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How do you learn to write or play music?





lovescience
Do you learn from book, from teacher, or you teach yourself?

What do you think is important in music that should be learned in order to write or play music?
gverutes
Listening to other songs and learning how to play them by ear is a great exercise.
Also, music theory through instruction and books works.
IceCreamTruck
It's helpful to surround yourself with people who play music. Some people are born into musical families, and so they are brought up and encouraged to pick up instruments and get through the awkward stage. This can be daunting for people who have no encouragement to get through the awkward stage and to a place where you can follow along with almost anything that is played.

Different musical instruments are in a certain key, like harmonica, so you have to match the instrument to the key of the song, but that's music theory. It's not really that hard, but you do have to get at least the basics of music theory in order to follow along and begin to learn/predict what is happening.

Music is separated into base and treble clefts ...



You'll have to note that the space required to put really really low notes on the page with really really high notes is immense so you usually only see them together on full range instrument music like piano. An instrument, such as a trumpet, only has a range in the treble cleft, so it's music may exclude the base cleft. A Trombone plays much lower notes so it's music may only include the base cleft portion of the overall song or music that the director is looking at, for instance.

It's hard to learn orchestral parts without being in an orchestra, or having a bunch of other people playing to support the song. Don't expect to be able to reproduce the phantom of the opera on a single instrument without being somewhat abnormally talented (I've heard it done on piano).

I'll have to write a portion on Keys and Timing here in a bit to help you out!

What instruments are interesting to you? Are you interested in supporting your own songs, or joining others in their musical efforts?
tingkagol
I've never studied music theory, including the treble and bass clefts. So I've always wondered why the range of notes of the bass cleft is different from the treble cleft. Anyone?

I figured that out about a few years ago, when I was able to get hold of sheet music from Ludovico Einaudi (a modern/classical pianist that I hold in very high regard) and quickly found that the notes were placed differently on both clefts. Imagine my confusion. lol Razz
liljp617
It depends on what kind of music (or instrument) you're trying to learn to be honest. Put sheet music in front of almost any rock or metal musician and they'll laugh at you. Put it in front of most pianists, regardless of genre, and they'll feel right at home.
IceCreamTruck
See the image above? The lowest note is all the way at the bottom, in the base cleft, and the highest note is all the way at the top in the treble cleft. Treble/Base is just like cutting the available notes in the range in half.

Read this on Scales and we can discuss!

Here's some info on musical timing!
robertoilidio
Nowadays, with the internet , it's quite simple to leanr how to play an instrument by itself. There are many websites teaching, there are youtube videos, and some softwares like Guitar Pro to support your learning.
lovescience
gverutes wrote:
Listening to other songs and learning how to play them by ear is a great exercise.


That sounds indeed a good advice. I am thinking to listen to a song, then to play it.
I probably can catch its melody by trying to play it on keyboard.
However, it could take many playing to get it right.
But I guess in that way, my hearing to the song and the ability to play it will get better.
And that goes to any song I would listen and play.
drunkenkoz
I learned how to play the guitar by hours of self teaching, but for the piano I learned from a teacher.
Afaceinthematrix
liljp617 wrote:
It depends on what kind of music (or instrument) you're trying to learn to be honest. Put sheet music in front of almost any rock or metal musician and they'll laugh at you. Put it in front of most pianists, regardless of genre, and they'll feel right at home.


Ummm... I tend to doubt that. For any good rock or metal band, music will start sheets... I highly doubt Michael Romeo (Symphony X) wrote The Odyssey without writing it on sheets... Sure, for any rock/metal band that wants to put on a good show they need to memorize the music (they should actually memorize it before the studio recording so that they can better feel it). But it all starts on paper... I am especially sure that this is true for bands that are Prog or that have a lot of instrumentalization (ever listen to Nightwish or Dimmu Borgir? Both of those bands mix metal with entire orchestras and make a pretty epic sound... I think it took over 100 musicians to record Dimmu Borgir's album Abrahadabra)...
Ankhanu
Yeah, practice and training your ear is absolutely fundamental.
The theory, reading and all the other stuff is built upon a good ear and feel for music. You can play and perform with just theory, reading, etc. but it will be flat (emotionally, not tonally) and sterile. The more you listen and experiment to find where the sounds are on your instrument, but better you'll be able to understand the other aspects of musical learning.
rjraaz
Learning music is just like to learn writing without hands that means its impossible for me.

i can not understand the ABCD of music, but still enjoy it listen.
drunkenkoz
Ankhanu wrote:
Yeah, practice and training your ear is absolutely fundamental.
The theory, reading and all the other stuff is built upon a good ear and feel for music. You can play and perform with just theory, reading, etc. but it will be flat (emotionally, not tonally) and sterile. The more you listen and experiment to find where the sounds are on your instrument, but better you'll be able to understand the other aspects of musical learning.

