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Old 12-19-2018, 10:19 AM
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Default Finger style tune structure

I'm getting back into writing again and I had the idea of making up a couple of tune formats to follow as in

Sections:
A1 B1 A2 B2 C
Or
Intro A B A C B ending (modified intro)

Or something similar to both of the above.

I have a habit of writing things that are too short and thought this would be a good way to fill out my ideas.

Does anyone else follow guidelines like this? What's your method of composing?
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Old 12-19-2018, 10:44 AM
Chipotle Chipotle is offline
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Totally depends on the song. I'm not sure any two of mine have the same structure. And you can make any structure be not as repetitive by having a section with the same basic form but a few embellishments or changes.

I have tunes as simple as A B A B A(slow) B(with a few added measures).

Another song I play (not mine) is just A B C, but has five sections of that, so the whole song is about 7 minutes long!

Both the formats you follow certainly can work. I find I don't try to follow a formula, although often I get a verse/chorus combination and think, "Okay, need a bridge" and find a place to stick it. But I don't always try to make things longer just to make them longer.
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Old 12-19-2018, 11:35 AM
RodB RodB is offline
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Another good way to get some length is to just repeat A at least once before moving on with / without variation and perhaps do the same with B. This is common in classic rags where there is a return to A before further development as C and sometimes either a return to A or even a D.
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Old 12-19-2018, 12:45 PM
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Various composition structures. Perhaps with a good melody on top (say "Freight Train") just an AAA will do as a vocal, or a short time as an instrumental, but some A' and A" variation required before long.

Also use some chord progression(s) and variations thereof. Generally move beyond some small phase and running with it over and over (ahem, as in DADGAD sitting the F# chord forever). Baseball analogy: get yourself off home plate, hit first, second and third bases, then score when coming home again.

I generally like setting up tension and release (especially emotionally effective in minor keys), getting higher up the fretboard now and then, single note lines (anything to get away from pure pattern picking all the way thru the piece).

Everything you listen to, especially things you like the most, analyze what the composition structure and elements is and are, and then don't be bashful about incorporation into your own compositions.
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Old 12-19-2018, 01:13 PM
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I've rarely followed any structure for guitar pieces, just composed what came naturally based on an idea, emotion, vision, inspiration, etc. There is, of course, structure, but it is an organic element of the creative process, not a template. Mine is not a very pragmatic, disciplined, or productive approach (I use that more for songs, not guitar pieces).

I will say that, like you, many of my guitar pieces were/are short, although some are quite long. I have on occasion also melded separate pieces into a single piece (not a medley) with satisfying results--these can be very interesting and even inspire new, additional parts.
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Old 12-19-2018, 04:42 PM
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Interesting ideas, thanks everyone!
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Old 12-19-2018, 05:59 PM
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Structure is an interesting subject. You may or may not know that each A, B and C part can have it's own internal structure worth investigating.

As an example there is a folk tune called The Soldier's Joy.

You can find the ABC and notation of this tune at the Session web site

https://thesession.org/tunes/1356

This has an A A B B structure. If you look at the A part this has a slightly different internal structure.

There is an initial two bar motif. Then there is a two bar answer or variation where the first bar is the same as the first bar of the original motif and the second bar is different. Then the original motif is repeated with a very small variation which leads into the last two bars which can bee seen as a resolution or ending.

The B part of the tune has exactly the same internal structure.

You could call the original motif A, The variation or response B and the resolution C and the internal structure of both halves of the tune would be A B A C.

In the larger structural view the resolutions, or endings of both A and B parts are the same. This acts like a kind of glue that links both parts together and is a compositional tool worth noting.

There is no law that says that internal structure must or must not echo the larger structural format. However being aware of structure on different scales within a piece can be helpful.
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Old 12-19-2018, 09:19 PM
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I think it was TE who once said (paraphrasing here), "say what you need to say and then get out"! This was in relation to his own instrumentals, I believe, but certainly directed outward to others too.

In my pieces there seem to be A and B sections.....often C sections and a tendency to return to A sections to finish...not always. But, I work off of emotion, "feel", humming the melody, some of my wife's feedback, a little theory, "hunt and peck" and sometimes just mindlessness in letting my fingers "go" to see how things evolve into a B or C section. If I have an A section that I like, I might play that over and over and over again for many days of practice, until the sum total of that night, that moment, that mood takes me to the next portion that's something I like. That's the case with my most recent piece, "Travelin' Steps" for the B section. One night I just "did" that section, spontaneously without even thinking about it......but of course there actually WAS a lot of thought and time which helped it pop. I think what matters is that after lots of years, I have confidence that this will evolve with time and patience and stay at it.

Other factors........there are times when I change things up and repeat the melody from the treble strings and move them to the mids or the bass strings as a way to mix things up. Joe Charter (Mau) did this a lot in his songs and I picked up on that.
I always try to slightly alter the ending A section with some tension/ resolve which may not have occurred in the initial A section. I am however, not bound to end with the A section each time.....just depends.

I run stuff by my wife who can be brutal! She doesn't play music, and so her ear is in a different place and "wants" to hear certain things....might be a longer section, might be an inconsistency with part A and B that doesn't go together .......but this is helpful feedback which also sets things in motion for me. Also, she's great at naming tunes and often she'll name something which is in the works and that title will assist in composing more to that title.

Hope this helps, Barry! You've been producing some nice stuff recently!
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  #9  
Old 12-19-2018, 09:54 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rick-slo View Post
.....Generally move beyond some small phase and running with it over and over (ahem, as in DADGAD sitting the F# chord forever)......
Probably why my stuff gets 14 likes on Facebook and the kid who just started playing 6 months ago and strums gets 100+

Quote:
Originally Posted by islandguitar View Post
I think it was TE who once said (paraphrasing here), "say what you need to say and then get out"! This was in relation to his own instrumentals, I believe, but certainly directed outward to others too.

In my pieces there seem to be A and B sections.....often C sections and a tendency to return to A sections to finish...not always. But, I work off of emotion, "feel", humming the melody, some of my wife's feedback, a little theory, "hunt and peck" and sometimes just mindlessness in letting my fingers "go" to see how things evolve into a B or C section. If I have an A section that I like, I might play that over and over and over again for many days of practice, until the sum total of that night, that moment, that mood takes me to the next portion that's something I like. That's the case with my most recent piece, "Travelin' Steps" for the B section. One night I just "did" that section, spontaneously without even thinking about it......but of course there actually WAS a lot of thought and time which helped it pop. I think what matters is that after lots of years, I have confidence that this will evolve with time and patience and stay at it.

Other factors........there are times when I change things up and repeat the melody from the treble strings and move them to the mids or the bass strings as a way to mix things up. Joe Charter (Mau) did this a lot in his songs and I picked up on that.
I always try to slightly alter the ending A section with some tension/ resolve which may not have occurred in the initial A section. I am however, not bound to end with the A section each time.....just depends.
.......
Thanks Fred.

I started something yesterday. I'm going to take my time with it and use this thread as guidance. Great stuff everyone. Thank you.
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Barry

Star of the County Down

{S. Wake arr.}

My tunes and videos on ReverbNation

Avalon L2-320C, Larrivee OM-05, Guild D-120c, Gibson, Martin and others...
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