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Discussion in 'General Instruction [BG]' started by Bushfire, Sep 17, 2005.

  1. I was wondering, how do you take a song from one riff to a full song with multiple instruments, how do you guys do it? (if you do)
  2. Correlli


    Apr 2, 2004
    New Zealand
    The first thing to think about is Musical Form. This is where a composition is split into section, and each section is assigned a letter, example: AB. AB is a musical with only to sections. A common musical form in modern music is AA BA BA.
    The two basic elements of musical form is repetition and constrast. Repetition may use a repeated riff pattern, and contrast may be the difference between a verse riff pattern and chorus riff pattern. Musical form also describes genre. example: 12 Bar Blues

    The next thing to think about is harmony. Harmony can be as simple as a chord, or more complex like a chord progression. For example, C-Dm-G-C or I-IIm-V-I. You also need to take into account how chords sound one after the other, and how chord progressions end.

    Next is melody, which are based on scales. Has three basic characteristics: Melodic Contour (rise and fall in pitch)C-D-E-D-C, Range (pitch that can span many intervals)C-E-G-C, and Scale (each interval may extend to a wholetone or halftone from one another)C-D-E-F-G-A-B-C.

    Rhythm and time gives the composition movement and helps to organize structure of the composition, and arrange chord changes on accented beats. There 5 main types of rhythm styles for bass:
    -Walking bass
    -Root Note

    I'm sure there are other ways of composing music.
  3. Very helpful, but how do you bring it all together, especially from a weak theory standpoint (I understood what you said), I might say have one guitar riff, a bass line to go with that riff and a simple drumbeat. I want to expand it, how do I do it?
  4. Correlli


    Apr 2, 2004
    New Zealand
    To make your composition interesting, you'll need minimum of two for everything. One lot for the verse sections and the other for chorus sections. The trick is to make the two relate to each other (verse and chorus). You could also have Bridge section, which has a 3rd lot of guitar/bass/drum patterns. The difference between Verse and 1 and 2 will be the lyrics (melody stays the same), and Chorus section will have a completely different melody/lyric from the verse sections.

    Musical Form - AA BA BA
    A: Verse 1 - 1st guitar/bass/drum pattern
    A: Verse 2 - 1st guitar/bass/drum pattern (repeated)

    B: Chorus - 2nd guitar/bass/drum pattern
    A: Verse 3 - 1st guitar/bass/drum pattern

    B: Chorus (repeated) - 2nd guitar/bass/drum pattern
    A: Verse 1 - 1st guitar/bass/drum pattern

    That's about as uncomplicated as I can describe it.


    Just to add, this form was used by a very well known band in the sixties, who had a #1 single in UK and US. I'm not going to say who it was ;)
  5. Correlli


    Apr 2, 2004
    New Zealand
    Here's something else you might find useful when composing your tune. It copied it out of a guitar book. It's basicly an overview of Style (form), Time, Harmony, and Melody.

  6. Matt Till

    Matt Till

    Jun 1, 2002
    Edinboro, PA
    Kiwi... that's a nice chart, but it leads itself to the creation of generic music. All rock is 4/4 and at a set tempo? And can only use certain scales. It is a general reference for figuring out some "classics" or "standards"... I dunno. Composing... some people (me) just get ideas in their head, or they mess around until the find something. Unprofessional, but how a lot of rockers do it.

    As far as key changes go, you can just find a note inside the scale you are writing in, and change to that key and find changes (riffs) within that.
  7. Correlli


    Apr 2, 2004
    New Zealand
    Cheers. Yeah, it is a generalized way of looking at music as a whole. I have been in situations where the band jammed until the tune "sounded" cool. I guess in modern music, there are no hard and fast rules for composing tunes. A bit like fine art maybe?
  8. AGCurry


    Jun 29, 2005
    Kansas City
    There are many ways of composing "songs," but in general a cool riff does not make a song.

    Even two of the coolest riff songs ever, "Sunshine of Your Love" and "In-a-gadda-da-vida", depend on at least two other elements, namely melody and a rhythm, both of which are played against the riff. It is the combination of all three of these things which makes the riff, and the song, interesting.

    There is something to be said for the more traditional songwriting approach, where you come up with words and melody and then embellish it with the rest of the "stuff."