How Is Music Composed

Charlie K    |

What is music composition? That’s a good question! Technically, it’s the creation of melodies, rhythms, and/or chords that go along with lyrics to produce songs. As such, composing is definitely more than just thinking about tunes!

But while there are many ways to learn how to compose music, most people focus exclusively on creating melodies or bass lines. These types of notes usually make up the first part of a song you write, before anything else!

That’s why they’re called “introducing” notes. They can be pretty much any pitch, but some of the most common ones include melody notes, harmony notes, and rhythmical notes. (A note’s strength is its intensity, which comes from either hitting it as hard as possible or not at all.)

This article will talk mostly about writing music in terms of thirds. Thirds are a simple way to organize the different parts of a song into chunks that relate to each other.

Not everything in music is based on pitch

how is music composed

Another fundamental element of music that gets less attention than it should are musical instruments. While not every piece of music requires an instrument, most do!
As you may have noticed, we spend a lot of time talking about pitch in this article series. That’s because notes are such an integral part of music, and musicians rely heavily on them to make songs beautiful and understandable.

But there’s more to music than just notes. There are chords, rhythm, meter, and intonation (the quality of sound) to consider as well. And while some of these concepts apply mostly to performance, all of them play a significant role in how someone can create their own music.

This article will discuss the different types of instruments in music, what they're used for, and some basic tips for using them. But first, let's take a look at two important terms related to this topic...

Combinations of both rhythm and pitch

how is music composed

As we learned before, music is made up of two things: rhythm and pitch. Some people may be more familiar with just one of these components, but not both!

In this lesson, we will discuss how melody is created out of combinations of tone (pitch) and length (trill or note value). When thinking about melodies, it can help to think about syllables in words. A simple word like “apple” has a very short sound at the end that you usually omit when speaking or singing it. That little silence between the sounds makes an interesting break in the song where the ear can focus on the next part of the tune.

That concept applies to longer songs as well. Take the first half of your current favorite song for example – most people have heard the initial verse/lyric couplet already. By adding in another voice element, i.e., longer pause, there is space to process the next line of the rhyme. This creates a sense of closure after the earlier parts of the song, making the listener feel finished listening to the piece.

This article will go into greater detail on some easy ways to add tones and lengths to create natural sounding melodies.

Composing in sections

how is music composed

As we learned, music is made up of notes. A note can be any sound or combination of sounds, from a tone to a whistle to a chord.

A song is never just one long stream of notes; there are always breaks into different sections that make up the whole. These sections include lyrics, melodies, rhythms, and introductions and conclusions.

Chords and melodies

how is music composed

As we learned, music is made up of notes that are organized into chords and sequences or songs that contain a melody and a rhythm. But what are these actually doing in the song?

In most cases, it’s the chord or sequence that adds some sense of direction to a piece. For example, if the bass line was a major triad, then the rest of the instrumentations would typically be using parallel minor tones (think: half steps). This creates a steady, syncopated feeling that matches the rhythm of the bassline!

The second element is the melody. A simple tone with no harmony is called a monody while multiple layers of harmony is referred to as polyphony.

Promoting your music

After you have written an album of songs, what next? You must tell people about your music! This can be done many ways- through social media postings, touring, promoting at concerts, and more.

It is important to know how to promote your music so that it does not feel like a drag to do it over and over again. There are lots of good strategies and tips for how to effectively market your music.

This article will talk about some tricks for marketing yourself as a musician. These tips will apply both to unsigned artists and those who have their own recording label or manager.

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