THE ART OF WRITING MUSIC
A practical book for composers and arrangers of instrumental, choral and electronic music as applied to publication, films, television, recordings and schools.
Also contains a special chapter on electronic music by Steve Kaplan.
MUSIC! Even the word sounds wonderful. Mysterious and exotic. Harmony...coloratura...soprano...violin...they all sound melodious to the ear. The word melody, too, flows and is pleasing when spoken. Counterpoint...well, that's more a little suspect. Maybe too cerebral. Fugue is a little harsh too, but there are more than enough words to make my point.
Whether their origins are Greek or Latin, the words that make up the various facets of music send a signal to the brain of something pleasurable, romantic and, to the non-musician, mysterious and sometimes baffling.
And what is music? A certain thing that happens to the voice box that shifts gears and results in singing, usually pleasurable. People sawing with bows, blowing through pipes and horns, striking keys and hitting things.
These productions of sounds we define as music have been with us for a long time. Progress improved the capabilities of the instruments, and a few new ones have been added along the way, but basically not much has changed. At one time or another, various people have sat down and written out the components of the symphony orchestra. In its ordinary form it contains three trumpets, three trombones, four horns, woodwinds by twos, strings and percussion. Within the last century or so, we have added extra woodwinds, and other instruments such as harp, tuba, and piano.
But all these players sitting on a stage would be useless without something to play. We would hear tuning up, perhaps a few well-known folk songs played willy-nilly, but nothing else. In other words, unless there is someone who is willing to sit down with pen and paper and create, the symphony orchestra, choir and band would be totally worthless.
What it comes down to is the fact that if there were no composers, there would be no music. On the other hand, if there were no musical organizations, the composer would never hear his or her music played, either. And then there is the conductor. Ah! Quite often it is the conductor who decides what the orchestra will play. Everybody is at his or her mercy. And of course, the conductor quite often is beholden to the person or board responsible for the hiring. So, in the final analysis, it often comes down to money and business, just like everything else. It may be art to some, but to others it's the old do-re-mi.
In spite of the dichotomy of art and business, music has flourished. We have been blessed with masterpieces of opera, symphony and ballet as well as small works. We have had a worldwide legacy of folk, pop and theatre music, because of the people who have written the music and the words that sometimes accompany it. And it is also because of the people who have arranged or orchestrated this music. Although composition and orchestration are synonymous with serious composition it is not the case with other areas such as popular music and music of the theatre. In those cases, songs are written and later arranged. It also should be mentioned that to the vast majority of the public this craft of music arranging is all but unknown. In the pages that follow, I hope to be able to contribute my experience along with the desire that I might make life a little easier for those of us who write music. It is not meant to be the definitive last word on the subject, nor is the intent to compete with the other fine books that address these matters. The French have a word, amusegueules which is a small morsel and precedes the first course at dinner. I hope you enjoy my little tidbit and get some satisfaction from it.
Available directly through your local music dealer. Hardcover price is $39.95, and softcover price is 25.95.
Telephone (818) 761-0615.
Trade paperback ISBN: 0-88284-619-1
Hardcover ISBN: 0-88284-618-3