Quesiton regarding resources for learning composition and arranging

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Member Since: Dec 10, 2007


I have finally reached a point in my life where I have more time to devote to music, which I have dearly loved all of my life. I started playing piano when I was 6 (47 years ago) but didnít play for many years as an adult. I received a Bachelor of Arts degree in Sacred Music back in the early 80s, but have never done anything with it. I became a computer engineer, and really have given little time to music for the past 25 years.
I would like to learn to compose both choral as well as orchestral works. I know that I have a long road in front of me, but I am determined.
I have no desire to go back to school (too old), and for me, I find it is best to learn on my own, as I can be flexible and study when Iím not working.
What I am asking you all is for your advice, as to what texts and/or other resources to purchase that I can use to learn the skills that I need in order to compose and arrange.
Any help and advice is GREATLY appreciated, thanks so much!

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Time Waster
Since: Jan 12, 2006

Dec 17, 2007 11:04 am

Study the works of the masters in the genres you wish to write... Copy, copy, copy... then break out...

Czar of Midi
Since: Apr 04, 2002

Dec 17, 2007 06:17 pm

If you click through our Amazon portal in the Equipment links above you can search for the type of book you are looking for there. I don't have any titles in mind on composition as I never really studied it myself. I just started doing it and taking bits and pieces from the artist's I listen to.

I know there are a couple of very deep books out on Orchestral composition but again a title isn't coming to mind.

But as Dungbeatle stated, you can begin by copying those who's styles you wish to compose in. Then after becoming comfortable start to use modifier's and branch out into variance's of their works. For me that is the easiest way.

Since: Dec 04, 2007

Dec 18, 2007 10:25 am

One of the books that was recommended to me from my instructor was Techinque of Orchestration (not sure of exact title) By Kent Kenan. I have the 5th ed. I think, and it's been pretty helpful, especially the diagrams for the placement, and the transpositions. Also, the different instrumentations for the orchestra size.

On the more inspirational note (pun intended) The book we used for composition and improv was called "Free Play" by Stephen Nachmanovitch. It waxes a little more philosophic, but there's some ideas that help you access your "inner child" so to speak. I should give it another read myself, my creative juices have not been flowing much of late. :/

Prince CZAR-ming
Since: Apr 08, 2004

Dec 18, 2007 10:53 am

On this page:


there's two tutorials towards the bottom of the page, by an Alan Belkin.

There's also a large writeup(s) by Rimsky-Korsakov, detail orchestral compositions:


I started the second one, but soon realized I was over my head =).

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