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How to compose music – the building blocks of music (introduction)

Hello everyone and welcome to this first course.

When I learned how to create music, something struck me: music is exciting but the way it is usually taught is boringSo, I have decided to create this website to make music composition practical, intuitive and adapted to the way people make music today. My goal is to teach you how to create your own songs with as less boring technical stuff as I can. You don’t need any prerequisites about music theory or to know how to read a music sheet, you can start from scratchLessons are designed to fit any modern music genres and instruments.

Are you in? Ok, let’s begin!

We must start with some theoretical bases (the bare minimum!) to compose. Almost nothing, I promise! 😉

Whole steps and half steps

The step is the pitch differences we use to separate two neighbor notes. It is a unit of measure (It’s like the inch or the centimeter to measure a distance!)

Let’s start by listing all the existing notes in music, there are 12 of them:

C C# D D# E F F# G G# A A# B C

Each of these notes is separated from its neighbor by a half step:

C# is a half step higher than C

The C is a half step lower than C#.

You probably get it: two half steps are equal to one whole step.

In the same logic, C and D are separated by a whole step, C and D# are separated by one step and a half (or 3 half step) etc…

Understood ? Let’s move on!

Intervals

As we have seen, the half step is the interval between two neighbor notes if we consider all the existing notes in music. But when composing music, we don’t use all the 12 notes without distinction, we use scales.

In a nutshell, a scale is a group of notes that sound well together with which we create melodies and harmonies. (but we will talk about scales another day!)

An interval express the number of notes between two notes of a scale.  Let’s now see the existing intervals, we will use the most famous (and easiest to use) scale: the C major scale.

Yes, you know it: C D E F G A B C

(on a keyboard, it corresponds to the white keys)

To find the interval between two notes, we just have to count the number of notes in between including the first and the last.

Example:

C-D -> C, D: We count up to 2, it is a second

 

C-E -> C, D, E: We count up to up to 3, it is a third

 

C-F -> C, D, E, F: We count up to 4, that is a fourth

 

C-G -> C, D, E, F, G: We count up to 5, is a fifth

 

C-A -> C, D, E, F, G, A: We count up to 6, it is a sixth

 

C-B -> C, D, E, F, G, A, B: We count up to 7, it is a seventh

 

C-C -> C, D, E, F, G, A, B, C: We count up to 8, it is an octave.

 

and it goes on: ninth, tenth, eleventh … (and when we play exactly the same note twice, it’s a unison!)

This interval system works in both directions (low note to high note and high note to low note)

Steps and intervals are like addition and multiplication in mathematics, they are basic elements of music. We can express almost anything with them (scales, chords, …) and it will enable us to understand the logic of music.

This first lesson might seem abstract but I decided to start with this because, we’ll see that later, tones and degrees are the elements that make the color of music, scales, chords. 

I hope you enjoyed this article, please leave a comment to tell me what you would like to learn! 🙂

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By | 2017-07-23T17:12:54+00:00 July 8th, 2017|

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