Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Voice Leading in Composition

Blog # 58: Voice Leading in Composition

One thing that I think is very important in composition is voice leading. I write almost all my songs on piano, and most of the time I find a chord voicing that I like and then I experiment with voice-leading. Coming up with a good line for the top voice(melody) and bass movement that I like too, and then filling in the inner voices. Seeing how many notes you can keep the same too. I think you can come up with some really beautiful progressions this way, and it will also help out if you're writing parts for larger ensembles. Its funny, because its essentially the same technique you learn in school when studying classical harmony IE 'Bach Chorales'.(who'd a thought that stuff would actually be useful?)

I remember tons of Music Theory classes while I was at Muhlenberg College and later NYU, doing harmonic dictation or 'figured bass' chord progressions. (I always had tons of red marks for 'parallel 4ths' and 'tritone movement'. The beauty of being out of school, is I write what I like, and I can break the classical rules whenever I want to and just let my ears guide me.

Try writing a tune as if it were a 4 part 'Bach Chorale', just use 7th chords, #5's, #11's, Altered Chords, whatever you want instead of boring triads. Its one great way to start writing tunes.

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