Music Composition For Dummies Paperback – Feb 5 2008
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From the Back Cover
Creative exercises build your composing skills
The fun and easy way to turn the tune in your head into a full-fledged composition!
Wish you could write music? You can! This friendly guide gives you everything you need to start composing, from choosing the right rhythm and tempo to writing with chords and melody to expressing your musical ideas through instruments and voices. You'll see how to create popular songs, classically structured pieces, and even film, TV, or video game soundtracks!
Discover how to:
Master chord progressions
Harmonize with melody
Select the right instruments
Write for multiple voices
Compose electronic music
Make a demo recording
About the Author
Scott Jarrett is a musician and producer who has worked with numerous artists, including Willie Nelson, Fiona Flanagan, Mary Klueh, and Keith Jarrett. He has served as music director for many live theatrical productions including the Broadway production of The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas. He currently runs Monkey House recording studio in Hudson, Wisconsin. He has released two original albums, Without Rhyme or Reason and The Gift of Thirst. He has taught music theory, composition, production, and/or recording at the Full Sail Center for the Recording Arts in Orlando, The Acting Conservatory in Nashville, and McNally-Smith School of Music in St. Paul, Minnesota.
Holly Day is a music journalist whose articles have appeared in publications all over the world, including Computer Music Journal, ROCKRGRL, Music Alive!, Guitar One, and Mixdown magazines. Her writing has received an Isaac Asimov Award, a National Magazine Award, and two Midwest Writer’s Grants. She is co-author of Music Theory For Dummies (Wiley).
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Top Customer Reviews
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
As a long-suffering play-by-ear guitarist, the section on scales and modes was especially helpful. When I have used scales other than the few I am comfortable with, I tend to sound like I'm simply running the scale. The exercises in this section helped me find melodies in those scales and made the "Circle of Fifths" into more of a tool than a mystical phrase often used, but rarely comprehended. The section titled "Finding Melody in Your Instrument" was particularly useful in helping me break old habits in chord progressions and intervals. Chapter 9, "Harmonizing with Melodies," added even more to that pallet.
I doubt that I'll ever writing anything worthy of actual orchestration, but the section on "Composing for the Standard Orchestra" gave me insight into writing for instruments that I rarely experience outside of others' recordings. I usually use synthesizers for my orchestral instruments, but the formal background provided by this chapter enhances my ability to use those artificial instruments in a more natural setting.
There is a lot of practical information about writing for a variety of markets, from commercial jingles to orchestras. Scott Jarrett has a broad background in many areas of musical composition (including every one of the styles described in the book) and his experience in creating, notating, and producing music for these genres shines through the text.
A previous reviewer mistook "industrial music" for the little heard and rarely interesting popular form, but the authors' were commenting on a different subject: "not the dance music, but the music of the working world that is used for specific, usually commercial, purpose." I have no clue where that reviewer found the link to rap, but you have to wonder what some folks are writing about in their reviews. The same goes for the weird take on "random notes." Read the book, you'll find that there is a time for randomness and a time for scale-based melody. Enough said.
Perhaps I was seeking to demystify the essentially mysterious (for me) artistic endeavor of composing music. The authors go a little in this direction also, speaking of sources of inspiration and providing little tidbits such as “Finding Melodies Where You Least Expect Them.”
I was certainly expecting information and “rules of thumb” for the use of chords, tempo progression and the other tools of the trade. That’s definitely in the book and probably the most valuable part for me.
Also present is a plethora of information that is only indirectly associate with composition but would be important for a person seeking to make a living in composition. This includes advice on how to solicit venues for performance, copyrights, working with agents, how to produce a “demo” and other such topics.
After reading cover to cover, I am no more a composer now than I was when I began. I didn’t really expect the book to provide talent where talent is lacking. I understand a bit more about the process of composition and have learned something of how music theory is applied to composition. For that, I am satisfied. The book was not what I expected but I learned something and that is always worthwhile to me.
where to look for composition ideas. That's what I was looking for. I have the theory aleady, but I
needed help with where to look for composition ideas. Finding Melody in Language, Finding Melody in the world
aroung you, helping your muse help you. Excellent material.
over important concepts like passing notes and grace notes. OTOH there are
terrific explanations for standard and non-standard orchestral arrangements
as well as a concise range charts for every instrument. The appendix contains
handy charts of all 7 Greek modes for all major and minor scales. There's also
a chart of all chord triads and sevenths for all notes on the scale.
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