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Composing A Piece of Music
Transcript of Composing A Piece of Music
I chose the key of G major, just 'cuz. The G Major scale is spelled out as follows:
G-A-B-C-D-E-F#-G Each letter in the scale is referred to as a scale degree, numbering from scale degree 1 to scale degree 7, starting on G. Each scale degree has a formal name.
Scale degree 1 is called the Tonic.
2 is called the Supertonic.
3 is called the Mediant.
4 is called the Subdominant.
5 is called the Dominant.
6 is called the Submediant.
7 is called the Leading Tone. Scale degrees can also be referred to using something called Solfege, which you may know as Do-Re-Mi-Fa-So-La-Ti-Do. In this case, the G Major scale would be labeled like this: In this case, the key of G would be notated like this:
G - Do
A - Re
B - Mi
C - Fa
D - So
E - La
F# - Ti
G - Do A simple melody is composed of 2 parts:
An ANTECEDENT and a CONSEQUENT. I have composed a melody of 8 measure, 4 measures for the ANTECEDENT, and 4 for the CONSEQUENT. When composing your melody, make sure that your consequent sounds similar to the antecedent.
Look at the antecedent as a question, and the consequent as an answer. Your melody should also sound resolved at the end of the consequent. STEP 2:
CHOOSE CHORD PROGRESSIONS
BASED ON YOUR MELODY Chord progressions are used to compose the accompaniment to your melody. Chord progressions are notated in Roman Numerals.
In a major key, roman numerals are spelled out as follows:
I ii iii IV V vi vii°. A chord is made up of a Root, a third, and a fifth. The chords for the key of G major are: I ii iii IV V vi vii Root Third Fifth D
There are also rules to follow when constructing chord progressions!!! -It is advisable to being with a Tonic chord (I)
-Follow the chord progression style used in the Common Practice Period, or Baroque Period
-This would mean STAYING AWAY from using III chords at all costs.
-An example of a common chord progression is I-IV-V-I As you can see, some Roman Numerals are uppercase, while some are lowercase.
This is to differentiate between the quality of the chords—whether they are major, minor, diminished, augmented, etc.
Major chords of a key are uppercase, minor chords are lowercase, diminished chords are lowercase with a degree sign, and augmented chords are uppercase with a plus sign. BUT WAIT THERE'S MORE! Chords can also be INVERTED! For a normal chord, there are 2 inversions:
1st inversion and 2nd inversion. In 1st inversion, the 3rd of the chord is in the bass voice. A IV chord in 1st inversion would be notated as IV6
In 2nd inversion, the 5th of the chord is in the bass voice. A IV chord in 2nd inversion would be notate as IV64 BUT WAIT THERE'S MORE! In SEVENTH CHORDS, which are chords that include the Root, 3rd, 5th, AND seventh of the chord, there are THREE TYPES of inversions:
In first inversion, the 3rd is in the bass.
In second inversion, 5th is in the bass.
In third inversion, the 7th is in the bass.
For example, a DOMINANT seventh chord would be notated as V7.
In 1st inversion, it would be V65
In 2nd inversion, it would be V43
In 3rd inversion, it would be V42 STEP 3:
COMPOSE THE BASS LINE To determine what chords you will use in your chord progression, look at the letter names of the notes in your melody and see which roman numeral chord it fits in best.
Remember: We spelled out the chords earlier. Once you have constructed a chord progression for your piece, you will use those roman numerals to determine where to place your bass line notes on the staff. Of course, the bass line will be notated in bass clef. For example, my chord progression for my ANTECEDENT is as follows:
Therefore, using what we know about chord constructions, inversions, and how chords are spelled in the key of G, we can determine that the bass line should be notated as follows:
G-G-G-A-F#-F#-E-E-A-G-D IMPORTANT TIP:
When writing the bass line, try to avoid going in the same motion as the soprano (or melody) line. For instance, if the notes in my melody are moving up the scale, I don't want the notes in my bass line moving up in the scale. Instead, attempt to move you bass line in contrary motion to your melody, by either moving in the opposite direction or by staying on the same note. STEP 4:
PART WRITING For the purpose of this composition, you will compose a piece using the traditional 4-voice part writing method. 4-Part Writing includes 4 voices: Soprano, Alto, Tenor, & Bass.
We have already composed our soprano (melody) and bass line. What's left is the two middle voices--Alto & Tenor-- which will serve as harmony lines for the melody. To determine what notes to use in the Alto and Tenor lines, we have to look back at our chord progressions and chord spellings. For example, for our first chord, we have already used the letters G & D in our Soprano and Bass line. The only other letter left in a I chord in the key of G is a B, so we can give a B to the Alto or Tenor voice.
But wait! Don't we need four notes for the chord since there's four voice parts? We sure do! But how will we manage that? Well we have more rules for this!
As a rule, when your chord is in ROOT POSITION, meaning the chord is not in anyway inverted, you double the bass note in the chord.
So for our first chord in my composition, we would give the Alto and Tenor voices a B and a G. Well we have rules for this too!
If your chord is in ROOT POSITION, meaning the chord is not inverted in any way, you double the root note of the chord and put that same note in another voice.
In my case, my opening chord is a I. The root note for a I chord in the Key of G is G. Therefore, I give my fourth voice the letter G to complete the chord. BUT WAIT!
What if the chord is inverted and NOT in Root Position? What then? There are more rules!
If the chord is in 1st inversion, double the SOPRANO note. So if I have a C in the soprano, I should have two C's in my chord.
If the chord is in 2nd inversion, double the BASS note. WATCH OUT!
Beware of using parallel fifths and octaves when you are doing your 4-part writing.
What are parallel fifths and octaves?
For example, if my soprano and alto voices are a fifth apart in distance in one chord, when those voices move on to the next chord, they cannot continue to be a fifth apart. Same with octaves.
If two voices are a fifth or an octave in distance apart, they cannot carry this distance over to the next chord. ONE MORE THING!
When you are 4-part writing, make sure that ADJACENT VOICES (Soprano-Alto, Alto-Tenor) are NO MORE than an octave apart in distance within a chord.
The Tenor and Bass voices are the only exception to this rule--these voices can be more than an octave apart from each other if needed. STEP 5:
ADD NON-CHORD TONES What are non-chord tones? Non-chord tones are notes that do not fit with the chords in your chord progressions.
For example, in measure 1, the second beat in the Alto line does not fit within the G Major I chord of G-B-D. It's a C. There are several types of non-chord tones, but for the purpose of this lesson, I will introduce 3 basic ones:
NT (Neighboring Tone) - note is approached by step and resolved by step in the opposite direction
. . .You can have UPPER or LOWER NT's.
PT (Passing Tone) - note is approached by step and resolved by step in the same direction
APP (Appoggiatura) - note is approached by a leap and resolved by a step in the opposite direction of the leap Non-chord tones add color, or interest, to your composition, so be sure to incorporate them! Congrats!!! You've completed your composition! Celebrate by listening to it! Here's mine! http://the-rubinator.sites.noteflight.com/scores/view/76efcc3dee1fe1a9128ab958a20327ea84053886