Learning to Play Your Own Compositions

Theory and practice of composition and arranging for classical guitar, discussion of works in progress, etc.
Forum rules
III Our MP3, WMV, MOV, OGG, AVI, Authors' rights

Composers' Workshop
Theory and practice of composition and arranging for classical guitar, discussion of works in progress, etc.

Once you have subscribed to the 002 group, you can attach the following types of files to your messages:
Audio : .mp3 .ogg .wav .flac
Video : .avi .flv .mov .wmv
Score : .pdf .jpg .gif .png
Finale: .mus
Rich

Learning to Play Your Own Compositions

Post by Rich » Mon Aug 26, 2013 5:46 pm

I am learning to write in a polyphonic style and am trying to write a fugue for guitar. Aside from the difficulty of writing the fugue in and of itself I am discovering that whatever I write is going to be a challenge to play. My process is not to play a passage and then transcribe it. While I am in constant contact with the instrument, my process is to write a little ahead of what I am playing. Is see the possibilities first on the manuscript and then on the instrument. But this has got me to wondering about the experience others have had in having to learn their own compositions.

Gene

Re: Learning to Play Your Own Compositions

Post by Gene » Thu Aug 29, 2013 9:02 pm

I don't write for myself, because hearing performer's input is a reward. I also only play at the problem areas in my process or as a check.

User avatar
twang
Posts: 455
Joined: Sat Aug 17, 2013 11:57 am
Location: Colorado

Re: Learning to Play Your Own Compositions

Post by twang » Wed Nov 27, 2013 3:16 pm

I'd love to hear more about how other approach this.

I'm just now getting to the point where I have the technical skills and theoretical understand that I'm doing composition exercise on the guitar. I'm finding that the back and for between manuscript and guitar is self reinforcing. I noodle on the guitar a bit, find the outline of something I like, write it down, then analyze it. The usually sparks ideas for improvement or different directions to try. In this phase, I can obvious play each phrase-- but to my surprise, when I'm done, I have something I can't really play in toto. It turns out to be much like a any other assignment from my teacher that I then have to work at.

I wonder it it'll always be like this, or if that kind of thing goes away as technical skills develop.
"An amateur is he who takes up the study of an instrument as a relaxation from his serious occupations." -- Sor

Tony Nugent
Posts: 140
Joined: Tue May 07, 2013 10:47 am
Location: Cheshire England

Re: Learning to Play Your Own Compositions

Post by Tony Nugent » Sat Dec 14, 2013 8:10 am

I have just started composing my first piece for classical guitar. I have always had the ideas for many pieces, but never really acted on them, I guess because of my [unsuruty] of how things would turn out, kept thinking "will this sound ok to others...will this be a nice piece for others to play"

Anyway, this piece I am writing is for a friend (Long story, but I saw a black & white photo of her standing in Ohio in the early 80's with the biggest perm and the biggest smile, so the idea to write a song for her just came instantly)

So, the way I am writing this piece (with my great inexperience lol!) is to first divide the piece in to it's story line. Three short movements with repeats. Second, I work out the tempo and if possible key signature for the first movement and so on...for ex: The first piece is of my friends arrival in Ohio and she is in the street smiling happily so i figure a tempo moderato to match the business of Ohio and plenty of melody in a major key. Now I begin to play and experiment with the different major signatures and only when I find the right melody etc do I right it down....I usually work out a chord progression first, as this allows me to hear how this piece should sound.

I hope to finish by April 2014 :-)

Point:

1. When I fist started writing this piece I wanted to have lots of sharps and flats in it, as I thought it would appear too basic with no real emotion (my inexperience again) - but after experimenting I now realise that unless the pice demands it, having a massive attack of accidentals or a key signature with B major key signature will not make the piece sound any better. My first movement for me only sounds best in common time. A few accidentals sort out any areas which need a diversion.

2. I good pot of coffee helps too :-)

I am very inexperienced beginner composer so any advice any of you can offer will really sincerely be very much appreciated.

Thank you

User avatar
twang
Posts: 455
Joined: Sat Aug 17, 2013 11:57 am
Location: Colorado

Re: Learning to Play Your Own Compositions

Post by twang » Sat Dec 14, 2013 2:40 pm

I've found that by studying harmony and learning to analyze pieces independent of the guitar has really helped me. I've spent the least year doing endless exercises in 4-part writing. Now as I'm bringing all that to the guitar the ideas just keep coming. I'll start with a harmonic progression and maybe a rhythmic or modal idea, noodle a bit and write down what I'm playing. Then I analyze what I'm doing, That then suggests ways to improve and extend it. The only problem is my technical abilities aren't there yet so it's easy for me to end up with something I cannot perform without just as much work as any piece my teacher gives me.
"An amateur is he who takes up the study of an instrument as a relaxation from his serious occupations." -- Sor

drew p

Re: Learning to Play Your Own Compositions

Post by drew p » Sun Dec 29, 2013 1:51 am

this is why i advocate improv so much, it's the most direct way to learn what fits idiomatically on the instrument.

That being said, i think writing on paper and writing on the instrument are both good exercises, and... don't get discouraged if you have to 'dumb down' something you wrote on paper. It's all a learning process

chip.altman

Re: Learning to Play Your Own Compositions

Post by chip.altman » Sat May 31, 2014 10:05 pm

I love composing for my students, so a large part of what I write is easy for me to play. But occasionally I'll write something for students (e.g. a tremolo study) that turns into a good exercise for me too! I wrote some short pieces two semesters ago for a composition class. I guess there was peer pressure to make the music not be too easy, and I was gonna find someone else to play it anyway. My composition teacher told me to expand the range, so I wrote in a few artificial harmonics which at that time I was pretty unfamiliar with.

Now that I have the time I've been practicing the pieces myself. I'm kind of a perfectionist but when I have it like I want it I'll post videos and maybe the scores. :D

Return to “Composers' Workshop”