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UDemy tries to teach bigcat - Printable Version

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RE: UDemy tries to teach bigcat - bigcat1969 - 07-06-2017

Learning to shape the melody. Song completely morphed on me. Slooooow and tears in the meed sad. Solo Baroque violin.

RE: UDemy tries to teach bigcat - kneedeep - 07-06-2017

That is better. Phrases are recognizable now. Are you playing with a metronome on? Try having the metronome on and fitting the phrases to the rhythm.

Do a little more planning. Try to fit your little motifs or phrases to a certain amount of measures (bars).

It's easiest to do by creating, say, a midi track that is 8 measures long in your DAW. Switch on the metronome. Then fill these 8 bars with 4 phrases that are no longer than 2 bars each. You can count: One two three four, one two three four. That's two bars. Do that four times and you got 8 bars. Doing this creates a regular structure in the music and avoids the feeling that you're doodling. You can set your 8 bars to repeat and just try various things. But try to conform to this kind of structure where a section is made out of 4 parts. This will improve your phrasing.

If you did your 8 bars (you can do 16 or 32 as well) and you find the piece isn't long enough, do another 8 bars and vary it a little. And so forth.

You can find this type of structure (8 / 16 / 32 bar sections) in a lot of music. This also has to do with the entire A-B-A stuff. Here's a very short video explanation.

Keep it up!

RE: UDemy tries to teach bigcat - bigcat1969 - 07-07-2017

Thank you, Kneedeep.
I've tried to create a 4 bar phrase inside a 4 phrase melody (16 bar) inside an ABA (48 bar) type song. While keeping mostly to the beat especially the first beat of the bar.

RE: UDemy tries to teach bigcat - Samulis - 07-07-2017

Melody is all about direction- think about where it is going.

The quickest and easiest melodic tool is the 'Short-Short-Long' technique (think Beethoven's 5th, with the dun-dun-dun-duuun... dun-dun-dun-duuuuun... [then it elaborates in a longer format]). Two short melodic ideas, followed by a longer one that elaborates. You've already started to move towards this which is a great sign that your ear is in the right place (at least not on top of your nose)!

Think of the phrase like a wave- it starts small, swells and smashes through the climax, then falls back as the next phrase begins. With each phrase brings the opportunity for, like the tides, further advancement onto the beach. Add one instrument each phrase and you will find yourself at a full orchestra inside of two minutes- then either back down or shift to a new paradigm. Oldest and favorite trick in the book!

Form is the core of effective composition and is imho the most important thing to master to create good looping VGM. Start one way, then at some point switch to another, then switch back to the first- ABA is the simplest and easiest way to make an interesting piece and can always be extended either as rondo (<3) or another form to meet the needs of the work. - ABA, B @ 1:04 - ABA, B @ 0:36 - A1A2B1B2 (note the A2 and B2 is loud compared to A1 and A2- thus contrast between sections, particularly when back to back is key).

Check out the melodies in the new album thingy I did. These are all original 17th and 18th century English folk tunes performed live on a really expressive instrument. Listen to how the melodies flow and where they go. Heck, if you want to get good at writing and feeling good melodies, I would almost recommend going and finding either a recording of some Gregorian chants, madrigals, folk tunes, or joining a choir. Even if your singing voice is poor, it is excellent exposure to good melodies and phrasing.

The Ladies' Misfortune is really cool because the melody is basically two repetitions of the same scale pattern, then transposed, then an elaboration, then a variation, then another elaboration, then a variation... you get the picture. The same basic building block, varied and elaborated creates an entire piece! Smile

RE: UDemy tries to teach bigcat - bigcat1969 - 07-07-2017

Thanks Sam. some seriously good stuff for me to check out and contemplate.

I feel like I'm finally starting to understand the language of music a little, say at the 'See Spot Run' level. Its exciting and confusing.

