[LAU] Cowboy composing

Mark Knecht markknecht at gmail.com
Wed Dec 10 13:15:43 EST 2008

On Wed, Dec 10, 2008 at 9:00 AM, Leslie P. Polzer
<sky at viridian-project.de> wrote:
> Hi folks,
> I'm looking for hints that will help me get started in composing
> a piece all of my own.
> I'm just a hobby musician with modest guitar and keyboard
> skills and just enough drum knowledge to get something
> acceptable in Hydrogen.
> How do you start? Percussion, Bass, Lead? How do you continue?
> How do you actually get something together? :)
> I find I can do nice separate pieces but have trouble to come
> up with something coherent...
>  Thanks for any hints!
>    Leslie

I think the hardest things when starting is to get a tempo you can
build in. It requires one of two things:

1) A first player who can play all of the song (or major portions) on tempo


2) That you use a metronome of one type or another an play along with it.

If you're new to this try it both ways but my experience is that most
people cannot play the right tempo by themselves for long periods of
time so you might be better off with the metronome, either something
external or just using Ardour's click track.

It also depends on how you see yourself adding drums, assuming you
intend to add them at all. If you're going to record them then get a
rhythm track down first. If you're going to use loops, then grab a few
loops at the right tempo, build the drum track from the loops first
(i.e. - those are the metronome) and play along with it to build you
first audio tracks. Later dump the loops if they aren't right for the
song. However, if you're going to use MIDI to do the drums then you'll
almost certainly want to build a MIDI metronome using a MIDI track and
a few drum samples to keep time.

Personally, being a guitar player primarily, I often grab a synth and
playing some pad setting will record all the major chord changes. When
I record my first guitar parts - usually rhythm/backing guitar -I find
that easy to play along with. One of my favorite Windows tools - Acid
Pro - makes it easy to graph out major parts of the song so that I can
see changes coming. It also allows me to easily change tempos inside
the song. That makes my guitar playing a bit easier. When I get
something good I'll then consider moving it to Ardour on Linux if the
project is likely to be a totally audio project. I never do MIDI on
Linux personally.

Don't know if this really answers your question. Hope it helps though.


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