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I want to write music, yet I don't know any notes...suggestions?

Discussion in 'Musicians Discussion' started by shinderhizzle84, Sep 27, 2009.

  1. kkfootee

    kkfootee Hvorfor ikke

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    If you don't want to take classes (or do not have the time for them) then you'll have to experiment... which does not mean the outcome will be the one you desire.

    I believe that studying music formally helps a lot (it gives you the bricks with which to build the tower), and that the younger these studies start the better. Another important part is talent and predisposition. Some people are naturally gifted. Maybe you are, so give it a try.

    I have studied music formally since I was a child (flute, piano), but I lack talent for songwriting, so my "bricks" can only be used to badly reproduce what others have built. Sorry for the easy metaphor and good luck.
     
  2. KevTallica

    KevTallica [Hydrakus]

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    Well the way me and my band write music is no where near as complicated as anyone thinks writing music is. All we do is lay down a riff, and if we like it, we put it in the song, then we come up with the next riff, and next riff, and so on and so forth. You would think though that that approach woul yield really crappy sounding stuff, but after you lay all the riffs together in the sequence you want, you just add interludes, transitions, solos, breakdowns, whatever the fuck you want...It really can have nothing to do, consciously, with musical notation or structure... Looking back on the songs we've created, we've noticed that with this approach we have a really diverse sound, and diverse in a good way. Really if you wanna make a damn song then you just play how you like to play, play something improvised, random, if you like it, commit it to memory and use it in songs. It's realy that simple. Now if you know scales and notes and everything, that's great, but for musical creativity it really, i think, hinders a lot of things. With that knowledge comes the stereotypical thinking of how the scales and notes are SUPPOSED to be played and in what order. If you have no knowledge of such structures, then what comes out is what you have inside you, not what's SUPPOSED to come out... I hope you know what I'm saying cuz this is the best way I can describe it.... Sorry the reply's so long, I hope you got something out of it.
     
  3. BlackMetalWhiteGuy

    BlackMetalWhiteGuy Manly Man!

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    I've heard the argument that knowing theory hinders creativity many times, but I disagree. Music theory doesn't oblige one to write a certain way, it's just a collection of acquired knowledge about what tends to work and possibly why it works. I'd encourage others to learn because if you're on a roll and don't need to refer back to your music learnings to make something sound good, you don't have to. On the contrary though, if you're really stuck and can't figure out how to reproduce what is in your head, it would certainly be beneficial to have some knowledge of theory to fall back on.
     
  4. shinderhizzle84

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    wow! Take a break from civilization to write a paper and look what happens to your thread!!!

    Anyways, yeah, buying any guitar, really, is not a financial option. It may be in the future, but that future would be a great length away.

    There's a piano in my dorm, but it's probably much, much harder to teach myself piano than it would be to teach myself how to play guitar.

    I really want to learn how to play guitar. I went over to my buddy's house, and he's just gotten a guitar for his 18th birthday. He's only like, 6 or 7 weeks in of teaching himself, and he can already play some really cool stuff, like the opening to "Crazy Train" and "Walk" by Pantera. The intro to "Down With the Sickness". None of those are obviously the song style I'm looking to write, but it was fun just jamming with him.

    With me using guitar pro and him playing the notes on his guitar, we managed to create some really cool riffs, using lots of power chords. Only he doesn't know what a "key" is, so we kept on going in and out of different ones, and refused to believe me when I told him that having 5 beats in one measure was too many, leading to some minor frustrations.

    I'm kind of glad I have about 3 years or so of intense drum lessons--my teacher taught me how to read the majority of beats, and while I forget most things, the basics of measure structure and stuff is still nailed up in my brain.

    Thanks to everyone who's helped!
     
  5. shinderhizzle84

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    Also, just for fun, I've been looking up different tabs of the songs that I like, but I'm talking about online tabs, NOT Guitar Pro files. Then, I begin to type the tabs into guitar pro, but fiddle around with them a bit, and try to create my own riff that is slightly based off of these other songs.

    My only problem is that I don't know where to place quarter notes, or eight notes, or anything. I googled how to read tablature, but every single article focused on the numbers, which meant the frets, and NOT how to judge which note had which duration.

    Any help with that one?

    Thanks!
     
