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How do you compose ?

Discussion in 'Jazz Technique [DB]' started by bass1000, Oct 21, 2010.

  1. bass1000


    Jan 26, 2009
    Columbus, Ohio
    Just curious how other's compose. If you were writing a piano/bass piece in which you played the melody line over top of piano chords, which would you write first? Melody or Chords ?
    I know there isn't a right or wrong answer, i just wondered how others did this or if you have any great words of wisdom.
    My goal is to have some simple stuff to play so that i can improve my ARCO technique with and possibly come up with a keeper...
  2. Bassguy87564


    Jul 5, 2006
    I write the melody first and find chords I like over the melody
  3. Shakin-Slim


    Jul 23, 2009
    Tokyo, Japan
    I vary quite a bit on the chord or melody first thing. Last thing I did it was chords followed by melody. I would say melody first though. Come up with something you like, figure it out, see what chords will fit
  4. mcbosler


    May 12, 2000
    Plano, TX
    Inspiration will hit you with a melody, some changes, or even just a rhythm. Once it does, use your imagination to fill in the blanks.
  5. I don't think that's any of your business! :scowl:
  6. frisbieinstein


    Dec 29, 2007
    The most important thing is to have something to say.

    Then say it.
  7. Bruce Lindfield

    Bruce Lindfield Unprofessional TalkBass Contributor Gold Supporting Member In Memoriam

    I do this as well and check it out with software like "Band in the Box" to make sure the chords really work!
  8. I have two main ways that i compose; and it's basically just determined by weather or not i come up with the instrumental line or vocal line first.

    I tend to try and compose the entire song (bass, guitar, drums, and vocals) and record it, before i bring it to band practice. I've found it hard to try to get across an entire song concept just by playing my bandmates the bass lines. If you have an entire song recorded, it's easier to get a feel of the song and how the different instruments are intended to interact with eachother.

    However, i'm by NO means a stickler for adhering to what i write. That's where all the wonderful individuality comes in!
  9. plangentmusic

    plangentmusic Banned

    Jun 30, 2010
    No melody, no song.

    If you have a melody, there must be chords that go with it. There can't NOT be. But chords will not dictate a melody unless you're talking about very stock stuff (I VI IV V or a blues).
  10. Bruce Lindfield

    Bruce Lindfield Unprofessional TalkBass Contributor Gold Supporting Member In Memoriam

    I've played many Jazz tunes where there are no chords and it specifies in the score N.C. for "No Chords"!!

    We were just talking in another thread around here about Ornette Coleman and he wrote many if not most of his tunes without chords!
  11. plangentmusic

    plangentmusic Banned

    Jun 30, 2010
    You're missing the point. All melodies suggest a chord voicing. Sure, anyone can write random notes and say there no chords that should be played with it, but that's not really composition. Or when orchestrating, no one is actually playing a chord, but all the parts together suggest a chord. That's what music is! (Unless you're talking about free form, atonal wanking).
  12. Bruce Lindfield

    Bruce Lindfield Unprofessional TalkBass Contributor Gold Supporting Member In Memoriam

    I think you are missing the point that we are in the "Jazz Technique" forum here- where people value actual musicianship over "Rawk Posturing"....:p
  13. Marc Piane

    Marc Piane

    Jun 14, 2004
    Yes and no. There are a plethora of different ways to treat every melody. Try taking a melody line from any tune, any genre, and see how many different ways you can harmonize it. Try to work yourself out of the box of what harmonies the melody is suggesting to YOU.

    I agree that, at least for me, melody comes first though. I'll often sit at the piano and hammer out a melody then think of how to proceed.

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