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Music Composition For Dummies Kindle Edition

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Length: 360 pages

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From the Back Cover

Creative exercises build your composing skills

The fun and easy way to turn the tune in your head into a full-fledged composition!

Wish you could write music? You can! This friendly guide gives you everything you need to start composing, from choosing the right rhythm and tempo to writing with chords and melody to expressing your musical ideas through instruments and voices. You'll see how to create popular songs, classically structured pieces, and even film, TV, or video game soundtracks!

Discover how to:

  • Master chord progressions

  • Harmonize with melody

  • Select the right instruments

  • Write for multiple voices

  • Compose electronic music

  • Make a demo recording

About the Author

Scott Jarrett is a musician and producer who has worked with numerous artists, including Willie Nelson, Fiona Flanagan, Mary Klueh, and Keith Jarrett. He has served as music director for many live theatrical productions including the Broadway production of The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas. He currently runs Monkey House recording studio in Hudson, Wisconsin. He has released two original albums, Without Rhyme or Reason and The Gift of Thirst. He has taught music theory, composition, production, and/or recording at the Full Sail Center for the Recording Arts in Orlando, The Acting Conservatory in Nashville, and McNally-Smith School of Music in St. Paul, Minnesota.

Holly Day is a music journalist whose articles have appeared in publications all over the world, including Computer Music Journal, ROCKRGRL, Music Alive!, Guitar One, and Mixdown magazines. Her writing has received an Isaac Asimov Award, a National Magazine Award, and two Midwest Writer’s Grants. She is co-author of Music Theory For Dummies (Wiley).


Product Details

  • File Size: 2639 KB
  • Print Length: 360 pages
  • Publisher: For Dummies; 1 edition (February 11, 2008)
  • Publication Date: June 17, 2008
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B001B8NW8C
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Lending: Enabled
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Not Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #188,262 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

62 of 65 people found the following review helpful By T. W. Day on May 12, 2008
Format: Paperback
Music Composition for Dummies is much more than a basic music theory book or a collection of musical ideas. Most folks who have enough theory behind them to be able to create music could use a little help in finding inspiration, techniques, and background to implement their creations. This book focuses on that aspect of composition. The authors' style of composition is not forced on the reader, but a variety of techniques and resources are offered which will assist you in finding your voice and enhancing your creativity.

As a long-suffering play-by-ear guitarist, the section on scales and modes was especially helpful. When I have used scales other than the few I am comfortable with, I tend to sound like I'm simply running the scale. The exercises in this section helped me find melodies in those scales and made the "Circle of Fifths" into more of a tool than a mystical phrase often used, but rarely comprehended. The section titled "Finding Melody in Your Instrument" was particularly useful in helping me break old habits in chord progressions and intervals. Chapter 9, "Harmonizing with Melodies," added even more to that pallet.

I doubt that I'll ever writing anything worthy of actual orchestration, but the section on "Composing for the Standard Orchestra" gave me insight into writing for instruments that I rarely experience outside of others' recordings. I usually use synthesizers for my orchestral instruments, but the formal background provided by this chapter enhances my ability to use those artificial instruments in a more natural setting.

There is a lot of practical information about writing for a variety of markets, from commercial jingles to orchestras.
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15 of 17 people found the following review helpful By Robert E. Bassman on May 16, 2010
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Music Composition for Dummies includes the complete gambit of Music Theory basics, plus gives you ideas
where to look for composition ideas. That's what I was looking for. I have the theory aleady, but I
needed help with where to look for composition ideas. Finding Melody in Language, Finding Melody in the world
aroung you, helping your muse help you. Excellent material.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By John A Lee III on May 13, 2014
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I’m not sure what I expected. Perhaps I was looking for more of the nuts and bolts of music theory along with the “magic formula” to make me into a “composer”. There is a little of that in this book. Some rudiments of music theory are covered but a real foundation would be more helpful… as is freely admitted by the authors of this book.

Perhaps I was seeking to demystify the essentially mysterious (for me) artistic endeavor of composing music. The authors go a little in this direction also, speaking of sources of inspiration and providing little tidbits such as “Finding Melodies Where You Least Expect Them.”

I was certainly expecting information and “rules of thumb” for the use of chords, tempo progression and the other tools of the trade. That’s definitely in the book and probably the most valuable part for me.

Also present is a plethora of information that is only indirectly associate with composition but would be important for a person seeking to make a living in composition. This includes advice on how to solicit venues for performance, copyrights, working with agents, how to produce a “demo” and other such topics.

After reading cover to cover, I am no more a composer now than I was when I began. I didn’t really expect the book to provide talent where talent is lacking. I understand a bit more about the process of composition and have learned something of how music theory is applied to composition. For that, I am satisfied. The book was not what I expected but I learned something and that is always worthwhile to me.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By sparky_magic_rainbow on March 29, 2013
Format: Paperback
I have mixed feelings about this book. It's repetitive and tends to gloss
over important concepts like passing notes and grace notes. OTOH there are
terrific explanations for standard and non-standard orchestral arrangements
as well as a concise range charts for every instrument. The appendix contains
handy charts of all 7 Greek modes for all major and minor scales. There's also
a chart of all chord triads and sevenths for all notes on the scale.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Alan S. Mathias on December 29, 2012
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Regardless if you think this book is too much from a "classical" musician's perspective; it is a thorough discussion of all the fundamentals to consider in composition, no matter what genre you are interested in. Having years of experience in performance as well as theory, etc. I purchased this book just for that thorough discussion.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Elio Andres on March 16, 2012
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
It's a good book, very helpful with it's broad aproach on issues concerning music writing. The text provides a general vision on melody, harmony, composing and so on. I think a basic knowledge of theory is required, to be more useful.
Light and easy reading.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Johnny on January 24, 2013
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I've purchased this book as I'm a Music Composition Beginner. Book is easy to read and very helpfull for any beginner.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Joe Pace III on January 6, 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Gaps in info and makes too many assumptions by over-looking steps leading to point being made, as if the student is familiar with certain parts of what is being discussed, which may or may not be the case.
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