Writing music

So a friend of mine contacted me and I found that I gave some pretty good advice that really should be shared with everyone.

I've written lots of music from classical to folk to 12 tone and I've also utilized many different ways to write. Sometimes (and most often for me) the music writes itself. You just become a channel on the radio of the universe. Other times I have a motive (the beginning notes to a melody that make the song recongizable) or a whole melody. It is certainly easier to write a piece of music by thinking of the chord progression first. However, you have to follow the rules if you don't play it and listen for intersting intervals from each chord change. So once the chord progression is organized, one can begin to make a melody by taking the notes of the chord and using those first. Then add shorter notes that are not found in the chord, like passing tones (notes that pass from one chord tone to another), neighboring tones (notes that go up or down but then return back to the original note: Bach is notorious for these in the Brandenburg Concertos), and appogaturas (oops. Forgot how to spell that one but those are notes that skip away from the original and can be a chord tone or not, then they step away). Basically that builds a skeleton of the song.
Then it's like editing a rough draft of a paper. You play and decide if anything should stay or go and the song begins to take meaning.

Then my friend explained that his song seemed to always feel like he was writing the same song over & over again with boring & cliche motives & confining progressions that didnt excite him anymore. Well. I can certainly relate. I explained that never should a song be judged because of simplicity or repetition. Even the greatest composers have a re-occuring style that can be found in each piece that they write. You and I are no different. It is much the same as trying to vary our thumbprint each time we touch something. That's impossible. Besides our thumbprints are a mark of who we are. So allow yourself to come through in your music.
Also, unless you are on a time crunch, music should be thought of as a child. You have to spend time with it to help it grow. It may not be completed by the end of the week or month. It may take a year or more. If you listen, than the music will tell you when it is done.

Anyone can write music that's whats so great about it ). Music is the language of the universe. In fact, if you think of noise as music (which I do) then music is the language of the universe and all things. I found out today that the planet Jupiter emitts audible radio waves. I think it is our way of being, of existing as a human an participant of the universe! How can we not have the ability to write? We can talk can't we?

So I'll leave you with two quotes.

"If you can talk, you can sing. If you have feet, you can dance" an african proverb


"Music is an extension of the soul. Just like the arm is an extention of the body. It's just another way of saying, "I exist" me

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