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Composition for Computer Musicians

Book Description

You might be extremely knowledgeable about the software that you use, have a good understanding of your own genre, and even have a good basic understanding of music theory. However, this does not necessarily mean that you can write effective music tracks. You need another kind of knowledge as well - the knowledge of composition. This friendly guide explains the basics of composing songs and music on the computer using any music using any music creation and recording program, whether you choose Reason, Live, Cubase, Logic, Pro Tools, Digital Performer, Finale, Sibelius, FL Studio, SONAR, or anything else. It's not as hard as it sounds, and this book eases the learning curve so you'll be making music in no time. You'll quickly learn how to program rhythm and drums, create basslines and melodic leads, and use FX and samples. You'll also learn about mixing and mastering your track and distributing it to a mass audience. Composition for Computer Musicians explains it all while showing you the basics of music theory throughout so you'll be sure you're not just making noise on the computer - you're using your computer to make professional-sounding music.

Table of Contents

  1. Copyright
    1. Dedication
  2. Acknowledgments
  3. About the Author
  4. Introduction
  5. 1. Getting the Best out of Your Setup
    1. Score-Writing Programs
    2. Loop-Based Computer Programs
    3. Propellerhead Reason
    4. The DAW
      1. ReWire Technology
      2. The DAW as the Heart of the Setup
    5. Ableton Live
    6. Slowly Building Up Your Studio
    7. Conclusion
  6. 2. Knowing Your Genre
    1. The Implications of Genre
    2. Genre and Compositional Technique
    3. A New Way of Listening to Music
    4. Open Your Mind to Other Genres
    5. Conclusion
  7. 3. Rhythm and Drum Programming
    1. Using Pre-Composed Drum Loops
    2. Studying a Real Drum Kit
    3. To Learn about Drumming, Watch a Drummer
    4. Drum Machines
      1. Hardware Drum Machines
      2. Software Drum Machines
    5. Functional Elements of Drum Programming: The Kick and the Snare
      1. Kick-Snare Patterns
      2. Two-, Four-, and Eight-Bar Extensions
    6. The Ride
    7. Quantization
    8. Swing
    9. Creating Natural Velocity Curves
    10. Creating a Groove
    11. Using Fills
    12. Providing Color and Atmosphere
    13. Features of Style: The Drum Kit
    14. Key Questions to Ask
    15. Processing the Drum Track
    16. Conclusion
  8. 4. Writing for Percussion
    1. Secondary Instruments and Samples
    2. Congas and Bongos
    3. Daraboukas
    4. Tablas
    5. Djembe and Udu
    6. Writing Percussion Parts
      1. Writing Functional Percussion as a Substitute
      2. Writing for Functional Percussion as an Addition to Conventional Drums
    7. Conclusion
  9. 5. Dance Music Drum Programming
    1. The Kick Element
    2. The Snare Element
    3. The Ride Element
    4. Speedcore
    5. Hardcore
    6. Hard Dance and Trance
    7. Psychedelic Trance
    8. Techno
      1. Hardcore Techno
      2. Minimal and Detroit Techno
    9. Tribal Styles
    10. House
    11. Processing Your Drum Track
    12. Drums for Punctuation
    13. Conclusion
  10. 6. Common Values
    1. Bass, Lead, and Harmony
    2. Conclusion
  11. 7. Producing Basslines
    1. Providing a Bassline
      1. Root Basses
      2. Octave Basslines
      3. Root and Fifth Basses
      4. Triadic Basses
      5. Sixth and Seventh Chord Basses
      6. Pentatonic Basslines
      7. Chromatic Basslines
    2. A Full Chromatic Bass Scale
    3. Basslines and Chord Progressions
    4. Synthesized Basses
    5. Programming and Writing Step-Bass Patterns
    6. Sub-Basses
    7. Writing Basses: A Simple Strategy
    8. Conclusion
  12. 8. Writing Melodic Leads
    1. Lead Instruments
    2. Melody
      1. Key
      2. Scale and Mode
      3. Tonic and Dominant
      4. Steps and Leaps
    3. Melodic Structure
    4. Fast Track to Melody Writing
    5. Conclusion
  13. 9. Melody, Bass, and Harmony
    1. The Importance of Musical Harmony
    2. Melody and Bass Doubling
    3. Heterophony
    4. Melodic Independence
    5. Homophony
    6. Putting a Bass to a Lead
    7. Modal Approaches to Harmonizing Bass and Lead
    8. Conclusion
  14. 10. The Creative Use of FX
    1. The Necessity for FX
    2. Natural or Endemic Effects on Acoustic Instruments
    3. Master and Insert FX
      1. Master FX
      2. Insert FX
    4. Creative Use of FX
      1. Compression
      2. Side-Chaining
      3. Reverb
      4. Delay
      5. Filtering
      6. Chorus
      7. FX Chaining
    5. Experimentation
    6. Conclusion
  15. 11. Writing for Strings
    1. Four Types of Strings
    2. Types of String Ensemble
    3. Scoring String Chords
    4. Styles of String Writing
      1. Legato Strings
      2. Pizzicato Strings
      3. Staccato Strings
      4. Detache Strings
      5. Octave Strings
      6. Tremelo Strings
    5. Conclusion
  16. 12. Writing for Pads
    1. Using Pads
    2. Types of Pads
    3. Conclusion
  17. 13. Writing for Acoustic Instruments
    1. Challenges with Acoustic Instruments
    2. The Importance of Research
    3. Conclusion
  18. 14. Arpeggiation
    1. What Is an Arpeggiator?
    2. Features of an Arpeggiator
      1. Monophonic/Polyphonic
      2. Pitch Control
      3. Number of Octaves
      4. Note Resolution
      5. Gate Control
      6. Velocity Control
      7. Tempo Control
      8. Swing Control
      9. Pattern Control
      10. Curve Control
    3. Example of an Arpeggiator
    4. Uses of Arpeggiators
    5. Writing Riffs
    6. Conclusion
  19. 15. Sampling
    1. The Morality of Sampling
    2. Ripping Samples
    3. Developing Your Own Sample Library
    4. Creating Your Own Sample Patches
    5. Resampling
    6. The Legalities of Sampling
    7. Conclusion
  20. 16. Control Data
    1. Changes of Control Data as Process
    2. Conclusion
  21. 17. Approaching Structure
    1. Musical Form
      1. Continuity and Contrast; Repetition and Change
      2. Song Form
    2. Structure in Dance Music
    3. Study Your Favorite Tracks
    4. Less Is More
    5. Conclusion
  22. 18. Layering and Sequencing
    1. Laying Down the Drum Track
    2. Laying Down the Bass
    3. Laying Down Your Lead Material
    4. Leave Yourself Somewhere to Go
    5. Sequencing Your Music
    6. Final Editing
    7. Conclusion
  23. 19. Mixing and Mastering
    1. Mixing the Track: Levels
    2. Mixing the Track: Panning
    3. Mixing: EQ
    4. Mastering the Track
    5. Conclusion
  24. Conclusion
    1. Where to Next?