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The Complete Idiot's Guide to Music Composition (Complete Idiot's Guides (Lifestyle Paperback)) Paperback – October 4, 2005
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About the Author
Michael Miller is the author of several books, including The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Music Theory, The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Playing Drums, The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Singing, and The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Music Composition. He has been using Cubase for a number of years. He used Cubase SX to record the audio CD included with the second edition of The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Playing Drums.
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In addition to this book, look into a software program named: EZ Keys- You can get it at Toontrack EZkeys Grand Piano. Or you can go over to sweetwater.com for a larger selection. I like the Vintage Upright Piano. It has that type of melodic hollow sound. Hey, with this program anyone can write all types of piano music, complete songs, no chopsticks piano tinkering licks here. I mean good sounding tunes even the most cynical of us can appreciate. It'll make you sound like a pro! Suddenly all those piano lessons we took during years ago will come back to you, make sense and even sound good. Even non musicians or non piano players can master this thing.That's right, in less than 30 minutes you'll be able to write tunes on the keyboard. An old friend told me about this software about a year ago. Of course you'll need:
1.Electronic Keyboard: To interface with the software
2.Audio Interface: (a few excellent brand names are-focusrite, behringer...
3.Additional plugs to connect all of this stuff together.
4.A pair of speaker-I like the black and green Mackies series.
5.A computer and screen monitor.
And just like that, boom, boom... Your're ready to go go!
It is an easy read and has tons of examples. There is no accompanying CD so if you cannot sight read, the examples probably won't help you. If this sounds like you, reading a basic music theory book beforehand would be a wise choice.
I'm about a few pages in and have learnt more now that I ever could watching youtube stuff. Just gotta sit down with a pencil and paper and construct chords.
As for theory, Michel Miller's book was extreamly usefull in helping me understand most basic principles, though a lot of principles concerned with art-music composition are better represented elsewere (classical harmony, counterpoint, etc.)
This observation is purely my own as this book is very thourough in introducing harmony and counterpoint that would benifit begining composers in the pop/rock/country/eccetra... idioms.
This is a great book and one that I re-read frequently. In my opinion, any one interested in music composition should read this book.
Miller writes in a nice, lucid style, and makes the process of composing seem quite do-able. I gravitated to creating the melody first and then harmonizing it, but Miller acknowledges that many people might prefer to start with a chord progression, and shows you how to compose in this way as well.
It's helpful to have trained one's ear (the Paul Harris books and Musicians' Institute publication are very good) and to have 2-3 years of playing under one's belt. By that time you've seen enough scores and done enough theory to be up and running after a perusal of this book. It's also a good idea to work through the exercises - I do mean to do start doing the exercises, but couldn't help writing up more than just 4-8 measures of a melody line.