  6. wandering_taco

    wandering_taco Minstrel of Woe

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    you could download powertab, that shows all the note durations and stuff for the songs you download on it.
     
  7. Lateralus14

    Lateralus14 New Metal Member

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    You know you can get a guitar really really cheap if it's acoustic right?
     
  8. BlackMetalWhiteGuy

    BlackMetalWhiteGuy Manly Man!

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    Actually, five beats per measure isn't too many, it's just unconventional. If you listen to jazz and technical / progressive metal, you'll hear a lot of rhythms that fall outside of the conventional 4/4 and 3/4. In fact, a lot of ethnic music does this too. Most people who grow up with exposure exclusively to Western music are pretty much conditioned to really only comprehend rhythms in 4/4 and 3/4, just like we're conditioned to hear only the twelve notes of the chromatic scale. Consequently, anything outside of these conventions just sounds irrythmic and atonal to our ears, but you can train yourself to "hear" different musical styles with enough experience.

    As a drummer though, I would guess that breaking out of the standard 4/4, 3/4 mentality would be a bit more difficult, because you've already committed more than just your ears to musical interpretation. Once you manage to break through the bias in your muscle memory though, I think you'll find that you can create some really nifty stuff in alternative beat measurements.
    Tabs are written with the expectation that anyone who downloads them has already heard the song and will be able to "feel" the rhythm provided that they already have the correct notes. With a guitar in your hands, it's pretty easy, but really the only way that you'll figure out how to translate tabs in text into musical tab files is experience.
     
  9. shinderhizzle84

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    lateralus14 --

    Cheap is a very casual word. What's cheap for some may be expensive for others.

    If there's a new guitar for 10-20 bucks, I'd buy it. I realize there's no such thing, which is why I'm mentioning it...any more expensive than that, and I pretty much can't afford it. Nor do I have the time to learn guitar.

    Blackmetalwhiteguy, I shouldn't have said that it's impossible...I know songs that have 5 beats in one measure, for sure, but the way that he played it, it was incredibly weird, and just didn't go at all.

    About the tabs, it's interesting you say that, because one of the songs i was trying to do this with was one of my favorite all time songs, yet I still had an unbelievably hard time figuring out which were dotted, or which were half notes, or whole notes, and so on and so forth. Quite frustrating, especially seeing as I listen to this song quite a bit.
     
  10. Lateralus14

    Lateralus14 New Metal Member

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    My friend is learning guitar on a guitar he got for 25 bucks.
     
  11. BlackMetalWhiteGuy

    BlackMetalWhiteGuy Manly Man!

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    In that case, the tab could just be wrong. It happens :erk:
     
  12. shinderhizzle84

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    I know, but it's like I said back in my last post. Even if I did have a guitar, there's no way in hell I'd have enough free time to play it.

    Trust me when I say that I really, really do want to learn how to play guitar. That'd be like, a dream come true for me. Writing songs has quickly gone from a simple hobby to a semi-passion for me. I really enjoy it, and I usually convert the better ones into mp3 files for me to put on my zune (yes, I have a zune, and I freaking love it :D)

    I used to play guitar when I was like, 11, but I only played for about 6 months before deciding I just wanted to stick with the drums, which I had been playing for about 2 years at that point. I now wish I had made the opposite choice, but I guess there's a lesson learned in that.

    Maybe I'll get a cheap guitar this summer, and work my way up through fancier and fancier equipment more and more.

    By the way, what do you guys find as a good inspiration for highly melodic melodies? I heard somewhere that a lot of melodeath bands, like Kalmah and Eternal Tears of Sorrow, listen to Yngwie Malmsteen, but I don't know too much about his massive collection of songs, and wouldn't know where to start.
     
  13. waif

    waif Member

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    Avoid gay wankery, please. If you want some neoclassical bullshit, at least go straight to the source (I.E. actual classical music). Also, the better melodic death metal bands tend to get a lot of their stuff from folk music, but they tone down the folkiness so that they don't sound as gay as Einsiferum. I'm talking here about stuff like In Flames - The Jester Race and Dark Tranquility - Skydancer.

    As for myself, I find that my favorite melodies tend to be rhythmically interesting rather than a steady stream of notes. I'll generally futz around until I find a rhythm I like, then come up with the melody in my head. Then I'll try to find it on the guitar. This last part is actually quite difficult due to my lack of theory and being tone deaf, but I'm getting better.