RE: UDemy tries to teach bigcat - bigcat1969 - 07-07-2017

For the moment carrying on with this tune through the project though I am looking forward to writing some hopefully better melodies. This time the Instructor had us add a bassline. Very simple but it does add a bit of interest and rhythm I think.

RE: UDemy tries to teach bigcat - Samulis - 07-08-2017

Nice work! I'd recommend looking into doing more to quantize, or fit the notes of the melody to the beats in the measure.

Reminds me a bit of the chorus to "Hallelujah, I'm a Bum" with those quick descending notes near the end of the phrases-

BTW, here's what your song looks like notated out. I don't know if or how well you read notation, but take this as a visual way to see the form of the piece a bit clearer than a piano roll:

The first two lines are the A section, the next two the B section, and the last two are A2. A clear and standard ABA form, good job!

Here's what it sounds like if you quantize it (and don't just cheat and import my MIDI file! Tongue)-

In fact, it could be a nice little ragtime ditty! There is a lot of syncopation- not a bad thing, but sometimes it can mean things get lost for some people. At M.15 you have a cool thing called a 'Hemiola', which is a metric change where you have three groups of three beats together in the space of four groups of two beats (i.e. you have what "sounds like" three measures of 3/4). This is a very popular thing from early music and is somewhat rare today.

Overall you have a great start here and I don't think you should feel like it is bad or insufficient. Just keep tweaking on your own and look for ways to economize your writing (i.e. instead of writing new material as you go along, try using rhythms or scale patterns you've used before). Not only does this make writing go a lot faster, it also creates a better sense of continuity across the work- if Beethoven's 5th was just "through-composed", no one would remember it for the 'dun-dun-dun-duuuuuun'. Instead, Beethoven takes this four-note motif and one or two other ideas and just varies and elaborates the crap out of it for an entire movement and then some (the other movements are actually somewhat different but most people don't remember them because the first movement is so well known).

Just to show you a different way (no, NOT a better way, just a different way), here's a slight rearrangement I did. Basically I took away a bit of the syncopation so more cadences (the ends of phrases) fall on even beats and changed the B section so it repeats the main idea twice. I also modified the A section so instead of being "short-short-variation" it is now doing the 'short-short-long' concept I mentioned before.

The point is NOT that there is a right or a wrong, but that you always have license to go back and edit your work and seek new rhythms and ideas in it. Sometimes I tweak a melody half a dozen times while I am writing a piece before I am happy with where it is going.

RE: UDemy tries to teach bigcat - bigcat1969 - 07-08-2017

Wow thanks for doing all that work on it and all the comments / suggestions!
And for the alternate version that gives me something to study and compare.
Actually that also reminded me I have an earlier version of Notion, I bet I can print out scores with it.
Yes I can read music and piano play (sort of) at least melodies, I go really slow on trying to read when they add in harmony or 4 parts like the old hymns.
I see you have it as 2 bar phrases / 8 bar sections. I was using 4 bar phrase and 16 bar sections. I think the 2/8 works better than the 4/16. If I think in terms of 8 faster beats I think it makes the rhythm more coherent in my mind and the little melody bits easier to see.

RE: UDemy tries to teach bigcat - bigcat1969 - 07-09-2017

I was supposed to add chords next. Not quite sure of them as occasionally I got bored and went a bit wild.
This is Sam's arrangement of the melody, though I might have gotten something wrong putting in on the piano roll. For the second one I modified it a bit to allow for a bit of fake breathing from the fake singers singing 'Oooo', so they would sound slightly less like fake singers singing 'Oooo'.

Oh the B section is much nicer now, thanks Sam. I got kind of lost and wandered around there.

Oh one more from Blue... Cause I'm nuts and Blue likes Sam's work...

RE: UDemy tries to teach bigcat - bigcat1969 - 07-11-2017

When madness strikes OR The deranged piano student's revenge OR They said do something different and be creative OR It still sounds better than a bagpipe...