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Composition for Computer Musicians Paperback – March 23, 2009

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Editorial Reviews


Introduction. 1: Getting the Most from your Setup. 2: Know Your Genre. 3: Rhythm and Drum Programming. 4: Bass Lines. 5: Writing Melodic Leads. 6: Creative Use of FX. 7: Writing for Strings and Pads. 8: Writing for Acoustic Instruments. 9: Writing Effective Riffs. 10: Arpeggiation as a Creative Tool. 11: Creative use of Sampling. 12: Creative use of Control Data. 13: Approaching Structure. 14: Layering Your Music. 15: Sequencing Your Music. 16: Percussion in Different Contexts. 17: Get the Atmosphere Right. 18: Mixing - Creative Use of Volume, Panning and EQ. 19: Mastering Your Track. 20: Getting Your Tracks Heard. 21: Developing a Portfolio. 22: Conclusion.

About the Author

Dr. Michael Hewitt was born in South Wales in the United Kingdom. He earned his bachelor of music degree at London University and a master's degree and doctorate at the University of Bangor, where he specialized in musical composition. He is a classically trained musician, a composer, a lecturer, and an author on musical subjects. Working to commission, he writes classical scores as well as soundtracks for various television productions, both at home and abroad. He is currently working as a music technology tutor at Coleg Harlech, North Wales.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 240 pages
  • Publisher: Artistpro; 1 edition (March 23, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1598638610
  • ISBN-13: 978-1598638615
  • Product Dimensions: 0.5 x 7.2 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (23 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #113,686 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Michael Hewitt is a composer, author and lecturer currently living in North Wales. He earned a bachelor of music degree from the University of London and a masters degree and doctorate from the University of North Wales, Bangor. He is author of numerous books on music including the very popular series of books for computer musicians. These include Music Theory, Composition and Harmony for Computer Musicians.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By B-RockSolid on May 7, 2010
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
If you're new to the world of composing music on computers, this is the book for you. It offers a gentle and very clearly written introduction to the world of computer music production. Taking you step by step on the different parts of the process to get a complete song or track.

A good book on basic music theory (such as his other book 'Music theory for computer musician's ) is a good addendum to this one, with both serving as a good introductory guide into the process of composing and producing music on the computer.

Michael's writing style is very clear and focused so it's easy to follow along with all the examples and information he provides. The CD accompaniment to the book further helps to clarify every example.

I definitely recommend this book to anybody who is keen on taking their music production skills to the next level.
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65 of 88 people found the following review helpful By Lunatique on February 17, 2010
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This book is helpful if you are a total novice in both computer music production and composition/arrangement, but if you're beyond novice level, you probably already known everything the book covers.

Be warned though--the author also did not do his due diligence on research when it comes to terminologies, and although this ultimately does not impact the lessons on composing, it does reflect the lack of professionalism and attention to detail. He called VST "Virtual Sythesizer Technology," when it's actually "Virtual Studio Technology." The guy has never heard of the Internet? It's the first thing that comes up when you search "VST." Any computer musician worth his salt knows this--it's really really basic stuff. He then refers to plugins as VST's. That is also incorrect. They are plugins using the VST format, and if anything VSTI would be better than VST, but only for virtual instruments and does not apply to effects plugins. I'm guessing this guy probably doesn't even hang around prominent sites for computer musicians like KVRAudio. He then also refers to DAW and Ableton Live separately saying both can host VST's, as if Ableton Live isn't a DAW. Does he even know what DAW stands for? It almost seems like he's only got a cursory understanding of all this technology and terminology, and then half-assed his way through the research when writing the book. Did he even have fellow computer musicians beta-read his manuscript before sending it off to the publisher? And was the editor asleep on the job? I know I seem more irritated by these seemingly trivial mistakes than I should be, but I'm tired of the lack of professionalism in the publishing world these days.

Although I'm coming down hard on the author for the lack of attention to detail and the substandard professionalism when it comes to thoroughness in research and editing, the instructional aspect of the book actually isn't bad, and if you are a total beginner, it can certainly be helpful to you.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Mark Dalrymple on December 29, 2013
Format: Paperback
I really want to like this book. Unfortunately the writing style is similar to a high schooler's term paper that's been padded with linguistic circumlocutions that fill space but don't contribute anything to meaning or understanding. There's an entire paragraph on ride cymbals that could be boiled down to once sentence. What text is there is vague, and often incomplete. Every (short) chapter ends with a summary which repeats what you've just read three minutes ago. You can easily boil this 200 page book down to half its length and not lose anything, which makes the $20 price tag kind of steep.

Compare this with Snoden's Dance Music Manual (which, along with this one, is in desperate need of a good editor) is three times the length, and is packed with information in a concise, easy to read writing style. Luckily this book was a gift. I don't plan on reading any of the others in the series.

The Author also makes a number of errors that should have been caught with a modicum of proofreading - such as the wrong expansion for numerous industry acronyms, but most hilariously terrible is the example rhythm from "Mars" is incorrect. Anyone who has been near that piece for any length of time has no excuse messing up the rhythm because it's hammered into your head bar after bar after bar. A simple google image search for "holst mars rhythm" shows the correct rhythm. That error is emblematic of the entire book.
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28 of 38 people found the following review helpful By Sisstor on January 13, 2010
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I was really disappointed with the book. There are some basic rhythm and harmony information, but it is very sparse. If you want to learn about rhythms or harmony, a more focused book should be sought, and not the bundle of weak summaries this book provides. Some of the advice about effects is so generic and grossly oversimplified that it won't help you at all. After looking through the book it went straight to the local used bookstore.

If you want a beginners guide to electronic dance music production, I would recommend the Rick Snoman guide, "Dance Music Manual: 2nd Edition."
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By David on October 26, 2014
Format: Paperback
Despite the quite critical reviews on this book, I've found a fantastic wealth of knowledge in this book. I'd recommend it to any and every producer that has been in the field for 18 months or less, and have a basic understanding of music theory, rhythm, and general understanding of music production.

This book is not aimed to teach you the fundamentals of music and basic concepts, but it does a pretty good job at it anyways. I've found that this book tremendously improved my workflow when approaching a song from scratch. If you have trouble trying to create and structure a full song, then this is the book for you. It will guide you through how to create a drum track, bassline, melody, chord progressions, and how these tracks can work together harmonically. It also gives a great rundown on describing and using FX. I'm much more confident in how I approach a song first, rather than playing around with samples/loops, drum patterns, and chord progressions until something sounds good and fits.

I have very little issues with this book, but nonetheless I should address anyways. Some terminology is not used 100% properly, and even though it will not impede or confuse you, it is worth taking with a grain of salt. As well, this book is slightly more centered towards "EDM" rather than Hip Hop and Rock music, but those genres are still mentioned throughout the book. On the contrary, if you produce "EDM" then all the better for you.

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