    Also, if you're a college student who's into music you must have a friend who plays guitar (don't try to deny it). See if you can get him to teach you (use the time you set aside for futzing with GP for this). I know some people who started learning in Guitar Center before purchasing guitars. In the mean time, save up your beer money or whatever till you can get a cheap secondhand Ibanez. Or you could sell the Zune; that'll get you a guitar and an amp, albeit pretty shite.
     
  14. shinderhizzle84

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    hehe, thanks for the quick reply, Inflames.

    I've been considering listening to some classical music for writing purposes, but I have no idea which composers and which symphonies to start with. Anybody have any suggestions?

    Also, I'm a huge fan of Ensiferum, so I'll listen to them even MORE now to get some good melodies :D Btw, I'm not angry about the tiny jab. You're helping, so it's all good :loco:

    I don't have beer money because I don't drink, and I don't want to sell my zune because that's my number one source of inspiration--listening to music.

    I have ANOTHER friend two floors above me in dorms who plays guitar, and we were considering creating a band with me on vocals, but he's into very different stuff. I'm talking like, no melodies, insane ass technical death and prog death...just face melting stuff with no melodies. Like The Faceless or Necrophagist and stuff. It's hard for me to dig that stuff, and even harder to make a band with that style when we're still pretty new to our respective "instruments".

    I'll probably end up buying a cheap guitar one day. Where did whoever's friend get their $25 guitar? Do you think they'd have something like that at Guitar Center?

    The only problem is that he's still somewhat of a beginner,
     
  15. Ator

    Ator big damn hero

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    I wouldn't consider classical music a good influence if your just learning to play/write music. It's harmonic richness and emotional tempestuousness really doesn't translate well to most heavy metal, or any other form of popular music."neoclasscial" metal usually just employs the melodic mannerisms of fast baroque music(which does sound awesome)but doesn't have the emotional richness/harmonic complexity of other classical. But I find heavy metal(and popular music) of all types usually goes for one type of emotional response, and the very best achieves it with integrity, consistency, and general badassness. Consider amon amarth; harmonically and melodically simple, but built for maximum impact-probably one of my favorite metal bands because they consistently put you into a kind of viking warrior emotional state.

    I would definitely listen to classical, but I don't think it will be very translatable. As for suggestions, I've gotten recs form knowlegable folk who knew I liked metal,but still missed the mark. I would just listen to classical radio and pay attention to which composers you like (I would personally recommend Moussorgsky). There's plenty of stuff that despite its complexity lacks impact and just sorts of plods along, and other stuff that will just surprise you (Webern, in a good way). Something will have emotional resonance. Keep a heads up around your university-I've just started and I'm finding its easier/cheaper to see classical concerts than Heavy metal ones.

    In terms of melodic influence, I would def have to agree w/ WAIF. Swedish melodeth is a good place to go if your looking for melodically pleasing, but metal, music. Early at the gates and Dt is probably the most complex in terms of their harmonic approach and structures. Early In flames is also amazing.

    Ensiferum has a kind of bouncy folk reel approach that I personally find lacking, but if you like it, check out other folk bands like Korpilklanni, etc, and trad folk music, reels and such. I tend to prefer melancholy in all my music, so I would prefer to guide you to different sorts of folk metal and folk, but that just personal taste.

    I wold also familiarize yourself with the piano in your dorm, from a theory standpoint, its the most visually straightforward.

    good luck! and sorry for the long post.
     
  16. shinderhizzle84

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    Thanks, Ator! That was most certainly a very helpful post.

    There's a pretty good classical station that my mom used to listen to a lot...maybe I'll give her a call and find out what it was. As for that one composer you listed, I'll check him out.

    I don't like Amon Amarth that much--at all, actually. I've only heard a few tracks from a few of their albums, but they're more of a deeper band. While I don't mind deep, I generally prefer those great, uplifting, or even sad melodies that come in plenty with bands like kalmah and the earlier work of CoB.

