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Suggestions for a book about composing

Pieter

New Member
Messages
5
Hi,

I really want to start composing but i don't have a clue where to start. While there is great advice on Mr Thomas' website, I think I lack the very basics.

Does anyone here have any suggestions for a book that covers the basics?(It's no problem if it's get complicated theoretically because I already know quite a lot of music theory)

Thank you!
 

Chris

Well Known
Subscriber
Messages
3,821
Hi Pieter, if you want to get into Jazz theory then " The Jazz Theory Book" by Mark Levine is a good place to start..

Chris
 

rudjarl

Senile Member. Scandinavian Ambassadour of CaSLM
Messages
657
The very basic of composing is finding a nice tune that (usually) is not already in somebody else's composition. You really can't start composing by reading books. Composing is art of no rules, it's free as a bird... it knows no boundaries... (add clichés at will). Composing starts with an idea. Perhaps a nice little something that sounds nice or interesting or like something... Deciding to compose is like deciding to write a novel. Doable, but not likely to catch on if you don't have an idea for a plot.

If on the other hand, it's arranging you are looking for, then I suggest you read up on which key for different instruments. What range instruments can play, and if it's for ordinary people, what range is most commonly used on that particular instrument. Then arm yourself with a toolbox of nice rhythms and read Mr. Thomas' advices again. Oh, and do what Brahms and Händel did. Steal like a magpie in a drawer of silver cutlery. :)
 

Pieter

New Member
Messages
5
The very basic of composing is finding a nice tune that (usually) is not already in somebody else's composition. You really can't start composing by reading books. Composing is art of no rules, it's free as a bird... it knows no boundaries... (add clichés at will). Composing starts with an idea. Perhaps a nice little something that sounds nice or interesting or like something... Deciding to compose is like deciding to write a novel. Doable, but not likely to catch on if you don't have an idea for a plot.

If on the other hand, it's arranging you are looking for, then I suggest you read up on which key for different instruments. What range instruments can play, and if it's for ordinary people, what range is most commonly used on that particular instrument. Then arm yourself with a toolbox of nice rhythms and read Mr. Thomas' advices again. Oh, and do what Brahms and Händel did. Steal like a magpie in a drawer of silver cutlery. :)
I want to learn to write chords with proper voice leading and that will have sense of structure.

Hi Pieter, if you want to get into Jazz theory then " The Jazz Theory Book" by Mark Levine is a good place to start..

Chris
I already own that book and it's not what I'm looking for but thank anyway^^.
 

Andante cantabile

Senior Member
Messages
695
Harmony by Walter Piston might suit you, depending on what you intend to write. The edition I am familar with has more than 540 pages. It came out in about 1982. The publisher was Victor Gollancz.
 

Tenor Viol

Full of frets in North Shropshire
Subscriber
Messages
5,940
Harmony by Walter Piston might suit you, depending on what you intend to write. The edition I am familar with has more than 540 pages. It came out in about 1982. The publisher was Victor Gollancz.
I'm pretty sure that' still in print - I have a copy but admittedly I've probably had it 20 years.
 

kevgermany

ex Landrover Nut
Subscriber
Messages
21,947
You might look at books on orchestration, won't help with the composing, but will with the arranging.
 

saxnik

Member
Messages
381
I might get the Idiot's Guide... In order to further my own arranging I've been looking (not very hard) for Sammy Nestico's book 'The Complete Arranger' based on my appreciation for his work rather than any review. Since it seems to be about £80 new, I might try this, or the Idiot's Guide to Arranging and Orchestration, which is by the same author.

It is worth mentioning for thread browsers that the Amazon reviews for both Guides suggest that the title is indeed misleading, and you will need a fairly good handle on music theory before you can really get to grips with the content.

Nick
 

O.C.V.

Member
Messages
113
I remember seeing a book on composition by Bill Russo, but can't find it on line now. i recall it had loads of excercises to take you from complete beginner standard upwards. A good one, and very readable, on arranging, is Jazz Arranging by Norman David, published by Ardley House, New York. It has chapters on instrument properties and ranges,etc. and goes from simple two part harmony to full big-band instrumentation.
Hope this is helpful,
O.C.V.
 

Sweet Dreamer

Senior Member
Messages
505
I just chimed in to add my thumbs up to "Composing Music - A New Approach" by William Russo.

Composing Music



Lots of "Hands-on" exercises. It's basically a workbook, not so much a theory book. It's really good. You can actually compose whilst you're doing these exercises because that's what the exercises have you doing - composing. From scratch.

Chapters include:

1. The Cell, the Row, and Some Scales
2. Harmony (I)
3. Transformation
4. The Small Theme and the Large Theme
5. More Scales and the 12-tone Row
6. Isomelody and Isorhythmn, Combined
7. Ostinato
8. Accompaniment Procedures
9. Harmony (II)
10 . Counterpoint
11. Organum
12. Imitation: A Useful Game
13. Words and Music
14. Picture Music
15. Popular Music as a Source
16. Minimalism

Also Appendix A gives the ranges for a dozen or so instruments, including Soprano, Alto, Tenor, and Bari Saxophone. Violin, Trumpet, Piano, Cello, Double Bass, and a few other instruments.
 
Saxholder Pro

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