I could never read music at all. I had a lot of trouble with music scores, so I kind of gave up on reading music and just listen to it instead. I learn to play by ear. I listen to the music once or twice then try to recreate it on the instrument I'm playing.
Ankhanu
drunkenkoz wrote:
I could never read music at all. I had a lot of trouble with music scores, so I kind of gave up on reading music and just listen to it instead. I learn to play by ear. I listen to the music once or twice then try to recreate it on the instrument I'm playing.


I can slowly, kinda read music; not well, though. I'm largely in the same camp as you.

rjraaz wrote:
Learning music is just like to learn writing without hands that means its impossible for me.

i can not understand the ABCD of music, but still enjoy it listen.


It's really all in how you approach it and your state of mind. If you think you can't... you can't Razz
There are many ways to approach learning music though. Some approach it emotionally, some approach it like a language, some approach it mathematically, some symbolically.

My ex-girlfriend's mother approached it as math. At the end of the day, music is applied physics, whether you think about the math or not Razz It's all about wave frequencies and harmonic amplification, cancellation and beat frequencies. Given that everything in math is symbolic representation, it just requires changing the symbols that you use.

That approach wouldn't work so well for me, though I do understand the maths. I've approached it more like language; each symbol representing a sound, with the sounds coming together to form "words"... not all languages make use of the same system of writing, afterall... it's a little like learning to read Japanese when you're used to English or something using the phonecian alphabet.
Afaceinthematrix
Ankhanu wrote:
Yeah, practice and training your ear is absolutely fundamental.
The theory, reading and all the other stuff is built upon a good ear and feel for music. You can play and perform with just theory, reading, etc. but it will be flat (emotionally, not tonally) and sterile. The more you listen and experiment to find where the sounds are on your instrument, but better you'll be able to understand the other aspects of musical learning.


"Feeling" the music is important when writing music but it will only get you so far. You can play some music by just "feeling" it. You can pick up a guitar and try to figure out a few riffs that sound cool. But that's about it. If you want to get past a certain level you simply must understand the theory. Dimmu Borgir had over 100 musicians play on their last album Abrahadabra. It is a black metal album, but they had entire orchestras backing up parts of their songs. Eluveitie is metal but they add folk instruments (violins, hurdy gurdys etc.) to their music. Epica adds orchestras to their albums. Nightwish probably had an entire orchestra backing up their song "Ghost Love Score" (but it also helps that their keyboardist, Tuomas, is an absolute musical genius). Michael Romeo of Symphony X understands a lot about music theory and you can hear it in their music.

All of this is far past "feeling a beat" or "feeling a riff." I can almost guarentee that you'll never find someone who can "feel" up a score for a 100 piece orchestra. When you're mixing metal and classical music and you're having to correlate that many musicians together into one score and make it sound good, then you must understand the theory. The more people and the more instruments you add in, the harder it gets (especially when each instrument is used to playing in different keys...).
Ankhanu
Yeah, I know, Matrix. My point was that ear training and such are fundamental to theory. Training the ear and getting the feel of music is the very basic level of what should be there, and informs later exploration into the greater world of theory.

Theory without a fundamental backing tends to fall flat.
In your symphonic example, a good ear and feel for music makes the difference between a sterile, unmoving piece and a piece that elicits a response (talking performance, not composition, though I suppose composition applies too)
drunkenkoz
Ankhanu wrote:
I can slowly, kinda read music; not well, though. I'm largely in the same camp as you.

Yeah I just gave up on reading music scores. I found no point in it if I could play by ear. It's not like I'm going to make a living in music, so I just do it the way I love to.
lovescience
IceCreamTruck wrote:

Different musical instruments are in a certain key, like harmonica, so you have to match the instrument to the key of the song, but that's music theory.



