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  #1  
Old 01-08-2019, 06:23 PM
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Default I just had a terrible idea

What if I took some scales and actually tried to write a melody or two while staying within the restraints of the scale.

And then, in the tunings I like to use, DADGAD, CGCGCD and CGDGCD, see what scales make sense to use.

Up until this point I just use the peck and test method when developing my own melodies, (which isn't working out too well).

Do you compose within the scales or do you do it as I do, by ear? Answering my own question it's probably a combo of the two.
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Old 01-08-2019, 09:44 PM
DupleMeter DupleMeter is offline
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Yeah, Mozart had that terrible idea a lot during his lifetime...come to think of it so did Bach & Vivaldi. All very scalar guys.

I think that idea might be better than you realize...
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Old 01-08-2019, 09:52 PM
mr. beaumont mr. beaumont is offline
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I bet everything you composed by ear fits into a scale or two.
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Old 01-08-2019, 10:01 PM
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I think Barry is talking about only notes diatonic to the key. Bach, Mozart, Vivaldi all made use of chromatic notes.
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Old 01-09-2019, 12:34 AM
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Practically all folk tunes use only the notes of a major or minor diatonic scale, most simple pop tunes too. Practically any melody (ignoring certain 20th century classical music and some music of non-western cultures) fall within a scale. When it doesn't, it's one of two things: a chromatic passing note, or a modulation to another key (where's it's still in a scale, just a different scale in a different key). Slightly over-simplifying, perhaps, and ignoring a few more esoteric corner cases, but for the type of music I've heard you play, that seems close enough.

When I work with alternate tunings, I start by learning the chords in a diatonic key: find the I, IV, V of some key, then the ii, iii, vi chords. Find the notes of the scale in the same key, and you're off and running, either picking out melodies you know, or making up your own. I usually start in a new tuning by arranging an existing melody - Beatles tunes work well. It forces you to find the chords and notes, and prevents random noodling.
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Old 01-09-2019, 12:53 AM
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An example:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lHTMq-5B9Co




Or perhaps:


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=W20E_-S6U0c

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  #7  
Old 01-09-2019, 02:33 AM
kkrell kkrell is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TBman View Post
What if I took some scales and actually tried to write a melody or two while staying within the restraints of the scale.

And then, in the tunings I like to use, DADGAD, CGCGCD and CGDGCD, see what scales make sense to use.

Up until this point I just use the peck and test method when developing my own melodies, (which isn't working out too well).

Do you compose within the scales or do you do it as I do, by ear? Answering my own question it's probably a combo of the two.
You mean, like literally thousands of Irish traditional melodies?
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Old 01-09-2019, 05:02 AM
jim1960 jim1960 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TBman View Post
What if I took some scales and actually tried to write a melody or two while staying within the restraints of the scale.
I just gave a listen to the first two songs that came up for you on Soundcloud and you stayed within whatever key you were playing.

Quote:
Originally Posted by TBman View Post
And then, in the tunings I like to use, DADGAD, CGCGCD and CGDGCD, see what scales make sense to use.

Up until this point I just use the peck and test method when developing my own melodies, (which isn't working out too well).
You can make that determination fairly easily by finding the most common chords within the key. Those will usually be the I, IV, V and VIm. If you want the full gamut, for any key it's I-IIm-IIIm-IV-V-VIm-VIIdim. The notes in the chords will be notes in the key.

For example, if you're playing in the key of C major, the notes in the scale are CDEFGABC (no flats or sharps). Now look at the notes in each chord:
C - CEG
Dm - DFA
Em - EGB
F - FAC
G - GBD
Am - ACE
Bdim - BDF
(note: the V with often be a 7th chord)

It's pretty much the same for minor scales except we reorder it. The relative minor of C is Am, so we begin there:
Am - ACE
Bdim - BDF
C - CEG
Dm - DFA
Em - EGB
F - FAC
G - GBD

Notice the chords are all the same, it's just that we start on the VIm of the major scale. That becomes Im of the minor scale. Thus Im-IIdim-III-IVm-Vm-VI-VII.

Quote:
Originally Posted by TBman View Post
Do you compose within the scales or do you do it as I do, by ear? Answering my own question it's probably a combo of the two.
I suspect that you're actually staying within a key without realizing it. In your "hunt and peck" method, you hear good notes and sour notes. The sour notes are likely outside of the key.

I've kept this very basic but you'd really benefit from learning the Circle of Fifths. There are tons of videos on it.
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Old 01-09-2019, 09:17 AM
stanron stanron is offline
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There is a kind of compositional trap that can come as a result of using different tunings. You could call it composing with your fingers. What happens is your fingers fall into a shape that works in one tuning whilst actually playing in another. You can get an interesting and unexpected sound that can result in a composition. There's nothing actually wrong with this but I think that the possibilities are limited. Eventually it could all end up sounding the same.

