How to Compose Music
By Stephen Bucaro
In order to compose music, it would be advisable to first learn music theory,
and that you learn how to play an instrument. The guitar is the best choice
of instrument because layout of the fretboard makes it easy to learn scales
and chords. The piano is also a good choice because the layout of the keyboard
makes it easy to learn scales and chords.
You should decide which style of music, or genre, you want to compose.
Some of the different styles are blues, jazz, country, pop, rock, and classical.
Each different style of music tends to use common rhythms and beats, and
each tends to use specific instruments. However there is a lot of variation and
overlap within the different styles.
One way to compose music is to first create a melody. A melody is a
sequence of sounds, or a tone pattern, to produce a repeated rhythm.
A melody might be a sequence of chords, called a chord progression. A chord
is multiple tones played at the same time which create a pleasant sound.
When multiple tones played at the same time create a pleasant sound,
its called harmony.
The beat of music is the basic unit of time, like what you might tap your
finger or foot to. Tempo is the speed of the beat, expressed in beats per minute.
The tempo can be fast or slow, or any variation in between. Beats are grouped
into measures, with the same number of beats in each measure. A measure is
the section of a staff that comes between two bar lines.
A time signature expresses the meter of a song. A time signature is a large
fraction written at the beginning of a staff after the clef. The top number of
the time signature indicates how many beats are in a measure. The bottom
number tells the length of a beat;2 = half note, 4 = quarter note,
8 = eighth note, and so on.
The riff from the song "You Really Got Me" by the Kinks.
to compose a song you need to create a rhythm. A rhythm is a repeated
pattern of tones or chords. When composing for guitar, a rhythm may be referred
to as a riff. A riff is a short series of chords that is repeated. A riff may also be
a lyrical phrase, sometimes called a "hook" that is repeated.
You may want to add the other instruments to your music. Other instruments
like bass or keyboard can follow the chord progression, or do something else,
as long as it stays in the same key. The you may want to write lyrics for the song.
If your music composition doesn't come out the way you like it, keep working
on it. Composing music is hard work. That's why composers make the big money.
Aria Maestosa Music Composition Software
To compose your own music, Aria Maestosa is a free open source MIDI (Musical
Instrument Digital Interface) editor. It has a very intuitive GUI (Graphical User Interface),
that allows you to compose, edit and play midi files on your PC. It doesn't have all the
bells and whistles of expensive music composition applications, but it's easy to use for
who want to compose music, especially beginning composers. Aria Maestosa is available
for the Mac, Linux and Windows operating systems.