You'll have to note that the space required to put really really low notes on the page with really really high notes is immense so you usually only see them together on full range instrument music like piano. An instrument, such as a trumpet, only has a range in the treble cleft, so it's music may exclude the base cleft. A Trombone plays much lower notes so it's music may only include the base cleft portion of the overall song or music that the director is looking at, for instance.

I'll have to write a portion on Keys and Timing here in a bit to help you out!

What instruments are interesting to you? Are you interested in supporting your own songs, or joining others in their musical efforts?


Thank you. The knowledge is very helpful. The image is very useful.

I would like to know about the keys and timing!

I am interested in piano/keyboard, guitar, bass,and drum, but also others. I am interested in writing songs with lyrics. I am also interested in writing sound track and effect music with more instruments involved.
Ankhanu
lovescience wrote:
I would like to know about the keys and timing!


The key is the note/chord that is the basis for the song (or section of a song); the note that all others are related to.  In terms of reading the staff, the key can also tell you what notes are sharps/flats (they're not always indicated by a sharp or flat glyph, instead implied by the key).  This can be a little confusing at first, and the key has to be kept in mind when reading the piece.

Time signatures kinda need to be heard, in my opinion, to get them Razz. The top number is the number of beats per measure, and the lower number is the number if quarter notes per measure (which I find kinda confusing).  I'll try to find examples of different time sigs and give links so you can listen and count along.
Radar
I feel like the comments about it being different for the type of instrument are accurate. Even if it's not necessary to have more formal teaching for one instrument over another, it's reflected that way in how people have ended up learning.

I'd be very surprised if there was a significant number of piano players who have learnt without having been formally taught at some point in their lives.
lovescience
Ankhanu wrote:
I'll try to find examples of different time sigs and give links so you can listen and count along.


Thank you.

I read about there are 7 chords for each key, C,D,E,F,G,A, and B.

The chords for each key are always be major, minor, minor, major, major, minor, and diminished.

For example, the chords for the key of C are C major, D minor, E minor, F major, G major, A minor and B diminished.
carstvopasea
You have a lot of websites for music learning.
Radar
The ever-present and slightly obvious answer - practice.

Thought I'd just throw that one in.
lovescience
tingkagol wrote:

I figured that out about a few years ago, when I was able to get hold of sheet music from Ludovico Einaudi


Ludovico Einaudi's music makes me think of George Winston's.
Tesa323
I actually learned to write music from hearing other peoples songs. I didint really think of creating music it just came to me and I actually was good at it
iiinvest
I remember when I began to start playing guitar I pondered how people can write such great music. A that time I knew a few chords but really didn't know how to piece things together. Theory definitely helps but a large number of musicians use one thing, well two, their ears.

From my observations the simplest comparison would be learning a language. Everyone learns to speak a language unless they are subject to no human stimulation at birth. We later learn the grammar, how to read and write but the first thing is listening. I can't count how many musicians, great ones at that, that couldn't read or write music to save their life. However, they could listen to the sound deep in their soul and easily express it to the outside world. They spend hours listening to a song and playing it back perfectly. Once they've mastered that skill, they move on to creating their own sound.

Now I'm not saying that this is the best way or the only way to learn music, but one way to learn. I spent a large part of my childhood figuring out things for myself. An instructor would be able to teach the elementary skills of music and build from there.

The only thing that I deeply regret was not using my metronome more when I was younger. Rhythm is the heart of music.
tomisme
lovescience wrote:
Do you learn from book, from teacher, or you teach yourself?

What do you think is important in music that should be learned in order to write or play music?

I learn to write or play it by listening.
For the important in music that should be learned in order to write or play, I think it should be ear training to hear the pitch, timing, harmony and etc.
portoskt
i didnt learn how to play at all... im sorry couase of that, and i think now its too late fro that
lovescience
iiinvest wrote:

From my observations the simplest comparison would be learning a language.

We later learn the grammar, how to read and write but the first thing is listening.

They spend hours listening to a song and playing it back perfectly. Once they've mastered that skill, they move on to creating their own sound.

Rhythm is the heart of music.


There is a rhythm in everything. You can feel music in everything.
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