A better compositional basis is to imagine sounds. Maybe start with something that comes from accidental fingering, and imagine the sound of what happens next. If you can do that you then have the problem of finding out how to play it on guitar, and that's not always easy. If you can do that you may well find that the notes you imagined are diatonic, or use the natural notes of the key/scale, or some notes might be chromatic.

Incidentally a knowledge of structure can help in composition. You might like to look at various compositions and try to identify bits like, 'small statement', 'answer', 'variation', 'resolution to chord V' and 'resolution to chord I'

You might find all of these in one verse or chorus of a tune or song. You should be able to find lots of examples of repeats, variations and resolutions.

My personal take is that you don't need to consciously limit yourself to to any specific set of notes. In fact a good exercise could be to deliberately play about introducing notes from outside the scale, and examining the effects these notes can have. Most people in the west today have grown up listening to music which largely obeys, and occasionally breaks a range of rules sets. When you start imagining music the imagined music will mostly follow the music you have heard all your life. You can trust your ears and your imagination.
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Old 01-10-2019, 02:27 PM
Guitars+gems Guitars+gems is offline
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Your not-so-terrible idea made me think of this:



Nice little lesson in composing from Rogers and Hammerstein.
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Old 01-10-2019, 07:10 PM
David Rock David Rock is offline
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Barry:

I'm not sure exactly what the "problem is". This tune is a great base or complete for that matter! It is tight, well thought out, communicates the message...What else could you ask for? Maybe a twist to move to another dimension...maybe. It stands alone just as it is.

Keep doing what you do. You have a lot to say and you say it well. It is all there, never back down.

I liked some of the responses in the post about paintings. Play on Play on.

I too like composing (at least as much as playing). It doesn't mean the composition ever reaches an audience, but I too find it an outlet for creativity. The truth is I find it easier to write what I want to say than to learn to play something someone else wants to say.

Be well!
D

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Old 01-10-2019, 09:28 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by David Rock View Post
Barry:

I'm not sure exactly what the "problem is". This tune is a great base or complete for that matter! It is tight, well thought out, communicates the message...What else could you ask for? Maybe a twist to move to another dimension...maybe. It stands alone just as it is.

Keep doing what you do. You have a lot to say and you say it well. It is all there, never back down.
Think he is referring to composing original music.
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Old 01-10-2019, 10:03 PM
Brent Hahn Brent Hahn is online now
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Well, to cite one example, DADGAD has neither pre-ordained "major-ness" nor "minor-ness," So in this paradigm, would F, F#, C, and C# all be melodic fair game? Or would none of them?
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Old 01-11-2019, 06:14 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by David Rock View Post
Barry:

I'm not sure exactly what the "problem is". This tune is a great base or complete for that matter! It is tight, well thought out, communicates the message...What else could you ask for? Maybe a twist to move to another dimension...maybe. It stands alone just as it is.

Keep doing what you do. You have a lot to say and you say it well. It is all there, never back down.

I liked some of the responses in the post about paintings. Play on Play on.

I too like composing (at least as much as playing). It doesn't mean the composition ever reaches an audience, but I too find it an outlet for creativity. The truth is I find it easier to write what I want to say than to learn to play something someone else wants to say.

Be well!
D

David,

Here's one that I wrote, it is in DADGAD:

Second Cup of Coffee:


On my Reverbnation page is more of my originals. Thanks for the feedback.

I'm nearly finished with another piece that I started last night. It was another "seat of the pants" composition without any thought to scales or key, just what sounded right for the moment of inspiration. I'm wondering if checking what I write against the scales to see where it lies may help in those times when I get stuck.
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Avalon L2-220C·Gibson J-45·Guild D-55·Guild D-120ce·Larrivee OM-05·Martin D-16GT

Alvarez AP66SB·Seagull Coastline Folk·Washburn D-10S,

Lucero LC-100 classical


Barry's tunes on ReverbNation


One of mine, "Twenty":


Last edited by TBman; 01-11-2019 at 06:19 AM.
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  #15  
Old 01-15-2019, 01:26 PM
washy21 washy21 is offline
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I’m desperate to write a nice melody as well.

I don’t tend to think in terms of scales but rather I think of chord tones because my brain just comprehends this way of thinking. Obviously you will most likely use scale tones but for some reason using scales makes my attempts sound like scales.

Personally, and I know it’s off topic, but I have been experimenting with using secondary dominants but I’m not sure how this would work within a DADGAD framework.
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