Author Topic: March, 2017: Your First "compositions."  (Read 1465 times)

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March, 2017: Your First "compositions."
« on: February 28, 2017, 07:27:59 AM »
Forgive me for being a day early, but, tomorrow is moving day. One friend arriving today and will spend the night; another arriving early morning. Movers expected at about 9:30 - 10:00. I will not have internet access until Thursday, at the earliest.

Anyhow, for this month: what is your earliest memory of attempting to create something new in music?

For me, I have a very clear memory of walking along a country road, age 5, listened to the sound of the wind in the hydro and telephone wires. I hummed, pitching my voice to the same frequency, and then varied my voice so it was a semi-tone above and below the sound of the wires. I was intrigued and kept this up anytime I heard that sound when I was a kid. We lived in small towns, so I was used to walking along deserted roads alone. At 8 or 9 I was at a summer camp and wandered into the mess hall one afternoon when no one was around. There was a piano, so I tinkered, searching for new and interesting sounds. I recall being fascinated by a progression of C - Db - E - F, liking the symmetry of it. Once I left home and was able to begin studying music, I was continually drawn to the music of Schonberg, Bartok, et al., wondering how they managed to create such wonderfully strange sounds.

What about you?
« Last Edit: March 02, 2017, 12:11:03 PM by Ron »
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Re: March, 2017: Your First "compositions."
« Reply #1 on: February 28, 2017, 05:55:15 PM »
What an interesting question!

My earliest memory of attempting to create music, even though unintentional, was when I was about 3 or 4. I remember our family driving eastbound toward Newark, NJ, on U.S. Route 22, and each time the car went under a bridge, I recall singing "high-way, high-way" in descending minor thirds. My parents told me later that my singing this way was exactly in tune. I remember standing in the car on the floor of the back seat--I wasn't tall enough to see over the front seat, and I recall holding onto the front seat with both hands.

My earliest memory of composing intentionally was seventh grade. I have no idea why, but springtime was when I would compose band marches. I was 12.
« Last Edit: February 28, 2017, 07:32:03 PM by gogreen »


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Re: March, 2017: Your First "compositions."
« Reply #2 on: March 02, 2017, 10:47:45 AM »
This is an interesting topic!  I didn't get into composition particularly early, as my family was only slightly music oriented. I do recall that my dad participated in a folk music group - he played a washtub bass that he had made himself. In the 6th grade I started learning to play double bass and participated in the school orchestra. Fortunately our public school had a strong music program, for which I am eternally grateful.

Somewhere along the line during my middle school years, I started to pick up music theory concepts such as chords and started experimenting with our family piano, for which I would create and write down little musical compositions. I still have some of those around. Later on,  my bass teacher started introducing more advanced music theory ideas such as the roman numeral method of describing chords, inversions, and how to do four part chorale-style harmonizations. This helped my composition efforts quite a bit.

This learning process went on though high school, leading to the triumphant performance of  my "Lasagnia #2" composition by the high school least it was triumphant for the parents of the orchestra members :)

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Re: March, 2017: Your First "compositions."
« Reply #3 on: March 03, 2017, 07:29:22 AM »
My first attempt was around age 5. I invented a little song on a melodica I called "Old Man With A Pipe." I recall the first moment I realized that if I actually remembered what I was playing, I could play it more than once!


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Re: March, 2017: Your First "compositions."
« Reply #4 on: March 03, 2017, 08:22:01 AM »
The first pieces I remember writing are some piano variations at around age 11-12. however, I know I must have written something before then. I was always finding counterpoints to pieces I was learning at the piano. I remember always singing a "descant" type soprano line above one of the Debussy preludes I was playing at the time.

Starting with those 3 piano variations, however, I was writing more and more. Attempts at ballets, piano pieces, sonatas for various instruments. I remember after seeing a performance of "Porgy and Bess" I tried to write a "jazzy" piano lullaby... it's actually in one of my old boxes of scores here, somewhere.

But those 3 piano variations remain my earliest memory of actually writing something "original". I just know that they can't be my very first.
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Re: March, 2017: Your First "compositions."
« Reply #5 on: March 03, 2017, 09:17:39 AM »
As usual, I'm late to the game on these sorts of things. Some of you have spoken about things from age 6 to mid-teens.  My first composition was a piano piece at age 18. I actually posted a copy of it on an earlier thread about early compositions.

However, early in my piano days, my grandmother (who played piano for the silent movies, and had an all-girls dance band in the 1920s, amongst other musical ventures) always encouraged me to "play it the way YOU want to play it!" By that she meant to encourage me to change the rhythm, ad-lib embellishments, etc. With that encouragement, I would sometimes vary from the printed page. My piano teacher also had me transposing some simpler pieces. I distinctly remember a piece "Starlight Waltz" that was in my 2nd-year book. It was a simple theme and variation waltz that I sometimes further embellished. It was in G, and I tried playing it in C and F. I actually even played it with the right hand in G, and the left in C, channeling my "inner Charles Ives" even though I had no ideas who Ives was at the time.
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Re: March, 2017: Your First "compositions."
« Reply #6 on: April 04, 2017, 08:24:07 PM »
Wrote a cute little arrangement of the Ode to Joy in Finale when I was five or six, probably my first time putting ideas to actual paper. I didn't do much more until I was 10 or 11 when I was writing "Symphonies" (of two minutes long) on staff paper. It's been an uphill climb ever since.


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Re: March, 2017: Your First "compositions."
« Reply #7 on: May 01, 2017, 05:32:17 AM »
My grandfather played in the US 6th Cavalry Mounted Band in the later 1930's, early '40s.  My mom would take my brother and me to the Sunday mounted reviews at Ft. Oglethorpe.  I would bounce up and down in the bleachers and "conduct".  I know I wasn't composing anything, but here I am, still loving it all, especially Sousa.


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