    I've only heard one At the Gates song, Blinded by Fear (of course, it's quite possibly their most popular song). I'm sure there's a ton more to listen to, I'll have to do some googling. As for DT, I actually love Dark Tranquillity. Me and a few friends collectively own all of their albums, although I love their newer stuff more than their older stuff. I don't know why, but I've always liked their newer stuff, IE Character and Fiction and the like, much more than their older work, even The Gallery. I like the track Punish My Heaven, but other than that, I really don't understand why The Gallery is considered their best album by many. It may by musically and lyrically complex, but the overall sound itself, to me, at least, is not that pleasing.

    And about the piano, I'd love to do so, but you need to "book it" for a 1-2 hr session, and there's usually a 1-3 week wait....meaning it's virtually impossible to play the piano enough that I'd get even remotely good at it. I'd rather pick up a $25 guitar.

    Thanks for everything guys, and most certainly keep the advice coming!
     
  17. waif

    waif Member

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    The Gallery is an amazing album, perfect in every way. You should cut yourself now.

    Aside from that, I don't see how Amon Amarth aren't uplifting. With Oden On Our Side? Twilight of the Thunder God?

    The first two full-lengths from AtG are very dark and raw, I doubt you'd like them. Slaughter of the Soul isn't particularly cheerful either. Maybe you should listen to some power metal or something.

    A cheap keyboard will go further than a cheap guitar.

    Do you live in Tennessee?
    http://cgi.ebay.com/Yamaha-YPG-625-...ewItemQQptZKeyboards_MIDI?hash=item1c0d2036bd

    You mentioned you play drums and do vocals. I suggest you focus on one of those as your role within a band and use a keyboard for composition.
     
  18. BlackMetalWhiteGuy

    BlackMetalWhiteGuy Manly Man!

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    As someone mentioned earlier, folk music will probably be more influential than classical music, based on the bands that you're into. I'm really not familiar with much Western folk music though, so here's some of my favorite Eastern music.

    Sai Ma "Horse Racing" - Chinese Folk Song

    A friend of mine plays the erhu (Chinese violin) very well and loves to perform this song, but my only videos of her are on facebook, which for some reason I can't access at the moment. It's a very popular song and there are many arrangments of it. I picked this one because it's a solo version, which is how folk music is traditionally performed. It's also the closest to the way my friend plays it, although I still prefer it my friend's way ;)



    Czardasz - Gypsy Folk Song

    I downloaded this album a while ago and liked these next two songs.



    Szombathely Jiga - Gypsy Folk Song

    To my ears, this sounds a lot like a non-metal version of Kalmah.

     
    #38 BlackMetalWhiteGuy, Oct 11, 2009
    Last edited by a moderator: Nov 20, 2015
  19. BlackMetalWhiteGuy

    BlackMetalWhiteGuy Manly Man!

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    I guess I might as well post some classical pieces as well, but I figure it's appropriate to make a separate post for them.

    Mussorgsky - Night On Bald Mountain

    Very dark, scary piece. This is the version of the song featured in Walt Disney's "Fantasia."



    Dvorak - Symphony No. 9, 4th Movement

    I recommend listening to the other movements too, if you have the time. I chose this specific movement for reasons that will become clear in the next video.



    Rhapsody - The Wizard's Last Rhymes

    [youtube]6ZN1xw-HlI8&[/youtube]

    Wagner - Ride of the Valkyries

    Another classical piece that you would expect a power metal band to rip off, but this one is probably even too cliché.



    Ponchielli - Dance of the Hours

    Another piece featured in Walt Disney's "Fantasia." Skip to around the eight minute mark for the exciting part.

     
    #39 BlackMetalWhiteGuy, Oct 11, 2009
    Last edited by a moderator: Nov 20, 2015
  20. shinderhizzle84

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    We are in flames, I may buy a cheap keyboard. I've always felt that keyboard can really make a great melodeath band. DT, CoB, Kalmah--they all use the keyboard unbelievably.

    I'm not really a drummer anymore. I haven't been in a set for a good 5 or 6 years, so naturally, I've lost almost all of my coordination. I remember a little tiny bit of music structure, because it was taught to me by a very memorable teacher, but that's about it.

    And the thing about Amon Amarth is that I've only heard a few of their songs. I'll have to check those ones out.

    I'll definitely be listening to the tracks that have been posted so far, so thanks for them.

    And no, I don't live in Tennesee. As of now I'm in downtown NYC :headbang:

    Except not really :headbang:

    More like...:Smokin: or :zombie:

    :p
     

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