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The Complete Idiot's Guide to Music Composition (Idiot's Guides) Paperback – October 4, 2005
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Part 1 is entitled "Before You Start," and it describes different types of composition, and discusses the tools needed to start composing music.
Part 2 is entitled "Harmonic Composition," and discusses the art of composing music, chords-first. Also described is the creation of a harmonious chord progression, using both standard and extended chords, and using chord substitution to create more sophisticated compositions.
Part 3 is labeled "Melodic Composition," and introduces melody creation techniques, including scales and modes, structural tones, embellishments, rhythm, syncopation, melodic contour, flow, tension and release. Also discussed is fitting chords to a melody and reharmonizing existing chord progressions.
Part 4 is entitled "Developing the Composition," and gives instruction on transforming a composition from something basic to a substantial work. Short melodies are transformed into a full musical piece. The use of repetition, variation, and creating multiple-voice compositions is included.Read more ›
On the negative side, it often fails to explain things as well as it could. For example, while the book gives a basic explanation of atonality and minimalism, it doesn't really say much about how to really use these techniques. While development is discussed well, actually creating full-length pieces seems to have been glossed over and there is little information on how various musical forms like the sonata or concerto are actually structured (something I struggled with for a long time).
Overall, an excellent introduction, but not really a complete guide in any sense.
First, the book is very much focused on traditional composition techniques. That's the author's intention, and that's great for most people. However, if you're looking for a book that will help you understand the structure of modern (non-pop) music, there are probably better resources. (That said, if you have *no* background in composition, I think it is wise to read this book before trying to do unconventional things... as in, understand the rules before you break them). The author has little interest in electronica and non-diatonic compositions, so if you're looking to compose NIN- or Slayer-like stuff, then you won't be using many of the tools described in this book (though you will use some of them). There *is* a chapter on non-diatonic/chromatic composition, but the author treats these techniques primarily as a means of "spicing up" a traditional composition, rather than a separate approach to composition all together.
Second, the author's examples and approach assume that the reader has/plays the piano or keys. I am a guitarist, and while I understand that illustrating harmony/melody combinations or counterpoint, etc. is most easily done with the piano (assuming a single musician), it would be nice if the examples were chosen to be a little more generalizable. I also think one would have a very difficult time trying to work the examples in this book with any instrument that cannot play chords.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Good book like many Idiot Guide books are. Easy to read, simple yet thorough and helpful. Arrived quickly and in very good condition.Published 1 month ago by Henry
I read the whole book and I will say it won't make you write compositions like Beethoven, Bill Evans, Lennon or McCartney. I was disappointed. Read morePublished 1 month ago by Jason Sioco
A very good book for those with experience but this book is much too advanced for a beginner.Published 1 month ago by Megan D.
I found this book in my Univeristy bookstore one night, and am so happy I did. I've been teaching myself piano for the past year or so, and this book really helped me to not only... Read morePublished 6 months ago by Hsinger
Look's great, I'm still working on "Music Theory" from the same author.Published 10 months ago by Jeff Holland