieces and started doing this about a year and half ago. Obviously I'm still learning. Any constructive comments welcome.
At this point, you might want to ask, "Without any training, how can you compose anything?" The simple answer is: very slowly. The slightly longer answer is: I read (actually, just skimmed) a few books on composition and then, realizing I needed more fundamentals, I skimmed a few wikipedia articles on music theory. At this point I have gained enough knowledge regarding composition to fill at least several, perhaps four, (4), pages of smallish notebook paper if I write with large letters, and if its double spaced. If I use wide margins, can get up to five, (5), pages!
Along the way, I discovered and made use of a few composition tools, namely, Logic, ChordBot, and Notion for iPad. With these new tools, I was able to speed up the galactically-slow composing process multiple times so now it is merely a glacially-slow composing process.
Also, one of the most useful things I found was to study how Roman Bokarev and Misha "Music Mike" Mshensky of Ego Works Music composed the pieces they wrote for Apple's Symphony Orchestra Jam Pack. Prepared with this deeper understanding of orchestration, I was ready to dive in musically ... well... um ... to the kiddie pool of orchestration ... as long as it wasn't too deep ... and...um ... as long as I still had on my floaties.
Since I cant play any instruments, I write music the old fashioned way, I use a computer.
Actually this is my creative process: I open the aptly named book, "The Complete Idiots's Guide to Music Composition" to page 27, put on my headphones, open up one of two apps on my iPad, either Chordbot or Notion for iPad, then, (this is the creative part), I stare at the blank screen for hours until I decide to turn it off and watch TV reruns. This will happen for a few days in a row until my wife says she is going to watch the TV show "Downton Abbey".
Because I am a guy and therefore genetically unable to watch Downton Abbey without making fun of it out loud, I put my headphones back on and start sketching out some musical ideas, starting with chord progressions. I start with chord progressions because that is what's written on page 27 of "The Complete Idiots's Guide to Music Composition". Page 27 has a table on chord leading.
Using that table as a guide, I plod out a few chords that I think sound good, for example, I, V, vi, iii, IV, I, IV, V, then back to I. It kinda' sounds familar, but I figure since there are only so many notes, I'm sure someone else may have written something close, but nothing quite as awesome as this particular chord progression. At this point, I'll be pretty excited because my chord progression is catchy and I know I can lay a melody line over that awesome progression.
Because I am excited, I want somebody to listen to this awesome chord progression. Since I am a dutiful husband, I patiently wait for a Downton Abbey commercial break and then ask my wife (who really does have musical ability), to listen to my awesome chord progression. I've done this many times and my gracious wife always agrees.
So, I play the awesome chord progression and wait with bated breath for her to pronounce that she thinks I am awesome and I am a musical genius. Looking at me with an expression of compassion, she says in the most gentle tone possible,"That's Pachelbel's Canon, again. Honey, you've written his chord progression, again. Perhaps you can substitute a few chords and try again."
I look back at my iPad and stare at Pachelbel's chord progression and think that if Johann Pachelbel weren't born I would be sitting on a musical goldmine .... grrrrrrr. Downton Abbey starts again which forces me to put on my headphones again. I erase Johann's stupid ole' canon, then stare at a blank screen for a few hours till it's time to go to sleep. I'll decide I'll try again tomorrow. Eventually, I'll come up with a chord progression that is not Pachelbel's and then start the rest of the process to orchestrate and find a melody line.
For what its worth, when I am writing, I still have to count up from the G on the G-clef to know where to place a note. All-in-all it's a pretty slow process, but just between us, it beats watching Downton Abbey.
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Oh! By the way, I'm not the surfer in my profile picture, but I did take the picture. It was just one of those providential times, right place, right lighting, etc.
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